Biochemistry Major

Program Director: Lee Friedman, Ph.D.

The study of molecular and atomic properties and interactions that encompass Chemistry and Biochemistry are central to many scientific disciplines including biology, geology, astronomy, environmental science, materials science and numerous others. Chemistry and Biochemistry majors continue to graduate or professional school, and obtain employment as educators and technical scientists. Courses offered by this department may be found under the following acronyms: BCHM, CHEM

Admission to the Major

Chemistry and Biochemistry are part of a Limited Enrollment program (LEP) within the College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences (CMNS). Current UMCP students who wish to declare in CHEM or BCHM must complete a series of gateway courses (CHEM146/CHEM177 (or CHEM131/CHEM132),
CHEM237 (or  CHEM231/CHEM232), and MATH140 and MATH141) prior to applying to the program. Information is available at:

Placement in Courses

The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry rigorously enforces all of its prerequisites. Enrollment in CHEM131/CHEM132 or CHEM146/CHEM177 requires placement in calculus (MATH120 or MATH135 or MATH140).

Program Learning Outcomes

  1. Students should demonstrate mastery of a body of knowledge represented by the curricula in Chemistry and Biochemistry. Students should have mastered the critical knowledge in each level in the curriculum that is necessary to move on to the next level in the curriculum.
  2. The ability to read, evaluate and interpret chemical and numerical information for a novel problem using their foundational knowledge in science.
  3. Students should have knowledge of appropriate safe-handling procedures and disposal of chemicals.
  4. Students at lower level should demonstrate an ability to carry out key experimental techniques used in the chemical and life sciences disciplines.
  5. Students at upper level should be able to design experiment to test specific hypotheses, carry out these experiments using appropriate instrumentation and analyze the results.
  6. Students should demonstrate the ability to use the broader scientific literature to select appropriate information to support his/her work.
  7. Students should effectively communicate, both verbally and in writing, the processes of science and the results of scientific inquiry using appropriate language and models of chemistry (i.e. equations, symbolism, etc).
  8. Students should understand the importance of good ethical practices in scientific research.
  9. Students should continue their career in science through gainful employment or entrance into a graduate or professional school.

All required chemistry, biochemistry, and upper-level biological sciences courses must be passed with a minimum grade of "C-".  Required supporting courses, including BSCI170 & BSCI171, must be passed with a 2.0 grade point average.

Course Title Credits
UNIV100The Student in the University1
Lower-Level CHEM Courses
Principles of General Chemistry
and Introduction to Laboratory Practices and Research in the Chemical Sciences
CHEM237Principles of Organic Chemistry I4
CHEM247Principles of Organic Chemistry II4
General Chemistry and Energetics - Majors
and Fundamentals of Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry Laboratory
Supporting Courses
Principles of Molecular & Cellular Biology
and Principles of Molecular & Cellular Biology Laboratory
General Physics: Mechanics and Particle Dynamics
and General Physics: Electricity, Magnetism and Thermodynamics
and General Physics: Mechanics, Vibrations, Waves, Heat (Laboratory)
MATH140Calculus I4
MATH141Calculus II4
MATH241Calculus III4
Required Upper Level CHEM/BCHM Courses
CHEM395Professional Issues in Chemistry and Biochemistry1
CHEM425Instrumental Methods of Analysis4
Physical Chemistry I
and Physical Chemistry Laboratory I 1
BCHM461Biochemistry I3
BCHM462Biochemistry II3
BCHM464Biochemistry Laboratory3
BCHM465Biochemistry III3
BCHM485Physical Biochemistry3
Approved biological science courses6
Total Credits73

Note: All majors and potential majors are encouraged to take MATH241 prior to beginning Physical Chemistry.

  • Specific information about course requirements can be obtained in the undergraduate office.
  • Students who enroll in the chemistry or biochemistry program at any time following the first semester of study typically will complete all or part of the non-majors introductory sequence (CHEM131,CHEM132, CHEM231/CHEM232, CHEM241/CHEM242 and CHEM271/CHEM272; CHEM132, CHEM232, CHEM242 and CHEM272 are co-requisite laboratory courses).  In this situation, completion of an additional approved upper level CHEM or BCHM course may be required to fulfill the lower-level departmental major requirements. Transfer students who wish to pursue chemistry or biochemistry majors will have their previous chemistry course work carefully evaluated for placement in the appropriate courses.
  • More information about and requirements for the Biochemistry major can be found at:

Click here for roadmaps for graduation plans in the College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences.

Additional information on developing a graduation plan can be found on the following pages: