Courses & Requirements

The requirements below apply to those students with a 2019-2020 catalog year. Students are required by college policy to follow the major (and minor) requirements found in the catalog in effect at the time they declared their first major. To find your catalog year, please visit your Grades and Academic Records found in myOxy and access the catalog that matches your catalog year.

Biochemistry

Overview

Biochemistry explores the cell's molecular components and the chemical changes characteristic of living organisms. A thorough foundation in both biology and chemistry forms the core of biochemistry. Occidental's biochemists seek to use their scientific knowledge and broad education in the liberal arts to advance the public good and improve health care, economic opportunities, environmental stewardship, national security, as well as expanding human understanding through their teaching and research.

The core portion of the Biochemistry major includes BIO 130, the two biochemistry classes BIO 349 and CHEM 350, and the Biochemistry Senior Seminar, BICH 490. Classroom activities are supplemented by extensive laboratory experience involving the design, execution, and interpretation of experimental results. Biochemistry graduates generally elect to pursue graduate training toward a Ph.D. in Biochemistry or areas in Cell and Molecular Biology, a doctorate in the health professions, employment in the biotechnology field, or a career in education. Students planning on pursuing a Ph.D. are advised to take several more courses including the advanced Cell and Molecular offerings in Biology, and advanced Chemistry courses in Chemistry, to broaden their education. Biochemistry students are strongly encouraged to pursue their particular interests through an independent study-research project (BIO 395 or CHEM 395). The Biochemistry program is eager to accommodate the foreign study aspirations of its majors; however, due to the curriculum's sequential nature, careful advance planning is required.

Students wishing to declare the Biochemistry major should have completed two Biology and two Chemistry classes with at least a 2.7 GPA in these classes and arrange for the discussion of their schedule with one of the Program's advisors.

Major Requirements

BIOLOGY COMPONENT

(5 courses)

BIO 130Introduction to Cell and Molecular Biology

4 units

BIO 349Biochemistry I

4 units

Students must select one course from the list below:

BIO 105Marine Biology

4 units

BIO 106Biology of California

4 units

BIO 110Organisms on Earth

4 units

BIO 115General Zoology

4 units

Students must select one course from the list below:

BIO 221Molecular Biology

4 units

BIO 224Genetic Analysis

4 units

BIO 226Cell Biology

4 units

Students must select one course from the list below:

BIO 320Developmental Biology

4 units

BIO 323Histology

4 units

BIO 325Microbial Diversity

4 units

BIO 326Molecular Phylogenetics

4 units

BIO 330Immunology

4 units

BIO 333Neurobiology

4 units

BIO 336Microbial Pathogenesis

4 units

BIO 340Sensory Biology and Neurophysiology

4 units

KINE 306Biochemistry of Exercise and Energy

4 units

CHEMISTRY COMPONENT

(6 courses)

CHEM 220Organic Chemistry I

4 units

CHEM 221Organic Chemistry II

4 units

CHEM 240Integrated Concepts in General Chemistry

4 units

CHEM 350Biochemistry

4 units

Students must select one course from the list below:

CHEM 120Foundations of General Chemistry

4 units

CHEM 130Advanced Placement General Chemistry

4 units

Students must select one course from the list below:

CHEM 300Physical Chemistry I

4 units

CHEM 301Biophysical Chemistry

4 units

MATHEMATICS COMPONENT

Students are required to take both courses listed below:

Calculus 1Scientific Modeling and Differential Calculus

4 units

Calculus 2Scientific Modeling and Integral Calculus

4 units

PHYSICS COMPONENT

Students are required to select one option (2 required courses) from the list below:

Option 1 -

PHYS 110Introductory Mechanics

4 units

PHYS 120Introductory Electricity and Magnetism

4 units

Option 2 -

PHYS 115General Physics I

4 units

PHYS 125General Physics II

4 units

SENIOR SEMINAR

Students are to enroll in BICH 490 (2 units) each semester of their senior year.

Second-Stage Writing Requirement

Students should familiarize themselves with the second-stage writing requirement at the time of declaring the major. Students majoring in Biochemistry will satisfy this requirement by completing an in-depth research paper  during the fall semester of BICH 490 (Senior Seminar). This paper is evaluated by the instructors for BICH 490 and by members of the Biochemistry Advisory Committee. Students who do not fulfill this requirement during BICH 490 must consult with the Biochemistry program Chair about available alternatives. This may mean enrolling in WRD 201 (passing with a C or better).  Students can meet with the Biochemistry program Chair for more detailed information about the process of fulfilling the second-stage writing requirement.

Comprehensive Requirement

The student must pass the Graduate Record Examination in Biochemistry at the 50th percentile rank or the American Chemical Society undergraduate examination in Biochemistry at the 50th percentile rank. The student will also satisfactorily write a research paper and present a seminar during the senior year on an area of current research in the field of Biochemistry to an audience of Occidental students and faculty. A student can earn a Pass with Distinction in Biochemistry with a 75th percentile rank and a distinguished paper and seminar presentation.

College Honors

In addition to the requirements for College honors, the student will successfully defend a written thesis based upon the outcome of his or her laboratory research effort as an undergraduate. See the Honors Program for more information.

Transfer Credit Policies

The Biochemistry Program policy on transfer credit conforms to College policy. Students should reference the Transfer Credit section for details.

Information that can be included in this section include:
  • specific policies for majors/minors
  • AP/IB Exam credit - course equivalencies?
  • Online courses
  • Policies specifically for matriculating frosh, transfer students, returning students after a leave of absence
Information that can be included in this section include:
  • specific policies for majors/minors
  • AP/IB Exam credit - course equivalencies?
  • Online courses
  • Policies specifically for matriculating frosh, transfer students, returning students after a leave of absence

Courses

Biochemistry Courses