2021-2022 Pitzer Catalog 
    Jul 04, 2022  
2021-2022 Pitzer Catalog

Biophysics Major

Learning Outcomes

Students who have completed a major in Biophysics, when confronted with a natural phenomenon, should be able to examine, model and analyze the system and effectively communicate the findings.

Specifically, students should be able to:

  1. Develop a conceptual framework for understanding the system by identifying the key physical principles, relationships, and constraints underlying the system.
  2. If required, develop a physical experiment to analyze the system within the framework. This includes:
    • Designing the experiment;
    • Making basic order-of-magnitude estimates;
    • Working with standard data-measuring devices such as oscilloscopes, digital multi-meters, signal generators, etc.;
    • Identifying and appropriately addressing the sources of systematic error and statistical error in their experiment.
  3. Translate that conceptual framework into an appropriate mathematical format/model.
    • If the mathematical model/equations are analytically tractable, carry out the analysis of the problem to completion (by demonstrating knowledge of and proficiency with the standard mathematical tools of physics and engineering).
    • If the model/equations are not tractable, develop a computer code and/or use software/programming languages (e.g., MATLAB, Maple, Python) to numerically simulate the model system.
  4. Use with proficiency standard methods of data analysis (e.g., graphing, curve-fitting, statistical analysis, Fourier analysis, etc.).
  5. Intelligently analyze, interpret, and assess the reasonableness of the answers obtained and/or the model’s predictions.
  6. Effectively communicate their findings (either verbally and/or via written expression) to diverse audiences.

Requirements for the Major

1. Foundation Courses:

2. Five Additional Advanced Courses:

  • Three (3) upper-division courses from Biology, at least one of which must include a laboratory component. Organic Chemistry (CHEM 116L KS ) may be substituted for one of the three upper-division Biology courses, but one of the remaining two upper-division Biology courses must still include a laboratory component.
  • At least two of the following four courses: PHYS 101 KS , PHYS 102 KS , PHYS 114 KS , PHYS 115 KS .

3. Senior thesis (one- or two-semester).

  • A study-abroad experience is strongly recommended but not required.

NOTE: For Biophysics majors, PHYS 030L KS -PHYS 031L KS  may substitute as a prerequisite for PHYS 033L KS -PHYS 034L KS .