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 (Chair), O'Hara, Poccia†, and Williamson; Associate Professor Jaswal; Assistant Professors Carter, Jeong, and Purdy. 

† On leave fall semester 2017-18.

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.  One advanced course completes 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/STAT 235/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, BIOL 404, BIOL, 420, CHEM 221, CHEM 330, COSC 111, COSC 112, MATH 211, MATH 260, STAT 235, 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, BIOL 404, BIOL, 420, CHEM 231, COSC 111, MATH 140, MATH 272, or STAT 235.  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 6 or more BCBP approved seminars during your senior year, and presentation of a paper to a committee of BCBP faculty. 

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

370 Molecular Genetics

(See BIOL 370)

371 Molecular Genetics W/Lab

(See BIOL 371)

400 Molecular and Cellular Biophysics

(See PHYS 400)

Departmental Courses

291 Cell Structure and Function

(See BIOL 291)

310 Structural Biochemistry

(See BIOL 310)

331 Biochemistry

(See BIOL 331)

404 Seminar in Biochemistry

(See BIOL 404)