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Biochemistry, B.A.

Saint Louis University's Bachelor of Arts in biochemistry is designed for students interested in the applications of chemistry to the life sciences. The program prepares students for professional schools such as medicine, dentistry, law and pharmacy and provides excellent preparation for those interested in working in biochemistry, molecular biology or biotechnology.

SLU's chemistry department places great emphasis on participation in undergraduate research, and biochemistry majors have ample opportunities to involve themselves in research projects under the close mentorship of a full-time faculty member. Students will also be able to use specialized equipment and computers in instructional and research laboratories.

Program Highlights

  • A rigorous program that makes graduates competitive for employment in STEM areas.
  • Students can strengthen their scientific communication skills through research activities that pair an undergraduate student with a faculty researcher.
  • A unique mentoring program that lasts from freshman to senior year provides guidance and support for students to reach their professional goals.
  • Annual department-hosted social events and a chemistry club for interested students.

Curriculum Overview

  • First Year: General Chemistry 1 and 2, Calculus I and II, Principles of Biology I and II
  • Second Year: Organic Chemistry 1 and 2, Analytical Chemistry 1
  • Third Year: Biochemistry 1 and 2, Engineering Physics I and II
  • Fourth Year: Principles of Genetics, Physical Chemistry 1 or 2, two chemistry electives

Fieldwork and Research Opportunities

Benefits of SLU's biochemistry program also include internship and career opportunities. Selected undergraduate students may be considered to work with faculty members as assistants in undergraduate laboratories and receive a stipend.

Undergraduates who study biochemistry at SLU can attend professional meetings and present their research results. SLU students have presented numerous talks and poster presentations at regional and national meetings of the American Chemical Society and other scientific conferences in recent years.

Careers

Career options in biochemistry include:

  • Teaching at the university, college or high school level
  • Chemical research and development in industry or government laboratories
  • Pharmaceutical research
  • Drug discovery and drug development
  • Biotechnology
  • Environmental research
  • Management and administration in the chemical industry
  • Chemical and pharmaceutical sales
  • Patent law and environmental law
  • Opportunities in the public health sector

A degree in biochemistry is excellent preparation for students who want to continue their education in graduate school studying chemistry, biochemistry, and health-related areas such as pharmacology and toxicology and in professional schools studying medicine, law, pharmacy, or dentistry.

 

Admission Requirements

Begin Your Application

Saint Louis University also accepts the Common Application.

Freshman

All applications are thoroughly reviewed with the highest degree of individual care and consideration to all credentials that are submitted. Solid academic performance in college preparatory coursework is a primary concern in reviewing a freshman applicant’s file.

To be considered for admission to any Saint Louis University undergraduate program, applicants must be graduating from an accredited high school, have an acceptable HiSET exam score or take the General Education Development (GED) test. 

Transfer

Applicants must be a graduate of an accredited high school or have an acceptable score on the GED.

Students who have attempted fewer than 24 semester credits (or 30 quarter credits) of college credit must follow the above freshmen admission requirements. Students who have completed 24 or more semester credits (or 30 quarter credits) of college credit must submit transcripts from all previously attended college(s).

In reviewing a transfer applicant’s file, the Office of Admission holistically examines the student’s academic performance in college-level coursework as an indicator of the student’s ability to meet the academic rigors of Saint Louis University. Where applicable, transfer students will be evaluated on any courses outlined in the continuation standards of their preferred major.

International Applicants

All admission policies and requirements for domestic students apply to international students along with the following:

  • Demonstrate English Language Proficiency
  • Proof of financial support must include:
    • A letter of financial support from the person(s) or sponsoring agency funding the time at Saint Louis University
    • A letter from the sponsor's bank verifying that the funds are available and will be so for the duration of study at the University
  • Academic records, in English translation, of students who have undertaken postsecondary studies outside the United States must include the courses taken and/or lectures attended, practical laboratory work, the maximum and minimum grades attainable, the grades earned or the results of all end-of-term examinations, and any honors or degrees received. WES and ECE transcripts are accepted.

