Program Overview

College of Arts and Sciences, Interdisciplinary Program

O’Shaughnessy Science Hall (OSS) 402, Chemistry Department, (651) 962-5580

Verhoeven (BIOL) committee chair; Advisory committee: Ismat (BIOL), Popescu (CHEM), Marsh (CHEM)

Biochemistry Department Website

Biochemistry is an interdisciplinary major that draws upon faculty and courses in the departments of Biology and Chemistry. The major is administered by a committee of representatives from both departments and is designed to meet the needs of students interested in gaining an understanding of the chemistry of life processes. Students who fulfill the requirements will receive a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree in biochemistry. The program is appropriate for students pursuing graduate studies in biochemistry, medicine, or related fields. The major is also suitable for students interested in positions in biotechnology after graduation.

Entering students interested in this major should inform Academic Counseling. Students are advised to begin their introductory biology, chemistry, and mathematics coursework in their freshman year. The Biochemistry Committee will coordinate advising. Students should talk with an adviser as soon as possible following their freshman year in order to select the elective courses that will be most appropriate to their interests. A research course in either biology or chemistry can be counted as one of the electives and is highly encouraged if the student will be seeking admission to a graduate program in biochemistry or molecular biology.

All graduating seniors are required to take achievement exams in both biology and chemistry for purposes of assessment of the major and College accreditation. Students choosing this major may not take a second major or a minor in either biology or chemistry.

Graduation with Honors in Biochemistry

Students graduating with a B.S. in biochemistry may also qualify for honors. Students interested in this designation must consult with the chair of the Biochemistry Committee one year or more prior to graduation.

Requirements include:

  • An overall minimum cumulative GPA of 3.25.
  • A cumulative GPA of 3.50 in the courses in both biology and chemistry combined.
  • Completion of four credits in research. This may consist of a 4-credit course or two 2-credit courses in either biology or chemistry.
  • Preparation of a written thesis in the form of the primary literature.
  • Successful defense of the thesis before an examining panel which includes the thesis director, a representative from each of the departments of biology and chemistry, a faculty member from outside the departments of chemistry and biology and a faculty member from another institution. The panel members should be selected in consultation with the thesis adviser.
  • Presentation of the research at an off-campus meeting.

Note: All requirements should be completed by April 20 for a spring graduation, or by November 15 for a fall graduation.

Major in Biochemistry (B.S.)

  • BIOL 207 Genetics, Ecology, and Evolution (4 credits)
  • BIOL 208 Biological Communication and Energetics (4 credits)
  • BIOL 209 Biology of Sustainability (4 credits)


  • CHEM 111 General Chemistry I (4 credits) and CHEM 112 General Chemistry II (4 credits)
    or CHEM 115 Accelerated General Chemistry (4 credits)


  • CHEM 201 Organic Chemistry I (4 credits)
  • CHEM 202 Organic Chemistry II (4 credits)
  • CHEM 440 Biochemistry I (4 credits)
  • CHEM 442 Biochemistry II (4 credits)

Plus four credits from the following:

  • CHEM 331 Chemical Thermodynamics and Reaction Dynamics (4 credits)
  • CHEM 332 Quantum Chemistry and Molecular Spectroscopy (4 credits)


  • Twelve (12) additional credits numbered BIOL 295 or higher, excluding BIOL 340 Principles of Biochemistry. 
    Note: Four (4) credits must be at the BIOL 400-level.
  • Four (4) additional credits in CHEM, selected in consultation with the adviser.
    Note: CHEM 300 is strongly recommended for this elective.


  • BCHM 301 Biochemistry Seminar (2 credits)

Allied Requirements:

  • MATH 113 Calculus I (4 credits) (or equivalent)
  • MATH 114 Calculus II (4 credits)
  • PHYS 211 Introduction to Classical Physics I (4 credits)
  • PHYS 212 Introduction to Classical Physics II (4 credits)

Biochemistry Undergraduate Courses