Biochemistry BS

College of Sciences
Undergraduate major / Bachelor of Science

About this program

Biochemistry encompasses both biology and chemistry. Biochemists focus on the molecular aspects of living organisms, particularly the structures, functions, and interactions of biological macromolecules (proteins, nucleic acids, lipids, and carbohydrates). The biochemistry major provides strong foundation in experimental design, literature research, critical thinking, and analytical reasoning skills. Students will learn the tools and concepts necessary to prepare them for graduate study in biochemistry, industry employment, and professional programs in the healthcare field.

Student outcomes

  • Demonstrate mastery of a broad set of chemical knowledge concerning the fundamentals in the basic areas of the discipline (organic, inorganic, analytical, physical and biochemistry).
  • Solve problems using critical thinking and analytical reasoning skills including the integration of knowledge from other disciplines.
  • Understand the objective of their chemical experiments, properly carry out the experiments, and appropriately record and analyze the results.
  • Communicate the concepts and results of their laboratory experiments through effective writing and/or oral communication using the discipline standards for reporting and citation.
  • Collaborate effectively as part of a team to solve problems, debate different points of view and interact productively with a diverse group of team members.
  • Use standard laboratory equipment, modern instrumentation, and classical techniques to carry out experiments.
  • Be able to communicate with other scientists and non-scientists through various verbal and written mechanisms (posters, oral presentation, discussion, technical and non-technical publications).

Enrolling in this program

Program eligibility requirements

Students expressing interest in the Biochemistry BS major when they apply for admission to the university will be assigned an academic advisor in the Natural Sciences Department and will be given pre-major status.

To be eligible for acceptance to the Biochemistry BS major, students must submit a College of Sciences Undergraduate Program Declaration Form when the following is completed:

  • Pre-major Foundation courses of BIOL 111, CHEM 111, CHEM 112

All prerequisite and required courses must be completed with grades of C- or above. Transfer coursework equivalency is determined by the Natural Sciences Department.

Current students: Declare your program

Once you’re admitted as an undergraduate student and have met any further requirements your chosen program may have, you declare your major or declare a minor.

Future students: Apply now

Apply to Metropolitan State: Start the journey toward your Biochemistry BS now. Learn about the steps to enroll or, if you have questions about what Metropolitan State can offer you, request information, visit campus or chat with an admissions counselor.

Get started on your Biochemistry BS

Program requirements

In addition to the overall graduation requirements, the B.S. Biochemistry major requires each student complete 66 credits in the major, including 25 upper division major credits. All prerequisite and required courses must be completed with grades of C- or above. Transfer coursework equivalency is determined by the Natural Sciences Department. Each foundation science course must include at least one credit of professionally supervised laboratory experience with standard undergraduate laboratory equipment and materials. Lower-division (100- and 200-level) courses cannot be used to fulfill core or elective requirements of the major.

Course requirements

Prerequisite

One of the following courses or math assessment placement score above college algebra is required. This prerequisite does not count towards total credits for this major but fulfills math GELS requirements.

Choose one

MATH 115 College Algebra

4 credits

This course develops the fundamental concepts of algebra with an emphasis on the classification and analysis of linear, quadratic, polynomial, exponential and logarithmic functions. Applications to the natural and social sciences are given throughout. It aims to provide insights into the nature and utility of mathematics, and helps students develop mathematical reasoning skills.

Full course description for College Algebra

MATH 120 Precalculus

4 credits

This course is designed to prepare students for calculus. Topics include polynomial, rational, exponential, logarithmic, and trigonometric functions; the algebra of functions; multiple function representations; and an introduction to analytic geometry.

Full course description for Precalculus

Requirements (120 credits)

Pre-major Foundation (12 credits)

CHEM 111 General Chemistry I

4 credits

The first semester of the comprehensive first year course in chemistry. Covers measurement, stoichiometry, solution chemistry, atomic structure, bonding, molecular structure, molecular visualization, and problem solving. Lab includes basic laboratory techniques, instrumentation, methodology, chemical analysis, and laboratory notebook procedures. The labs are also designed to engage students in critical thinking and concept building and are directly coordinated with the lecture part of the course. Intended for students who are pursuing, or considering, the biology or life sciences teaching major and/or chemistry minor, and qualified students seeking a general education science course with lab.

