Biochemistry

Requirements & Courses

  • Biochemistry is a broad and flexible discipline that uses all available approaches to discover molecular and genetic mechanisms of any biological process. Our program is truly interdisciplinary and requires a strong background in chemistry and biology. You will be trained in protein and nucleic acid methods, biophysical chemistry applications, and molecular biological techniques. Team research is built into the curriculum, and opportunities for independent research are numerous. A Biochemistry major thereby prepares you for either graduate or professional schools. Although most careers require an advanced degree, opportunities exist in academic, industrial and biotechnical research and development sectors.

  • Major Requirements
    1. Sixty-four credits consisting of the following: Biochemistry 321, 422 and 430; Biology 121, 204 and 308; Chemistry 115, 223, 224, 230, 331 and 332; Mathematics 121 and 122; Physics 121 and 122.
    2. Students must consult with the Biochemistry chair in their junior year for approval of their programs if deviation from the above curriculum is being considered. Approval for such changes requires written petition of the department.
    3. Successful completion of the departmental Senior Comprehensive Examination.
  • Program Considerations
    1. Potential majors are advised to schedule Mathematics 121-122 and Physics 121-122 in the freshman and sophomore years so they may begin Chemistry 331-332 in the junior year.
    2. Take note that BCM 422 and BCM 430 are offered in the winter terms of alternating years.
    3. This is an excellent major for pre-medical students, but additional electives are strongly advised.
    4. Students bound for graduate school should make careful course selections to support their area of emphasis. Participation in research and additional course work in biology, chemistry and mathematics is desirable.
    5. Completion of an independent research project culminating in a senior thesis is encouraged.
    6. Students who declare a Biochemistry major may not elect a second major in Chemistry.
  • Four credits from BCM, with the exception of practicum or independent study courses, count towards the Distributive Requirements in the Natural Sciences — Life Sciences.

Courses

  • BCM
    180
    .
    Genes and Society
    4 credits
    $50
    Intended for non-science majors, this course explores the revolution in molecular biology, beginning from a brief history of genetics through our current era of genomics. Additional topics covered in the lectures and laboratories include: gene structure and function, a survey of interesting genes relevant to human health, genetic engineering, mapping, fingerprinting, GMO’s, cloning, ancient DNA, and much more.
  • BCM
    *
    319
    .
    Toxicology
    4 credits
    $100
    BIO 121, CHM 230
    Introduction to general toxicologic principles through the study of whole organism-through-genetic responses to xenobiotics (drugs, pollutants, toxins). Classification of chemical reactivities, kinetics, biomolecular targets, metabolism, disposition, sources, and risk. Laboratory. (Cross listed with BIO 319.)
  • BCM
    *
    321
    .
    Biochemistry
    4 credits
    $50
    BIO 121, CHM 224 and CHM 230
    Overview of the major topics of biochemistry including the chemistry, structure, function, biological activity and molecular mechanisms of the major biological macromolecules. Introduction to bioenergetics and central metabolic pathways. Laboratory.
  • BCM
    *
    380
    .
    Topics in Biochemistry
    1-4 credits
    Fee determined by topic
    Permission
    Investigation of selected topics in biochemistry, such as molecular methods and toxicology, through student participation in lecture, discussion and/or laboratory work.
  • BCM
    *
    422
    .
    Advanced Biochemistry
    4 credits
    $50
    BCM 321
    Further study of intermediary metabolism through the use of historical and current research articles. Introduction to biophysical methods. Emphasis on experimental design, data analysis and integration of biochemical information. Laboratory.
  • BCM
    *
    430
    .
    Molecular Genetics
    4 credits
    $50
    BCM 321 and BIO 204
    Advanced-level literature-based study and training in nucleic acid structures, genetic engineering, regulation, transgenics, genomics, molecular medicine, and biotechnology applications. Investigational laboratory. (Cross listed with BIO 430.)
  • BCM
    *
    499
    .
    Research in Biochemistry
    1-4 credits
    Permission
    Independent research in biochemistry resulting in a written report.
  • BCM
    *
    500
    .
    Senior Thesis
    4 credits
    Permission
    Independent laboratory research of an original problem resulting in a thesis and public presentation. Required for departmental honors.
  • BIO
    121
    .
    General Cell Biology
    4 credits
    $30
    Study of basic biological processes, mostly at the cellular level, including the chemical basis of life, cellular structure and function, heredity, reproduction and the genetic basis of evolution. Laboratory.
  • BIO
    *
    204
    .
    Genetics
    4 credits
    $30
    BIO 121 and Sophomore Standing
    The mechanics of inheritance at the molecular and cellular levels and the relationship of this phenomenon to gene action, organismal development, population changes and evolution. Laboratory.
  • BIO
    *
    308
    .
    Microbiology
    4 credits
    $40
    BIO 290 or Permission
    Survey of the bacteria, viruses and other protists emphasizing their structure, physiology, systematics, ecology and genetics. Focuses on microbes important to humans including disease and the immune response. Laboratory.
  • CHM
    115
    .
    Introductory Chemistry: Chemical Analysis
    4 credits
    $20
    MTH 112 concurrently or Proficiency
    Introduction to the basic principles of chemistry in a context of chemical analysis. Intended for students in the sciences. Includes the periodic table, elements, ionic and covalent compounds, stoichiometry, atomic and molecular structure, spectroscopy, gases, pH and acid-base and oxidation-reduction reactions. DR and academic credit will only be awarded to one of CHM 101, CHM 103 or CHM 115. Laboratory.
  • CHM
    *
    223-*224
    .
    Organic Chemistry
    4 credits each
    $20 each
    CHM 115
    Study of the chemistry of carbon-containing compounds, emphasizing the various functional groups and their transformations, reaction mechanisms and stereochemistry, and the development of synthetic schemes. Laboratory.
  • CHM
    *
    230
    .
    Intermediate Inorganic Chemistry
    4 credits
    $20
    CHM 224 or Permission
    Study of the chemistry of the metals and non-metals emphasizing periodic behavior, elementary thermodynamics, ionic and covalent structures, oxidation and reduction reactions, acid-base chemistry, equilibria, transition metal complexes and reaction kinetics. Laboratory.
  • CHM
    *
    331-*332
    .
    Physical Chemistry
    4 credits each
    $20 each
    CHM 230, MTH 122 and PHY 113 or 122
    Study of the physical principles of chemistry with emphasis on thermodynamics, quantum mechanics, statistical mechanics and kinetics. Laboratory.
  • MTH
    121-122
    .
    Calculus
    4 credits each
    MTH 112 with “C” or better or 4 years of High School Math
    Introduction to the calculus of one variable. Includes limits and continuity, the derivative and applications, the integral and applications, infinite series and sequences.
  • PHY
    121
    .
    Introduction to Physics I
    4 credits
    $7
    MTH 121 concurrently or Permission
    First half of an introductory survey of physics with emphasis on problem solving. Uses calculus. Appropriate for students who plan to major in physics, chemistry or mathematics, and pre-engineering and pre-medical students who have had calculus. Includes mechanics, dynamics and rotation. Laboratory. Permission will be immediately granted to students who have credit for MTH 113 or 121.
  • PHY
    122
    .
    Introduction to Physics II
    4 credits
    $7
    PHY 121; MTH 122 recommended
    Second half of the introductory survey of physics started in PHY 121. Uses calculus. Includes oscillations, waves, gravity, sound, fluids and thermal physics. Laboratory.