Biophysics, BA

Bridging the biological sciences and the physical sciences, Biophysics is concerned with physical and chemical explanations of living processes, especially at the cellular and molecular levels. Detailed molecular descriptions are emerging for genetic elements and the mechanisms that control their propagation and expression. Biophysical studies include the investigation of protein structure, nucleic acid structure, enzyme mechanisms, the phenomena underlying cellular behavior, excitable phenomena in nerve, muscle and visual cells, and integrative neural phenomena.

The minimum total course units for graduation in this major is 36. Double majors may entail more course units.

Note: Though not a requirement of the major, participation in an independent research project is strongly encouraged.

For information about the General Education requirements, please visit the College of Arts & Sciences Curriculum page.

College General Education Requirements and Free Electives
Foundational Approaches + Sectors1 + Free Electives16
Major Requirements
Cell Biology and Biochemistry
BIOL 204Biochemistry1
or CHEM 251 Principles of Biological Chemistry
BIOL 205Cell Biology1
PHYS 280Physical Models of Biological Systems1
or BCHE 280 Biological Physics
1 course unit of Elective or two .5 course units of electives1
CHEM 101General Chemistry I1
or CHEM 115 Honors Chemistry I: Theoretical Perspectives
CHEM 102General Chemistry II1
or CHEM 116 Honors Chemistry II
CHEM 053
CHEM 054
General Chemistry Laboratory I
and General Chemistry Laboratory II
or CHEM 245 Experimental Organic Chemistry
CHEM 241Principles of Organic Chemistry1
CHEM 242Principles of Organic Chemistry II1
or CHEM 243 Organic Chemistry II: Principles of Organic Chemistry with applications in Chemical Biology
Select one of the following:2
Physical Chemistry I
and Physical Chemistry II
Principles of Physics III: Thermal Physics and Waves
Principles of Physics IV: Modern Physics (without laboratory)
Principles of Physics IV: Modern Physics
MATH 104Calculus, Part I1
Select one of the following:1
Calculus, Part II
Calculus, Part II with Probability and Matrices
Honors Calculus
MATH 240Calculus, Part III1
or MATH 260 Honors Calculus, Part II
MATH 241Calculus, Part IV1
PHYS 150Principles of Physics I: Mechanics and Wave Motion1.5
or PHYS 170 Honors Physics I: Mechanics and Wave Motion
Select one of the following:1.5
Principles of Physics II: Electromagnetism and Radiation
Honors Physics II: Electromagnetism and Radiation
AP Credit for Principles I (PHYS 150)
and AP Credit for Principles II (PHYS 151)
and Laboratory Electronics
PHYS 361Electromagnetism I: Electricity and Potential Theory1
or PHYS 561 Electromagnetism I
PHYS 362Electromagnetism II: Magnetism, Maxwell's Equations, and Electromagnetic Waves1
or PHYS 562 Electromagnetism II: Magnetism, Maxwell's Equations, and Electromagnetic Waves
Total Course Units36

You may count no more than one course toward both a Major and a Sector requirement. For Exceptions, check the Policy Statement.


Applicant must have a minimum GPA of 3.3 in the Major. Thesis Required

The degree and major requirements displayed are intended as a guide for students entering in the Fall of 2017 and later. Students should consult with their academic program regarding final certifications and requirements for graduation.