Biochemistry major (B.S.) (Fall 2011-Summer 2012)

May be elected as an interdepartmental major

Effective Date: Fall 2011-Summer 2012

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. The major is intellectually demanding and is intended to prepare students for further education (graduate school or medicine). 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. Because the major is highly structured, it is essential that prospective majors follow the guidelines set forth below.

Prerequisites to Major:

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

Program of study in a 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:

  • MCDB 417, 427, 428;
  • CHEM 419 or 420, 447, 454, 461, 485/500;
  • MEDCHEM 410;
  • BIOLCHEM 550, 576, 640, 650, 673, 675.

3.   An advanced laboratory or undergraduate research course. Recommended options for the advanced laboratory course are MCDB 429, CHEM 480;  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 major. 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.

Advising. Appointments are scheduled online at Chemistry website.

Teaching Certificate. Those seeking a B.S. or B.S. CHEM. degree with a teaching certificate in Chemistry must fulfill departmental as well as School of Education requirements. Students who plan to earn a teaching certificate with a teaching major or minor in Chemistry should contact the School of Education Office of Academic Services.  


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