bio-chemistry

Biochemistry Major

The biochemistry major is an excellent option for those students who wish to have a strong foundation in an interdisciplinary science.

Today, many new jobs are being created in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries that demand the breadth and flexibility available with a biochemistry background. 

Biochemistry uniquely examines the cellular and sub-cellular levels of life through the "eyes" of molecular chemical reactions, structures, and energetics. In other words, life is examined at its most fundamental physical level. This major provides a strong background in both chemistry and biology with additional support from physics and mathematics. 

Career Options

Agricultural researcher; biological scientist; clinical laboratory technologist; food scientist; forensic scientist; medical scientist; pharmacist; science technician

High School Preparation

Biology; Calculus; Chemistry; Environmental Science; Physics

Enhance Your Experience

Students who major in biochemistry will oftentimes pursue a minor in scientific computing, mathematics, or physics

Degree Requirements

A. All of the following:

Please note: Students may take either M148 and M149, or M145 or M151

C131 General Chemistry I (3 cr.)

This course covers the fundamental principles upon which the study of chemistry is based. Stoichiometry, atomic structure, molecular structure, chemical bonding, behavior of gases, kinetic molecular theory, properties of solutions, chemical reactivity and thermochemistry are included.

C133 General Chemistry I Laboratory (1 cr.)

This laboratory is an inquiry-based approach to understanding the process of doing chemistry. Each week, as a team member with a specific role working for a consulting company, the student receives a letter from a "chemical client" requesting the solution to a chemical problem. It is the responsibility of the team to design a solution, collect data, and report the results to the client in report form.

C142 General Chemistry II (3 cr.)

This course includes the study of the chemistry of molecular forces, redox reactions, chemical kinetics, chemical equilibrium theory, electrochemistry, chemical dynamics, organic chemistry, phase behavior and solution chemistry.

C144 General Chemistry II Laboratory (1 cr.)

This laboratory is an inquiry-based approach to understanding the process of doing chemistry. Each week, as a team member with a specific role working for a consulting company, the student receives a letter from a "chemical client" requesting the solution to a chemical problem. It is the responsibility of the team to design a solution, collect data, and report the results to the client in report form.

C321 Organic Chemistry I (3 cr.)

Organized by chemical functional groups and reaction mechanisms, this course presents both classical and modern theories of organic chemistry while rigorously exploring chemical structure reactivity relationships. The fundamentals of nomenclature, physical properties, chemical structure, stereochemistry, organic-reactions, mechanisms, synthesis, purification, and compound characterization are emphasized. Biological, medical, and familiar real-world examples are discussed in the context of organic chemistry.

C322 Organic Chemistry II with Laboratory (4 cr.)

A continuation of C321/C323, this course builds upon the fundamentals presented in C321/C323. It is organized by functional groups and reaction mechanisms, while integrating this knowledge into chemical synthesis. Additional topics include aromaticity, NMR and IR spectroscopy, mass spectrometry, carbonyl chemistry, synthetic strategy, and advanced C–C bond forming reactions.

C323 Organic Chemistry I Laboratory (1 cr.)

This laboratory complements the lecture segment of the course by demonstrating and utilizing the concepts learned in the classroom to acquire, isolate, and characterize desired organic reaction products. In this laboratory, students become familiar with the equipment, glassware, techniques, and expertise required to implement the chemistry proposed on paper, to optimize it, and to communicate it to the chemical community. A practical context for the developed chemical intuition is provided.

C331 Physical Chemistry I with Laboratory (4 cr.)

This course involves chemical thermodynamics, chemical kinetics, and their applications. The following thermodynamic topics are considered: properties of gases, kinetic molecular theory, the laws of thermodynamics, thermochemistry, and chemical equilibrium. The following kinetic topics are considered: chemical reaction rates, determination of rate laws, reaction mechanisms, and theories of reaction rates.

C341 Quantitative Chemical Analysis with Laboratory (4 cr.)

This course introduces the student to the methods of quantitative analysis. Topics include: measurement uncertainty, statistical analysis of data, aqueous solution equilibria, titrimetry, electrochemistry, molecular spectroscopy (UV-visible and fluorescence), and chromatography.

C443 Chemistry Seminar (1 cr.)

Chemistry seminar provides chemistry majors experience with reading, discussing, and presenting articles from the current chemical literature. The seminar is a requirement for chemistry and biochemistry majors. It is intended to familiarize the students with the current chemical literature and with accepted writing styles in chemistry. It must be taken for credit during the student's junior year and before C445C447 Chemistry Research courses, since participating in the seminar may spark research ideas. Chemistry majors are encouraged to sit in on this course every semester to fall semester.

C445 Chemistry Research: Planning (1 cr.)

This is the initial course of the three required research courses for chemistry and biochemistry majors. A faculty research advisor is chosen after consultation with and/or presentations by the relevant faculty. After the necessary literature search, a research proposal concerning a current chemical problem is developed and is written, revised, submitted and defended.

C446 Chemistry Research: Experience (1 cr.)

This is the second course of the three required research courses for chemistry and biochemistry majors. The independent laboratory and/or computational research proposed in C445 is performed under the direction and guidance of the faculty research advisor. Off-campus research experiences, such as a summer Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU), may serve to satisfy the course.

C447 Chemistry Research: Thesis (1 cr.)

