Catalogue PDF Version

Catalogue - PDF Version


Program Faculty
Patricia Mowery, Professor, Co-Chair
Kristin Slade, Associate Professor, Co-Chair
Sigrid A. Carle, Professor
Matthew Church, Assistant Professor
Christine R. de Denus, Associate Professor
Kristy L. Kenyon, Professor
Justin Miller, Professor
Erin T. Pelkey, Professor
Shannon Straub, 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, 212, one 200-level cell/molecular biology courses (BIOL 220, BIOL 222, or BIOL 232), one 200-level biology elective, and two 300-level cell/molecular biology courses (BIOL 302, BIOL 327, BIOL 340, BIOL 341, or BIOL 380). 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, 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.

Biology Courses
BIOL 167 Introductory Topics in Biology 
BIOL 212 Biostatistics
BIOL 215 Evolutionary Genetics 
BIOL 220 General Genetics 
BIOL 222 Microbiology
BIOL 224 Anatomy
BIOL 225 Ecology
BIOL 227 Behavioral Ecology 
BIOL 228 Biology of Plants 
BIOL 232 Cell Biology
BIOL 233 Physiology
BIOL 234 Vertebrate Biology 
BIOL 238 Aquatic Biology 
BIOL 302 Immunology
BIOL 327 Cancer Biology 
BIOL 340 Neurobiology
BIOL 341 Developmental Biology 
BIOL 380 Genomics

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

Additional Courses
MATH 131 Calculus II
PHYS 150 Introduction to Physics I

Biochemistry Courses
BCHE 460 Senior Seminar

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.