College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
Professors Craig (chair), Amasino, Ansari, Attie, Bednarek, Butcher, Clagett-Dame, Cleland, Cox, DeLuca, Fox, Friesen, Hayes, Holden, Inman, Kiessling, Kimble, Markley, Martin, Nelson, Ntambi, Palmenberg, Phillips, Pike, Ralph, Raines, Rayment, Record, Reed, Sussman, Wickens; Associate Professor Mitchell; Assistant Professors Hoskins, Pagliarini, Senes, Weibel
Undergraduate advisor in the major: Contact the department office for an advisor, 111 Biochemistry Addition, 608-265-9846.
Biochemistry is the basic science which has as its goal an explanation of life processes in molecular, physical, and chemical terms. It deals with the chemical and physical properties of living matter and chemical changes occurring in living matter.
The major in biochemistry fits the needs of students who wish to end their training with the bachelor's degree, as well as of those students planning on postgraduate work. This major provides an excellent background for graduate study in chemistry, biochemistry, or other allied fields such as biology, bacteriology, genetics, molecular biology, virology, or oncology. In addition, the degree will serve as an excellent preparation for teaching, health professional school, technical sales, or work in industrial labs, hospital or clinical labs.
Students with a graduate degree in biochemistry are in demand as participants in research groups in hospitals, medical schools, and academic institutions, as well as in a large number of government laboratories and research institutions. There are many opportunities for biochemists in industries concerned with food processing, drug production, and in the various areas of the chemical and petroleum industry.
Any student desiring to enter the program in biochemistry should contact the department office, 111 Biochemistry Addition, to arrange a meeting with the undergraduate advisor. It is desirable to do this as early in the student's academic career as possible. Students in the College of Letters & Science may major in biochemistry without transferring to the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences.
The basic requirements for the major include 23 credits of chemistry, 8–9 credits of biochemistry, and 16 credits of biology. Depending on particular interests, the student can concentrate electives in these areas to lead to a degree that contains as much chemistry as a chemistry major, or which is more complete in the biological sciences. The biochemistry department allows undergraduate majors in the department to continue beyond the sophomore year only if they have maintained an overall grade point average of at least 2.5 (4.0 basis) for their first two years.
All L&S students must fulfill the L&S requirement of at least 15 credits of upper-level work in the major completed in residence. Biochemistry courses 500 and above, biology courses 300 and above, and Chemistry 561 or 563 and 565 count toward this requirement.
FOUNDATION COURSES FOR THE MAJOR
Mathematics (10–15 cr)
This major requires calculus. Prerequisites may need to be taken before enrollment in calculus. Refer to the Course Guide for information about calculus prerequisites.
One (1) of the following sets:
(a) Math 221 and 222
(b) Math 171 and 217 and 222
(c) Math 275 and 276
General Chemistry (5–9 cr)
Chem 103 (4 cr) and 104 (5 cr) or Chem 109 (5 cr)
Biology (10 cr)
One (1) of the following sets:
(a) Biology/Botany/Zoology 151 and 152
(b) Biocore 301 and 303 and 323 and 333
Physics (10 cr)
One of the following sets:
(a) Physics 201 and 202
(b) Physics 207 and 208
COURSE REQUIREMENTS OF THE MAJOR
Advanced Biology (6 cr)
One of the following:
6 credits of advanced genetics, microbiology, botany, physiology, or zoology as approved by advisor;
Two of the following labs: Biocore 302, 304, 324
Advanced Chemistry (17 cr)
Chem 343 (3 cr) and 344 (2 cr) and 345 (3 cr)
Chem 327 (4 cr) or 329 (4 cr)
Chem 563 (1–2 cr)
Chem 565 (4 cr)
Biochemistry Core (5–8 cr)
One (1) group required:
Group 1 (6–8 cr)
Biochem 507 (3–4 cr)
Biochem 508 (3–4 cr.)
Group 2 (5–6 cr)
Biochem 501 (3 cr)
2 additional credits from: Biochem 510, 550, 575, 601, 606, 612, 620, 621, 624, 625, 630, 636, 660
Capstone (3 cr) Biochem 651
Freshmen are encouraged to enroll in Freshman Biochemistry Seminar. Additional mathematics, computer sciences, or statistics are recommended. Other electives would include additional chemistry or biology courses. In addition, all biochemistry majors are encouraged to engage in independent research (e.g., Biochemistry 299, 699).
Enrollment Information. All biochemistry conference courses require department authorization. Students should see their advisor to obtain authorization.
To earn Honors in the Major in Biochemistry, students are required to take at least 20 honors credits in the physical sciences (math, physics and chemistry), and at least two courses in biological sciences for honors. Within the biochemistry department, students must take Biochemistry 507–508 with 289 for one additional honors credit. Junior and senior honors students with a 3.5 GPA or above may also receive honors credits by earning a grade of B or above in graduate courses at the 700 level in the department.
Honors in the Major requires a senior honors thesis, Biochemistry 681–682, for a total of 6 honors credits, or an honors thesis for a total of 6 honors credits in another biological sciences department or in chemistry. A decision by the student to do his/her thesis in another department is subject to advisor approval. Honors in the Major requires a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.3 in science courses and an overall GPA of at least 3.3 in all courses taken at UW–Madison at the time of graduation.
Students should check with the department honors advisor at least once a year to seek guidance about planning the best possible Honors in the Major curriculum that reflects their special interests.