Course Bulletin


Course Bulletin, 2014-15

Course Requirements

Biological Physics requirements

To satisfy the requirements for the major in biological physics leading to the degree of Bachelor of Science, students must successfully complete the foundation of this program, which is a set of required courses in the physical and life sciences. The core courses, divided by fields, are:

Physics: PHYS 11a,b or PHYS 15a,b; PHYS 19a,b; PHYS 20a; PHYS 31a (formerly PHYS 30b); PHYS 39; PHYS 40 

Mathematics: MATH 10a,b 

Chemistry: CHEM 11a,b and CHEM 18a,b or equivalents 

Biology: BIOL 18a,b (General Biology Laboratory, formerly 22 a,b) and BIOL 14a (Genetics and Genomics, formerly 22a), 15b (Cells and Organisms, formerly 22b)

Biological Physics: FYS 11a or PHYS 105a 

FYS 11a (Nature's Nanotechnology) should be taken in the first year, if it is offered. Students who enter the program after their first year may find it convenient to replace FYS 11a with PHYS 105a (Biological Physics), which covers the same material at a higher level of both mathematics and physics. 

Students with high enough Advanced Placement Examination scores may place out of some of the elementary courses. See the Advanced Placement Credit chart in an earlier section of this Bulletin for details concerning the equivalent Brandeis courses for sufficient scores in the tests in Mathematics (AB or BC), Physics (C), and Chemistry. Credit toward the major is given for all these tests except for Physics C: Electrical. Students who take advanced placement credit for PHYS 15b will be required to take PHYS 30a, the intermediate-level course in this subject. 

Beyond the core curriculum, students are expected to explore areas of further inquiry by taking at least two elective courses. Possible topics and related courses are listed in the following sections. Other courses can be taken as electives with approval of the program advisor. 

Molecular structure: The use of physical techniques including X-ray diffraction, electron microscopy, and nuclear magnetic resonance to elucidate the structure of bio-molecules. Electives: BIOL 102b, BCHM 171b*, BIOL 126b, BCHM 104b*. 

Single molecule biophysics: The study of biological processes on the single molecule scale, such as enzyme function, ion transport through membranes, protein folding, molecular motors. Electives: BIOL 25a, BCHM 101a*. 

Modeling of biological structure and function: The development and analysis of mathematical models for elucidating biological structure and function. Electives: BIOL 135b, CHEM 144a, PHYS 105a, NBIO 136b, QBIO 110a. 

Systems and networks: Study of topics including bioinformatics, neural networks, and networks of genes and proteins. Electives: BCHM 170b*, COSI 178a, NBIO 140b. 

*Required prerequisites for this course are not included in the core curriculum.