Biochemists find inspiration at the intersection of life and science.

Students in this rapidly growing field apply biological and chemical theories and techniques to the understanding of life processes. You'll explore concepts such as the determination of hereditary traits, utilization of energy, propagation of nerve signals, and the molecular basis of physiological and pharmacological phenomena.

Biochemists work in industries like agriculture, medical research, biotechnology and nutritional research. Our students go on to positions in research and industry, as well as graduate study in biochemistry, medicine, genetics and other related fields.

Program Requirements
The major in biochemistry is jointly administered by the Departments of Biology and Chemistry. The program consists of a core of chemistry and biology courses beginning in the first year and continuing for the first three years, a choice of two 300-level elective courses in chemistry and/or biology, and a one-year independent study project culminating in a thesis. In addition, there are six prerequisite courses in biology, chemistry, calculus, and physics. The following list of requirements includes both the core and the prerequisite courses. A student may find it convenient to take MATH 120 and/or MATH 121 during the summer. The advanced biochemistry lab, CHEM 347, provides an opportunity to learn more advanced techniques in biotechnology.


First Year

  • BIOL 113 General Biology
  • BIOL 221 Microbiology
  • CHEM 111 Introductory Chemistry: Inorganic
    or CHEM 113 Principles of Chemistry
    or CHEM 115 Advanced General Chemistry
  • CHEM 216 Quantitative Analysis
  • MATH 120 Calculus I
  • MATH 121 Calculus II

Sophomore Year

  • BIOL 225 Cell Biology
  • CHEM 224 Organic Chemistry I
  • CHEM 225 Organic Chemistry II
  • PHYS 112 Fundamentals of Physics I
  • PHYS 113 Fundamentals of Physics II

Junior Year

  • BIOL 337 Molecular Biology
  • CHEM 331 Thermodynamics and Kinetics
  • CHEM 345 Biochemistry
  • 300-level elective in biology or chemistry

Senior Year

  • 300-level elective in chemistry or biology
  • Biochemistry majors do their independent study research either in chemistry (CHEM 355) or in biology (BIOL 350 or BIOL 355). If registered for CHEM 355, biochemistry majors must also register for CHEM 390 Chemistry Seminar.

Graduate School Preparation

The American Chemical Society (ACS) suggests a set of standards that it believes will prepare students for graduate study in chemistry. To meet the ACS standards, biochemistry majors should include two additional 300-level chemistry electives chosen from CHEM 341, CHEM 343, CHEM 346, CHEM 347, or CHEM 348.

Customize Your Program

The biochemistry major combines aspects of chemistry and biology to prepare our students for careers and graduate study in science and technology. Your advisor will help you tailor a program of study that fits your interests and career goals. This might include a dual major, accelerated program or a complementary minor.

Internships and Research

We believe that students need both theoretical and practical experience as preparation for biochemistry careers. Biochemistry majors do their independent study research either in chemistry with a thesis and an oral defense (CHEM 355) or in biology (BIOL 350). If registered for CHEM 355, biochemistry majors must also register for CHEM 390 Chemistry Seminar.

Recent senior theses in Biochemistry include:

  • Zun Zar Chi Naing '14
    "Transcranial Ultrasound-Optical Transmission Correlation"
  • Vera Alexandra Kirch '14
    "Analysis of Zcchc6 uridyltransferase activity on microRNA regulation and cytokine expression using TALEN and CRISPR-Cas9 systems"

You can learn more about student research by visiting the Chemistry Department.

    Rich Gurney
    • Rich Gurney
    • Professor of Chemistry
    • Phone: 617-521-2729
    • Office: S441
    Michael Kaplan
    Michael Berger
    Nancy Lee
    • Nancy Lee
    • Associate Professor
    • Phone: 617-521-2732
    • Office: S440
All faculty »
How to Apply
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