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Biophysics is a quantitative science at the intersection of the life and physical sciences.  It requires a significant level of competence in physics, chemistry, biology and math as reflected in the concentration requirements.  Students should work with their concentration advisor to develop a focused academic plan that complements the required research component of the concentration and allows students to develop analytical and quantitative skills.  Students are expected to take courses that will count toward the concentration for a grade (ABC/NC).

Student Goals:
Students in this concentration will:

  • Explore the relationship between biological and physical principles by successfully completing foundational courses in biology, physics, math and chemistry
  • Gain an in-depth knowledge of the interdisciplinary nature of life and physical sciences by selecting and successfully completing advanced courses in biology, physics, math, chemistry or related fields 
  • Develop skills to identify and analyze critical questions central to biophysics
  • Apply quantitative methods to problems at the interface of life and physical sciences 
  • Complete a research project with a faculty advisor that focuses on a particular theme or problem in the field of biophysics where students apply knowledge gained throughout the curriculum.

Additional detailed information about the field of Biophysics may be found at:

Standard program for the Sc.B. degree


One of the following series: 2
Basic Physics A
and Basic Physics B 1
Foundations of Mechanics
and Foundations of Electromagnetism and Modern Physics
Analytical Mechanics
and Introduction to Relativity, Waves and Quantum Physics
PHYS 0470Electricity and Magnetism1
CHEM 0330Equilibrium, Rate, and Structure1
CHEM 0350Organic Chemistry I1
Select one other advanced Chemistry Course1
MATH 0090Single Variable Calculus, Part I (or equivalent)1
MATH 0100Single Variable Calculus, Part II (or equivalent)1
MATH 0180Multivariable Calculus (or equivalent)1
BIOL 0200The Foundation of Living Systems (or equivalent)1
Select four additional biology or neuroscience courses chosen with approval of the advisor. 4
Directed Research: Students must take two semesters of research which may be satisfied by any of the opportunities listed below:2
Directed Research in Biology (BIOL 1950/BIOL 1960), Chemistry (CHEM 0970/CHEM 0980), or Physics (PHYS 1980)
COEX courses
A summer research experience in equivalent scope and scale to an independent study, but this would not count as course credit toward the concentration
Electives: Four electives in biology, physics, math/applied math, chemistry, neuroscience, engineering or computer science; at least 2 courses must be above the introductory level 24
Total Credits20