2021-2022 Academic Catalog 
    Apr 20, 2024  
2021-2022 Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Biochemistry, leading to a B.S. degree

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Program Co-Directors:  Dr. Amy Hark, Professor of Biology ; Dr. Keri Colabroy, Professor of Chemistry
Professors:  Anderson, Baar, Edwards, Ingersoll, Wightman
Associate Professor:  Sparks, Teissére, Young
Assistant Professors:  Cuadra

Often referred to as the chemistry of life, biochemistry is the study of organisms, cells, and cellular components at the chemical and molecular level.  The biochemistry major draws from a balanced selection of courses from both the biology and chemistry departments organized into foundation, core, and elective courses.  There are three core courses: BIO 220 - Biochemistry  provides the introduction to the field; BCM 341 - Experimental Biochemistry  explores the intellectual and experimental processes of doing biochemistry; and BCM 441 - CUE: Advanced Biochemistry  provides a Culminating Undergraduate Experience through exploring advanced topics.  A major in biochemistry gives students essential skills for understanding and contributing to the study of chemistry in living organisms.

Students who complete the program are prepared for positions in basic and applied research, admission to graduate schools in biochemistry, molecular biology, pharmacology, and other biochemically-oriented disciplines, and for admission to health profession schools.

Honors Program

Any major who is interested in working towards honors in biochemistry is expected to initiate planning and discussion of possible honors research projects with a faculty mentor no later than his/her junior year or the following summer.  Acceptance into the honors program is selective and is based on the following criteria:

  1. Availability of research positions and funds in the laboratory of the selected faculty mentor.
  2. Approval of an honors proposal prior to the beginning of the student’s senior year (or last full year of undergraduate study).  The proposal must be submitted to the faculty mentor and an honors committee by August 1 prior to the senior year.
  3. Minimum GPA of 3.30 in courses counting toward the biochemistry major.

Acceptance into the honors program does not guarantee that honors will be awarded.  In order for biochemistry honors to be granted at commencement, the following conditions must be met:

  1. The student has achieved a minimum GPA of 3.30 in courses counting toward the biochemistry major.
  2. The student has conducted, at a minimum, the equivalent of 1.5 course units of research during the senior year and has met the expectations established by the faculty mentor.
  3. The student has presented his/her research in a public seminar and discussed the work in an oral examination with honors committee members.
  4. The student has submitted a thesis that has been approved by the honors committee.
  5. The student has regularly attended the Biology or Chemistry seminar series throughout the senior year or is otherwise engaged in programs in the Natural Sciences Division.

The honors committee will evaluate the quality of oral and written presentations of the project as well as the research undertaken and the merit of the science.  In addition, the quality of all biochemistry course work and the involvement in a seminar series or other engagement will be considered in determining the degree of honors awarded (none, honors, high honors, or highest honors, with highest honors being rarely awarded).

Major Requirements

To declare and remain a major in biochemistry, a student must maintain a 2.00 grade point average for all courses applicable to the major.

Required Courses:

Seven foundation courses in science:

Three core courses in chemistry:

Three core courses in biochemistry:

Two electives in biology and chemistry:

Two lists must be represented.


In addition to these requirements, students interested in graduate study in biochemistry or the health professions are strongly advised to complete a year of general physics.

For information on Independent Study/Research see Specialized Courses .

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