Biochemistry and Biophysics

BCBP Course Requirements

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

* On leave 2012-13.

† On leave fall semester 2012-13.

‡ On leave spring semester 2012-13.

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 the major. (For a clearer visual presentation of the tracks, please see "Course Requirements (Tabular)" at left.)

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 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, STAT 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 STAT 335.  Other courses not listed here may satisfy this elective upon approval by the Advisory Committee.

The two required advanced courses are BCBP 400/CHEM 400/PHYS 400/BIOL 400 and an advanced seminar such as BIOL 404/BCBP 405 or CHEM 408/BCBP 408.  Thesis work (BCBP 498/498D) or a  Five College Course (with approval) may also serve as the advanced seminar.

 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 Biochem and Biophysics (BCBP) 498 and 499D.