Skip to main content


Biophysicists are biologists who harness skills related to structural biology and chemistry to ask, and answer questions based on structure-function relationships in organisms. Despite its name, biophysicists are talented individuals from all walks of life sciences: Biology, Chemistry, and Physics. 



Structural biology as a field is relatively young, with the field relying on fascinating new technologies and methods to keep making progress. Biophysicists are a unique, and highly sought after, perspective in challenging life science problems. While sharing similar objectives and approaches to structural biologists, biophysicists are often trained to utilize a broad approach based in physical principles rather. Academic research, biotechnology, pharmaceutical companies, and more are all in need of biophysicists to address physical problems in the life sciences. For example, the 2014 Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded for research in fluorescense microscopy, allowing researchers to see physical conformations of viruses, proteins, and even small molecules.

Biophysicists in their work are trained to be masters of learning due to the rapid pace in which their field is changing. However, some work remains constant. Here are some examples of what Biophysicists can expect in their work:

  • Experimental Design: Creating experiments to ask the right questions, and utilizie lab skills to produce data.
  • Lab Techniques: Ranging from X-Ray crystallography and Electron Microscopy to cell cultures, biophysicists must be able to see through their full experiment with adaptibility in learning procedures.
  • Computation: With the rise in computational power, resolution of structures has become clearer than ever before for the life sciences. Computational methods are used to pull in data from the lab, process it, manipulate as necessary, and create interpretations for answering questions and possible publication.
  • Interdisciplinary Skills: Using backgrounds with strengths in biology, chemistry, or physics can bring a unique perspective to collaborating with others. Challenging biological problems with unique approaches is highly valued, meaning there is no one correct way to becoming a biophysicist.


Educational Requirements

Due to the complexity of the field, Biophysicists require extensive education in their fields. First, a degree in a sciences field (Biology, Chemistry, or Physics especially) will lay the proper foundation. Following this candidates will then pursue higher education, either in a Master's or Doctoral Degree (Ph.D.). While a Master's Degree is shorter in length, academic roles such as becoming a professor will often require a Ph.D. Many who complete their Ph.D. will go on to complete a post-doc, which is an extended training period shortly following completion of the Ph.D. to further polish an individual's skills.


Salary Information 2022

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for a Biophysicist in 2022 was $103,810.


Want to know more?

Get Connected

Belonging to professional organizations & LinkedIn groups can provide you with networking, informational interviewing, & job shadowing opportunities, as well as assist you with finding internships and jobs.

Get Experience

Research & Internship Listings

Find a Job

Job Search Sites Related to Your Major


Information retrieved from Bureau of Labor Statistics: Biophysicist, and O*NET - Biochemists and Biophysicists

Purdue University College of Science, 150 N. University St, West Lafayette, IN 47907 • Phone: (765) 494-1729, Fax: (765) 494-1736

Student Advising Office: (765) 494-1771, Fax: (765) 496-3015 • Science IT, (765) 494-4488

© 2024 Purdue University | An equal access/equal opportunity university | Copyright Complaints | DOE Degree Scorecards

Trouble with this page? Accessibility issues? Please contact the College of Science.