Are you interested in biological processes such as cell development, growth and heredity? Then take a seat at one of CMU’s lab benches, with a major in biochemistry. You’ll study the chemistry of living systems in pharmaceutical, diagnostic, agricultural and environmental products that are manufactured or used by biological molecules such as DNA and proteins. Biochemistry faculty at CMU prepare professionals who are able to excel in biotechnology, health professions, pharmaceutical industries and forensics, as well as in the traditional yet exciting roles of chemistry and biology.
Points of Pride
- Use your skills of discovery to make life better. CMU is a Carnegie-classified doctoral research institution. Its faculty and students – including undergrads – work elbow-to-elbow to change lives by researching cancer vaccines and better treatment for Huntington's, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases.
- CMU’s $95 million Biosciences Building is the largest capital project ever in the university’s 120-plus year history. The four-story, 169,000-square-foot building, opening for classes in January 2017, will dramatically advance the university’s instructional learning and scientific research space.
Put Your Degree to Work
Biochemistry graduates have a variety of career options, including work as an agricultural chemist, biochemist, college or university professor, environmental chemist, high school teacher, materials scientist or toxicologist. Employment of biochemists is projected to grow 19 percent from 2012 to 2022, faster than the average for all occupations. More biochemists will be needed to develop biological products and processes that improve our lives.
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics sample data
Below is a list of potential careers, median salary over the course of the career and projected job growth.
|Job||Median Pay||Job Growth through 2026|
|Chemist||$46,630 per year||23% (6,300 more jobs)|
|Environmental scientist||$69,400 per year||11% (9,900 more jobs)|
|Postsecondary teacher||$76,000 per year||15% (197,800 more jobs)|
The course listings below are a representation of what this academic program requires. For a full review of this program in detail please see our official online academic bulletin AND consult with an academic advisor. This listing does not include the General Education courses required for all majors and may not include some program specific information, such as admissions, retention, and termination standards.
(Click on the course name or number for a complete course description.)
Total: 71 semester hours
Note: A minor in Chemistry is not allowed with a Biochemistry major.
Chemistry Foundation II
Select one of the following:
This course provides theoretical foundation in thermodynamics, quantum chemistry, spectroscopy, and chemical kinetics. Prerequisites: CHM 211; MTH 133; PHY 146.
Application of physical theories to the understanding of energetics, kinetics, and spectra of biochemically relevant structures and reactions. Prerequisites: CHM 211; MTH 133; Pre/Co-Requisite: PHY 131 or 146.
Chemistry Foundation I
General Chemistry I
Fundamental concepts of chemistry including stoichiometry, gas laws, thermochemistry, and molecular structure. CHM 131 is a first course for science majors. Satisfies University Program Group II laboratory requirement. Recommended: High school algebra or MTH 107; high school chemistry or CHM 120. (University Program Group II-B: Quantitative and Mathematical Sciences)
General Chemistry II
Continuation of CHM 131 including solutions, kinetics, equilibrium, weak acids and bases, thermodynamics, and electrochemistry. Prerequisite: CHM 131. Recommended: a grade of C or better in CHM 131.
Analysis and interpretation of quantitative chemical information from volumetric, electrochemical, spectroscopic, and chromatographic techniques. This course may be offered in an online/hybrid format. Prerequisite: CHM 132 or 161. Recommended: MTH 107. Quantitative Reasoning.
Organic Chemistry I: Foundations
Foundational course in organic chemistry. Designed to support in-depth coursework in both organic chemistry and bioorganic/biochemistry. Prerequisite: CHM 132.
Organic Chemistry II: Bioorganic
This course applies and expands upon the foundational concepts of organic chemistry in a biological context. For biochemistry, pharmacy, pre-health professional, and biology students. Prerequisites: CHM 343.
Organic Chemistry Laboratory
Laboratory techniques in organic chemistry; methods of synthesis, separation, purification, structure determination - spectroscopic methods; utilization of electronic database (Scifinder) searching techniques. Prerequisite: CHM 345. Pre/Co-requisite: CHM 346.
Fundamentals of Biochemistry
Structure, function, and metabolism of proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, and nucleic acids. Prerequisites: CHM 346.
Continuation of CHM 521. Material covered will include in-depth exploration of metabolism of biomacromolecules and biochemical processes requiring their use. Prerequisites: CHM 521.
