Structural Biology and Biophysics

The structural biology and biophysics major is intended for students who are interested in the physical and chemical aspects of molecular biology.

To review graduation requirements for the major, please refer to the Undergraduate Catalog and the Major Requirements Worksheet for your catalog year. To look up your catalog year and keep track of graduation requirements, review your Academic Requirements Report in Student Admin. Catalog year is found at the top of your Academic Requirements Report.

Students can earn a BS degree in this major.

Major Requirements

Students must complete at least 36 credits of 2000-level or higher courses. The 36 credits must include courses from the major requirements below. Students must maintain a cumulative GPA in their major of 2.0 or higher. 

Notes: See below for a list of recommended courses for this major.

Required Prerequisite Courses

Complete all of the following:

  • BIOL 1107. Principles of Biology I (4 credits)
  • PHYS 1401Q and 1402Q; PHYS 1501Q and 1502Q; or PHYS 1601Q and 1602Q (8 credits total)

Required Courses

Complete all of the following courses:

  • MATH 2110Q. Multivariable Calculus or MATH 2130Q. Honors Multivariable Calculus (4 credits)
  • MATH 2210Q. Applied Linear Algebra or MATH 2410Q. Elementary Differential Equations
    or MATH 2420Q. Honors Differential Equations (3 credits)
  • CHEM 2445. Organic Chemistry Lab (3 credits)
  • MCB 3003. Biophysical Chemistry I (3 credits)
  • MCB 3004. Biophysical Chemistry II (formerly offered as MCB 3007) (3 credits)
  • MCB 3010. Biochemistry (5 credits)
    or MCB 2000. Introduction to Biochemistry (4 credits) and MCB 4026W. Advanced Biochemistry Lab (4 credits)
  • MCB 4008. Techniques of Biophysical Chemistry (3 credits)
  • MCB 4009. Structure and Function of Biological Macromolecules (3 credits)

Writing in the Major

Complete at least one of the following:

  • MCB 3841W. Research and Literature in MCB (3 credits)
  • MCB 4026W. Advanced Biochem. Lab. (4 credits)
  • MCB 4997W. Honors Research Thesis in MCB (3 credits)
  • CHEM 3170W. Technical Communications (3 credits)
  • CHEM 4196W. Thesis for Undergraduate Chemistry Majors (3 credits)

or any other W course approved for this major.

Recommended Courses

  • MCB 2210. Cell Biology or MCB 3201. Gene Expression (3 credits)
  • MCB 2410. Genetics (3 credits) or MCB 3412. Genetic Engineering and Functional Genomics (3 credits) or MCB 3413. Concepts of Genetic Analysis (4 credits)
  • MCB 2610. Fundamentals of Microbiology (4 credits) or MCB 3617. Molecular Biology and Genetics of Prokaryotes (4 credits)
  • MCB 3421. Introduction to Molecular Evolution and Bioinformatics (3 credits)
  • MCB 3899. Independent Study (1-6 credits)
  • MCB 4026W. Advanced Biochemistry Laboratory (4 credits)
  • MCB 4997W. Senior Honors Research Thesis (3 credits)
  • CHEM 3332. Quantitative Analytical Chemistry (4 credits)
  • CHEM 4551. Introduction to Quantum Chemistry (3 credits)
  • CSE 1100. Intoduction to Computing (2 credits)
  • MATH 3210. Abstract Linear Algebra (3 credits)

Additional Notes and Restrictions

  • Use the Structural Biology and Biophysics Major Requirements Worksheet, General Education Audit Sheet, and major sample sequence (below) to keep track of general education requirements and major requirements. These forms list the specific requirements for each catalog year. Visit the Forms page.
  • Honors students refer to the honors page for honors requirements in your major.

Sample Course Sequence

Students majoring in structural biology/biophysics earn a BS degree. This interdisciplinary major requires courses in mathematics, chemistry, and structural biology. Candidates must complete the CLAS requirements for a BS to receive their degree. While no sample program can apply to every student, the following example assumes that the student has met the foreign language requirement in high school and has a strong background in math and chemistry.

First Semester (Fall)

CHEM 1127Q (4 credits)
MATH 1131Q (4 credits)
Gen Ed (3 credits)
ENGL 1007 or 1010 or 1011 (4 credits)
UNIV 1800 (FYE) (1 credit)

Total credits: 16

Second Semester (Spring)

CHEM 1128Q (4 credits)
MATH 1132Q (4 credits)
BIOL 1107 (4 credits)
Gen Ed (3 credits)

Total credits: 15

Third Semester (Fall)

PHYS 1401Q1 (4 credits)
MATH 2110Q or 2130Q (4 credits)
CHEM 24432 (3 credits)
Elective (3 credits)

Total credits: 14

Fourth Semester (Spring)

PHYS 1402Q (4 credits)
MATH 2210Q or 2410Q (3 credits)
CHEM 2444 (3 credits)
Gen Ed or elective (3 credits)
Gen Ed (3 credits)

Total credits: 16

Fifth Semester (Fall)

MCB 3003 (3 credits)
MCB 3010 (5 credits)
Gen Ed (3 credits)
Elective (3 credits)

Total credits: 14

Sixth Semester (Spring)

MCB 3004 or MCB 3007 (3 credits)
CHEM 2445 (3 credits)
Gen Ed (3 credits)
Writing (W) course (3 credits)
Elective (3 credits)

Total credits: 15

Seventh Semester (Fall)

W course in major3 (1-4 credits)
Recommended course1 or elective (3 credits)
Gen Ed (3 credits)
Elective (3 credits)
Elective (3 credits)

Total credits: 13-16

Eighth Semester (Spring)

MCB 4008 (3 credits)
MCB 4009 (3 credits)
GenEd (3 credits)
Elective (3 credits)
Elective (3 credits)

Total credits: 15

1Any physics sequence with calculus is acceptable. PHYS 1501Q-1502Q or PHYS 1601Q-1602Q can also be taken.

2Recommended courses: CHEM 2443-2444. Organic Chemistry; CHEM 3332. Quantitative Analytical Chemistry; MATH 3210. Abstract Linear Algebra; MCB 2210. Cell Biology; MCB 2410. Genetics; MCB 3413. Concepts of Genetic Analysis; MCB 2610. Fundamentals of Microbiology; MCB 3211. Gene Expression; MCB 3412. Genetic Engineering & Functional Genomics; MCB 3421. Intro to Mol. Evolution & Bioinformatics; MCB 3617. Mol. Biology & Genetics of Prokaryotes; MCB 3895. Special Topics (w/ BPHYS Program Approval); MCB 4026W. Advanced Biochemistry Laboratory; MCB 4989. Introduction to Honors Research.

3Writing-intensive courses: Any W course in CHEM or MCB.