Biochemistry is the study of chemical processes within and relating to living systems. This includes information flow through biochemical signaling, and energy flow through metabolism. Biochemical processes give rise to the rich complexity and variety of life.

Biochemistry serves as a vital bridge between macroscopic and molecular worlds, encompassing the broad study of chemical processes within and relating to living systems. The mechanisms that sustain life are rich and complex, and biochemists are trained to appreciate those mechanisms on a uniquely fundamental level.

Augsburg’s core curriculum in biochemistry encourages students to build their understanding of key fields within the biological sciences—including anatomy, physiology, cell biology, genetics, and medicinal chemistry—using the underlying molecular interactions as a solid foundation for their mastery. The breadth and depth of this approach serves as a robust platform for a vast array of careers for aspiring health professionals, researchers, and industry technicians.

The Biochemistry major is a joint major between the Biology and Chemistry Departments. As such, students have the support of a large pool of faculty mentors while completing their studies, as well as dedicated members of both departments who focus specifically on biochemistry for their academic vocation.

Degree and Major Requirements

Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry

Students majoring in Biochemistry may not simultaneously major in Chemistry, due to the significant overlap in courses.

  • BIO 151 and 151L – Introductory Biology
  • BIO 354and 354L – Cell Biology
  • BIO/CHM 369 and 369L – Biochemistry
  • BIO/CHM 370 – Biochemistry II
  • CHM 115 and 115L – General Chemistry I and Lab
  • CHM 116 and 116L – General Chemistry II and Lab
  • CHM 251 and 251L – Organic Chemistry I
  • CHM 252 and 252L – Organic Chemistry II
  • CHM 280 and 280L – Quantitative Analytical Chemistry
  • CHM 362 – Physical Chemistry: Macroscopic Theory
  • PHY 121 and 121L – General Physics I
  • PHY 122 and 122L – General Physics II
  • MAT 145 and 145L – Calculus I
  • One of MAT 146 or MAT 255
    • MAT 146 and 146L – Calculus II
    • MAT 255- Multivariable Calculus
  • Two semesters of CHM 491 – Chemistry Seminar
  • Minimum 8 additional credits from:
    • BIO 355and 355L- Genetics
    • BIO 361 and 361L – Plant Biology
    • BIO 471 and 471L – Advanced Cellular and Molecular Biology
    • BIO 473 and 473L – Physiology of Humans and Other Animals
    • BIO 474 and 474L – Developmental Biology
    • BIO 475 and 475L – Neurobiology
    • BIO 476 and 476L – Microbiology
    • BIO 486 – Immunology
    • CHM 368 – Physical Chemistry: Microscopic Theory
    • CHM 464 – Advanced Organic Chemistry
    • CHM 481 – Instrumental Analysis
    • CHM 482 – Advanced Inorganic Chemistry
    • PHY 317 – Biophysics
    • BIO 488 / CHM 488 (2 credits) – Special Topics in Biochemistry (maximum of 4 credits toward the major)
    • BIO 489 / CHM 489 (4 credits) – Special Topics in Biochemistry
    • BIO 499 / CHM 499 – Independent Study (maximum 4 credits)
  • Four credits from:
    • CHM 430 – Advanced Thermodynamic and Separation Lab
    • CHM 440 – Advanced Synthesis Lab
    • CHM 450 – Advanced Spectroscopy and Computational Chemistry Lab
  • One Keystone course chosen from:
    • BIO 490 – Biology Keystone
    • SCI 490 – Integrated Science
    • HON 490 – Honors Senior Seminar
    • Another keystone with departmental approval

Graduation Skills

Graduation skills in Critical Thinking (CT), Quantitative Reasoning (QR), and Writing (W) are embedded throughout the offered courses and are met by completing the major. The graduation skill in Speaking (S) is met by completing COM 115 (preferred) or COM 111 or HON 130.

Transfer students must consult an advisor about potential adjustments to their course requirements to fulfill each of these skills.

