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The Major

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

Foundation Courses: BIO 132/133, 202/203, 230/231; CHM 111, 222, 223 and 224, or 118, 222 and 223; BCH 252/253.

Upper-level Courses
BCH 352/353
BCH 335 or CHM 332
One physiology course from: BIO 200/201, 204/205, 206/207
One elective from: BCH 380, 390; BIO 306, 310, 322, 332; CHM 328, 338, 357, 369

The S/U grading option is not allowed for courses counting toward the biochemistry major.

Exemption from BIO 132/133 may be obtained for students who receive advanced placement on their Smith College transcript for biology (e.g. AP, International Baccalaureate, A levels). Students receiving advanced placement on their Smith College transcript for chemistry are strongly encouraged to start the introductory chemistry courses with CHM 118.

Students are advised to complete all the following foundational courses before the junior year: BIO 132/133, 202/203, CHM 111, 222, 223, and 224 or 118, 222, and 223, BCH 252/253.

Biochemistry majors are encouraged to include research in the form of a Special Studies (BCH 400, 400D) or Honors (BCH 430D, 432D) Project in their course of study.

Major requirements >


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 132/133

or BIO 132/133

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 graduate study in biochemistry or molecular biology
  • planning to fulfill pre-health 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. The major will prepare students to enter molecular and cellular biology graduate programs. Students interested in graduate programs in biological chemistry will find it also advantageous to choose the biochemistry major. 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 several 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