Nov 24, 2017
The biophysics major integrates the physical principles that are part of the core material found in a traditional physics major with areas of interest in the life sciences. Offering many possible avenues via molecular/cellular, biomechanical, organismal and/or physiological sequences, the major is appropriate for students interested in attending graduate school in physics or biophysics and provides a solid background for students planning a career in the health fields.
Requirements for the Major
Learning Outcomes for the Program In Biophysics
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:
- Develop a conceptual framework for understanding the system by identifying the key physical principles, relationships, and constraints underlying the system.
- 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.
- 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.
- Use with proficiency standard methods of data analysis (e.g., graphing, curvefitting, statistical analysis, Fourier analysis, etc.).
- Intelligently analyze, interpret, and assess the reasonableness of the answers obtained and/or the model’s predictions.
- Effectively communicate their findings (either verbally and/or via written expression) to diverse audiences.
Courses required for the Biophysics major:
1. Foundation Courses:
- Introductory Biology (two semesters: BIOL 043L KS -BIOL 044L KS , or BIOL 040L KS and BIOL 044L KS ,or both semesters of the AISS course, or equivalent);
- Introductory Chemistry (two semesters: CHEM 014L KS -CHEM 015L KS , or CHEM 029L KS , or CHEM 040L KS and CHEM 015L KS , or both semesters of the AISS course or equivalent);
- Introductory Physics (two semesters: PHYS 030L KS -PHYS 031L KS , or PHYS 033L KS -PHYS 034L KS , or both semesters of the AISS course or equivalent);
- PHYS 035 KS -Modern Physics ;
- PHYS 178 KS -Biophysics (or equivalent);
- MATH 032 PZ -Calculus III ; MATH 111 CM or equivalent);
- One computer programming course (CSCI 005 HM , CSCI 051 CM , or PHYS 108 KS );
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.
- Two (2) upper-division physics course.
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 .