General Education Accommodation

BS biochemistry majors may reduce their general education program by one or two courses. See Bachelor of Science/Liberal Arts Foundation (LAF) Waiver in the Academic Information section of the catalog.

Transfer Course Policy for Majors and Minors

Chemistry and Biology have articulation agreements with many of the local CCs as well as ACTC schools.  Any transfer courses not part of existing articulation agreements must be approved in writing by the departments, subject to review by the chairs. Only those biology and chemistry courses successfully completed (C- or above) within the last 10 years will be considered. Both biochemistry courses and four credits of upper division (300 level and higher) electives must be completed in residence (at Augsburg University).

Departmental Honors in Biochemistry

The awarding of Departmental Honors recognizes a student’s outstanding achievement(s) in the Biochemistry Major. Only students who have a major GPA of 3.5 or higher may earn Departmental Honors by successfully completing the following:

Continuation of a summer or academic year biology, chemistry, or biophysics research or internship via successful completion of BIO 297, BIO/CHM 399, CHM 498, BIO/CHM 499 or HON 499 (minimum of 400 hours total research). Before registering for one of these options, students must submit a formal letter of intent to an Honors Committee of three biology or chemistry or physics faculty (to be determined by the mentor and student). This formal letter of intent will be composed of no more than one page of text providing the following: (1) Title of project; (2) abstract describing the project with special focus given to the questions that will be addressed, the methods to be used and the expected outcomes; (3) name and signature (with date) of your faculty mentor; and (4) list of the three Biology, Chemistry and/or Physics Department faculty who have agreed to serve as your Honors Committee. A decision whether or not to approve registration will be made by the Honors Committee within one week of submission. Successful completion of the Honors process requires a public presentation of your research and an oral discussion of your project with the Honors Faculty committee, typically no later than March 15, so that successful recipients of departmental honors can be recognized during graduation ceremonies.

The formal letter of intent for Honors in Biochemistry is typically submitted early in the fall semester of the senior year.

Other Requirements

In planning their courses of study, students are encouraged to work closely with members of the biology and chemistry faculty. Biochemistry majors must have an advisor in either the biology or chemistry departments. In order to complete all major requirements in four years, BIO 151 and CHM 115 and 116 should be taken in the first year; and BIO 253 and CHM 251 and 252 and 280 are recommended in the second year. Students should complete their math requirements early in their academic careers. Students must earn a minimum grade of C- in all courses that are prerequisite for higher level courses. Supporting course requirements in mathematics, physics, and communication must be satisfied with a grade of C- or higher to satisfy major requirements. A C- or higher average must be maintained in all upper division biology and chemistry courses applied toward meeting the requirements of a major. All biology and chemistry courses applied toward the major must be traditionally graded.

Students completing majors in biochemistry will be required to take the ETS Major Field Test in either biology or chemistry during their final year of the program. The exam will appear on the graduation checklist.

Biochemistry for Health Sciences

Prerequisite requirements for health sciences vary with the program and the institution. Care should be taken to study the requirements for every program well in advance of making an application. In general, the pre-medical curriculum includes a year each of biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry, calculus and physics. Courses in biochemistry, statistics, advanced biology, and social and behavioral sciences are also important preparation for the MR5 Medical College Admissions Exam. Programs in physician assistant training, veterinary medicine, physical therapy, and such typically have a more extensive list of prerequisites. Students considering a post-baccalaureate program in these areas should consult early and often with health science advisors Catherina Kipper, and Kelsey Richardson Blackwell.

Graduate Training in Biochemistry

Graduate programs in biochemistry typically require two semesters of general chemistry, organic chemistry, calculus, and physics. A course in statistics is highly recommended.  Also required is extensive involvement in faculty-student research through URGO, McNair and other research opportunities which satisfy the Augsburg Experience.

Students also participate in research off campus through internships and summer research experiences. Careful consultation with a biology or chemistry faculty mentor is recommended to select among coursework and research options.

For a complete list of courses and descriptions, see the Course Description Search.