Catalogue PDF Version

Catalogue - PDF Version


Program Faculty

Christine R. de Denus, Associate Professor, Co-Chair
Shannon Straub, Associate Professor, Co-Chair
Sigrid A. Carle, Professor
Matthew Church, Assistant Professor
Kristy L. Kenyon, Professor
Justin Miller, Professor
Patricia Mowery, Professor
Erin T. Pelkey, Professor
Kristin Slade, Associate Professor

The Biology and Chemistry departments offer a rigorous joint major to those students interested in the intersection of biology and chemistry. The Biochemistry major consists of core courses from the Biology and Chemistry departments, cognates in Math and Physics, and a capstone seminar experience.

Small class sizes are a cornerstone to the major, as they support active learning and significant faculty support and mentoring. The required biology courses include Introduction to Biology, Biostatistics, one cell/molecular biology course (Cell, Genetics, or Microbiology), one 200-level biology elective, and two 300-level cellular/molecular biology courses (Cancer, Developmental Biology, Genomics, Immunology, or Neurobiology). The required chemistry courses include Introductory Chemistry I-II, Organic Chemistry I-II, Physical Chemistry, and Biochemistry I-II. Calculus II and calculus-based physics are also required. In the senior seminar capstone course, students explore a contemporary topic in biochemistry through the readings and analysis of journal articles, which culminates into a senior thesis.

Almost all courses have a linked lab, again small in size, and these experiences are directly taught by the professors. Labs allow for hands-on training and experiential learning, and they are frequently hypothesis-based to provide a true research experience. Labs emphasize practical experience, exposing students to the latest techniques, and understanding of the underlying logic of the experimental processes. Our writing rich curriculum means students develop skills in presenting their results in scientific publication style reports.

Please refer to the Biology and Chemistry department pages for course descriptions.

Mission Statement

The biochemistry major gives students scientific grounding in both biology and chemistry, and integrates that knowledge in upper-level biochemistry courses and capstone experience. To enhance real-world application beyond the classroom and hands-on teaching labs, students have the opportunity to conduct research with faculty. The biochemistry major provides the foundational knowledge, analytical reasoning, and laboratory skills necessary to succeed in the medical field, graduate school, or the pharmaceutical industry.


Biochemistry Major (B.S.)

disciplinary, 17 courses (16 courses if CHEM 110 and 120 are replaced with 190)
Learning Objectives:

  • Apply core chemical principles underlying molecular biology to explain biological processes at the atomic, molecular, and macroscopic levels.
  • Engage in experiential learning.
  • Develop transferable quantitative skills.
  • Develop problem-solving, critical thinking, and analytical reasoning skills so that students can become independent thinkers who are responsible for their own learning.
  • Understand scientific experimentation including hypothesis design, experimental skills, analyzing data, and drawing conclusions.
  • Communicate, both orally and in written form, the results, conclusions, and relevance of scientific experiments to a specific audience.

The required biology courses are BIOL 167, 220, 230, two cell/molecular biology courses (BIOL 302, BIOL 322, BIOL 327, BIOL 332, BIOL 340, BIOL 341, or BIOL 380), and one additional course (any of the cell/molecular biology courses or BIOL 225, BIOL 324, BIOL 328, BIOL 333). Five of the required Biology courses must be taken at HWS. The required chemistry courses include CHEM 110, 120, (or 190 in place of 110 and 120), 130, 240, 241, 210 or 320, 348 and 449. Calculus (MATH 131) and calculus-based physics (PHYS 150) are also required. All Biochemistry majors complete a capstone senior seminar (BCHE 460), except those who complete Honors in a field appropriate for the Biochemistry major. All courses must be passed with a grade of C- or higher. Credit/no credit courses cannot be counted toward the major.

BIOL 167 Introductory Topics in Biology
BIOL 220 Genetics
BIOL 225 Ecology
BIOL 230 Biostatistics
BIOL 322 Microbiology
BIOL 324 Anatomy
BIOL 327 Cancer Biology
BIOL 328 Biology of Plants
BIOL 332 Cell Biology
BIOL 333 Physiology
BIOL 302 Immunology
BIOL 340 Neurobiology
BIOL 341 Developmental Biology
BIOL 380 Genomics

CHEM 110 Introductory General Chemistry
CHEM 120 Intermediate General Chemistry
CHEM 130 General Chemistry I and II Lab
CHEM 210 Quantitative Analysis
CHEM 240 Organic Chemistry I
CHEM 241 Organic Chemistry II
CHEM 320 Physical Chemistry I
CHEM 348 Biochemistry I
CHEM 449 Biochemistry II

MATH 131 Calculus II
PHYS 150 Introduction to Physics I

BCHE 460 Senior Seminar  This course is a capstone experience that integrates knowledge learned in previous biology and chemistry courses. Students will explore a contemporary topic in biochemistry through readings of journal articles and textbooks, as well as class discussions. The context of these discussions will enable each student to produce a Biochemistry Senior Thesis. The thesis will be a 20-25 page, well-referenced paper that incorporates the following elements: 1) an analysis and literature review of research to date, and 2) a detailed description of where the student believes the research and area/topic should go next.