Full course description for General Chemistry I

CHEM 112 General Chemistry II

4 credits

The second semester of the comprehensive algebra-based first year course in chemistry. Covers acid/base theory, chemical equilibria, nuclear and electrochemistry, redox reactions, terminology, functional groups, reactivity of organic compounds and an introduction to biochemistry. Includes lab. Intended for students pursuing the biology or life sciences teaching major and/or chemistry minor.

Full course description for General Chemistry II

BIOL 111 General Biology I

4 credits

The first semester of the comprehensive first year course in biology. Covers the biochemistry and inner workings of cells, energy metabolism, genetics, cellular physiology, population genetics and evolutionary pattern and process. Laboratory topics include use of the microscope, biochemistry, cell structure and function, genetics, and evolution. Intended for students who are pursuing, or considering, the major in biology or life sciences teaching.

Full course description for General Biology I

Core Requirements (46 credits)
Lower-Division Core

CHEM 231 Organic Chemistry I

4 credits

The first semester of a comprehensive course in organic chemistry. This course covers structure and nomenclature, bonding theory, reaction mechanisms, stereochemistry, reaction kinetics and thermodynamics, instrument methods [e.g. NMR, IR, MS] and the syntheses and reactions of various functional groups of organic compounds. Molecular modeling software is used to assist in visualizing structures and reaction mechanisms, and in the interpretation of various spectra. Intended for biology majors and chemistry minors.

Full course description for Organic Chemistry I

CHEM 231L Organic Chemistry I Lab

1 credits

This course provides the laboratory experience to accompany Chem 231 Organic Chemistry I. This course introduces the techniques, specialized equipment, instrumental methods and safety procedures common in an organic lab setting. Students get hands-on experience with the instrumentation, equipment, hazardous material procedures, and multi-step methods employed in the synthesis of larger, more complicated organic structures from simpler molecules.

Full course description for Organic Chemistry I Lab

PHYS 211 Calculus Based Physics I

5 credits

This is the first course of a two semester sequence covering the fundamental concepts of physics. This course covers Newton's laws of motion, work, energy, linear momentum, rotational motion, gravity, equilibrium and elasticity, periodic motion, fluid mechanics, temperature, heat, and the laws of thermodynamics. Laboratories emphasize application of physics concepts and quantitative problem solving skills. Intended for science majors and general education students with strong mathematical background.

Full course description for Calculus Based Physics I

PHYS 212 Calculus Based Physics II

5 credits

This is the second course of a two semester sequence covering the fundamental concepts of physics. This course covers oscillatory motion, waves, superposition and interference of waves, diffraction, electricity and magnetism, electric circuits, light, mirrors and lenses. Laboratories emphasize application of physics concepts and quantitative problem solving skills. Intended for science majors.

Full course description for Calculus Based Physics II

STAT 201 Statistics I

4 credits

This course covers the basic principles and methods of statistics. It emphasizes techniques and applications in real-world problem solving and decision making. Topics include frequency distributions, measures of location and variation, probability, sampling, design of experiments, sampling distributions, interval estimation, hypothesis testing, correlation and regression.

Full course description for Statistics I

Calculus Requirement (4 or 8 credits)

MATH 208 or both MATH 210 and MATH 211

MATH 208 Applied Calculus

4 credits

This course provides an overview of the differential calculus for single and multivariable functions and an introduction to the integral calculus and differential equations, with an emphasis on applications to the natural and physical sciences. Particular topics covered in the course include limits, ordinary and partial derivatives, applications of derivatives, definite integrals, fundamental theorem of calculus, applications of definite integrals, models involving differential equations, Eulers method, equilibrium solutions.

Full course description for Applied Calculus

MATH 210 Calculus I

4 credits

Since its beginnings, calculus has demonstrated itself to be one of humankind's greatest intellectual achievements. This versatile subject has proven useful in solving problems ranging from physics and astronomy to biology and social science. Through a conceptual and theoretical framework this course covers topics in differential calculus including limits, derivatives, derivatives of transcendental functions, applications of differentiation, L'Hopital's rule, implicit differentiation, and related rates.

Full course description for Calculus I

MATH 211 Calculus II

4 credits

This is a continuation of Math 210 Calculus I and a working knowledge of that material is expected. Through a conceptual and theoretical framework this course covers the definite integral, the fundamental theorem of calculus, applications of integration, numerical methods for evaluating integrals, techniques of integration and series.

