Biophysics is a discipline that bridges and includes both the biological sciences and the physical sciences. Biophysics is concerned with physical and chemical explanations of living processes, especially at the cellular and molecular levels. The past 20 years have witnessed a revolution in biological sciences, and biophysics has played an important role in that revolution. Detailed molecular descriptions are emerging for genetic elements and for the mechanisms that control their propagation and expression. Protein structure, nucleic acid structure, enzyme mechanisms, the phenomena underlying cellular behavior, excitable phenomena in nerve, muscle and visual cells, and integrative neural phenomena all have been subject to intense biophysical study. Physicists and other scientists with strong backgrounds in mathematics, chemistry and physics have played dominant roles in these developments; they will continue to contribute as more detailed descriptions become available and increasingly complex phenomena are studied.
Chemistry is concerned with the study of matter and the changes matter can undergo. The chemistry program provides a basic foundation for career opportunities in chemical research and teaching, scientific communication and information transfer and the health professions. Students who desire preparation for advanced study in chemistry or allied fields where research experience is advantageous should complete the chemistry honors program.
Cinema Studies
Cinema Studies is an interdisciplinary program designed to acquaint students with the history and interpretation of cinema and to allow them to combine knowledge of the field with the traditional aims of an undergraduate arts and sciences education. The program can satisfy the needs of students who seek a general exposure to the field or who are preparing for careers in cinema scholarship, journalism, criticism, arts management or entertainment law. Students seeking employment in the filmmaking industry should know that this program does not provide professional technical training.
Classical Studies
The Department of Classical Studies at Penn promotes the investigation and interpretation of all aspects of ancient Greek and Roman culture and its influence through the Middle Ages and Renaissance up to the present day. As such it focuses not just on the ancient languages and literatures, but also on material culture, history (political, social,
economic and intellectual), philosophy, religion, mythology and the classical tradition.
The department offers two tracks towards the major: Classical Languages and Literature (track 1) and Classical Civilization (track 2).
The Department of Classical Studies also offers a major in Ancient History. Working from a basis in the Graeco-Roman world, this major encourages students to engage in a sustained study of pre-modern cultures. This major allows students to focus on ancient languages and literatures, as well as material culture, history, philosophy, religion and mythology from a range of pre-modern cultures and civilizations.
Cognitive Science
Cognitive science is the empirical study of intelligent systems, including the human mind. It is, by its very nature, an interdisciplinary science combining results from biology, computer science, linguistics, mathematics, neuroscience, philosophy and psychology. It combines the application of approaches from all of these disciplines to the study of language processing, perception, action, learning, concept formation, inference and other activities of the mind and the applications of the resulting theories to information technology and the study of artificial intelligence.
The major in Communication consists of 14 courses, eleven in Communication and three in other departments, selected to support a student’s primary interests. The curriculum has three goals:
 • To expose students to major strains of communication scholarship—on media systems and their functions, the relationships of these systems to cultural, political, and economic life, and myriad influences of communication on the ways people think and behave;
 • To ensure that students acquire basic familiarity with the methods of research used in communication scholarship and practice; and
 • To permit flexible opportunities for advanced study in particular topics of a student’s own choosing.
Areas of concentration within the Annenberg School curriculum include critical, cultural and historical media studies; research on children, family and media; health communication; and political communication. The curriculum also offers opportunities for independent study, internship experience, study abroad and—through the Communication and Public Service program—putting communication to work in the service of community.