Biochemistry - Major

For information, contact Professor Marianne Staretz,, 610-606-4666, ext. 3608

Program Description

The biochemistry major combines course work in chemistry and biology, with considerable emphasis on the laboratory experience. It is designed to prepare students for a number of emerging career options involving the chemistry of living systems, including medicine, pharmacology, pharmaceutical research, environmental chemistry and toxicology. Upon graduation, students generally enter into industry, graduate study, education or the medical professions.

Because this is a highly structured program, it is recommended that students interested in the biochemistry major consult the program advisor early in their academic sequence. As a capstone experience, juniors and seniors complete either a departmental research project or a corporate internship, which is summarized in a seminar presentation.

Mission Statement

The mission of the Department of Chemical and Physical Sciences is to develop the theoretical, analytical, and technical skills to allow departmental majors to be leaders in their scientific professions and/or productively pursue graduate or professional studies in science. The Department will also provide a foundational knowledge in the area of chemistry for majors and non-majors that will contribute to the development of scientifically responsible citizens who can have a better understanding of the world and the role of science and scientific thinking in the global community.

Within the guiding mission of the Department of Chemical and Physical Sciences, the Biochemistry major will provide students with a strong foundation in both chemistry and biology.  This combination of chemistry and biology within the Biochemistry major promotes an integration of concepts and techniques that will enable students to study and understand the chemistry of living systems.  Students majoring in Biochemistry are provided with the background to excel in fields that have a connection to living systems such as medicine, pharmaceuticals, pharmacology & toxicology, agriculture, forensic science, and the environment.

Program Requirements

An overall 2.000 grade-point average in chemistry, biology and cognate courses is required for the major in biochemistry. A grade of C or better is required for all chemistry courses at the 100 and 200 level that fulfill major requirements. Only two grades of C- will be allowed for all Biology courses and chemistry courses at the 300 level that fulfill major requirements. A student must have a 2.000 average in chemistry courses to declare the biochemistry major. A grade of C- or better is required for all cognate courses that satisfy major requirements. Courses that satisfy a major requirement may not be repeated more than once. At least 24 of the credits in chemistry required for the biochemistry major must be completed on the Cedar Crest campus. The biochemistry major may not be combined with either a chemistry or biology minor. Students are required to complete a comprehensive examination encompassing all the relevant sub-disciplines which is administered as part of the Chemistry seminar (CHE 352).

Course Requirements for the Biochemistry Major

CHE 111 Chemical Principles 4 credits
CHE 112 Chemical Equilibrium and Analysis 4 credits
CHE 205 Organic Chemistry I 4 credits
CHE 206 Organic Chemistry II 4 credits
CHE 230 Analytical Chemistry 4 credits
CHE 300 Technical Information 3 credits
CHE 302 Instrumental Analysis 4 credits
CHE 307 Biochemistry I 4 credits
CHE 308 Biochemistry II 4 credits
CHE 331 Inorganic Chemistry 3 or 4 credits
CHE 335 Physical Chemistry 4 credits
CHE 352 Seminar 1 credit
CHE 391 Advanced Laboratory and Research 6 credits OR CHE 393 Internship

Plus choose two courses from the following:
CHE 306 Advanced Organic Chemistry 3 credits
CHE 314 Toxicology 3 credits
CHE 320 Environmental Chemistry 3 or 4 credits
CHE 344 Heterocyclic Compounds 3 credits
CHE 336 Physical Chemistry II 3 credits
BIO 227 Microbiology 4 credits
BIO 313 Advanced Mendelian and Population Genetics 3 credits
BIO 336 Molecular Genetics II 4 credits

Plus the following biology courses:
BIO 121 Principles of Biology I 4 credits
BIO 122 Principles of Biology II 4 credits
BIO 236 Cell and Molecular Biology 4 credits
BIO 248 Biostatistics 3 credits
BIO 335 Molecular Genetics I 4 credits

Plus the following cognate courses:
MAT 141 Calculus I 3 credits
MAT 142 Calculus II 3 credits
PHY 101 Introductory College Physics I 4 credits
PHY 102 Introductory College Physics II 4 credits

Total number of credits required: 88-91

Fulfillment of LAC Requirements

Students fulfill Technology, Oral Presentation, and Information Literacy requirements through the successful completion of the following major requirements:  CHE 300, CHE 302, CHE 335, CHE 307, CHE 352, CHE 391/392.  Students also fulfill the Natural Sciences (CHE 111 and 112), Mathematics and Logic (MAT 141 and 142) and Writing 2 (CHE 300) requirements upon successful completion of the major.

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Students will be able to demonstrate an understanding and knowledge of the fundamentals of analytical, organic, inorganic, physical and biological chemistry.
  • Students will be able to apply problems-solving skills in both a qualitative and quantitative manner using fundamental chemical and biochemical principles.
  • Students will demonstrate laboratory skills and an understanding of theory and techniques to effectively utilize equipment and technology to carry out an experiment¬† in a safe and systematic fashion.
  • Students will be able to describe and follow proper procedures for the safe handling and use of chemicals/biochemicals and chemical/biochemical equipment.
  • Students will learn to make detailed observations, record data objectively, and maintain an accurate laboratory notebook in a legal and ethical manner.
  • Students will be able to retrieve, understand and properly cite specific chemical and biochemical information from the scientific literature.
  • Students will demonstrate proficiency in applying and interpreting statistical methods for data evaluation.
  • Students will be able to demonstrate an ability to communicate chemical and/or biochemical information with clarity and coherence through writing and speaking.
  • Students will complete an independent project using scientific methodology.
  • Students will be able to demonstrate an understanding of advanced concepts in biochemistry and biochemical techniques.