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Haverford College
Haverford College Course Catalog

Areas of Concentration / Programs: Biochemistry and Biophysics, 2010-11

DescriptionFacultyRequirements

Description

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 they may not obtain both a physics minor and a biophysics concentration.

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Faculty

Professor of Chemistry Karin Åkerfeldt, Concentration Advisor
Professor of Biology Robert Fairman, Concentration Advisor
Professor of Biology Jennifer Punt, Concentration Advisor
Professor of Chemistry Robert C. Scarrow, Concentration Advisor
Professor of Physics Walter F. Smith, Concentration Advisor
Associate Professor of Physics Suzanne Amador Kane, Concentration Advisor
Assistant Professor of Chemistry Casey H. Londergan, Concentration Advisor

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Requirements

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 that all concentrators must also complete a major in either biology, chemistry, or physics. This will require course work in the student's major department in addition to what is outlined below.

Biochemistry/Biophysics Core Curriculum (required of all):

  1. Biology 200 (cell biology; full year course).
  2. One semester of Biology 300 (laboratory in biochemistry and molecular biology, cross-listed as Chemistry 300).
  3. Chemistry 112 (chemical dynamics) or former courses 101 or 105.
  4. One semester Mathematics course numbered 114 (calculus II) or higher.
  5. Physics 101-102 or 105-106 (introductory physics).

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

Biology Major with a Biochemistry Area of Concentration:

Biology majors desiring a Biochemistry Area of Concentration must complete the Biochemistry/Biophysics core curriculum (see above) as well as the following additional requirements. Courses meeting concentration requirements may be used for the biology major in lieu of one semester of Biology 300.

  1. Chemistry 111 (chemical structure and bonding) or 115, Chemistry 220 and 221 (organic chemistry).
  2. Chemistry 304 (statistical thermodynamics and kinetics) or 305 (quantum chemistry).
  3. Chemistry 301 or 302 (laboratory in chemical structure and reactivity).
  4. Two half-semester advanced courses from the following list: Chemistry 351 (bioinorganic chemistry), 352 (topics in biophysical chemistry) and 357 (topics in bioorganic chemistry); topics courses may be taken multiple times with different topics.
  5. Two half-semester courses from the following list: Biology 301 (genetics), 302 (cell architecture), 303 (structure and function of macromolecules), 304 (biochemistry: metabolic basis of disease), and 306 (inter- and intra-cellular communication). One of the electives must be 301 or 303.

Biology Major with a Biophysics Area of Concentration:

Biology majors desiring a Biophysics Area of Concentration must complete the Biochemistry/Biophysics core curriculum (see above) as well as the following additional requirements. Courses meeting concentration requirements may be used for the biology major in lieu of one semester of Biology 300.

  1. Mathematics 121 (calculus III) or 216 (advanced calculus).
  2. Physics 213 (waves and optics), 211 (laboratory in electronics and waves; half-credit course), and 326 (advanced physics laboratory).
  3. Physics 214 (quantum mechanics) or Chemistry 305 (quantum chemistry).
  4. Physics 303 (statistical physics) or Chemistry 304 (statistical thermodynamics and kinetics).
  5. Physics 320 (introduction to biophysics), or a similar course approved by the concentration coordinating committee.
  6. Two half-semester courses from the following list: Biology 301 (genetics), 302 (cell architecture), 303 (structure and function of macromolecules), 304 (biochemistry: metabolic basis of disease), and 306 (inter- and intra-cellular communication). One of the electives must be 301 or 303.

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. Courses meeting concentration requirements may be used for the chemistry major in lieu of Chemistry 302.

  1. Two half-semester courses from the following: Chemistry 351 (bioinorganic chemistry), 352 (topics in biophysical chemistry) and 357 (topics in bioorganic chemistry); topics courses may be taken multiple times with different topics.
  2. Two half-semester courses from the following list: Biology 301 (genetics), 302 (cell architecture), 303 (structure and function of macromolecules), 304 (biochemistry: metabolic basis of disease), and 306 (inter- and intra-cellular communication). One of the electives must be 301 or 303.

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 either Physics 320 (introduction to biophysics) or two half-semester courses from the following list: Biology 301 (genetics), 302 (cell architecture), 303 (structure and function of macromolecules), 304 (biochemistry: metabolic basis of disease), 306 (inter- and intra-cellular communication) and 309 (molecular neurobiology). 300-level biology courses meeting concentration requirements may be used for the physics major in lieu of one or two of the six required 300-level physics courses.

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