2018-2019 Undergraduate Catalog 
    Sep 25, 2021  
2018-2019 Undergraduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

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Biochemistry (B.S.)

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Program Coordinator/Contact

Douglas Raynie, Department Head
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Avera Health and Science Center 131, Box 2202

Program Information

One of the fastest growing scientific disciplines is also one of the youngest – biochemistry. Biochemistry is the application of atomic and molecular principles to the function of plant and animal life processes. This multi-faceted science includes the study of all life forms and depends on basic concepts derived from chemistry, biology, physics, and mathematics. Training in biochemistry at the undergraduate level positions students well for careers in biotechnology, pharmaceutical development, government laboratories, and is very appropriate as a pre-professional course of study. The B.S. in Biochemistry curriculum at SDSU builds upon a solid foundation in chemistry, and incorporates selected aspects of biology, physics, and mathematics to complete the undergraduate degree. In addition to completing the degree requirements listed below, biochemistry students engage in undergraduate research with faculty members in the department.

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completing the B.S. in Biochemistry, graduates will:

  • understand the basic concepts fundamental to chemistry.
  • be properly prepared for laboratory investigations.
  • understand the nature of biological energy.
  • understand catalysis.
  • describe energetic coupling of chemical processes in metabolic pathways.
  • describe biological macromolecules.
  • describe the factors which determine the structure of biological macromolecules.
  • relate structure and function.
  • describe macromolecular interactions.
  • understand that macromolecular structure is dynamic.
  • discuss regulation of the biological activity of macromolecules.
  • relate the structure (and hence function) with the foundational principles of chemistry and physics.
  • use a variety of experimental and computational approaches to observe and quantitatively measure the structure, dynamics and function of biological macromolecules.
  • describe the genome.
  • discuss the relationship between nucleotide sequence and biological function.
  • explain gene transmission from one generation to the next.
  • describe genome maintenance.
  • understand the scientific process.
  • assess, comprehend, and communicate science.
  • rely on collaboration, effective teamwork, safety, and ethical practices.
  • describe the biological need for homeostasis.
  • link steady state processes and homeostasis.
  • quantify homeostasis.
  • describe control mechanisms.
  • describe cellular and organismal homeostasis.
  • synthesize the curricular knowledge and skills in a capstone (research) experience.

Academic Requirements

A grade of “C” or better is required in all courses required for the major.

Accreditation, Certification, and Licensure

The B.S. in Biochemistry is certified by the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB), whose certification serves as recognition of a high quality and rigorous curriculum.

Course Delivery Format

Courses offered in the Biochemistry curriculum are taught in a variety of formats which address student learning outcomes. Didactic (lecture) methods ensure the development of foundational knowledge of chemistry. Practical (laboratory) methods ensure the development of laboratory skills and training; A combination of didactic and practical methods ensure the successful completion of the undergraduate research project.

Requirements for Biochemistry Major: 120 Credits

 Bachelor of Science in Natural Sciences

System General Education Requirements

Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry Requirements

Bachelor of Science Requirements: 13+

  • Natural Sciences  Credits: 10+
    • Any two lab sciences.
    • Coursework must include 2 prefixes.
    • MATH and STAT courses do not count toward the science requirement.
  • AHSS 111 - Introduction to Global Citizenship and Diversity Credits: 3  
  • One declared minor outside of the major prefix OR a second major OR a teaching specialization. The minor may be a traditional minor within one department or it may be interdisciplinary involving more than one department. The minor can be in a different college. The minor must be declared no later than the student’s third semester of enrollment.
  • Capstone course in the major discipline
  • Upper division coursework Credits: 33

System General Education and/or major coursework may satisfy some or all of the above requirements. Consult program advisor for details.


Taken as needed to complete any additional degree requirements.

Total Required Credits: 120


CHEM 498, Undergraduate Research - The required undergraduate research project must be in biochemistry and for at minimum 3 credits. The research project is usually completed during the summer preceding registration in CHEM 498. (Students must register for CHEM 498 in spring semester) CHEM 498 credit is given for completing a written paper of the research project and presenting the paper at a scientific meeting in a semester after the project is completed. Refer to the department for information about additional summer research experiences.

Summary of Program Requirements

Bachelor of Science in Natural Sciences

System General Education Requirements 33 Credit Hours
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry Requirements* 13+ Credit Hours
Major Requirements 42 Credit Hours
Supporting Coursework 15 Credit Hours
Electives** 27 Credit Hours

*System General Education Requirements, Major Requirements, and Supporting Coursework may satisfy some or all of the above requirements.  
**Taken as needed to complete any additional degree requirements.

Academic Advising Guide Sheet

The goal of the academic advising guide sheets and sample plans of study is to promote undergraduate student success by guiding all students to timely completion of an undergraduate degree. Students are not limited to the course sequence provided for their academic program. Instead, the sample plan of study is one possible path to completing your degree and is meant to be used as a guide for planning purposes in consultation with an academic advisor. The plans also help students prepare for meetings with their academic advisor and track their progress in their selected academic program.

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