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Department of

Physics and Biophysics

Biophysics Major

Biophysics Major Quick Reference

Preparation for the biophysics major

Upper-division requirements


38 units required

33 units required

2 upper-division electives from
(subject to advisor approval)
Suggested electives:

PHYS 136-136L – General Physics I (3-1)
PHYS 270-270L – Intro. Mechanics,
Waves & Thermodynamics (3-1)

PHYS 330  - Quantum Mechanics (3)
CHEM 311 – Physical Chemistry (3)

PHYS 319: Thermal and Statistical Physics

PHYS 137-137L – General Physics II (3-1)
PHYS 271-271L – Intro. Electricity
& Magnetism (3-1)

PHYS 340 – Biological Physics (3)

PHYS 301: Energy and the Environment

PHYS 272-272L-Intro to Modern Physics (3-1) PHYS 481W – Experimental
Biophysics (4)
PHYS 324: Electromagnetism

MATH 150 – Calculus I (4)

PHYS 493 – Seminar I (1)

BIOL 382: Techniques in Molecular Biology

MATH 151 – Calculus II (4)

PHYS 495 – Seminar II (1)

BIOL 342: Microbiology

MATH 250 – Calculus III (4)

PHYS 496 – Research (1-4)

BIOL 374: Neurobiology

CHEM 151-151L – General
Chemistry I (3-1)

CHEM 301-301L – Organic
Chemistry I (3-1)

BIOL 432: Electron Microscopy

CHEM 152-152L – General
Chemistry II (3-1)

CHEM 302-302L – Organic
Chemistry II (3-1)

BIOL 480: Cell Physiology

BIOL 190 – Intro Genetics,
Ecology & Evol. (3)

CHEM 331 - Biochemistry (3)

BIOL 482: Molecular Biology

BIOL 225 – Intro to Cell
Processes (3)

BIOL 300 – Genetics (3)

BIOL 484: Immunology


CHEM 314: Biophysical Chemistry

CHEM 335: Biochemistry Lab

MARS 452: Physical & Chemical Oceanography

MARS 473: Climatology

MARS 478: Boundary Layer Flow

Biophysics Major Information

The bachelor’s degree in biophysics is an interdisciplinary major administered by the Physics Department designed to prepare students for a wide variety of career paths including graduate study in: biophysics, medical physics, biochemistry and chemistry. It is also superb preparation for any of the health professions (medical, dental, veterinary), or direct employment in the fields of biotechnology and biomedical industries following USD.

The following high school preparation is recommended for students planning a major in biophysics at USD: High school physics, chemistry and biology; intermediate algebra; geometry; and trigonometry. High school calculus is strongly recommended, but not required.

Preparation for the biophysics major is designed to give the student a broad background in biology, chemistry and physics. In order to successfully navigate these diverse fields, a strong background in math is also required.

Courses required for the Biophysics Major also reflect the integration of the sciences, with upper division courses from each of biology, chemistry and physics required. Students are urged to work with their biophysics academic advisor to work out a schedule of courses and electives that best fits their career goals and aspirations.

Suggested Course Study
Below is a grid comprising the optimal sequence for a student entering USD intending to major in biophysics including core curriculum and electives (CCE).  Please be aware that if a student decides to start a biophysics major some time after matriculation, the faculty of the Department of Physics will work with the student individually to determine his/her best sequence of courses

Optimal Path for a Major in Biophysics (Units listed in parenthesis)

Freshman Year

Sophomore Year





MATH 150 (4)

PHYS 270-270L (3-1)

PHYS 271-271L (3-1)

PHYS 272-272L (3-1)

CHEM 151-151L (3-1)

MATH 151 (4)

MATH 250 (4)

BIOL 225 (3)

BIOL 190 (3)

CHEM 152-152L (3-1)

Core and electives (4-7)

Core and electives (5-8)

Core and electives (3)

Core and electives (3)

Junior Year

Senior  Year





BIOL 300 (3)

PHYS 340 (3)

PHYS 330 or CHEM 311 (3)

PHYS 480W (4)

CHEM 301-301L (3-1)

CHEM 302-302L (3-1)

PHYS 493 (1)

PHYS 495 (1)

PHYS 496 (1)

PHYS 496 (1)

CHEM 331 (3)

PHYS 496 (1)

Core and electives (4-7)

Core and electives (4-7)

Core and electives (5-8)

Core and electives (6-9)