Full course description for Calculus II

Upper-Division Core

BIOL 304 Molecular Biology

5 credits

This course covers molecular biology, the study of genetic expression at the molecular level-including transcription, translation, and DNA replication emphasizing structure and function, and focusing on how molecular lab techniques elucidate the genetic mechanisms of the cell. Lab includes recombinant DNA, gel electrophoresis, PCR and sterile technique. Intended for biology majors.

Full course description for Molecular Biology

CHEM 332 Organic Chemistry II

4 credits

The second semester of a comprehensive course in organic chemistry. This course introduces organic functional groups that include oxygen, nitrogen, and aromatic systems and related reaction mechanisms, multi-step synthetic routes, polymers, and introduce the chemical structures common in many biomolecules. Instrumentals methods (e.g. NMR, IR, MS, UV) are discussed in greater detail, and molecular modeling software used to assist in visualizing structures and reaction mechanisms, and in the interpretation of various spectra. Intended for biology majors and chemistry minors.

Full course description for Organic Chemistry II

CHEM 332L Organic Chemistry II Lab

1 credits

This course provides the laboratory experience to accompany CHEM 232 Organic Chemistry II. This course continues the introduction of the techniques, specialized equipment, instrumental methods and safety procedures that was begun in Chem 231 Organic Chem I Lab. Students get hands-on experience with the instrumentation, equipment, hazardous material procedures, and multi-step methods employed in the synthesis of larger, more complicated organic structures from simpler molecules.

Full course description for Organic Chemistry II Lab

CHEM 325 Biochemistry I: Biomolecule Structure and Function

3 credits

This course is the first of two-semester biochemistry lecture sequence and part of three lecture-lab biochemistry series. The series broadly cover the study of chemical processes in living organisms. In this course, the emphasis is on the structure and function of biomoleculesparticularly proteins and nucleic acid. Topics covered include structure and function of proteins, lipids, carbohydrates, and nucleotides and nucleic acids; biosignaling pathways and signal transduction; biological membranes and the mechanism of protein transporters; acid-base chemistry and how it applies to enzyme mechanism; and, enzyme kinetics and coenzyme structure and function.

Full course description for Biochemistry I: Biomolecule Structure and Function

CHEM 327 Biochemistry Laboratory

2 credits

This lecture/laboratory course exposes students to modern techniques in biochemistry. The course is part of a year-long biochemistry series that broadly cover the study of chemical processes in living organisms. Biochemical techniques covered include bench chemistry techniques, chromatography techniques, polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, protein purification and characterization, protein assay techniques, and spectrophotometry. Students also carry out semester-end research project in which they apply the techniques they learned in the first part of the semester.

Full course description for Biochemistry Laboratory

CHEM 341 Quantitative Analysis

5 credits

This course is first in a series for analytical chemistry. Student work will focus on the fundamental principles of volumetric and gravimetric methods for separation, identification and quantification of chemical substances. Students will learn proper statistical treatment of experimental data and error analysis as well as develop concepts of accuracy and precision. Techniques and concepts presented in this class are in high demand by a variety of industrial labs.

Full course description for Quantitative Analysis

CHEM 429 Biochemistry II: Bioenergetics, Metabolism, and Macromolecule Biosynthesis

3 credits

This course is the second of two-semester biochemistry lecture sequence and part of three lecture-lab biochemistry series. The series broadly cover the study of chemical processes in living organisms. In this course, students learn about the energy producing pathways of glycolysis, Krebs cycle, oxidative phosphorylation, and fatty-acid oxidation. Coverage will also include a discussion of how biosynthetic processes are controlled and integrated with metabolism of the cell as well as gene regulation and biochemical aspects of evolution. This course is intended for students majoring in chemistry and provides more extensive coverage of the subject than a student will get in a comprehensive/introduction to biochemistry course.

Full course description for Biochemistry II: Bioenergetics, Metabolism, and Macromolecule Biosynthesis

Electives (8 credits)

CHEM 469 may be repeated 3 semesters.

CHEM 351 Physical Chemistry I

5 credits

This course introduces the concepts of thermodynamics. Topics include first law of thermodynamics, second law of thermodynamics, entropy, statistical mechanics, specific heat capacities of gases and solids, efficiency and the Carnot cycle, chemical potential, chemicals and phase equilibriums, etc. Applications explored will include the behavior of gases and the operation of heat engines. Laboratories emphasize real world applications of the concepts and problem solving skills taught in this course.

