B.A. Degree Requirements


  • PHYSICS 161D: Fundamentals of Physics I, or equivalent
  • PHYSICS 162D: Fundamentals of Physics II,  or equivalent
  • MATH 122L: Introductory Calculus II With Applications, or equivalent
  • MATH 212: Multivariable Calculus
  • MATH 216: Linear Algebra and Differential Equations
  • CHEM 101DL: Core Concepts in Chemistry, or equivalent.

Major Requirements

  • BIOLOGY 201L: Molecular Biology
  • ONE of:
    • BIOLOGY 202L: Genetics and Evolution
    • BIOLOGY 220: Cell and Developmental Biology
  • Quantum physics and thermal physics via: 
    • PHYSICS 264L: Optics and Modern Physics
    • PHYSICS 363: Thermal Physics
       or via
    • CHEM 310: Physical Chemistry (quantum chemistry)
    • CHEM 311: Physical Chemistry (thermal physics and kinetics)
    • CHEM 310L or CHEM 311L: Physical Chemistry Laboratory
  • PHYSICS 414: Introduction to Biophysics (cross-listed as BIOLOGY 418)
  • PHYSICS 415: Biophysics II (cross-listed as BIOLOGY 425)
  • ONE of the following physics courses:
    • PHYSICS 361: Intermediate Mechanics
    • PHYSICS 362: Electricity and Magnetism
    • PHYSICS 464: Quantum Mechanics I
    • PHYSICS 513: Nonlinear Dynamics (especially recommended)
    • A physics course numbered 300 or higher with approval of the Biophysics DUS

After satisfying the above prerequisites and major requirements, a BA Biophysics major must take one elective. This can be chosen from a diversity of Departments including Biochemistry, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Biomedical Engineering, Neuroscience, Mathematics, and Computer Science upon discussion with and approval by the Director of Undergraduate Studies in Biophysics. The following electives are suggestive and many other choices are possible:

  • BIOCHEM 301 Introduction to Biochemistry I
  • BIOLOGY 329L: Principles of Animal Physiology
  • BIOLOGY 412S: Sensory Signal Transduction
  • BME 153L: Biomedical Electronic Measurements I
  • BME 244L: Quantitative Physiology (especially recommended).
  • CHEM 302: Biophysical Chemistry
  • MATH 573S: Modeling Biological Systems
  • NEUROSCI 201: Fundamentals of Neuroscience (Cross listed as BIOLOGY 224, PSY 275).
  • PHYSICS 271L: Electronics
  • "Research Independent Study" through Biology, Chemistry, Neuroscience, or Physics

Recommended Other Courses

Biophysics majors seeking the BA degree are strongly recommended to take:

  • an introductory course on computer programming such as COMPSCI 101L or Engineering 53L as soon as possible. Programming is essential for nearly all biophysics-related research, for analyzing data and for controlling and carrying out experiments.
  • an introductory statistics course that will give them the background to understand how complex biological and medical data are summarized statistically, and to carry out statistical analysis themselves. Some possible courses are STA 130 Probability and Statistics in Engineering and STA 102 Introductory Biostatistics.

Double Majors

In some cases, a biophysics major may choose to double major, with a major for example in physics, biology, chemistry, or some other area. In this case some courses can be counted for both majors:

  • If physics is the other major, no more than three physics courses may count toward both majors.
  • If biology is the other major, nor more than two biology courses may be counted.
  • If chemistry is the other major, no more than three chemistry courses may be counted.

Other Considerations

Juniors and seniors are strongly encouraged to pursue an independent study related to biophysics. There are ample faculty in biology, physics, chemistry, the medical school, and biomedical engineering to oversee an independent study.

All biophysics majors should learn how to write computer programs at the level of a course like Computer Science 6 or Engineering 53. Although a computer programming course is not currently a graduation requirement, knowing how to program is an essential research skill and will also greatly increase the possibilities for undergraduate research projects.