Biophysics (B.S.)

Effective Fall 2014

May be elected as a departmental major

Constraints:  Students double majoring in Biophysics and any major in the Department of Physics cannot use PHYSICS 402, 406 or 453 to satisfy the Biophysics cognate or Honors elective requirement.


The biophysics major is designed for students with a strong interest in the natural sciences who intend to embark on a career as a biophysical or medical scientist. It is intended to satisfy the admission requirements of most combined MD/Ph.D. programs and provide a strong foundation for quantitative interdisciplinary work in the biophysical or biomedical sciences or related fields, such as biomedical engineering.

The major requires introductory courses in Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry and Biology, followed by specialized biophysics courses. In addition, participation in research is required, which allows students to explore cutting-edge biophysical research and gain valuable experience for a future career.

Gateway Courses

 Recommended but not required: One or two of BIOPHYS 115, 116, 120.

Prerequisites to the Major

  • MATH 115, 116, 215, 216;
  • CHEM 210 / 211, 215;
  • PHYSICS 135 / 136 and 235 / 236 (or 140/141 and 240/241);
  • BIOLOGY 162 or 171 or 172.

Requirements for the Major

A major in biophysics must include 32 credits:

  1. Core: BIOPHYS 290, 370, 417, 450, 454, 495
  2. Outside Core: BIOLOGY 305 and CHEM 351
  3. Electives: One of BIOPHYS 430, 433, 435, 440, 463, MCDB 411. Other electives may be approved by a department advisor.
  4. Cognate: One cognate course from PHYSICS 406, PHYSICS 453, CHEM 451 or BIOLCHEM 451, MCDB 427, MCDB 428, MATH 404, MATH 471, .
  5. Research: At least two credits of BIOPHYS 399. Students wishing to do research in a laboratory outside the Biophysics Program must identify a co-sponsor.

Honors Plan

In addition to completing all the Biophysics requirements for the major, a GPA in the major of at least 3.4 and the completion of an Honors thesis (BIOPHYS 499) with a grade of B or better, and a second Biophysics elective are required.

Approved Honors electives are all biophysics and cognate electives above, and BIOPHYS 440 or CHEM 440, CHEM 453, MCDB 422, MCDB 428, PHYSICS 402 and PHYSICS 453.


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