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Haverford College
Department of Biology

Concentrations & Minors

Biochemistry and Biophysics Concentration

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 recognizes current and undoubtedly 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. On the student's transcript, the concentration may be recorded as one in biochemistry, biophysics, or biochemistry/biophysics, depending on the individual program of study. However, students may not obtain both a chemistry minor and a biochemistry concentration, and the y may not obtain both a physics minor and a biophysics concentration.

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Scientific Computing

Many disciplines in the natural and social sciences include a significant sub-discipline that is explicitly computational. Examples include astronomy, biology, chemistry, economics, and physics. In some fields, such as biology, the use of computation has become so widespread that basic literacy in computation is increasingly important and may soon become required. The concentration in scientific computing gives students an opportunity to develop a basic facility with the tools and concepts involved in applying computation to a scientific problem, and to explore the specific computational aspects of their own major disciplines.

Three of the six courses required for the concentration focus exclusively on computing (see Requirements A and B below): one is an introduction to computer science and programming, and the other two focus on the general issues of the use of computation in a broad range of scientific disciplines. For the remaining three courses in the concentration, students choose from a list of elective courses (see Requirement C), within the rule that 2-3 courses for the concentration must also count toward the student's major. Finally, the student must also complete a project-based experience, possibly during the completion of one of the courses (Requirement D).

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Neuroscience Minor

The desire to understand human and animal behavior in terms of nervous system structure and function is long standing. Historically, this task has been approached from a variety of disciplines including medicine, biology, psychology, philosophy and physiology. The field of neuroscience emerged as an interdisciplinary approach, combining techniques and perspectives from these disciplines as well as emerging fields such as computation and cognitive science to yield new insights into the workings of the nervous system and behavior. The minor in neuroscience is designed to allow students with any major to pursue interests in behavior and the nervous system across disciplines. Students should consult with any member of the advisory committee in order to declare the minor.

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