Isolation, characterization, and analysis of proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, vitamins, and nucleic acids using chromatographic, electrophoretic, and spectroscopic techniques. Prerequisite: CHM 211, CHM 349. Pre/Co-Requisite: CHM 425 or CHM 521.
Bioanalytical Techniques Laboratory
Laboratory analysis of biochemical materials using volumetric, electroanalytical, spectroscopic, and chromatographic techniques. Prerequisites: CHM 211 or graduate standing; Pre/Co-requisite: CHM 425 or 521.
Culminating experience for chemistry/biochemistry majors: Research; capstone thesis. Development of critical thinking, laboratory skills, instrumentation competence, scientific reasoning and communication skills. Writing Intensive. Prerequisites: 8 credits of chemistry courses and permission of instructor.
Required Courses I
Foundations of Evolution and Diversity
Basic principles of evolution and the application of these principles to the history and diversity of life. Satisfies University Program Group II laboratory requirement. (University Program Group II-A: Descriptive Sciences)
Foundations of Cell Biology
Structure and function of bacteria, archaea, and eukaryotic cells including biological molecules, bioenergetics, membrane transport, respiration, photosynthesis, cell communication, and cell division. Prerequisite: BIO 111 with a C- or better. Prerequisite/Co-requisite: CHM 131.
Foundations of Genetics
Foundations and applications of molecular and transmission genetics in a diversity of organisms. Prerequisite: BIO 112 with a C- or better. Prerequisite/Co-requisite: CHM 132.
Laboratory experience emphasizing the theory and practice of techniques used in basic cell and molecular biology research and their applications in biotechnology. May be offered as Writing Intensive. Prerequisites: BIO 212, 213 both with a grade of C- or better; or BIO 211 with a grade of C- or better and a signed major in Biochemistry; or BIO 324 or 326; CHM 132.
Limits, continuity, interpretations of the derivative, differentiation of elementary functions, applications of derivatives, antiderivatives, Riemann sums, definite integrals, fundamental theorem of calculus. This course may be offered in an online or hybrid format. Recommended: MTH 107, 109; or MTH 130. (University Program Group II-B: Quantitative and Mathematical Sciences)
Techniques of integration, applications of definite integrals, improper integrals, elementary differential equations, infinite series, Taylor series, and polar coordinates. Prerequisite: MTH 132.
Required Courses II
Select one of the following options:
Sufficient 300 or greater CHM, BIO, or other courses, selected in consultation with program advisor, to meet the required 71 hours.
Select from the following:
Suggestions for electives based on career goals are given below:
Pre-Medical, Pre-Veterinarian, and Pre-Dental: CHM 568, BIO 337, 392, 500, 580, 536, 537, 544.
Pre-Pharmacy (Note: Please check with websites of pharmacy schools you are applying since pre-requisites vary considerably): CHM 568, 337, 500.
Pre-Graduate School: CHM 333, BIO 545, 546, 575, 576WI.
Biology of Microorganisms
General microbiology course that explores the cell structure, metabolism, genetics, and diversity of microorganisms. Prerequisites: BIO 212, 213 both with a C- or better.
Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy
Comparison of the anatomy of vertebrates and close relatives with emphasis on evolutionary interpretation, systematics, ontogeny, functional morphology and adaptation. Prerequisites: BIO 212, 213 both with a grade of C- or better; or BIO 218.
The functioning of the mammalian body and its component parts, with an emphasis on human systems. Prerequisites: BIO 212, 213 with a C- or better, or BIO 208 or 211 with a C- or better and a signed major in biochemistry, biology in any option, biology/biomedical sciences, dietetics, neuroscience, or a signed science minor; CHM 132 or 342.
Special Topics in Biology
Topics of special interest that are not normally included in existing courses. Prerequisites: Course prerequisites will be announced in the Course Search and Registration.
Special Topics in Biology
Topics of special interest that are not normally included in existing courses. Specific topics and instructor’s prerequisites will be announced in Course Search and Registration. Prerequisites: BIO 212, 213 both with a grade of C- or better; Completion of 56 semester hours; See Course Search and Registration.
An introduction to biological statistics; emphasis on concepts of descriptive statistics and central tendency, inferential statistics, one-way ANOVA and correlation/linear regression. Prerequisites: Graduate standing or twelve (12) hours of biology. Recommended MTH 130.
Mechanisms of descent with modification are discussed in a framework of microevolution, speciation, and macroevolution. Prerequisites: BIO 212, 213 both with a C- or better; or BIO 326; or admission to the Biology M.S., Conservation Biology M.S., Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology M.S., Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology Ph.D. program, or Earth and Ecosystem Sciences Ph.D. program.
