Chemistry and Biochemistry / Undergraduate Study

Biochemistry BS

The Biochemistry major is for students preparing for careers in biochemistry or other fields requiring extensive preparation in both chemistry and biology.

Learning Outcomes

The Biochemistry major has the following learning outcomes:

  • Understanding of chemical structures, bonding, and conformational properties of biological molecules
  • Understanding of higher-level organization of cellular components, rules of subcellular organelles, and compartmentalization
  • Understanding of mechanisms and energetics of biochemical reactions and the basis for enzymatic catalysis, including the roles of organic cofactors and metals in such processes
  • Understanding of ways that cellular events are energetically coupled in key processes
  • Understanding of regulatory and response mechanisms that operate in biological systems to achieve homeostasis and conduct signaling within and between cells
  • Understanding of the basis for molecular evolution and ways that genetic information is encoded and transmitted in biology
  • Understanding of the roles of DNA and protein sequence information in inferring biological function and common ancestry
  • Familiarity with laboratory methods for purifying, identifying, and characterizing biomolecules, including protein and nucleic acids
  • Familiarity with assays for activity and binding
  • Familiarity with basic laboratory methods for DNA manipulation
  • Understanding of the roles of hypotheses and models in investigating scientific ideas
  • Understanding of the critical importance of controls in interpreting experimental data

Preparation for the Major

Required: Chemistry and Biochemistry 20A (or 20AH), 20B (or 20BH), 20L, 30A, 30AL, 30B, 30BL, 30C; Mathematics 31A, 31B, 32A (33A strongly recommended); Physics 1A, 1B, and 1C (or 1AH, 1BH, and 1CH) and 4BL, or 5A, 5B, and 5C.

Students must also complete one of two life sciences sequences — either Life Sciences 2, 3, 4, and 23L, or 7A, 7B, 7C, and 23L. They may not substitute courses in either sequence.

The Major

Required: Chemistry and Biochemistry 110A, 153A, 153B, 153C, 153L, 154, 156; one additional upper-division or graduate course in chemistry and biochemistry; and three elective upper-division or graduate courses (12 units) approved by the undergraduate adviser (Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics 101 highly recommended). Refer to the Undergraduate Advising Office website for a list of approved electives.