This is the third course of the three required research courses for chemistry and biochemistry majors. The independent computational and/or laboratory work is completed, if necessary. The thesis is written, with time for a writing revision cycle. A formal presentation of the research results is given at an undergraduate research symposium or its equivalent.

M148 Calculus I with Precalculus (part 1) (4 cr.)

This course, followed by M149, provides a two-semester sequence that covers the material of M151 along with built-in coverage of precalculus topics. Topics in M148 include: solving equations, functions, classes of functions (polynomial, rational, algebraic, exponential, logarithmic), right triangle trigonometry, angle measure, limits and continuity, derivatives, rules for derivatives. Credit is not granted for this course and M151 or courses equivalent to college algebra and college trigonometry.

M149 Calculus I with Precalculus (part 2) (4 cr.)

This course completes the two-semester sequence that begins with M148, and together with M148 provides a two-semester sequence that covers the material of M151 along with built-in coverage of precalculus topics. Topics in M149 include: trigonometric and inverse trigonometric functions, rules for derivatives, applications of derivatives, and definite and indefinite integrals. Credit is not granted for this course and M151.

M151 Calculus I (4 cr.)

This course provides an introduction to the differential and integral calculus. Topics include: the concepts of function, limit, continuity, derivative, definite and indefinite integrals, and an introduction to transcendental functions. Credit is not granted for this course and M148 and M149.

M152 Calculus II (4 cr.)

This course is a continuation of M151. Some of the topics of M151 are revisited at a higher mathematical level. Topics include: applications of the definite integral, techniques of integration, improper integrals, introduction to differential equations, numerical methods for integration and approximation, curves in the plane given parametrically, polar coordinates, and vectors in 2-space and 3-space.

P201 Introductory Physics I (3 cr.)

This course is the first half of a two-semester introductory, calculus-based, physics course for all students planning to enter one of the scientific professions. It covers the fundamental principles of mechanics, oscillations, and fluid mechanics.

P202 Introductory Physics I Laboratory (1 cr.)

One three-hour laboratory is held each week covering topics studied in the lectures.

P211 Introductory Physics II (3 cr.)

This course is the second half of a two-semester introductory, calculus-based, physics course for all students planning to enter one of the scientific professions. It covers the fundamental principles of waves, physical and geometrical optics, and electricity and magnetism.

P212 Introductory Physics II Laboratory (1 cr.)

One three-hour laboratory is held each week covering topics studied in the lectures.

B. All of the following:

B110 Botany and Zoology I (3 cr.)

Emphasis is placed upon photosynthesis and respiration,and physiological processes including nutrition, gas exchange, transportation and regulation of body fluids. It is an investigation of the structure and function of both plants and animals and intended as an introductory overview.

B111 Botany and Zoology I Laboratory (1 cr.)

These laboratory studies complement the concepts presented in B110. Investigations including physiological and molecular relationships and interactions are the basis for the course.

B120 Botany and Zoology II (3 cr.)

Emphasis is placed on plant and animal phyla, organs and organ systems of both plants and animals.

B121 Botany and Zoology II Laboratory (1 cr.)

Laboratory studies complementing B120 include plant and animal hormones and reproduction, bacterial techniques, and phylogenetic investigations.

C409 Biochemistry with Laboratory (4 cr.)

The principal concepts of biochemistry are the focus of this course. The major themes include the relationship between the three-dimensional structure of proteins and their biological function and the chemistry and metabolism of biologically important macromolecules including proteins, carbohydrates, lipids and nucleic acids.

C412 Molecular Biology with Laboratory (3 cr.)

An analysis of the regulation of cellular metabolism at the molecular level is the core of this study. The major themes include biochemistry of DNA, RNA and protein synthesis and the regulation of gene expression in both prokaryotes and eukaryotes.

C. One additional course

One additional course from the following list (more are highly recommended):

B310 Genetics with Laboratory (4 cr.)

The principles underlying hereditary variation in living organisms are the focus of this course. These topics are centered about the transmission of hereditary traits, cytogenetics, basic gene concepts, introductory molecular biology, population genetics, and the genetic basis of evolution.

B311 Cell Biology with Laboratory (3 cr.)

This course is a study of the cell at the ultrastructural, biochemical, and physiological levels. Special consideration is given to respiration, photosynthesis, secretion, cytoskeleton, cell cycle, cell growth, movement, membranes, and other organelles.

B434 Microbiology with Laboratory (3 cr.)

This course deals with the morphology, physiology and biochemistry of a variety of microorganisms including viruses, bacteria, fungi and algae. Emphasis is placed on the control of microbial growth, the characteristics of these organisms and their relationship to disease.

C332 Physical Chemistry II with Laboratory (4 cr.)

This course involves an introduction to quantum mechanics and statistical thermodynamics. The following quantum topics are considered: quantum theory and applications to simple systems of particles, approximation methods for complex systems of particles and spectroscopic verification of quantum results. The following statistical mechanics topics are considered: the Boltzmann distribution, statistics of large populations, the partition function and thermodynamic functions from statistical mechanics results.

C441 Instrumental Analysis with Laboratory (4 cr.)

This course explores the theory and applications of chemical instrumentation. Topics include instrumental noise, atomic spectroscopy (FAA, FAE, ICP), molecular spectroscopy (UV-visible, IR, fluorescence, NMR), mass spectrometry, chromatography, as well as selected advanced spectroscopic techniques.