Full course description for Physical Chemistry I

CHEM 407 Biochemistry of Neurological Disorders

3 credits

This course is intended for Chemistry, Biochemistry, and Biology majors and counts as an elective for the Biochemistry, Chemistry, and Biology majors. Course lecture will focus on discussions of the biochemical aspects of neurodegenerative diseases, addiction, and poisons, such as the roles of metal ions and non-covalent interactions in protein folding and function. The course involves extensive reading and discussion of primary literature with a strong focus on data interpretation and experimental design.

Full course description for Biochemistry of Neurological Disorders

CHEM 421 Medicinal Chemistry

3 credits

Medicinal chemistry allows the advanced chemistry student to explore the considerations of drug design and development as well as case studies on how different classes of therapeutic agents act in the human body. Topics include drug targets, drug sources, structure-activity relationships, pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, and the modern drug discovery pipeline. This class is suggested for those students intending to continue in health sciences.

Full course description for Medicinal Chemistry

CHEM 433 Advanced Organic Chemistry

3 credits

This upper-division elective course is designed for chemistry majors and minors who have completed Organic Chemistry 1 and 2. Students will develop their abilities to construct multistep syntheses for complex molecules, including asymmetric catalysis, and refine their understanding of reaction mechanisms. Students will expand their knowledge of transformations on molecules with biological, pharmaceutical, and industrial significance. Students will read current primary literature for organic chemistry and gain understanding of research methodologies.

Full course description for Advanced Organic Chemistry

CHEM 435 Advanced Organic Chemistry Lab

2 credits

This upper-division elective laboratory course is designed for chemistry majors and minors who have completed Organic Chemistry 1 and 2 lab courses (CHEM 231L and CHEM 332L). This two credit lab course is designed to be taken concurrently with CHEM 433, Advanced Organic Chemistry lecture. Students will gain experience with techniques of multistep synthesis, handling of moisture and air sensitive reagents, solid phase chemistry, assymetric catalysis, chromatography, and further their understanding of analytical techniques such as simple and multidimensional NMR, mass spectrometry, GC or HPLC, and IR.

Full course description for Advanced Organic Chemistry Lab

CHEM 469 Seminars in Chemistry

1 credits

This course develops critical analysis of primary scientific presentations by utilizing the many scientific seminar presentations offered in the Twin Cities Area. These presentations include those given by educational institutions such as Metropolitan State University and the University of Minnesota or public seminars given by area industrial speakers. The student chooses eight one-hour seminars to attend; for one presenter, the student conducts further analysis and writes a 5-7 page paper demonstrating how the currently presented research integrates with the presenters past work or the surrounding research community. This course can, with instructor permission, be taken more than once for credit. This course cannot be used to fulfill the General Education Goal III Natural Science requirement. This course may be used to fulfill the upper division credits for the Chemistry minor.

Full course description for Seminars in Chemistry

CHEM 488 Directed Research in Biochemistry

1-5 credits

This is a faculty designed independent study (FDIS) which provides students the opportunity to do independent research in the field of biochemistry under the supervision of a resident chemistry/biology faculty member. This course improves students problem solving, analytical, and reasoning skills. At the end of the course, students complete a research report that must be approved by the instructor. The number of credits will be decided by the faculty and the student.

Full course description for Directed Research in Biochemistry

BIOL 302 Cell Biology and Histology

5 credits

This course covers life in terms of molecules, cells, tissues, and organs, integrating these levels of complexity and focusing on the underlying molecular and cellular mechanisms of biological function. Topics include membrane structure and function, trafficking of molecules, the endomembrane system signal transduction pathways, extracellular matrix, and the cell cytoskeleton. Laboratory includes descriptive histology of animal tissues. Intended for biology and life sciences teaching majors.

Full course description for Cell Biology and Histology

BIOL 330 Biology of Microorganisms

5 credits

This course covers the taxonomy, structure, function and ecology of microbes including bacteria, viruses, fungi and protista. Additional topics include microbial pathogensis, the response of the mammalian immune system to microbial infection, microbial metabolic diversity and microbial biotechnology. Labs include use of microscope, survey of types of microbes, isolation of microbes from the environment, identification of microbes, staining of bacteria, action of antibiotics and disinfectants, counting of bacteria in food and water and use of microbes in food and beverage production. Intended for biology majors and minors.

Full course description for Biology of Microorganisms