Biophysics

Program Features

The biophysics program is highly interdisciplinary, providing students with the background and techniques of biology, chemistry and physics necessary to enter this rapidly growing field. A key component of the program is the hands-on experience gained in numerous laboratory settings across the disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics, culminating in a senior capstone research experience in the biophysics area.

The program's structure is intended to prepare a student for the rigors of advanced degree programs in biophysics as well as a wide variety of other fields of physics, law, medicine, health sciences and biotechnology.

Curriculum

The sample course sequence below illustrates class offerings for the Biophysics major. Consult the official Xavier University course catalog for detailed registration and advising information.

Fall

  • Physics 170: University Physics I ............ 3cr.
  • Physics 171: Exploration in Physics I ............ 1cr.
  • Mathematics 170: Calculus I ............ 4cr.
  • Biology 160: General I Biology ............ 3cr.
  • Biology 161: General I Biology Lab ............ 1cr.
  • CORE 100, First Year Seminar ............ 3cr.
  • Core 101: GOA ............ 0cr.

Spring

  • Physics 172: University Physics II ............ 3cr.
  • Engineering 173: Exploration in Engineering ............ 1cr.
  • Mathematics 171: Calculus II ............ 3cr.
  • Theology 111: Theology Foundations ............ 3cr.
  • Philosophy 100: Ethics as Intro to Philosophy ............ 3cr.
  • Core 102: GOA ............ 0cr.

Fall

  • Physics 330: Modern Physics I ............ 3cr.
  • Physics 331: Modern Physics I Lab ............ 2cr.
  • Chemistry 160: General Chemistry I ............ 3cr.
  • Chemistry 161: General Chemistry I Lab ............ 1cr.
  • English 101: English Composition ............ 3cr.
  • Second Language 103 Level ............ 3cr.

Spring

  • Physics 340: Modern Physics II ............ 3cr.
  • Physics 341: Modern Physics II Lab ............ 1cr.
  • Chemistry 162: General Chemistry II ............ 3cr.
  • Chemistry 163: General Chemistry II Lab ............ 1cr.
  • Mathematics 230: Intro to Ordinary Differential Equations ............ 3cr.
  • Second Language 201 Level ............ 3cr.
  • Theological Perspetives ............ 3cr.

Fall

  • Chemistry 240: Organic Chemistry I ............ 3cr.
  • Chemistry 241: Organic Chemistry I Lab ............ 1cr.
  • Program Elective ............ 3cr.
  • Physics 382: Thermodynamics ............ 3cr.
  • Lit. & Moral Imagination ............ 3cr.
  • Diversity Flag* or Free Elective ............ 3cr.

Spring

  • Chemistry 242: Organic Chemistry II ............ 3cr.
  • Chemistry 243: Organic Chemistry II Lab ............ 1cr.
  • Physics 387: Biophysics ............ 3cr.
  • Program Elective ............ 4cr.
  • Historical Perspectives ............ 3cr.

Fall

  • Physics 395: Physics Research ............ 1cr.
  • Biology 440: Biochemistry ............ 3cr.
  • Physics 355: Advanced Lab ............ 2cr.
  • Humanities Elective ............ 3cr.
  • Social Science Elective ............ 3cr.
  • ER/S Flag* or Free Elective ............ 3cr.

Spring

  • Physics 398: Physics Thesis ............ 1cr.
  • Program Elective ............ 3cr.
  • Program Elective ............ 3cr.
  • Philosophical Perspectives ............ 3cr.
  • Creative Perspectives ............ 3cr.
  • Free Elective ............ 1cr.

Sample Courses

Xavier is known for providing an education that’s both challenging and personal. Here are some courses that are part of the Biophysics major at Xavier:

Biophysics (PHYS 387) - Take an exploration into the current research techniques to study proteins, DNA, virus, and cells that were once only a figment of one's imagination. Have discussions with the scientists that use these state-of-the-art techniques. As technology continues to advance, Biophysicists are pushing the limits of quantum mechanics to study the tiny forces that proteins exert and how viruses permeate a cell membrane. As innovations come out of physics and biology labs, biophysicists find new areas to explore where they can apply their expertise, create new tools, and gain new knowledge. The work always aims to find out how biological systems work.

Modern Physics (PHYS 330) - Learn about the warping of spacetime as objects travel close to the speed of light; learn about strange effects on the scale of quantum mechanics - from particles and waves behaving like each other to objects tunneling through walls; and how spectroscopy works and is applied in a range of industrial and scientific situations.

Biochemistry (BIOL 440) - Take the opportunity to discover the chemistry of the biological world. Learn about the building blocks of what makes life, explore the chemical cycles that drive our existence, engage in the replication process of DNA and the creation of proteins. It is with the knowledge of Biochemistry that a Biophysicist can advance science.

Thermodynamics (PHYS 382) - Starting from the ideal gas law, explore the statistical interpretation of thermodynamics, and apply that interpretation toward an understanding of thermal energy and heat capacity, entropy and irreversibility, heat engines and refrigerators, and Boltzmann Statistics. Explore how energy is transferred and transformed to run our cars, our computers, our hearts and our bodies.

Clubs

Physics Club

Students in the Physics Club organize trips to national labs, host cool experiment series and events that connect to physics, like ice skating (friction!) and water balloon launches.

All Xavier Clubs

Outcomes

100% of Xavier Biophysics majors are employed, attending grad school or working in service or volunteer positions within six months of graduation.

Top Jobs: Biomedical Engineering, Academic and Clinical Research, Government Agencies, Military, Registered Nurse and Software Engineer.

Top Companies: Procter and Gamble, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, General Electric, Food and Drug Administration, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Eli Lilly and Company.

Explore Xavier Alumni Outcomes

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Student Research

Work to solve real-world problems. The undergraduate research experience is an integral part of a student’s personal and academic development.


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Study Abroad

Students can study abroad in places like London or the Netherlands, where they can explore the world, build career skills in a foreign country and investigate new cultures. Students gain self-confidence and open themselves up to new ideas — and, it all looks great on a resumé.


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Biophysics Major at Xavier University

The Biophysics program at Xavier University is a minimum 120-hour degree program that studies the interdisciplinary fields of biology and physics. Biophysics looks for the laws and principles in physics that describe patterns seen in biological systems. Once laws and principles are properly identified scientists can make detailed predictions that can be tested in other biological systems. Biology studies the complexity and variety of life. It describes the life sustaining processes of organisms as they go about getting food, communicating, sensing the environment, and reproducing. Physics looks for mathematical laws that govern nature. These laws allow scientists to predict which forces drive idealized systems. Biophysicists aim to describe the complexity of life using simple physical laws. Essentially a biophysicist's job is to look for the patterns in life and analyzing them with math and physics in order to gain insight into how biological systems function. Biophysicists are well suited for our high-tech economy. They provide innovative methods and instruments that are increasingly used to serve everyday needs, from forensic science to bioremediation.

Xavier University’s College of Arts and Sciences challenges students to develop an integrated understanding of humanity, the world, and God by pursuing the questions raised in Xavier's core and departmental curricula. The College of Arts and Sciences is the oldest and largest college at Xavier University. The college provides an excellent liberal arts education in the Jesuit tradition that prepares students for careers, professional or graduate school, and life in a global society.

Xavier University is a private university located in Cincinnati, Ohio, providing a liberal arts education in the Jesuit Catholic tradition. Founded in 1831, the University is the sixth-oldest Catholic university in the nation. It has been ranked among the top 10 master's-level universities in the Midwest by U.S. News & World Report for the past two decades. The Princeton Review names it one of the "Best 385 Colleges in America."