The contributions of chemistry and biochemistry to our daily lives are often taken for granted. Antibiotics, anesthetics, petroleum products including synthetic fibers, detergents, and safe drinking water are just some of the benefits we enjoy today due to the accomplishments of chemists. There is no question that the quality of life in the future will also be affected by the findings of chemists and biochemists. Now, more than ever, chemists are needed to help solve the complex problems facing modern civilization.

Faculty and students at CU-Boulder are involved in harnessing solar energy, preparing synthetic DNA, developing better medications, measuring atmospheric pollution, and many other research activities at the frontiers of chemistry. 

You can major in either chemistry or biochemistry. Both programs lead to the bachelor of arts (B.A.) degree. Both majors require courses in general, organic, and physical chemistry as well as in calculus and physics.

In addition to the above areas, a chemistry major requires courses in inorganic and analytical chemistry while a biochemistry major requires courses in biochemistry and biology. 

As a chemistry or biochemistry major, you’ll be prepared for many different careers after graduation. About 30 percent of chemistry majors enter directly into industry or government positions that require scientific expertise, such as chemical, oil, electronics, mining, and manufacturing industries; water districts; and crime laboratories. In the future, chemists will increasingly find jobs in fields such as energy development, biotechnology, health and safety, atmospheric science, and environmental quality.

Specialized graduate education in chemistry and biochemistry attracts approximately 40 percent of chemistry graduates. Graduate work is often in one of the traditional areas of biochemistry or analytical, inorganic, organic, or physical chemistry. Increasingly, graduate students are choosing interdisciplinary areas such as atmospheric, bioorganic or organo--metallic chemistry, molecular biology, biotechnology, and chemical physics for their advanced work.

Another 30 percent of a typical graduating class goes on to professional school, pursuing advanced degrees in medicine, dentistry, law, business, engineering, and computer science.

 

Career Services (www.colorado.edu/career) helps students discover who they are, what they want to do, and how to get there. They are the bridge between academics and the world of work.

Career Services offers free services for all CU-Boulder degree-seeking students, and alumni up to one year after graduation. Meet individually the staff to discuss major and career exploration, internship or job searching, and graduate school preparation.

Undergraduate teaching laboratories as well as departmental shops and analytical, inorganic, and physical chemistry research laboratories are located in the Ekeley Sciences building. Most other departmental facilities are in the adjacent Cristol Chemistry and Biochemistry building. Specialized equipment includes mass and nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometers; computers; lasers; photochemical reactors; gas and liquid chromatographs; x-ray crystallographic laboratories; ultraviolet, visible, and infrared spectrometers; and many more specialized instruments.

The Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) offers students a chance to work alongside a faculty sponsor on original research. Learn to write proposals, conduct research, pursue creative work, analyze data, and present the results. For more information, call UROP at 303-492-2596.

The experience of studying abroad can prove invaluable for you as a chemistry or biochemistry major. A study abroad experience may prepare you for a place in the international scientific community.

The university offers more than 100 programs throughout the world. You may earn credit that counts as if you had taken courses here, in some cases fulfilling electives and core requirements. 

Language study is a prerequisite for participation in many programs, so early planning is essential. Further information about study abroad is available from the Office of International Education which is located in the Center for Community, 303-492-7741, or on the web at: http://studyabroad.colorado.edu/.

Four Year Plan

Please speak with your advisor for specific recommendations; the following is intended to be a general outline only and there may be flexibility to this plan.

Biochemistry 4-Year Plan
Average 30 credits per year

 

First Year – Fall Semester
CHEM 1400
(4): Foundations of Chemistry
CHEM 1401 (1): Foundations of Chemistry Lab        
MATH 1300 (5): Calculus 1 or APPM 1350 (4): Calculus 1 for Engineers
CORE (3): Content Area of Study (see Degree Audit for options)    
CORE (3): Skills Acquisition (ex: Lower-Division Written Communication)    

First Year – Spring Semester
CHEM 3451
(4): Organic Chemistry for Chemistry and Biochemistry Majors
CHEM 3321 (1) or 3361 (2): Non-majors or Majors Laboratory in Organic Chemistry
MATH 2300 (5): Calculus 2 or APPM 1360 (4) Calculus 2 for Engineers    
CORE (3): Content Area of Study      


Second Year – Fall Semester
CHEM 3491
Organic Chemistry 2 for Biochemistry Majors or CHEM 3471 (4): Organic Chemistry 2 for Chemistry Majors
CHEM 3341 (1) or 3381(2): Non-majors or Majors Laboratory in Organic Chemistry 2       
PHYS 1110 (4): General Physics 1 (Calculus-based)           
CORE (3): Content Area of Study
CORE (3): Content Area of Study

