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,
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 -
An introduction to the physics of the 20th century. Topics will include
special relativity, introduction to quantum theory, the Schrodinger
equation, the hydrogen atom and many-electron atoms.
Note: There is a laboratory component to this course.
Prerequisites: successful completion of PHY212 & MAT211 with a grade of C-
or higher, or permission of instructor.
(4 credits, alternate years, consult department)
PHY 433WI -
Introductory Physical Chemistry
(4 credits; alternate years, consult department)(Writing intensive) 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 MAT211; and CHE112 or PHY212.
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 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,
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
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. A fee is associated with this
Prerequisites: BIO115SN and CHE321 and CHE322, or BIO202WI.
(4 Credits) (Writing Intensive)
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 (http://www.nwciowa.edu/tuition/fees).
CHE 111 -
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 -
A continuation of Chemistry 111. Topics covered include kinetics,
thermodynamics, chemical equilibria, acid-base chemistry and nuclear
Note: Three lectures and one three-hour laboratory period per week. A fee is
associated with this course.
Prerequisite: CHE111 or consent of the instructor.
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.