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The Biology Department, in collaboration with the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, offers a special major in Biochemistry. This major gives students the opportunity to gain a strong background in chemistry with special emphasis on the application of chemistry to biochemical and molecular biological problems. Approval and advising for this special major are through the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry. 

Requirements for the course major in Biochemistry

Students pursuing a course major in Biochemistry must complete Chemistry 022, 032, 034, 038, 045A/C, 046, 050 and 108 (Topics in Biochemistry). Biochemistry majors must also complete either:

  • One biochemically related sophomore-level Biology course (with lab) and a biochemically related advanced Biology seminar (with lab) OR
  •  Two biochemically related, sophomore-level Biology courses with labs. Note that Biology 001, Chemistry 010, Math 015, one of Math 025, 025s or 026, one of Math 033, 034 or 035 and Physics 003 and 004 are prerequisites for some of these offerings.

Biochemically related courses offered in the Department of Biology

Lecture + Laboratory (1-credit) Recommended pre-requisites
BIOL 010 Genetics BIOL 001
BIOL 014 Cell Biology BIOL 001 and CHEM 022
BIOL 016 Microbiology# BIOL 001 and CHEM 022
BIOL 017 Microbial Pathogenesis BIOL 001 and CHEM 022
BIOL 020 Animal Physiology BIOL 001 and 002 (CHEM 010)

BIOL 022 Neurobiology

BIOL 001 and CHEM 010

BIOL 024 Developmental Biology

BIOL 001 and 002
BIOL 025 Plant Biology BIOL 001 and 002
# These courses are not offered every year


Seminar + Laboratory (2-credit)
BIOL 110 Human Genetics BIOL 010
BIOL 125 Developmental Genetics BIOL 024
BIOL 114 Symbiotic Interactions BIOL 014
BIOL 115 Plant Molecular Genetics BIOL 025
BIOL 116 Microbial Proc. & Biotech. BIOL 016 or 017
BIOL 119

Genomics & Systems Biology

BIOL 001, & any Group I or II
BIOL 122

Developmental Neurobiology

BIOL 022 or 111
BIOL 123 Learning and Memory BIOL 022
BIOL 124 Hormones and Behavior BIOL 020 or 022
BIOL 136 Molecular Ecology and Evolution
BIOL 001, 002, and 034


Requirements for the honors program in Biochemistry

The Honors program in biochemistry consists of four preparations in at least two departments, as follows:

  • Topics in Biochemistry (Chem 108) OR Biophysical Chemistry Seminar (Chem 110). Only one is required; however, both may be taken.
  • One biochemically related preparation from the Biology Department
  • A two-credit biochemistry-oriented research thesis carried out under the supervision of faculty from the Chemistry and/or Biology Departments
  • One additional preparation, from either the Chemistry Department or the biochemically related preparations offered by the Biology and Psychology Departments.
  • Biochemistry majors are expected to participate in the Senior Honors Study program in Biology only if the thesis research is done in the Biology Department. There is no SHS in Biochemistry if the thesis research is supervised in the Chemistry Department.
  • Biochemistry majors must conduct thesis research with a Swarthmore faculty member.