Biochemistry Major

College of Arts and Sciences

Degree BS, Biochemistry

Department Chair Charles Saladino, Jr., PhD

Biochemistry is an exciting and challenging field of study that combines the worlds of chemistry and biology into a science that explores the chemistry of bio-molecules and those biological processes that support a living system. Modern day biochemistry has reached a level of complexity and uniqueness that allows it to stand apart from both of its ancestral fields. Today's biochemistry operates in the world of life on earth described by classical biology and also probes the complexities of this world on the molecular scale using the concepts and analysis techniques derived from the world of classical chemistry.

The biochemistry major reflects this fusion of both fields as a hybrid of both departments’ curricula, combining the essential knowledge of a BS chemistry with that of biology on the molecular level. We believe that students must first be good chemists before they can be good biochemists. Thus, the program is designed to meet the ACS guidelines for a chemistry major and the ASBMB guidelines for a biochemistry major, making the program highly interdisciplinary between chemistry and biology. The biochemistry program is designed to prepare students for graduate school and the pharmaceutical, biomedical, and bio-technology industries.

At the end of their sophomore year and thereafter, biochemistry majors must have and maintain a GPA of 2.5 in courses required for the major in order to remain in good standing in the program, and a GPA of 3.0 to be recommended for graduate or professional schools. Students must earn three credits doing either a summer internship during their junior year [CHM 490] or by taking research [CHM 460] in (or before) the first semester of their senior year.

Program Goals and Outcomes

The following are program goals for the Biochemistry major:

  1. To prepare students in the area of biochemistry for careers in industry or for study in graduate or professional programs.
  2. To teach students to solve problems, to think critically, and to interpret and report data with the use of technology
  3. To familiarize students with chemical literature in multiple formats, including print and electronic references and chemical databases
  4. To help students develop skills for independent and collaborative laboratory practices, including lab safety, analytical instrumentation, chemical synthesis, and quantitative analysis
  5. To promote students’ understanding of professional, ethical, and social responsibilities in the practice of chemistry and biochemistry
  6. To prepare students to communicate effectively through written reports and oral presentations, including preparation of professional quality visual aids

The Biochemistry major program goals are realized in the following student learning outcomes:

  1. Demonstrate proficiency in laboratory techniques in lower-level courses and proficiency in reporting advanced research in upper-level courses
  2. Demonstrate proficiency in researching, completing, and reporting advanced disciplinary research
  3. Demonstrate proficiency in laboratory techniques and in preparing formal laboratory reports
  4. Illustrate professional, ethical, and social responsibilities in the practice of chemistry and biochemistry in advanced disciplinary research
  5. Present advanced disciplinary research in paper, poster, and oral presentation to the university’s consortium group