Second Year – Spring Semester
CHEM 4400
(5): Core Concepts in Physical Chemistry for Biochemists
PHYS 1120 (4): General Physics 2
PHYS 1140 (1): Experimental Physics 1
CORE (3): Content Area of Study
Elective/MAPS (3)


Third Year – Fall Semester
CHEM 4700
(4): Foundations of Biochemistry          
EBIO 1210/1230 (4): General Biology 1 and Lab or MCDB 1150/1171(5): Introduction to Molecular Biology and Drug Discovery Lab
CORE (3): Content Area of Study
Elective (3)
Elective (3)

Third Year – Spring Semester
CHEM 4720
(4): Metabolic Pathways and Human Disease or CHEM 4740 (4): Biochemistry of Gene Transmission, Expression and Regulation
EBIO 1220/1240 (4): General Biology 2 and Lab or MCDB 2150/2171(3-5): Principles of Genetics (and Drug Discovery Lab if not taken with MCDB 1150)
CORE (3): Content Area of Study
CORE (3): Skills Acquisition (example: Upper-Division Written Communication)
Elective/MAPS (3)


Fourth Year – Fall Semester
CHEM 4761
(4):  CHEM 4761 Biochemistry Laboratory
Advanced Major Elective (3) (see Degree Audit for options)
Elective (3)
Elective (3)
Elective (3)

Fourth Year – Spring Semester
Advanced Major Elective
(3) (see Degree Audit for options)
Advanced Major Elective (3) (see Degree Audit for options)
Elective (3)
Elective (3)
Elective (3)

Please speak with your advisor for specific recommendations; the following is intended to be a general outline only and there may be flexibility to this plan.
 

Chemistry 4-Year Plan
Average 30 credits per year

 

First Year – Fall Semester
CHEM 1400
(4): Foundations of Chemistry
CHEM 1401 (1): Foundations of Chemistry Lab
MATH 1300 (5): Calculus 1 or APPM 1350 (4): Calculus 1 for Engineers
CORE (3): Content Area of Study (see Degree Audit for options)    
CORE (3): Skills Acquisition (ex: Lower-Division Written Communication)

First Year – Spring Semester
CHEM 3451
(4): Organic Chemistry for Chemistry and Biochemistry Majors
CHEM 3361 (2): Laboratory in Organic Chemistry for Chemistry Majors      
MATH 2300 (5): Calculus 2 or APPM 1360 (4) Calculus 2 for Engineers    
CORE (3): Content Area of Study      


Second Year – Fall Semester
CHEM 3471
Organic Chemistry 2 for Chemistry Majors or CHEM 3491 (4): Organic Chemistry 2 for Biochemistry Majors
CHEM 3381(2): Laboratory in Organic Chemistry 2 for Chemistry Majors    
PHYS 1110 (4): General Physics 1 (Calculus-based)           
MATH 2400 (4): Calculus 3 or APPM 2350 (4) Calculus 3 for Engineers
CORE (3): Content Area of Study

Second Year – Spring Semester
CHEM 2100
(4): Chemical Energetics and Dynamics lecture
CHEM 2101 (1) Chemical Energetics and Dynamics Lab
PHYS 1120 (4): General Physics 2
PHYS 1140 (1): Experimental Physics 1
CORE (3): Content Area of Study
Elective/MAPS (3)


Third Year – Fall Semester
CHEM 4511
(3): Physical Chemistry 1           
CHEM 4581 (1): Physical Chemistry 1 Lab
CORE (3): Content Area of Study
Elective/MAPS: (3)
Elective/MAPS: (3)

Third Year – Spring Semester
CHEM 4531
(3):  Physical Chemistry 2
CHEM 4591 (2): Physical Chemistry 2 Lab
CORE (3): Content Area of Study
CORE (3): Skills Acquisition (example: Upper-Division Written Communication)
Elective/MAPS (3)


Fourth Year – Fall Semester
CHEM 4011
(3):  Inorganic Chemistry
CHEM 4171 (3):  Instrumental Analysis 1
Elective/MAPS (3)
Elective/MAPS (3)
Elective/MAPS (3)

Fourth Year – Spring Semester
CHEM 4181
(3):  Instrumental Analysis 2
Elective/MAPS (3)
Elective/MAPS (3)
Elective/MAPS (3)
Elective/MAPS (3)