B.A. Requirements in Biophysics

Note: as of fall 2012, the Biophysics Oversight Committee is in the process of making changes to the Biophysics requirements that will be submitted and hopefully approved by spring of 2013. The following requirements are not the official ones stated in the 2012-2013 Course Bulletin but are what the Biophysics DUS is implementing until the proposed changes are approved.

The main proposed changes are the elimination of the two concentrations (molecular and cellular) so that there is only one Biophysics degree, and the requirement that students learn about thermal physics and quantum mechanics by taking either two physics courses or two physical chemistry courses. Otherwise, the required courses are similar to the requirements stated in the Bulletin.

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies in Biophysics.


Major Requirements

  • CHEM 201DL Organic Chemistry
  • BIOLOGY 201L Molecular Biology
  • ONE of:
    • BIOLOGY 202L Genetics and Evolution
    • BIOLOGY 220 Cell and Developmental Biology
  • Quantum physics and thermal physics via:

    or via

    • CHEMISTRY 310 Physical Chemistry (quantum chemistry)
    • CHEMISTRY 311 Physical Chemistry (thermal physics and kinetics)
    • Chemistry 310L or Chemistry 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:
  • One Elective: 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).
      • CHEMISTRY 302 Biophysical Chemistry
      • MATH 573S Modeling Biological Systems
      • NEUROSCI 201 Fundamentals of Neuroscience (Cross lissted 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 Computer Science 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.

    Descriptions of the above courses can be found in the Duke University Undergraduate Bulletin