Biophysics is an interdisciplinary subject that involves the frontiers of physics and biology (and also frontiers of chemistry, mathematics, computer science, and engineering). Biophysicists differ from biologists mainly in wanting to understand biology quantitatively: by carefully measuring experimental features of living systems (or tissues or molecules obtained from living systems), by developing technologies that allow novel problems to be studied, by formulating hypotheses in a concise mathematical form that can be falsified or supported by the quantitative details of the experiments, and by developing theories that can explain, clarify, and unify diverse biological data.
In collaboration with the Departments of Biology and Chemistry, the Physics Department offers a biophysics major for Duke students
The B.S. biophysics degree is a good choice for students who want to prepare for graduate research related to biology, biochemistry, bioengineering, biophysics, computational biology, medical physics, molecular biology, neurobiology, and physiology, while the B.A. biophysics degree might be more appropriate for students who want to go into biotechnology, consulting, industrial research, journalism, law, medicine, and science teaching. (But a student who wants to go to physics graduate school should major in physics.)
If you would like to learn more about the biophysics major, please make an appointment to meet with the Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS), who is also the DUS for biophysics. Please also feel free to introduce yourself to Duke faculty involved with biophysics and ask them about the research that they are doing and for a tour of their labs.