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Undergraduate Curriculum and Degree Programs

Biochemistry Degree Programs

The Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Department at the University of Iowa offers an excellent undergraduate program leading to a Bachelor's degree. For detailed information regarding the Undergraduate Program, please see the current Undergraduate Student Handbook.

The University of Iowa’s General Catalog is also a great resource for a complete description of Biochemistry majors.  Four-year graduation plans are available for both degrees as well.

Iowa’s biochemistry program is focused on students as individuals and is designed to develop creative researchers, effective physicians and health professionals, and superb teachers.  Students acquire a thorough and diverse background in contemporary biochemistry, utilize excellent research facilities, and are taught by a research-oriented faculty. All students have the opportunity to engage in one-on-one research with faculty members. 

Bachelor's degrees in biochemistry are conferred through the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences (CLAS). Students majoring in biochemistry must therefore satisfy the general course requirements and grade point minima, as well as the requirements for the biochemistry major. 

The Department of Biochemistry Offers Two Bachelors Degrees:

Bachelor of Arts (BA)*: The BA degree provides a rigorous education in biochemical concepts and practice in the laboratory while allowing the flexibility to specialize in additional disciplines or obtain clinical volunteer experiences. The BA degree in Biochemistry is intended for most students including those with pre-medicine, pre-pharmacy, pre-dental and other pre-health professional interests and for students with double majors. This degree requires a minimum of 120 s.h., including 58 s.h. of work for the major.

Bachelor of Science (BS): The BS degree is intended primarily for students planning a career in research, including those with a long-term goal of attending graduate school (PhD, MS or MD/PhD) or obtaining a job as a research technician. The BS degree requires twelve additional semester hours of science and laboratory electives. This degree requires a minimum of 120 s.h., including 70-72 s.h. of work for the major. 

*All first year students in Biochemistry will start in the BA degree program.  Students who desire to can switch to BS degree after completing one semester of organic chemistry (CHEM:2230 or CHEM:2210).

Students can obtain honors in biochemistry in either degree program.

Biochemistry Degree Course Requirements:

In addition to the CLAS general course requirements, the following science coursework is required for a bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.  Additional specific requirements for BA and BS degrees are included as well.

  Required Courses Total s.h. BA Total s.h. BS Total s.h.
Required Courses for Bachelors Degree in Biochemistry
Calculus Calculus I (MATH 1850) and II (MATH 1860) 8    
Chemistry Principles of Chemistry I (CHEM 1110) and II (CHEM 1120) 8    
Biology Foundations of Biology (BIOL 1411) and Diversity of Form and Function (BIOL 1412) 8    
Organic Chemistry Recommended: Organic Chemistry I, II, and Lab for majors (CHEM 2230, 2240, 2420)
Also accepted: Organic Chemistry I, II, and Lab (CHEM 2210, 2220, 2410)
Physics Recommended:  Introductory Physics I (PHYS 1611) and II (PHYS 1612 with the lab) 
Also accepted: College Physics I (PHYS 1511) and II (PHYS 1512)
Biochemistry Biochemistry & Molecular Biology I (BMB 3120) and II (BMB 3130), Experimental Biochemistry (BMB 3140) 8    
Additional Course Requirements Specific for BA and BS Degrees
Advanced Biochemistry Biophysics and Advanced Biochemistry (BMB 4240)   3 3
Advanced Chemistry Principles of Physical Chemistry (CHEM 4430), Chemical Thermodynamics (CHEM 4431), Quantum Mechanics & Chemical Kinetics (CHEM 4432) - - 3
Advanced Science Electives Many courses satisfy the Advanced Science Electives requirement - 6 9
Research or Advanced Labs Advanced Undergraduate Biochemistry Research (BIOC 4999) or Advanced Laboratory Courses - - 6
Research Seminar Development of Senior Research Project (BMB 3150) is a prerequisite for BMB 4999 - - 2*

*BMB 3150 is required for students taking BMB 4999 but not required for BS students taking advanced lab courses.

Undergraduate courses taught in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology include:

  • BMB 3110 Biochemistry
    • For non-Biochemistry Majors; taught as a live course in the Fall and an online extension course in the Spring and Summer
  • BMB 3120 Biochemistry & Molecular Biology I
    • Required for both the BS and BA degrees in Biochemistry
  • BMB 3130 Biochemistry & Molecular Biology II
    • Required for both the BS and BA degrees in Biochemistry
  • BMB 3140 Experimental Biochemistry 
    • Required for both the BS and BA degrees in Biochemistry
  • BMB 3150 Development of Senior Research Project
    • Prerequisite for BMB:4999
  • BMB 3310 Practical Data Science & Bioinformatics
    • Advanced Biochemistry course that is an immersive introduction to computational methods to access and analyze large biological data sets.  Can be used to fulfill Advanced Science Electives for BS and BA degrees.
  • BMB 3800 Biochemistry Teaching Practicum
    • Independent study teaching practicum to train qualified junior or senior undergraduates majoring in Biochemistry or related field
  • BMB:3993 Undergraduate Biochemistry Research
    • Directed research with a biochemistry faculty member.  Serves as preparation for BMB:4999
  • BMB:4240 Biophysics and Advanced Biochemistry
    • Advanced biochemistry focusing on principles and experimental approaches used to study macromolecule structure, stability, and function.
  • BMB:4310 Computational Biochemistry
    • Advanced Biochemistry course focused on biomolecular modeling, computer simulation techniques and biomolecular structure. Can be used to fulfill Advanced Science Electives for BS and BA degrees.
  • BMB:4999 Advanced Undergraduate Biochemistry Research
    • Advanced directed research with a biochemistry faculty member.  Required to graduate with honors.

 For information about the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology's regression policy, please click here.