Molecular Biophysics

Molecular biophysics is a field that explores the makeup and behavior of molecules in living organisms. Learn about degree programs and courses of study in addition to career opportunities and salary information.

Is Molecular Biophysics for Me?

Career Overview

Molecular biophysicists combine biology, math, chemistry, physics, genetics, and computer science to study cellular functions and understand biological processes. As a molecular biophysicist, you'll study how molecules work and how they're structured. You'll use mathematics, computer computations, and other methods to research biological functions at the cellular level.

Job Options

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were approximately 29,200 biophysicists and biochemists working in the United States as of 2012 (www.bls.gov). Many molecular biophysicists get jobs in industries, including biotechnology and drug manufacturing, in scientific research or development, and in academia. You might also pursue employment in government agencies or scientific consulting.

Employment Outlook and Salary Statistics

The BLS expects much faster than average job growth for biophysicists and biochemists. Employment opportunities for biophysicists and biochemists were expected to rise 19% between 2012 and 2022, the BLS said. Most biophysicists and biochemists earned between $42,660 and $147,780 as of 2013, the BLS reported.

How Can I Work in Molecular Biophysics?

Education Information

You can find education programs in molecular biophysics that lead to undergraduate and graduate degrees, but advanced degrees are more common. You may get hired for some entry-level jobs in molecular biophysics after earning a bachelor's or master's degree. A doctoral degree is needed to attain jobs in independent research or development.

Degree programs in molecular biophysics will teach you to perform research and data analysis using mathematics, computer simulations, and computations. Some programs might include using the physical sciences to analyze biomedical research issues. A bachelor's degree in molecular biophysics may enable you to work as a research assistant in research facilities or in university, industry, or government laboratories.

Topics of Study

A bachelor's degree program may include courses in basic genetics, mathematics, and human hormones, as well as classes in biochemistry, computer science, and molecular biology. Advanced coursework might include biostatistics, molecular genetics, DNA, and bioinformatics. Most study programs address current research and data analysis techniques. Degree programs typically incorporate laboratory work, research, and seminars.

Graduate Programs

You could also choose to proceed to graduate studies or medical school after earning a bachelor's degree in molecular biophysics. An advanced degree in molecular biophysics could qualify you for employment as a scientist in research positions with industries, government agencies, and universities. A master's degree could lead you to a career as a high school or college instructor. You may get hired as a university professor with a doctoral degree in molecular biophysics.

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