Molecular nature of genes and recombinant DNA techniques, explored through the analysis of experimental data. Prerequisites: BIO 326, CHM 346; or graduate standing. Recommended: CHM 521, 522.
Endocrine system function including major endocrine glands, hormone synthesis, mechanisms of hormone action, and regulation of key body functions. Prerequisites: BIO 212, 213, 392 all with a grade of C- or better; or graduate standing.
Study of cells and tissues that comprise human organ systems with emphasis on their integration and function using light microscopy. Prerequisites: BIO 212, 213 both with a C- or better; or BIO 390 or 392; or admission to the Biology M.S., Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology M.S., Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology Ph.D. program, or Earth and Ecosystem Sciences Ph.D. program.
A description of the biological and biochemical mechanisms of the immune response. Emphasis will be placed on adaptive immunity activation, immunobiology, and immune system dysfunction. Prerequisites: BIO 212, 213 both with a C- or better and one of: BIO 320, 324, 392; or BIO 211 with a C- or better, BIO 392, and a signed major in biochemistry or neuroscience; or admission to the Biology M.S., Chemistry M.S., Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology M.S., or Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology Ph.D. program. Recommended: CHM 425 or 521.
Basic principles of viral structure and replication. Provides a detailed survey of viruses, including emergent viral pathogens. Explores viral evolution, anti-viral drugs and vaccines. Prerequisites: BIO 324, 326 or Graduate Status in the Biology Department.
Patterns and cellular/molecular mechanisms of embryonic development, emphasizing animals. Prerequisites: BIO 212, 213 with a grade of C- or better; or BIO 324, 326; CHM 132 or 161.
Genetic approach to fundamental biological problems. Covers genetic techniques and modern molecular methods, including recombinant DNA technology and functional genomics in model systems and humans. May be offered as Writing Intensive. Prerequisites: BIO 212, 213 both with a C- or better; or BIO 211 with a C- or better and a signed major in Biochemistry or Neurosciences; or BIO 326; CHM 342 or 346; or graduate standing.
Molecular Genetics Laboratory
Laboratory course, to accompany BIO 545, explores genetic techniques and modern molecular methods, including recombinant DNA technology and functional genomics in model systems. Pre/Co-requisites: BIO 545.
A course that explores advanced topics in cell biology focusing on landmark discoveries and experimental techniques using the primary literature. Prerequisites: BIO 324, 326; or Biology graduate status.
Cellular Dynamics Laboratory
An advanced laboratory course that explores experimental techniques in cell biology research. This is a laboratory course that accompanies BIO 570. Prerequisites: BIO 324, 326; or Biology graduate status. Co- requisite: BIO 570.
Application of bioinformatics techniques. Topics include: gene finding, pairwise and multiple sequence alignments of DNA and protein sequences, and the use of GenBank and BLAST. Prerequisites: BIO 212, 213 with a C- or better; or graduate standing in a Master’s or Ph. D. program in the College of Science and Engineering.
Mammalian Cell Culture
Practical aspects of mammalian cell culture, aseptic technique, cell maintenance, differentiation, and cryopreservation. Writing Intensive. Prerequisites: BIO 212, 213 both with a C- or better; or graduate standing.
Focuses on the relationships between humans and pathogenic microbes. Covers major groups of medically important microorganisms, pathological consequences of infection, diagnosis, and clinical case problemsolving. Prerequisites: BIO 320, 392 both with a C+ or better; or BIO 208, 211, one of: BIO 392 or HSC 215 all with a C+ or better, and a signed major in Neuroscience or Biochemistry; or graduate standing.
Examines various diseases and their importance to wildlife, domestic animals, and humans. Epidemiology and ecology of diseases are discussed within the framework of conservation medicine. Prerequisites: BIO 208, 340; or graduate standing .
Basic principles of normal mammalian cardiovascular physiology. Prerequisites: BIO 392 or graduate standing.
Principles of nervous system function: cytology, electrophysiology, ion channels, membrane potentials, neurochemistry, synaptic function and its modification, sensory physiology. Prerequisites: BIO 392.
Special Topics in Biology
Topics of special interest that are not normally included in existing courses. Specific topics and instructor’s prerequisites will be announced in Course Search and Registration. Prerequisites: BIO 212, 213 both with a grade of C- or better; completion of 56 semester hours; or graduate standing; additional instructor prerequisites will be announced in the Course Search and Registration.
