The Northeastern University Physics Department offers a broad range of curricula that reflect the intellectual excitement and relevance of studying physics both within its broadly defined traditional boundaries and at the intersection with other disciplines. Students in the Applied Physics program are expected to focus on areas in which physics concepts inform research and technological innovation in nanotechnology, material science and in the biomedical sciences, where physics is having a growing impact. The department supplements the classroom experience with unique opportunities for students to experience frontline research at the undergraduate level through internships in faculty research labs and co-ops.
Behavioral Neuroscience focuses on the biological basis of behavior. The program combines the disciplines of biology and psychology to appreciate the scope of behavior and then understand how the behavior of humans and animals is controlled by physiological systems. Course work is designed to provide an understanding of nerve cells, chemical neurotransmission, and neural circuits as well as fundamental biological processes such as inheritance, development, and physiology and then to see how these biological mechanisms give rise to normal and pathological behavior. The curriculum includes a strong background in biology, psychology, chemistry and mathematics and is uniquely designed to prepare students for higher degree granting programs in graduate or medical school. In addition, students with a bachelor’s degree are qualified for employment in a variety of fields from clinical and basic research to positions in health care or biotechnology.
The biochemistry major provides thorough training in biochemistry, molecular biology, and chemistry, as well as a strong foundation in mathematics and the physical sciences. Research topics range from bioinformatics; protein biochemistry, including advances in separation sciences, physical characterization, and structure-function relationships; drug development for neglected and other diseases; and nucleic acid biochemistry, including signaling, global regulators, and master switches in networks in early development and tissue regeneration.
Biology majors develop a broad understanding of the organization and processes of life, from molecules and cells through organs and organ systems to populations, species, and evolution. This major also allows students to begin to specialize in various exciting sub-disciplines of biology, such as cell biology, molecular biology and genetics, systems biology, animal physiology and zoology, microbiology, and the biological basis of health and disease. The biology major is strong preparation for students planning to apply to graduate school, medical school or other professional degree programs. Reflecting the broad knowledge of biology majors, the bachelor’s degree in biology trains students for employment in a wide range of settings.
Biomedical Physics explores fundamental physical principles relevant for understanding biological phenomena on various scales as well as medical instrumentation and devices. This program offers the option of a pre-med track and partners with Boston-area medical research institutions to offer students a unique interdisciplinary learning experience.
Cell and Molecular Biology
Cell and molecular biology majors gain an in-depth understanding of molecular processes that govern life at the cellular level. They also gain an appreciation of important technologies that have emerged from the elucidation of these processes.Cell and molecular biology is vital to understanding human health and disease, including the discovery of new disease therapies. Core courses include human genetics and genomics, molecular cell biology, and advanced electives that align with the research expertise of our faculty, such as stem cells and regeneration, microbiology and microbial biotechnology, developmental neurobiology, and systems biology. The cell and molecular biology degree provides strong preparation for graduate training, medical school and other professional degree programs. Students holding the bachelor’s degree enter careers in a wide range of fields, primarily in the biomedical, biotechnology, or pharmaceutical sectors, in academic or commercial settings.
The overall objective of the B.S. Chemistry Major program is to provide the fundamental scientific background and practical training for students as they prepare for chemically related careers or advanced study in fields including the traditional chemical specialties, as well as biochemistry, materials science, forensic science, medicine, education, law, and other endeavors that may draw upon an understanding of the chemical basis of the world around us. A key general objective is the development of qualitative and quantitative problem-solving skills. Of comparable importance is developing effective communication skills.
Our Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science degree is organized for students who want to acquire the scientific background to help solve environmental problems from a multi-disciplinary perspective. Our program equips you to investigate and develop technical, economic, institutional, behavioral, and conservation-oriented solutions to environmental problems. Every student develops core knowledge in environmental science, geology, biology, chemistry, and mathematics early in the program. Students then select one of the following areas as a program focus for their upper-level coursework:
- Conservation science
- Marine Science
We provide an Independent Track for students whose interests do not fall into one of these three concentration areas. Students who elect this option work with a faculty advisor to identify a group of mid- to upper-level science courses that are aligned with the student’s career interests.
Our Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies degree is an interdisciplinary program, drawing from 12 departments, designed to provide a flexible platform for students whose primary interests lie at the intersection of science and environmental policy. The range of knowledge that Environmental Studies students obtain from an interdisciplinary blending of programs provides them with this much-desired edge. As the world continues to change, the need for those who will know how to cope with this change is more important than ever.
Linguistics is the scientific study of human language. A growing and exciting field, it has links to diverse fields including cognitive psychology, philosophy, neuroscience, computer science, artificial intelligence, sociology, language teaching, anthropology, education, and the law. Linguistics is a key component of the field of cognitive science, the study of the structure and function of human cognitive processes.
The marine biology major provides students with a strong foundation in the biological and marine sciences. In their first two years, students complete their foundational science courses in biology, chemistry, physics, and mathematics. Our students can fulfill their upper-level marine biology requirements either on campus or during our year-long Three Seas Program.
Mathematics is one of mankind’s oldest intellectual pursuits, and has long provided guidance and inspiration for the development of science and technology. In addition to its inherent interest and beauty, mathematics is a rich source of methods for analyzing and solving problems encountered in the physical world. Today, mathematics is a thriving field of research with impact in virtually all fields of human endeavor, including science, business, the arts, and the social sciences.
As a Physics major a student explores the fundamental physical principles that govern natural phenomena ranging in scale from collisions of subatomic particles, to atoms and molecules, to various condensed phases such as solids and liquids, to exploding stars and colliding galaxies. Physics is one of the only disciplines to have both a theoretical and experimental side. Thus students in physics are expected to have mastery of mathematics as a tool to understanding Nature, while also possessing experience in the laboratory, where fundamental measurements are made. Physics majors may specialize in a number of exciting research areas, including material design and nanotechnology, biophysics and the study of complex systems, and elementary particle physics and cosmology.
The Psychology Department offers a full range of courses in the fundamental science of mind, brain, and behavior, and on topics related to clinical, counseling, and educational psychology. The curriculum explores such questions as how brain function regulates behavior, what constitutes abnormal personality, how individuals work in groups, and how people develop emotionally and cognitively. Through hands-on laboratory research, small-group seminar discussions, and core coursework, the program helps prepare students for graduate training and careers in all areas of psychology, and in related fields such as education, business, forensic science, and health services.
You can choose a minor to complement your major, or to explore an entirely different area of interest to you. A full list of minors, as well as the curriculum for each minor, is available in the Undergraduate Catalog .
The process to declare a minor is similar as that of declaring a major in that students fill out a petition and get it signed by a faculty advisor in the minor program; then they bring the petition for final action to the CEA (One ME). Progress toward completion of the minor will be reviewed during the graduation clearance interview and the minor will be indicated on the student’s transcript after the student has completed the minor program and has received his or her degree. Students who wish to design their own minor or do a minor may propose an independent minor, and students who wish to do a minor in another college should petition that college.
The integrated combined major allows students to link concepts across disciplinary boundaries. Combined-major options are limited to those combinations for which faculty from two majors have identified nine or more courses from each major, plus an additional one or two “capstone” or integrative courses, that specifically help students link the concepts learned in both majors. For more information about combined majors, please look in the Undergraduate Catalog.