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BS in Physics with Emphasis in Biological Physics

Degree Program Description

Physics is the science that studies the structure and properties of matter and transformations of energy. With math as the language and experimental verification as a guide, physical study has established the fundamental laws of nature that are the foundation of all natural science and technology. The study of physics includes learning the general principles and the phenomena that have been discovered and developing the skills that enable such knowledge to be advanced through research. Biological physics is an interdisciplinary area that employs and develops theories and methods of the physical sciences for the investigation of biological systems. There is a long history of the quantitative tools and techniques originally developed within the physics community finding critical applications in biology. Examples range from the first visualization of the DNA double helix via X-ray diffraction to the widespread use of magnetic resonance imaging in hospitals throughout the world.  Currently, biological physics is one of the fastest growing physics research areas that is vital for many other fields, including medicine, bioengineering, and biology. Students specializing in this area have career opportunities in medical centers, research institutes and biotechnology industries, as well as the more traditional academic venues.

Major Program Requirements

Students interested in biological physics may choose to pursue a BS in Physics with an Emphasis in Biological Physics (the emphasis will show up on the transcript). For this option, students must take the required physics courses for the regular BS degree, and five additional physics elective courses. Four of the physics electives must be chosen from the list below:

PHYSCS 4190Physics and Chemistry of Materials3
PHYSCS 4420Introduction to Biomedical Imaging3
PHYSCS 4500Computational Biological Physics3
PHYSCS 4510Single Molecule Biophysics3
PHYSCS 4520Introduction to Biophysics3
PHYSCS 4950Undergraduate Research in Physics1-3
PHYSCS 4960Senior Thesis in Physics3

Only courses with a grade of C- or above will be counted toward the emphasis area. In addition, students must complete all College of Arts and Science and University graduation requirements, including University general education.

Semester Plan

Below is a sample plan of study, semester by semester.  A student's actual plan may vary based on course choices where options are available.

First Year
PHYSCS 20101PHYSCS 275015
MATH 150015MATH 170015
CHEM 1320, CMP_SC 1050, or INFOTC 104013-4General Education*3
ENGLSH 1000*3 
 12-13 13
Second Year
PHYSCS 276015PHYSCS 3150W3
MATH 230013PHYSCS 41003
General Education*3MATH 410013
Second Language/Alternative*4-6Second Language/Alternative4-6
 General Education*3
 15-17 16-18
Third Year
PHYSCS 41403PHYSCS 412013
PHYSCS 406014Physics Elective16
Math Elective13Math Elective13
Second Language/Alternative*3-4General Elective*3
General Education3 
 16-17 15
Fourth Year
PHYSCS 480013Physics Electives/Research16
Physics Elective/Research16Elective Courses9-10
General Education*3 
Elective courses3 
 15 15-16
Total Credits: 117-124

Course meets degree program requirements


Course meets University general education and/or campus graduation requirements

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Degree Audit

The degree audit is an automated report reflecting a student’s academic progress toward the completion of a degree. 

MU students can request a degree audit by logging in to myDegreePlanner. Students may also access myDegreePlanner via myZou, in the Student Center, click on the Academic Progress Tile, then select Request Degree Audit. The audit automatically pulls in the student’s MU course work, transfer courses and courses in progress. This is available to current students, admitted students, and those who last attended less than three terms ago.

Past MU students can request a degree audit by contacting the Academic Advising Unit of the division in which they were last enrolled at MU. For contact information, go to https://advising.missouri.edu/contact/.

Prospective students, can access a preliminary MU degree audit via https://www.transferology.com. Information on the college credits already earned will have to be manually entered before it can be evaluated against current degree requirements.

For additional details on degree audits, go to https://registrar.missouri.edu/degrees-audits/degree-audits/.

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Major and Career Exploration

The University of Missouri has many resources to assist you in exploring majors and career possibilities. For guidance, visit the Majors and Careers website or view specific resources below.

  • If you are considering a change of major or are exploring multiple majors, schedule an appointment with an advisor in the Discovery Center by calling (573)884-9700 or through MU Connect Discovery Center service in you success network.

  • If you have decided on a major, visit an academic advisor in the School or College that you are interested in to discuss the process of declaring the major

  • If you would like to learn more about your career interests, abilities, values and talents, visit the MU Career Center. No Appointment is necessary to explore career options with one of our staff members.

For additional major and career exploration resources, visit Major & Career Exploration in the catalog.

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