Descriptive chemistry of selected main group and transition elements, coordination complexes, structures and properties of solids. Synthesis and characterization of inorganic compounds. Prerequisites: CHM 132 or CHM 161.
Introduction to the function of metals and inorganic ions in living systems. Metal ion transport, storage, biomineralization, and processes of metalloproteins are examined. Prerequisite: CHM 132 or 161. Recommended: CHM 346.
Advanced Analytical Chemistry
Spectroscopic, electrochemical, and other techniques as applied to analytical chemistry. Prerequisites: CHM 211. Recommended: CHM 352 or 355.
Chemistry of Natural Waters
Fundamentals of laboratory and field analysis of water and their application to environmental studies. Prerequisites: CHM 211.
This course applies analytical chemistry to understand the fate of chemicals in the environment and green chemistry processes. Prerequisites: CHM 211; CHM 343 or 346. Pre/Co-requisites: CHM 351 or 353 or 355.
Environmental Chemistry of the Great Lakes
This hands-on field and laboratory course applies analytical chemistry to analyze air, water, and soil samples collected from Michigan freshwater ecosystems. Prerequisites: CHM 211; CHM 514 or ENS 223 or BIO 213; or graduate standing.
Advanced Inorganic Chemistry
Molecular structure and symmetry, acid-base and oxidation-reduction chemistry, reactivity of inorganic compounds from a thermodynamical basis, catalysis, solid state and organometallic compounds. Prerequisites: CHM 331. Recommended: CHM 352.
Intermediate Organic Chemistry
Mechanisms of organic reactions, emphasizing methods by which these are determined, including kinetics, principles of bonding, stereochemistry, and nuclear magnetic resonance in depth. Prerequisites: CHM 346. Recommended: CHM 351 or 355.
Advanced Chemistry Laboratory
Advanced synthesis, separation, and structure determination of organic and inorganic compounds. Prerequisite: CHM 349, 331.
Materials Chemistry: Inorganics and Nanomaterials
This course will provide a detailed survey of metals, semiconductors, ceramics, and nanomaterials, with a special emphasis on structure-property relationships. Students cannot receive credit for both SAM 700 and CHM 551. Prerequisites: CHM 331 or graduate status. Recommended: CHM 346.
Advanced Physical Chemistry
Advanced development and application of physical theories using a statistical mechanic approach to understanding of molecular energetics and kinetics. Prerequisites: CHM 352 or 355; MTH 233.
Applied Quantum Chemistry
This course provides in-depth quantum theory and its applications to understanding the properties of atoms and molecules. Prerequisites: CHM 353 or graduate standing in Chemistry.
An introductory course on polymer synthesis, polymer theory, and basic characterization techniques. Prerequisites: CHM 346, 352.
Treatment of the following three primary areas: 1) actual chemistry of industry, 2) the technology of industry, and 3) the industrial chemical environment. Prerequisite: CHM 346.
A consideration of the major groups of technologically important polymers, including raw material base, the important methods of manufacture, properties, processing, compounding, uses and testing. Prerequisite: CHM 561.
Introduction to Biomaterials
Introduction to biomaterials science, including materials properties, interactions between materials and living tissues, and materials and biological testing. Prerequisite: CHM 346 or graduate standing. Recommended: CHM 352 or 355, CHM 425 or 521, CHM 561, BIO 110.
Polymer Science Laboratory
Treatment of laboratory techniques common to polymer science: synthesis of polymers and the characterization of these materials by spectroscopic, thermal, and mechanical methods. Prerequisites: CHM 349. Co-requisite: CHM 561.
Interdisciplinary introduction to the science of drug formulation, delivery and efficacy. Prerequisites: CHM 346 or 342 or graduate standing. Recommended: CHM 425 or 521, CHM 355, BIO 392.
Introduction to materials characterization; Characterization methods for polymeric, inorganic, and nanomaterials. Prerequisites: CHM 331; CHM 346 or 347 or 348; or graduate standing.
Topics in Chemistry
Special topics in chemistry presented at an advanced undergraduate - beginning graduate level. Course may be taken for credit more than once; total credit not to exceed nine hours. Prerequisites: See Course Search and Registration.
Seminar in Chemistry
Presentation of technical material and training in the use of chemical literature. Prerequisites: 25 credit hours of chemistry courses or graduate standing.