May be elected as an interdepartmental major

Effective Date: Fall 2015

Exclusions: Students who elect a major in Biochemistry may not elect the following majors: Biology, General Biology; Cell and Molecular Biology; CMB:Biomedical Engineering; Ecology and Evolutionary Biology; Microbiology; or Neuroscience. They may also not elect a minor in Biology, or any of the Chemistry minors.

The biochemistry major is intended for students interested in the chemical basis of biological phenomena. This degree program is ideal for students who are interested in learning about life from a chemical perspective. The major is intellectually demanding and is intended to prepare students for further education (graduate school or medicine). Students will gain a solid foundation in chemistry through traditional sub-discipline courses, but will also take a number of chemistry courses that are focused on the role of chemistry in biological systems. Students will also have the option to take elective courses in molecular biology, and also may pursue undergraduate research in lieu of one of the traditional laboratory courses. A B.S. degree in biochemistry is also a useful means of preparing for jobs in academic medical centers, the pharmaceutical industry, and in biotechnology companies. Students that pursue this degree will be well equipped for graduate studies in biochemistry, chemical biology, and many other fields of inquiry in the life sciences. The degree will also provide excellent preparation for students intending to pursue professional careers in the Biotechnology Industry as well as the Health Sciences. Because the major is highly structured, it is essential that prospective majors follow the guidelines set forth below.

Prerequisites to the Major

  • BIOLOGY 171 and 172
  • CHEM 210/211, 215
  • MATH 115 (or 120), 116 (or 121), 215 (or the equivalent)
  • PHYSICS [135/136 or 140/141] and [235/236 or 240/241].

In cases where a student is transferring to Biochemistry from outside the University or is entering later, from another major, the student may be awarded an override for Genetics after completion of only one of either BIOLOGY 171 or 172, and where taking the other would be a burden for timely graduation. The override request must come from a Biochemistry department advisor along with the assurance that the student has been informed of the material from BIOLOGY 171 or 172 that he or she needs to review prior to enrolling in the Genetics course.

Requirements for the Major

Must include:

  1. Core: BIOLOGY 305; CHEM 260, [302 or 303 or 241 or 245], [216 or 242 (or 246 and 247)] 351*, 352, 451, 452, 453.
         *Students are strongly encouraged to take CHEM 351 but could substitute this course requirement with MCDB 310 or BIOLCHEM 415.
  2. Electives: A total of at least six credits chosen from:
    • CHEM 417/BIOPHYS 417/PHYSICS 417 (3) Dynamic Biophysics
    • CHEM 420 (3) Advanced Organic Chemistry
    • CHEM 440/BIOPHYS 440 (3) Biophysics of Disease
    • CHEM 447 (3) Physical Methods of Analysis
    • CHEM 454 (3) Biophysical Chem II: Macromolecular Structure, Dynamics
    • CHEM 455 (3) Special Topics in Biochemistry
    • CHEM 461 (3) Physical Chemistry I
    • CHEM 467/AOSS 467/EARTH 465/ENSCEN 467/ENVIRON 467 (3) Biogeochemical Cycles
    • CHEM 521/BIOPHYS 521 (3) Biophysical Chemistry II
    • CHEM 528/BIOLCHEM 528/MEDCHEM 528 (2) Enzyme Mechanisms, Ligand Binding,
    • CHEM 673/BIOLCHEM 673 (2) Enzyme Kinetics
    • AOSS 467/CHEM 467/EARTH 465/ENSCEN 467/ENVIRON 467 (3) Biogeochemical Cycles
    • BIOLCHEM 528/CHEM 528/MEDCHEM 528 (2) Enzyme Mechanisms, Ligand Binding,
    • BIOLCHEM 530/CHEMBIO 530 (3) Structural Biology
    • BIOLCHEM 541 (3) Molecular Genetics
    • BIOLCHEM 550 (3) Macromolecular Structure and Function
    • BIOLCHEM 576/PHYSIOL 576/PHRMACOL 576 (1) Signal transduction
    • BIOLCHEM 640 (2) Post-transcriptional Gene Regulation
    • BIOLCHEM 650 (3) Mechanisms of Eukaryotic Gene Expression
    • BIOLCHEM 673/CHEM 673 (2) Enzyme Kinetics
    • BIOLCHEM 675/CDB 675/MICRBIOL 675 (2) Advanced Topics in Protein Trafficking and Localization
    • BIOPHYS 417/CHEM 417/PHYSICS 417 (3) Dynamical Processes in Biophysics
    • BIOPHYS 435 (3) Biophysical Modeling
    • BIOPHYS 440/CHEM 440 (3) Biophysics of Disease
    • BIOPHYS 521/CHEM 521 (3) Biophysical Chemistry II
    • CDB 675/BIOLCHEM 675/MICRBIOL 675 (2) Advanced Topics in Protein Trafficking and Localization
    • CHEMBIO 530/BIOLCHEM 530 (3) Structural Biology
    • EARTH 465/CHEM 467/AOSS 467/ ENSCEN 467/ENVIRON 467 (3) Biogeochemical Cycles
    • ENSCEN 467/CHEM 467/AOSS 467/EARTH 465/ENVIRON 467 (3) Biogeochemical Cycles
    • ENVIRON 467/CHEM 467/AOSS 467/EARTH 465/ENSCEN 467 (3) Biogeochemical Cycles
    • MCDB 405 (3) Molecular Basis of Development
    • MCDB 411 (3) Protein Biochemistry)
    • MCDB 417 (3) Chromosome Structure and Function
    • MCDB 418 (3) Endocrinology
    • MCDB 427 (3) Molecular Biology
    • MCDB 428 (3) Cell Biology
    • MCDB 431 (3) Plant Biochemistry
    • MCDB 435 (3) Intracellular Trafficking
    • MCDB 436 (3) Introductory Immunology
    • MCDB 437 (3) Microbial Communities & Development
    • MCDB 441 (3) Cell Biology of Disease
    • MCDB 471 - Advanced Methods in Biochemistry
    • MEDCHEM 528/BIOLCHEM 528/CHEM 528 (2) Enzyme Mechanisms, Ligand Binding,
    • MICRBIOL 675/BIOLCHEM 675/CDB 675 (2) Advanced Topics in Protein Trafficking and Localization
    • PHRMACOL 576/BIOLCHEM 576/PHYSIOL 576 (1) Signal transduction
    • PHYSICS 417CHEM 417/BIOPHYS 417 (3) Dynamic Biophysics
    • PHYSIOL 576/BIOLCHEM 576/PHRMACOL 576 (1) Signal transduction
  3. An advanced laboratory or undergraduate research course. Recommended options for the advanced laboratory course are MCDB 429,  CHEM 482 or 483; or four credits of undergraduate research elected as any combination of either CHEM 398 or BIOLCHEM 398, by permission of the department advisor. Students electing the undergraduate research option must execute an extended research project under the supervision of a faculty member who agrees to oversee the project.

Honors Plan

Qualified students may elect an Honors Plan. This program requires a thesis which describes and analyzes independent experimental work. The research topic and advisor must be approved by the Honors advisor in Biochemistry. Students in this program are expected to maintain an overall grade point average above 3.4 and at least a 3.4 in the field of the major, including prerequisite courses. CHEM 398 (4 credits) and the thesis course, CHEM 498, replaces the requirement for an upper-level laboratory course outlined above.



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