BCBP Course Requirements

Level

Biophysics Track

Biochemistry Track

Foundational

Common set of 7 courses

 

See Placement Information for placing out of any of these courses.  

  • CHEM 151 (Intro Chemistry) or CHEM 155 (Fund. Principles of Chemistry) 
  • CHEM 161 (Chem Principles) or CHEM 165 (Found. Thermodynamics and Kinetics)
  • BIOL 191 (Molecules, Genes and Cells)
  • BCBP/BIOL 291 (Cell Structure/Function) or BCBP/BIOL 371 (Molecular Genetics).  NOTE: For the BCBP class of ’23 and ‘24, the following classes can also be used to fulfill this requirement:  Developmental Biology (BIOL 221), Neurophysiology (BIOL 351), Genetic Analysis (BIOL 241), and Small Proteins (BIOL 311)
  • MATH 121 (Intermediate Calculus)
  • PHYS 116 (Introductory Physics I) or PHYS 123 (Newtonian Synthesis)
  • PHYS 117 (Introductory Physics II) or PHYS 124 (Maxwellian Synthesis)

Intermediate

Tracked set of courses

 

  • MATH 140 (Mathematical Modeling), MATH 260 (Differential Equations), MATH 271 (Linear Algebra), MATH 272 (Linear Algebra w/Applications), MATH 284 (Numerical Analysis), MATH 365 (Stochastic Processes), MATH/STAT 370 (Theoretical Statistics), STATS 230 (Intermediate Statistics), or STATS 231 (Data Science)
     
  • PHYS 225 (Modern Physics) or CHEM 351 (Quantum Chemistry and Spectroscopy)
  • PHYS 230 (Statistical Mechanics & Thermodynamics, no laboratory) or CHEM 361 (Physical Chemistry, w/laboratory)

 

  • CHEM 221 (Organic Chemistry I)
  • CHEM 231 (Organic Chemistry II)
  • BCBP/BIOL/CHEM 331 (Biochem)
  • CHEM 361 (Physical Chemistry w/laboratory) or PHYS 230 (Statistical Mechanics & Thermodynamics, no laboratory)

 

Electives

(Other courses not listed here may satisfy this requirement upon approval by the Advisory Committee.)

Choose 2 electives for the biophysics track, at least 1 of which is a laboratory course in biology. Note:  A BIOL course ending in "1" indicates a course w/lab; a BIOL course ending in "0" indicates a course without lab.  
 

  • BIOL 221 (Developmental Biology)
  • BIOL 241 (Genetic Analysis of Biological Processes)
  • BIOL 261 (Animal Physiology w/Lab)
  • BIOL/PHYS 265 (Form and Function w/Lab)
  • BIOL 270/271 (Microbiology)
  • BIOL 291 (Cell Structure & Function)
  • BIOL 301 (Molecular Neurobiology)
  • BIOL/BCBP 310 (Structural Biology)
  • BIOL 311 (Small Proteins w/Lab)
  • BIOL/NEUR 313 (Social Endocrinology w/Lab)
  • BIOL 320/321 (Evolutionary Biology)
  • BIOL/BCBP/CHEM 331 (Biochemistry)
  • BIOL 350/351 (Neurophysiology)
  • BIOL/BCBP 370/371 (Molecular Genetics)
  • BIOL 380/381 (Genome Biology)
  • CHEM 221 (Organic Chemistry I)
  • CHEM/BIOL 330 (Biochemical Principles of Life at the Molecular Level)
  • COSC 111 (Intro to Comp. Sci. I)
  • COSC 112 (Intro to Comp. Sci. II)
  • MATH 211 (Multivariable Calculus)
  • MATH 260 (Differential Equations)
  • PHYS 303 (Complex Systems)
  • PHYS 343 (Dynamics)
  • STAT 235 (Time Series)

 Choose 1 elective for the biochemistry track from the list below.  All courses listed below include a laboratory component. 
 

