A distinctive goal of the Notre Dame biophysics curriculum is to “keep the physics in biophysics”. This goal reflects our conviction that physics, being focused on universal principles, can provide a valuable, complementary perspective regarding our understanding of life. Our conviction distinguishes us from the more common molecular biophysics graduate programs, in which the interest in physics consists mainly of its potential as an analytical tool, rather than a fresh way of asking questions and posing hypotheses.
The Notre Dame biophysics curriculum seeks an integrative approach, familiarizing students with basic principles that will allow the exploration of new synergies between biology and physics. At the same time, the curriculum stands apart from more common molecular biophysics programs (often outgrowths of biochemistry programs), in that it insists on basic competency in physics pertinent to biological molecules.