Students pursuing the major in Biochemistry must satisfy the following requirements:

Admission Requirements

Students planning a major in biochemistry must present credits in one year of chemistry, one year of physics, and four years of mathematics, and should have at least a B average in these subjects. Students with a good high school record but lacking credit in any of these subjects should remedy any deficiencies in summer school. Students majoring in a science should be particularly alert to the language proficiency requirement. 

Major Requirement 

This major is interdisciplinary, bridging the two fields of biology and chemistry, so the lower division requirements are nearly the same as those for the two respective major programs.  

Lower Division

  • Biology 1, 1L, 2†, 2L†
  • Chemistry 8, 9 (lab), 10, 11 (lab)
  • Mathematics 27, 28
  • Physics 10/11 and 20/21 or Physics 1/2 and 3/4
  • Chemical Literature 89 

Upper Division

There is a core of upper-division courses for this major which include two semesters of Organic Chemistry (Chem 104 and 106); Biochemistry (Bio 135), Advanced Topics in Biochemistry (Bio/Chem 136), and Molecular Biology (Bio 137). Students are also required to take either Biophysical Chemistry (Chem 138) or Physical Chemistry (Chem 114 and 115). For additional laboratory skill development, students are required to take either Separation and Identification (Chem 108) or Instrumental Chemical Analysis (Chem 118). For upper-division electives, students may choose two courses from the following categories listed below.

Upper-division electives

Select two of the following categories (a, b, c, or d):

     a) Biology 105 - Genetics;
     b) One of the following:
          Biology 102 - Embryology and Development;
          Biology 127 - Systemic Physiology;
          Biology 130 - Microbiology;
          Biology 132 - Cell Biology; or
          Biology 139 - Immunology;
     c) Chemistry 130* - Advanced Inorganic Chemistry or Chemistry 111 - Advanced Organic
          Chemistry; or
     d) Chemistry 114* - Physical Chemistry I.

Research: Students are strongly encouraged to participate in research, either during a summer or during the academic year.

† Required for students with more of a biological interest and chemistry students who wish to take Biology 105: Genetics.

* Students wishing to meet the ACS curriculum requirements for the biochemistry major must take two semesters of Physical Chemistry (Chem 114 and 115) and Advanced Inorganic Chemistry (Chem 130).

Prerequisite Grade

Any course listed in this major with a prerequisite assumes a grade of C– or better in the prerequisite course. The lower and upper division courses in this major are listed on the Biology and Chemistry departments. 

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Mailing Address

Saint Mary's College of California
1928 Saint Mary's Road
Moraga, CA 94575
(925) 631-4000
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