Admission & Financial Aid

Admission & Financial Aid


Regulations & Requirements

Regulations & Requirements


Amherst College Courses

Amherst College Courses


Biochemistry and Biophysics

Advisory Committee:  Professors Bishop, Goutte‡, Hansen, Loinaz, O'Hara, Poccia†, Ratner‡, and Williamson (Chair); Assistant Professors Carter, Jaswal, and Jeong.

* On leave 2015-16.

† On leave fall semester 2015-16.

‡ On leave spring semester 2015-16.

Biochemistry and Biophysics is an interdisciplinary major that integrates the three disciplines of Biology, Chemistry, and Physics, using the principles of chemistry and physics to explain and explore biological phenomena.

Major Program:  A student in the major takes six foundational courses in the three disciplines as well as three additional courses to develop a more advanced understanding along either a more biophysical or biochemical track.  Students develop their expertise by the election of two courses from a list of electives, at least one of which is a biology course with a lab.  Two advanced courses complete coursework for the major. 

The six foundational courses are CHEM 151/155, CHEM 161, BIOL 191, BIOL 251/291, PHYS 116/123, and PHYS 117/124.

The three additional courses depend on which track a student elects.  Students who are on the Biophysics Track will take MATH 140/272/335/PHYS 227; PHYS 225/CHEM 351; and PHYS 230/CHEM 361.  Students who are on the Biochemistry Track will take CHEM 221, BIOL 331, and PHYS 230/CHEM 361.

Two electives are then chosen, at least one of which must be a laboratory course in biology.  In the Biophysics Track, the electives include BIOL 251, BIOL 271, BIOL 291, BIOL 301, BIOL 310, BIOL 321, BIOL 331, BIOL 351, BIOL 381, CHEM 221, CHEM 330, COSC 111, COSC 112, MATH 211, MATH 260, MATH 335, or PHYS 343.  In the Biochemistry Track, the electives include BIOL 220, BIOL 241, BIOL 251, BIOL 271, BIOL 291, BIOL 301, BIOL 310, BIOL 321, BIOL 351, BIOL 370, BIOL 381, CHEM 231, COSC 111, MATH 140, MATH 272, or MATH 335.  Other courses not listed here may satisfy this elective upon approval by the Advisory Committee.

The required advanced course is BCBP 400/CHEM 400/PHYS 400/BIOL 400. 

Special Topics Course BCPB 490 may be elected for students who wish an intensive laboratory or research tutorial in Biochemistry and Biophysics with individual members of the faculty.

For completion of the major, a comprehensive requirement consists of attendance at and presentation to a Biochemistry and Biophysics seminar series.

Departmental Honors Program: Some majors may elect to pursue an independent research project that enables them the opportunity to graduate with honors.  Candidates for the degree with honors should elect BCBP 498 and 499D.

Biochemistry & Biophysics

400 Molecular and Cellular Biophysics

(See PHYS 400)

408 Seminar in Chemical Biology: The Chemistry/Biology Interface

(See CHEM 408)

490 Special Topics

Fall and spring semesters.

Other years: Offered in Fall 2022, Spring 2023, Fall 2023, Fall 2024

498, 499D Senior Departmental Honors

Fall semester.

Other years: Offered in Spring 2023, Spring 2025

Departmental Courses

281 Molecular Genetics

(See BIOL 251)

291 Cell Structure and Function

(See BIOL 291)

331 Biochemistry

(See BIOL 331)