Biochemistry Major

The Biochemistry Major is administered by the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and includes courses provided by both Chemistry and the Department of Biology. As a field, biological chemistry encompasses study of the form, chemistry, and function of the molecules found in living organisms and the processes in which these molecules participate. Biochemistry has evolved from discoveries about the chemistry of biological molecules in the early 19th century to a widely interdisciplinary field that encompasses ideas and theories drawn from chemistry, biology, mathematics, physics, and computer science. It is the foundation for medical research and scientifically-based healthcare strategies as well as advances in other areas such as nutrition and agriculture . The required courses for the major give a student a solid foundation in basic science, while the array of elective courses allows wide latitude in pursuing an area of individual interest. The thesis provides a final integrating experience.

Biochemistry Major Requirements. The major requires thirteen or fourteen courses, from both the chemistry and biology departments, including a one- or two-semester thesis. Some courses have math and/or physics prerequisites. Students may not double major in biochemistry and  biology, chemistry, or neuroscience, may not earn a minor in Chemistry, and may not use the Chemistry GEC to satisfy General Education requirements.  AP, IB, or A-level credit may be used instead of Chem 107 or 108 as a prerequisite. 200-level core courses should be completed by the end of the junior year. Course descriptions of biology courses are found here and chemistry courses are found here.

Required Courses

All of the following

BIO 195. Lab-Based Biological Inquiry.

BIO 202. Cellular Basis of Life (Bio 195, Chem 108 prerequisites)

BIO 204. Biological Research: Molecules to Ecosystems. (Bio 195 prerequisite, Chem 108 recommended)

CHEM 107A. Atomic and Molecular Structure/Lab. 

CHEM 108A. Chemical Reactivity/Lab. (Chem 108 prerequisite)

CHEM 217. Organic Chemistry I/Lab. (Chem 108 prerequisite)

CHEM 218. Organic Chemistry II//Lab. (Chem 217 prerequisite)

CHEM 321. Biological Chemistry I/Lab. (Chem 218 prerequisite, Bio 202 and 204 recommended)

CHEM 322. Biological Chemistry II/Lab. (Chem 321 prerequisite)

One of the following:

CHEM 302. Statistical Thermodynamics. (Chem 108, Math 106 prerequisite; Phys 107 or 109 corequisite)

CHEM 310. Biophysical Chemistry. (Chem 108, Math 106 prerequisite; Phys 107 or 109 corequisite)

One of the following:

BIO 328. Developmental Biology/Lab.

BIO 315. Microbiology/Lab

BI 344. Genetics

BIO 331. Molecular Biology/Lab.

BIO 344. Genetics

BIO 351. Immunology

BI/NS 305. Gene Editing in Biology and Neuroscience.

Elective Courses. Students must also choose one elective from the list below. It is strongly recommended that students considering graduate programs in biochemistry, biophysics, or related disciplines select a chemistry elective. One course may not serve as both an elective and core course. BIO 321 may not be used as an elective.

BIO 244. Biostatistics or NRSC 205. Statistical Methods

Any 300-level BIO course that has both BIO 202 and BIO 204 as prerequisite

Any 200- or 300 level chemistry course including BI/CH 304, CH/NS 320

Senior Research and Seminar. The written thesis required of all biochemistry majors may be either a laboratory thesis or a library thesis. Students conducting a laboratory thesis may register for BIOC 457, 458, or both, while students undertaking a library project may register for BIOC 457 or 458. Students pursuing honors register for both 457 and 458. The senior research and seminar courses include participation in the department’s seminar program. All majors are required to deliver one presentation per semester of thesis credit during the senior year. Each senior is also required to attend at least four seminars presented by visiting scholars in either the biology or chemistry department.

Pass/Fail Grading Option. Pass/fail grading may not be elected for courses applied toward the biochemistry major.