  • BIOL 221 (Developmental Biology)
  • BIOL 241 (Genetic Analysis of Biological Processes)
  • BIOL 261 (Animal Physiology w/Lab)
  • BIOL/PHYS 265 (Form and Function w/Lab)
  • BIOL 271 (Microbiology)
  • BCBP/BIOL 291 (Cell Structure & Function)
  • BIOL 301 (Molecular Neurobiology)
  • BIOL 311 (Small Proteins w/Lab)
  • BIOL/NEUR 313 (Social Endocrinology w/Lab)
  • BIOL 321 (Evolutionary Biology)
  • BIOL 351 (Neurophysiology)
  • BIOL/BCBP 371 (Molecular Genetics)
  • BIOL 381 (Genome Biology)
Advanced

BCBP/BIOL/CHEM/PHYS 400 (Molecular and Cellular Biophysics)

 

DEI Requirement:  Biochemistry and Biophysics Major (both tracks) will include one course that engages with issues of systemic racism, diversity, equity, and inclusion, or social justice as it pertains to science and scientific communities. 

 

Substituting other courses at Amherst or offered in the Five Colleges requires advanced approval by the BCBP Program Chair.  To get the course approved send the course description and why the course 1) engages with issues of DEI and 2) pertains to science.  

Sometimes students can turn regular DEI courses into ones that are about science if there is a project in the course that is worth a significant portion of the grade (>30%) and they agree to do that project on a scientific topic. To get courses like this to count, you must send the BCBP Chair an email to this effect before the course starts and cc the professor of the course. Then the professor of course needs to also reply and say that they agree to the plan.

 

Examples of existing courses that fulfill this requirement are listed below, and updated each spring for the upcoming academic year.  Other courses not listed or offered in the Five Colleges can substitute with the approval of the chair of BCBP. 

  • AMST/HIST 147 Drugs and History
  • AMST-243: Indigeneity and Science in the Archives
  • AMST/BLST/SWAG-296: Black Women and Reproductive Justice in the African Diaspora
  • ANTH/SWAG-209 or SOCI-207: Feminist Perspective on Science and Medicine
  • ANTH-211: Feminist Science Studies
  • ANTH-232 or SWAG-231: Contested Bodies: Race, Gender, and Embodiment in Biomedicine
  • ANTH-245: Medical Anthropology
  • ANTH/SOCI/ENST-226: Unequal Footprints on the Earth: Understanding the Social Drivers of Ecological Crises and Environmental Inequality
  • ANTH-268: Race, Nature, Power
  • CHEM/SOCI-250, BIOL-150: Being Human in STEM
  • CHEM-260: Chemistry in Society
  • ECON-212: Public Economics: Environmental, Health,  & Inequality
  • ENST/HIST-105: Global Environmental History of the 20th Century
  • ENST-120: The Resilient (?) Earth: An Introduction to Environmental Studies
  • ENST-220/HIST-104: Environ Issues 19th Cent
  • ENST-225: Climate Science/Society
  • ENST-226: Social Drivers of Ecological Crises and Environmental Inequality
  • ENST-260: Global Environ. Politics
  • ENST-306/SOCI-306: Pandemics and Society
  • ENST-314/SOCI-314: Climate Justice
  • ENST/SOCI-328: The Pandemic
  • HIST/SWAG-258: American Medical Injustice
  • LJST-255: Community and Immunity
  • PHIL-212: Public Health Ethics during COVID-19
  • PHYS-255/ASTR-155: Physics, Astronomy, Society
  • POSC-109: Pandemic Politics
  • PSYC-220: Social Psychology
  • SOCI-228: Feminism and COVID-19
  • SPAN-316: Language and Power
  • STAT-136: Stats and Mental Health
  • STAT-200: Health Injustice

 

Thesis (optional)
 

BCBP 498 and 499D: Senior Thesis (optional 3 courses)

 

Comprehensive Requirement

Attendance at 6 or more BCBP seminars during your senior year, and presentation of a paper to a committee of BCBP faculty.