Contacts | Program of Study | Summary of Requirements | Chemistry Placement Test | Advanced Placement Credit | Optional Chemistry Advanced Placement Exam | Joint Degree Program | Undergraduate Research and Honors | Grading | Laboratory Safety

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Program of Study

The Department of Chemistry, in conjunction with the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (BCMB) in the Division of the Biological Sciences, offers a BS degree in Biological Chemistry. The program is designed to prepare students to enter a variety of interdisciplinary fields in biochemical and biophysical sciences. Undergraduate research is strongly encouraged. By combining resources of both departments, students in this program are given the opportunity to study chemistry and physics of macromolecules, mechanisms of actions of enzymes and hormones, molecular and cellular biology, biotechnology, and other related fields.

Summary of Requirements

CHEM 11100-11200Comprehensive General Chemistry I-II †*‡200
One of the following sequences:200
Calculus I-II
Honors Calculus I-II
Elementary Functions and Calculus I-II (MATH 15000s or higher is strongly recommended)
BIOS 20186Fundamentals of Cell and Molecular Biology **100
BIOS 20187Fundamentals of Genetics (or AP credit, if an AP 5 Fundamentals Sequence is completed) +**100
Total Units600
One of the following: †*100
Comprehensive General Chemistry III
Honors General Chemistry III
MATH 18300-18400-18500Mathematical Methods in the Physical Sciences I-II-III §300
CHEM 20100Inorganic Chemistry I100
PHYS 12100-12200-12300General Physics I-II-III (or higher)300
One of the following sequences:300
Organic Chemistry I-II-III
Honors Organic Chemistry I-II-III
CHEM 26100
  &  26200
Introductory Quantum Mechanics
   and Thermodynamics
CHEM 26700Experimental Physical Chemistry100
One of the following:100
Chemistry of Materials
Introduction to Chemical Biology
Chemical Kinetics and Dynamics
BIOS 20200Introduction to Biochemistry100
BIOS 21317Topics in Biological Chemistry100
One of the following:100
Genome Informatics: How Cells Reorganize Genomes
Developmental Mechanisms
Cell Biology II
Organization, Expression, and Transmission of Genome Information
Human Genetics and Evolution
Biophysics of Biomolecules
Protein Structure and Functions in Medicine
Simulation, Modeling, and Computation in Biophysics
Advanced Molecular Biology
Chromatin & Epigenetics
One approved 30000-level Biochemistry or Chemistry course ±100
Total Units1900

Chemistry Placement Test

The Chemistry Placement Test, taken online in the summer via Canvas, is required for all first-year and transfer students intending to enroll in General, Honors, or Introductory Chemistry. Without a Chemistry Placement Test score, students will not be able to pre-register for Chemistry courses. After the Chemistry Placement Test is scored, the results will be visible in the Student Portal. The Mathematics Placement Test is also required for students' Chemistry placement. For more information on placement examinations, please consult the New Student Advising website.

Advanced Placement Credit

Students who earn a score of 5 on the Advanced Placement (AP) Examination in Chemistry are still required to take the Chemistry Placement Test. Students with an AP score of 5 in Chemistry are given credit for CHEM 11100 Comprehensive General Chemistry I. Students who receive this credit through AP have two options:

  1. Take CHEM 11200 Comprehensive General Chemistry II or CHEM 12200 Honors General Chemistry II in the Winter Quarter. (Students considering CHEM 12200 are strongly encouraged to self-review material prior to starting the course.)
  2. Forfeit their AP credit and take CHEM 11100 Comprehensive General Chemistry I or CHEM 12100 Honors General Chemistry I in the Autumn Quarter. 

Note that no credit is given for IB Chemistry, but students may pursue the Chemistry Advanced Placement option described below.

Optional Chemistry Advanced Placement Exam

First-year and transfer students with a strong Chemistry background (i.e., those who place into CHEM 12100 Honors General Chemistry I on the Chemistry Placement Test) will automatically be registered to take the Chemistry Advanced Placement Exam (CAPE). This exam is optional. The CAPE is offered online via Canvas only at the time of matriculation. All students will receive an email later in the summer outlining how to sit for the CAPE. Performing well on this exam and consulting with the Chemistry Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS), may qualify a student to place out of General Chemistry and into more advanced courses such as CHEM 22000 Organic Chemistry ICHEM 20100 Inorganic Chemistry I, or CHEM 26100 Introductory Quantum Mechanics

If a student is approved to pursue this option, they may substitute quality grades earned in any three of the following courses for their required General Chemistry course credit:

This advanced placement track may fast-track well-prepared students who wish to advance their studies into the various sub-fields of Chemistry, students who wish to double major or minor in Chemistry, or non-Chemistry majors who wish to enroll in advanced courses that require General Chemistry as a prerequisite.

Joint Degree Program

Students who achieve advanced academic standing through their performance on placement examinations or accreditation examinations may consider the formulation of a four-year degree program that leads to the concurrent award of the Joint BS in Biological Chemistry and MS in Chemistry. For more information, consult Vera Dragisich at or the Department of Chemistry at

Undergraduate Research and Honors

Students majoring in Biological Chemistry are strongly encouraged to participate in research with a faculty memberResearch can be either independent or taken for course credit. To participate in research coursework, a student is required to have the consent of a faculty sponsor and the Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS), and to submit the College Reading/Research Course Form. For more information on research opportunities. the Honors Program in Biological Chemistry, and/or how to fill out the College Reading/Research Course Form, please visit the Department of Chemistry website.

Excellent students who pursue a substantive research project with a faculty member in the Department of Chemistry or the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology should plan to submit an honors thesis based on their work. Honors thesis work constitutes a sustained, and in many cases multi-year, project, with students typically beginning no later than their third year and continuing through the following summer and their fourth year. Students who wish to be considered for honors are expected to complete their arrangements with the Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS) before the end of their third year and to register for one quarter of CHEM 29900 Advanced Research in Chemistry or one year of CHEM 29600 Research in Chemistry during their third or fourth years.

To be eligible to receive honors, students in the BS degree program in Biological Chemistry must write a creditable honors paper describing their research. The paper must be submitted before the deadline established by the Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS) and must be approved by the Department of Chemistry and the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. In addition, an oral presentation of the research is required. The research paper or project used to meet this requirement may not be used to meet the BA paper or project requirement in another major.

To earn a BS degree with honors in Biological Chemistry, students must also have an overall GPA of 3.0 or higher.


Students majoring in Biological Chemistry must earn (1) a major GPA of 2.0 or higher and (2) a C- or higher in all courses required by the Biological Chemistry major, including those courses counting toward general education requirements in the mathematical, biological, and physical sciences. Nonmajors may take Chemistry courses on a P/F basis; only grades of C- or higher constitute passing work.

Laboratory Safety

In chemistry labs, safety goggles must be worn at all times. Students who require prescriptive lenses may wear prescription glasses under goggles; contact lenses may not be worn. Exceptions for medical reasons must be obtained from the lab director.


Undergraduate Primary Contact

Advisor for Chemistry and Biological Chemistry Majors
John Anderson

Secondary Contact

Adviser for the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Marvin Makinen