Undergraduate Curriculum and Degree Programs

Biochemistry Degree Programs

The Biochemistry 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.  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 (BIOC 3120) and II (BIOC 3130), Experimental Biochemistry (BIOC 3140) 8    
Additional Course Requirements Specific for BA and BS Degrees
Advanced Chemistry or Biochemistry Principles of Physical Chemistry (CHEM 4430), Physical Chemistry I (CHEM 4431), Physical Chemistry II (CHEM 4432), Biophysical Chemistry I (BIOC 4241), or Biophysical Chemistry II (BIOC 4242) - 3 6
Advanced Science Electives Many courses satisfy the Advanced Science Electives requirement - 6 9
Research or Advanced Labs Biochemistry Research (BIOC 4999) or Advanced Laboratory Courses - - 6
Research Seminar Development of Senior Research Project (BIOC 3150) is a prerequisite for BIOC 4999 - - 2*

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

Undergraduate courses taught in the Department of Biochemistry include:

  • BIOC 3110 Biochemistry
    • For non-Biochemistry Majors; taught as a live course in the Fall and an online extension course in the Spring and Summer
  • BIOC 3120 Biochemistry & Molecular Biology I
    • Required for both the BS and BA degrees in Biochemistry
  • BIOC 3130 Biochemistry & Molecular Biology II
    • Required for both the BS and BA degrees in Biochemistry
  • BIOC 3140 Experimental Biochemistry 
    • Required for both the BS and BA degrees in Biochemistry
  • BIOC 3150 Development of Senior Research Project
    • Prerequisite for BIOC:4999
  • BIOC 3800 Biochemistry Teaching Practicum
    • Independent study teaching practicum to train qualified junior or senior undergraduates majoring in Biochemistry or related field
  • BIOC:3993 Undergraduate Independent Study
    • Independent study with a biochemistry faculty member.  Serves as preparation for BIOC:4999
  • BIOC:4999 Research Independent Study
    • Independent study and research in areas of interest to the student.  Required to graduate with honors.

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