Brandeis University

Equiv. Course Requirements:

Physics (19-20 hours) Gen Phys with lab (2 sem), Modern Physics (1 sem), Quantum (1 sem), Adv. Lab (1 sem), Thermodynamics (1 sem)

Biological Physics (2 hours): Seminar in Biological Physics (1 year)

Chemistry ( 8 hours) Gen Chem with lab (2 sem),

Mathematics (8 hours)  Calc I and II

Biology (8 hours)  General Biology with lab (2 sem)

Electives (6 - 18 hours) Between 2 and 5 elective courses depending on specialization

Total: (At Creighton this would be 51 - 64 credit hours)


The biological physics major is designed to provide the quantitative skills and the biology background for students interested in the study of the physics of biological systems on the molecular scale. This program provides a strong foundation in the physical sciences, which underpins much of the modern revolution in biology. It should be of particular interest to students wishing to pursue careers in fundamental or applied research in biophysics, quantitative biology and biotechnology.

How to Become a Biological Physics Major

Students should plan on entering the program as early as possible due to the substantial number of core science courses required to complete the major. The Biological Physics Seminar, BIPH 11a and BIPH 11b, provides an important introduction to biological physics at the most basic level, and should be taken in the first or second year.

To plan a course of study in detail, students should contact Professor Robert Meyer, Professor Jané Kondev or any of the biological physics committee members.

The foundation of the biological physics program is the set of required courses in the physical and life sciences. The core courses, divided by fields, are:

  • Physics: PHYS 11a, b, PHYS 19a, b, PHYS 20a, PHYS 31a, PHYS 39, PHYS 40
  • Biological Physics: BIPH 11a, b
  • Mathematics: Two courses at the level of MATH 10 or above
  • Chemistry: CHEM 11a, b and CHEM 18a, b or equivalents
  • Biology: BIOL 22a, b and BIOL18a, b

Students with high enough Advanced Placement Examination scores may place out of some of the core courses. Students who place out of Physics 11b ("Electricity and Magnetism") will be required to take Physics 30a, the intermediate-level course in this subject. Likewise, students placing out of first-year calculus must take higher-level courses. Other courses, including Physics 11a and Chemistry 11a, need not be replaced by higher-level courses, although that is strongly encouraged.

Beyond the core curriculum, students are expected to explore areas of further inquiry by taking at least two elective courses.

Molecular Structure

The use of physical techniques, including X-ray diffraction, electron microscopy and nuclear magnetic resonance, to elucidate the structure of biomolecules.

Elective courses:

  • BIOL 102b
  • BCHM 171b
  • BIOL 104a
  • BIOL126b
  • BCHM 104b (required prerequisites for this course are not included in the core curriculum)

Single-molecule Biophysics

The study of biological processes on the single molecule scale, such as enzyme function, ion transport through membranes, protein folding and molecular motors.

Elective courses:

  • CHEM 146a
  • BIOL 25a
  • BCHM 101a (required prerequisites for this course are not included in the core curriculum)

Modeling of Biological Structure and Function

The development and analysis of mathematical models for elucidating biological structure and function.

Elective courses:

  • QBIO 110a
  • CHEM 144a
  • PHYS 105a
  • NPHY 115a
  • NBIO 136b

Systems and Networks

The study of topics including bioinformatics, neural networks and networks of genes and proteins.

Elective courses:

  • BCHM 170b
  • NBIO 140b


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