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Biochemistry

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The Major

Advisers: David Bickar, Dave Gorin, Adam Hall, Elizabeth Jamieson, Stylianos Scordilis, Cristina Suarez,Christine White-Ziegler, Steven Williams

Increasingly, biochemistry and molecular biology are being recognized as two closely connected, but distinct fields. To allow students the opportunity to focus their upper level coursework in either of these areas of study, the Biochemistry major offers two tracks. Both upper level tracks are built upon a common foundation of biochemistry, biology, and chemistry courses that are fundamental to both fields.

Both tracks in the major offer excellent preparation for students interested in graduate school or health professional programs such as medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, or veterinary medicine. Additionally, students are well prepared for entry-level positions in industry and academia.

Biochemistry Major Tracks

Biochemistry Track

Students who want to more fully explore the properties of biomolecules such as proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, and nucleic acids, as well as how they function in metabolic and signal transduction pathways in cells, should consider this track.

Major requirements >

Molecular Biology Track

Students who want to more fully explore the molecular relationships between DNA, RNA, and protein synthesis, and how these interactions are regulated in living cells, should consider this track.

Major requirements >

Advising

First-Year Advising

Because the biochemistry major requires a sequence of courses with various prerequisites, it is recommended that students start the introductory chemistry sequence their first semester (see PDF). Entering students are encouraged to see one of the biochemistry advisers with any questions they have about the major. Students are encouraged to attend the Presentation of the Major, scheduled in the fall, where they can meet current majors and the biochemistry faculty.

Major Advising

There are many ways to complete the major. All majors are strongly encouraged to complete the following foundation courses in the first two years:

First Year
Second Year
Fall Spring Fall Spring
CHM 111 or 118 CHM 222 CHM 223 CHM 224
BIO 150/151 or BIO 150/151 BIO 202/203 BCH 252/253

How a student completes the remaining requirements depends on his or her individual goals. A student should discuss with a biochemistry advisor the best pathway to choose if she is interested in:

  • studying abroad for entire junior year
  • studying abroad for junior spring semester
  • planning on a graduate school in biochemistry or molecular biology
  • planning to fulfill medical school requirements

Study Abroad

Biochemistry majors frequently spend either a year or semester abroad. Consult early with your academic adviser to plan ahead for this experience. The Office of International Study provides information on various study abroad opportunities.

Graduate School in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

The biochemistry major offers a strong academic and experimental background for entrance into graduate school. Both tracks in the major will prepare students to enter molecular and cellular biology graduate programs. Students interested in graduate programs in biological chemistry will find it advantageous to choose the biochemistry track. Students planning graduate study in biochemistry or molecular biology are advised to include a year of calculus and a year of physics in their program of study. Independent research is also highly recommended in preparation for graduate school.

Entering the Health Professions

The biochemistry major includes several of the requirements for entrance into the health professions including two years of chemistry and one year of biology. The biochemistry course is also a requirement for certain health professions (veterinary medicine and pharmacology) and is strongly recommended by the majority of medical schools. The microbiology course is required by nursing and veterinary medicine programs.

More information at the Health Professions page