Biophysics (also known as biological physics, statistical physics of biological matter, quantitative biology, or computational biology) is an interdisciplinary field that investigates science on the boundaries between physics, biology and mathematics. Biophysics utilizes analytical problem-solving skills cultivated through the study of physics and mathematics to describe theoretically the mechanisms of biological processes. A biophysics degree will prepare students for a graduate program in biophysics or related areas. Further, there are many opportunities within the medical field for a student with a background in biophysics, with or without a graduate degree (medical technology, radiology, etc.).


PHY 211SN - Classical Physics I
(4 credits)(NWCore option under Science and the Natural World) Though all students are welcome in this calculus-based, IGE physics course, this is the first of a two course sequence designed for math, science, and engineering majors and others who have taken or are taking calculus and intend to apply to medical or graduate school. This course includes the following topics: kinematics, Newtonian mechanics, energy, momentum, gravity, oscillations, and thermodynamics. Prerequisite: C- or higher in MAT 112, or consent of the department chair.
PHY 212 - Classical Physics II
A continuation of Classical Physics I. Topics will include simple harmonic oscillation, mechanical and electromagnetic waves, and electromagnetism.Prerequisite: successful completion of PHY211 with a grade of C- or better.(4 credits)
PHY 350 - Fundamentals of Optics
This course will cover an introduction to classical and modern theories in optics and their applications. Students will learn topics in geometric optics including lens, ray tracing, reflection, and refraction and in physical optics including interference, diffraction, polarization, and lasers. Prerequisites: C- or higher in PHY212 and MAT211, or permission of instructor. (4 credits; alternate years, consult department)
PHY 370 - Modern Physics
For students seeking a minor in physics or those interested in obtaining a physics teaching endorsement. Topics will include special relativity, quantized energy and momentum, Schrodinger's Equation, nuclear and particle physics, and cosmology.Prerequisites: successful completion of PHY212 with a grade of C- or higher, or permission of instructor.(4 credits, alternate years, consult department)
PHY 433WI - Introductory Physical Chemistry
An introductory course in chemical thermodynamics, quantum chemistry and chemical kinetics. Note: Three lectures and one three-hour laboratory period per week. Prerequisites: MAT112QR; and CHE112 or PHY212. (4 credits; alternate years, consult department)(Writing intensive) Cross-referenced in physics.
PHY 436 - Intermediate Physical Chemistry
An intermediate course in chemical thermodynamics, quantum chemistry and chemical kinetics.Prerequisite: PHY433x.(4 credits, alternate years, consult department)
PHY 450 - Biophysics
Biophysics utilizes analytical problem solving skills cultivated through the study of physics and mathematics to describe theoretically the mechanisms of biological processes. Students will learn to analyze biological data using MatLab. This course is intended to be taken by Biophysics majors towards the end of their program of study. Prerequisites: C- or higher in PHY370, MAT317, and BIO326 or BIO327, or permission of instructor. (4 credits; alternate years, consult department)

Choose one course:

BIO 326 - Biochemistry: Proteins and Metabolism
A fundamental course surveying biomolecules, catabolism, bioenergetics and biosynthesis. Prerequisites: CHE321 and 322. (4 credits)
BIO 327WI - Biochemistry: Molecular Genetics
(4 credits)(Writing intensive) This course focuses on the structure and function of nucleic acids and examines the biochemical techniques involved in gaining knowledge regarding replication, transcription and translation of genetic information, and control of gene expression. Note: Includes 3 hours of lab per week. Prerequisites: BIO115, CHE321 and 322.

Cognate requirements:

BIO 115SN - General Biology: Molecular and Cellular Biology
An introduction to molecular and cellular biology, with an examination of the processes common to living organisms and an introduction to the diversity of life, emphasizing unicellular organisms. This introduction will provide students with a basic understanding of macromolecules, cell structure and function, respiration and photosynthesis, the cell cycle, meiosis, genetics, mechanisms of evolutionary change, and Christian perspectives on evolutionary biology. (4 credits) (NWCore option under Science and the Natural World) Note: Three lectures and 3 hours of laboratory work per week.
BIO 202WI - Genetics and Genomics
An introduction to the principles of heredity and their practical applications. Prerequisites: BIO115SN or 116. (4 credits) (Writing intensive) Note: Includes 3 credits of lab per week. A fee is associated with this course (
CHE 111 - General Chemistry
An introductory course in chemistry that emphasizes physical and inorganic concepts, problems and calculations. Topics include chemical reactions, stoichiometry, properties of gases, thermochemistry, theories of atomic structure, and chemical bonding. The general chemistry sequence (Chemistry 111 and Chemistry 112) is recommended for students with good math / science preparations who intend to proceed to advanced courses in chemistry, the biological sciences or engineering. Prerequisites: high school chemistry and ACT math score of at least 24 (SAT 570 or above). (4 credits)
CHE 112 - General Chemistry
A continuation of Chemistry 111. Topics covered include kinetics, thermodynamics, chemical equilibria, acid-base chemistry and nuclear chemistry.Prerequisite: CHE111 or consent of the instructor.(4 credits)

Total credits required: 48


The biophysics major requires the completion of a minor in mathematics.

Students can choose whether to complete the program with or without Organic Chemistry, depending on the student's goals.

BIO 326, Biochemistry: Proteins and Metabolism, has prerequisites CHE 321, Organic Chemistry, and CHE 322, Organic Chemistry.

BIO 327WI, Biochemistry: Molecular Genetics, can be taken without CHE 321 and CHE 322 if BIO 115SN, General Biology: Molecular and Cellular Biology, and BIO 202WI, Genetics and Genomics, have been completed.

Students wishing to use the biophysics degree to apply for an M.D. program should take CHE 321 and/or take BIO 326 rather than BIO 327.

Students interested in graduate school should take an additional course (CHE, BIO or PHY) in an area that most pertains to the direction that they wish to pursue upon degree completion.

Students wishing to pursue either a Ph.D. in biophysics or an M.D. should also complete a statistics course. This will count toward the math minor.