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Major in Biochemistry

Major in Biochemistry

The major in biochemistry is jointly administered by the Departments of Biology and Chemistry. The rapidly growing field of biochemistry involves the application of biological and chemical concepts and techniques to the understanding of life processes such as the determination of hereditary traits, utilization of energy, propagation of nerve signals, and the molecular basis of physiological and pharmacological phenomena. Biochemists are involved in agriculture, medical research, biotechnology, nutritional research, and other areas at the interface of chemistry and biology. Students majoring in biochemistry will be well equipped for professions in research and industry, as well as the pursuit of graduate study in biochemistry, medicine, genetics, and other related fields.

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
  • CHEM 114 Organic Chemistry I
  • MATH 120 Calculus I
  • MATH 121 Calculus II

Sophomore Year

  • BIOL 225 Cell Biology
  • CHEM 225 Organic Chemistry II
  • CHEM 226 Quantitative Analysis
  • 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.