Concentration in Biochemistry


In an effort to better serve the growing student population with an interest in biochemistry, the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry has designed a new curriculum for the concentration in biochemistry. A full description of the concentration is shown below, but if you have any questions or comments, please contact Tim Born.


This concentration has been designed to better serve our students who are interested in the application of chemical principles to the life sciences. The increase in job opportunities for students in Northern Virginia with organizations such as Eli Lilly, ATCC, MediaTech, GeoCenters, and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, to name a few in the area, provides students with excellent local employment options. A student who completes this course of study will have a fundamental background in chemistry as well as a broad knowledge of biochemistry and biology and will be prepared for the following career choices:

  • Graduate School in biochemistry or related subject areas
  • Medical School
  • Forensics
  • Dentistry
  • Pharmaceutical Industry
  • Chemical Industry


The major changes to the existing biochemistry concentration include:

  • A full year of General Biochemistry instead of one semester.
  • Physical Chemistry for the Life Sciences (333 & 334) may be substituted for Physical Chemistry (331 & 332).
  • Eight hours of mathematics (113 & 114) instead of fourteen.
  • Eight hours of biology (213, 305, & 306) instead of four.
  • Nine hours of science electives in Chemistry or Biology


New classes have been introduced to widen the biochemistry-related offerings available to students. These classes include a second semester of general biochemistry, bioorganic chemistry, and the chemistry of enzyme catalyzed reactions.


In addition to the general education requirements, students who select the concentration in biochemistry will be required to complete the following:


1. 44 hours of chemistry courses:

  • 211 & 212 General Chemistry
  • 313, 314, 315, & 318 Organic Chemistry and Organic Laboratory
  • 321 Elementary Quantitative Analysis
  • 331 & 332 or 333 & 334 Physical Chemistry
  • 336 Physical Chemistry Laboratory
  • 350 Computer Techniques for Chemistry
  • 446 Bioinorganic Chemistry
  • 463, 464, & 465 General Biochemistry I & II and Biochemistry Laboratory


2. Eight hours of mathematics:

  • 113 & 114 Analytical Geometry and Calculus


3. Eight to twelve hours of physics:

  • 243, 244, 245, & 246 College Physics and Physics Laboratory


  • 160, 260, 261, 262, & 263 University Physics and Physics Laboratory


4. Eight hours of biology

  • 213 Cell Structure and Function
  • 305 & 306 Biology of Microorganisms and Laboratory


5. Nine credits of Science Electives

  • These electives may be chosen from existing chemistry or biology courses at the 300 level or above except for Biology 301, which is not appropriate for science majors but may be taken for synthesis credit. Courses from other disciplines may be substituted as electives only if approved in advance by the coordinator. Courses of particular interest include:
    • Chem 467 The Chemistry of Enzyme Reactions
    • Chem 468 Bioorganic Chemistry
    • Chem 341 Fundamental Inorganic Chemistry
    • Chem 441 Properties and Bonding of Inorganic Compounds
    • Chem 451, 452 Special Projects in Chemistry
    • Biol 452 Immunology
    • Biol 482 Introduction to Molecular Genetics
    • Biol 484 Eukaryotic Cell Biology


Students in the biochemistry track are highly encouraged to consider spending a semester or two working in a research lab with professors from the Chemistry and Biochemistry department, the Molecular and Microbiology department, the Krasnow Institute, the Center for Biodefense, the Environmental Science and Policy department, or the Psychology department. Please contact individual faculty members to find out what research projects they may have available.