James Shriver (chair), James Dunne, Ashley Garr, Catherine Haustein, Jay Wackerly


Statement of philosophy

Housed in the Natural Sciences department, a major in biochemistry is offered for students interested in careers straddling the more traditional fields of chemistry and biology. Students choosing this major will obtain excellent preparation for a variety of careers including biochemistry, biotechnology, pharmacology, and agricultural chemistry. A degree in biochemistry is also an excellent precursor to pre-professional programs including medicine, dentistry and optometry. A student cannot major in both chemistry and biochemistry.

The faculty strives to remain abreast of modern chemical techniques while being aware of the benefits and responsibilities of living in a technological society. Our department follows guidelines of the American Chemical Society (ACS), so biochemistry majors receive instruction comparable to that at larger institutions while benefiting from individualized attention that is the hallmark of Central College.


American Chemical Society certification

In addition to our regular major, we also offer an ACS certified degree designed to give excellent preparation for graduate school. What does our American Chemical Society certification mean? According to the American Chemical Society, a department that follows and meets the guidelines for certification produces graduates with the background necessary to enter graduate school or employment in which a strong background in chemistry is needed. An ACS approved department will “assure students that they have high quality programs in chemistry. For the student, a certified degree in chemistry is a valuable personal credential that serves as a national-level recognition for successfully completing a rigorous academic chemistry curriculum in an ACS-approved department...The extra rigor and additional requirements of the certified degree are valued by potential employers and graduate schools alike.” (Undergraduate Professional Education in Chemistry Guidelines and Evaluation Procedures, Spring 2003, American Chemical Society Committee on Professional Training)

In connection with our ACS certification, students in our department have on-line access to all American Chemical Society publications.


Major Communication Skills

The communications skills for the biochemistry major are evaluated as follows: In the spring of the second year (or upon declaration of the major), the department will make a preliminary judgment with respect to reading, writing and speaking skills based on lab reports, other writing assignments, class presentations and performances on skills tests such as the PSAT, ACT, URE and reading labs. Students deemed to be weak in one or more skills will be advised of the weakness and possible remedial activities. Diagnostic and self-help materials for writing skills will be made available.


Major/Minor restrictions

A student may not major in both biochemistry and chemistry.


Biochemistry Major Requirements (59-60 credits)

  1. Complete all of the following (52 credits):
    CHEM 111 General Chemistry (4)
    CHEM 221 Inorganic Chemistry (4)
    CHEM 231 Organic Chemistry I (4)
    CHEM 241 Analytical Chemistry (4)
    CHEM 331 Organic Chemistry II (4)
    CHEM 351 Biochemistry (4)
    CHEM 361 Physical Chemistry I (3)
    CHEM 363 Chemistry Kinetics with Lab (1)
    CHEM 451 Advanced Topics in Biochemistry (3)
    BIOL 131 Introduction to Cells (4)
    BIOL 221 Genetics and Evolution (4)
    MATH 131 Calculus I (4)
    MATH 132 Calculus II (4)
    PHYS 111 General Physics I (5)
  2. Complete one of the following electives in Biology (4 credits):
    BIOL 341 Human Physiology (4)
    BIOL 361 Microbiology (4) 
  3. Complete an additional biology elective from group 2 or one of the following chemistry courses (3-4 credits):
    CHEM 421 Advanced Inorganic Chemistry (3)
    CHEM 431 Advanced Organic Chemistry (4)
    CHEM 442 Instrumental Analysis (4)

Coursework required for American Chemical Society Biochemistry Certification (72-73 credits)

Note: For other ACS course options and updates to the requirements for ACS certification, please see the department chair.

  1. Complete all of the above courses listed in section one for the Central College biochemistry major. (60-61 credits)
  2. Complete the following courses:
    CHEM 461 Physical Chemistry II (3)
    PHYS 112 General Physics II (5)
  3. Complete two units of research and prepare a final thesis on your work, including safety. (4):
    CHEM 485 Research Investigations in Chemistry (2)