Much of today’s scientific effort is directed toward an understanding of biological processes from the physical and chemical points of view. Curricular initiatives at Haverford, begun as a result of a grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, led to the development of biologically oriented courses of study in the chemistry and physics departments. The concentration in biochemistry and biophysics (haverford.edu/biochemistry-biophysics) recognizes enduring trends in interdisciplinary science, by establishing in the curriculum a formal program of classroom and laboratory training at the interface between the physical and biological sciences.

To be a member of the concentration, a student must major in one of the three sponsoring departments: biology, chemistry or physics . The student’s transcript may record the concentration as one in biochemistry, biophysics, or biochemistry/biophysics, depending on the program of study. However, students may not obtain both a chemistry minor and a biochemistry concentration, and they may not obtain both a physics minor and a biophysics concentration.

Faculty

  • Karin Akerfeldt
    Professor of Chemistry
  • Fran Blase
    Associate Professor of Chemistry
  • Louise Charkoudian
    Assistant Professor of Chemistry
  • Robert Fairman
    Professor of Biology
  • Suzanne Amador Kane
    Associate Professor of Physics
  • Casey Londergan
    Associate Professor of Chemistry
  • Judith Owen
    Elizabeth Ufford Green Professor of Natural Sciences and Professor of Biology
  • Robert C. Scarrow
    Professor of Chemistry
  • Walter F. Smith
    Professor of Physics

Curriculum

To earn an Area of Concentration, a student must complete an interdisciplinary course of study beyond the requirements of a single natural science department. We describe below only the four more popular programs of study within the concentration. Students interested in other options, such as a concentration in both biochemistry and biophysics, should consult with the faculty representatives listed above to design a course of study encompassing the required courses and any proposed substitutions.

Note All concentrators must also complete a major in biology, chemistry or physics. This requires course–work in the student’s major department in addition to what is outlined below.

Biochemistry/Biophysics Core Curriculum (required of all)

  • BIOL 200 (cell structure and function; full year course).
  • One semester of BIOL 300 (laboratory in biochemistry and molecular biology, cross-listed as CHEM 300) or BIOC 390 (Laboratory in Biochemical Research)
  • CHEM 112 (chemical dynamics) or former courses 101 or 105.
  • One semester Mathematics course numbered 114 (calculus II) or higher.
  • PHYS 101–102 or 105–106 (introductory physics), or the Bryn Mawr equivalents.

If students do not take these courses at Haverford or Bryn Mawr, they must have the substitute course(s) approved for college credit by the relevant departments. Beyond this foundation, students must take the following advanced interdisciplinary coursework:


Biology Major with a Biochemistry Concentration

Biology majors seeking a Biochemistry Concentration must complete the Biochemistry/Biophysics core curriculum (see above) as well as the following additional requirements:

  • CHEM 111 (Chemical Structure and Bonding) or 115, 112 (Chemical Dynamics), CHEM 222 and 225 (Organic Chemistry)
  • CHEM 304 (Statistical Thermodynamics and Kinetics) or 305 (Quantum Chemistry)
  • CHEM 301 or 302 (Laboratory in Chemical Structure and Reactivity) or BIOC 390 (Laboratory in Biochemical Research).
  • Two half-semester advanced courses from the following list: CHEM 351 (Bioinorganic Chemistry), 352 (Topics in Biophysical Chemistry), 357 (Topics in Bioorganic Chemistry) and 359: Topics in Protein Chemistry; majors may take topics courses multiple times with different topics
  • Two half-semester courses from the following list: BIOL 301 (Genetics), 302 (Cell Architecture), 303 (Structure and Function of Macromolecules), 304 (Biochemistry: Metabolic Basis of Disease), 306 (Inter- and Intra-Cellular Communication), 308 (Immunology), 310 (Molecular Microbiology, 314 (Photosynthesis), 351 (Molecular Motors and Biological Nano-Machines); 357 (Topics in Protein Science); and 371 (Toxins and Ancient Immunity). Students may use courses meeting concentration requirements for the biology major in lieu of one semester of Biology 300.

Biology Major with a Biophysics Concentration

Biology majors seeking a Biophysics Concentration must complete the Biochemistry/Biophysics core curriculum (see above) as well as the following additional requirements:

  • MATH 121 (Calculus III) or 216 (Advanced Calculus)
  • PHYS 213 (Waves and Optics), 211 (Laboratory in Electronics, Waves and Optics); half-credit course), and 301 (Advanced Laboratory in Modern Physics)
  • PHYS 214 (Quantum Mechanics) or CHEM 305 (Quantum Chemistry)
  • PHYS 303 (Statistical Physics) or CHEM 304 (Statistical Thermodynamics and Kinetics)
  • A 300-level course in biophysics approved by the concentration coordinating committee
  • Two half-semester courses from the following list: BIOL 301 (Advanced Genetic Analysis), 302 (Cell Architecture), 303 (Structure and Function of Macromolecules), 304 (Biochemistry: Metabolic Basis of Disease), and 306 (Inter- and Intra-Cellular Communication), 308 (Immunology), 310 (Molecular Microbiology, 314 (Photosynthesis), 351 (Molecular Motors and Biological Nano-Machines); 357 (Topics in Protein Science); and 371 (Toxins and Ancient Immunity). Students may use courses meeting concentration requirements for the biology major in lieu of one semester of BIOL 300.

Chemistry Major with a Biochemistry Area of Concentration

Chemistry majors desiring a Biochemistry Area of Concentration must complete the Biochemistry/Biophysics core curriculum (see above) as well as the following additional requirements:

  • Two half-semester courses from the following: CHEM 351 (Bioinorganic Chemistry), 352 (Topics in Biophysical Chemistry), 357 (Topics in Bioorganic Chemistry) and 359: Topics in Protein Chemistry. Majors may take topics courses multiple times with different topics.
  • Two half-semester courses from the following list: BIOL 301 (Genetics), 302 (Cell Architecture), 303 (Structure and Function of Macromolecules), 304 (Biochemistry: Metabolic Basis of Disease), 306 (Inter- and Intra-Cellular Communication), 308 (Immunology), 310 (Molecular Microbiology, 314 (Photosynthesis), 351 (Molecular Motors and Biological Nano-Machines); 357 (Topics in Protein Science); and 371 (Toxins and Ancient Immunity). Students may use courses meeting concentration requirements for the chemistry major in lieu of CHEM 301 or 302

Physics Major with a Biophysics Area of Concentration

Physics majors desiring a Biophysics Area of Concentration must complete the Biochemistry/Biophysics core curriculum (see above) as well as two half-semester courses from the following list: Two half-semester courses from the following list: BIOL 301 (Genetics), 302 (Cell Architecture), 303 (Structure and Function of Macromolecules), 304 (Biochemistry: Metabolic Basis of Disease), 306 (Inter- and Intra-Cellular Communication), 308 (Immunology), 310 (Molecular Microbiology, 314 (Photosynthesis), 351 (Molecular Motors and Biological Nano-Machines); 357 (Topics in Protein Science); and 371 (Toxins and Ancient Immunity). Students may use 300-level biology courses meeting concentration requirements for the physics major in lieu of one or two of the six required 300-level physics courses.