Scholarships and Financial Aid

There are two principal ways to help finance a Saint Louis University education:

  • Scholarships: Scholarships are awarded based on academic achievement, service, leadership and financial need.
  • Financial Aid: Financial aid is provided in the form of grants and loans, some of which require repayment.

For priority consideration for merit-based scholarships, apply for admission by Dec. 1 and complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by March 1.

For information on other scholarships and financial aid, visit www.slu.edu/financial-aid.

  1. Graduates will be able to demonstrate a foundational understanding of organic, analytical and physical chemistry, and advanced knowledge in biochemistry.
  2. Graduates will be able to demonstrate proficiency of basic (general, organic, analytical and biochemistry) laboratory techniques and conduct laboratory experiments safely.
  3. Graduates will be able to collect, interpret and analyze quantitative data. 
  4. Graduates will be able to communicate scientific results effectively.

 Biochemistry students must complete a minimum total of 63 credits for the B.A. major.

University Undergraduate Core32-35
Major Requirements
BIOL 1240
BIOL 1245
General Biology: Information Flow and Evolution
and Principles of Biology I Laboratory
4
BIOL 1260
BIOL 1265
General Biology: Transformations of Energy and Matter
and Principles of Biology II Laboratory
4
BIOL 3030Principles of Genetics3
CHEM 1130
CHEM 1115
General Chemistry 1 for Majors
and General Chemistry 1 Laboratory
4
CHEM 1140
CHEM 1125
General Chemistry 2 for Majors
and General Chemistry 2 Laboratory
4
CHEM 2200
CHEM 2205
Analytical Chemistry 1
and Analytical Chemistry 1 Laboratory
4
CHEM 2430
CHEM 2435
Organic Chemistry 1 for Majors
and Organic Chemistry 1 Lab for Majors
4
CHEM 2440
CHEM 2445
Organic Chemistry 2 for Majors
and Organic Chemistry 2 Laboratory for Majors
4
CHEM 3330Physical Chemistry 1 (or CHEM 3000 or higher)3
CHEM 3340Physical Chemistry 2 (or CHEM 3000 or higher)3
CHEM 4610
CHEM 4615
Biochemistry 1
and Biochemistry 1 Laboratory
4
CHEM 4620Biochemistry 23
MATH 1510Calculus I 4
MATH 1520Calculus II4
PHYS 1610
PHYS 1620
University Physics I
and University Physics I Laboratory †‡
4
PHYS 1630
PHYS 1640
University Physics II
and University Physics II Laboratory
4
CHEM 3000 or higher elective3
General Electives30-33
Total Credits120

Engineering Physics I and II with lab are recommended for majors unless they are pre-medical. PHYS 1310 College Physics I, PHYS 1320 College Physics I Laboratory, PHYS 1330 College Physics II, and PHYS 1340 College Physics II Laboratory) also fulfill the physics requirement and are recommended for pre-medical students.

In addition to the major, this course fulfills the core requirements in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Non-Course Requirements

All undergraduate majors must complete an exit interview with the department chair during their final semester.

Continuation Standards

The following standards apply to all new freshmen and transfer students:

  • Students must earn a "C-" or better in CHEM 1110 General Chemistry 1 or CHEM 1130 General Chemistry 1 for Majors) and a "C-" or better in CHEM 1120 General Chemistry 2 or CHEM 1140 General Chemistry 2 for Majors), or the equivalent in transfer.
  • Students must earn a "C-" or better in CHEM 2200 Analytical Chemistry 1.

Students who do not earn a "C-" in any of the identified courses must retake the course at SLU in the following semester. If a "C-" is not earned on the second attempt the student will be dismissed from the major. A student who withdraws from one of these courses on the first attempt thus has one more attempt to earn a "C-."

Students must maintain a 2.00 GPA in their major (CHEM) and required related courses (BIOL, PHYS, MATH, etc.) If a student falls below a 2.00 major GPA the student must meet with the undergraduate program director to review their academic performance. If the student cannot raise the major GPA to 2.0 in two semesters, the student will be dismissed from the major.

Graduation Requirements

  • Complete a minimum of 120 credits (excluding pre-college level courses numbered below 1000).
  • Complete the University Undergraduate Core curriculum requirements.
  • Complete major requirements: minimum 30 credits required.
  • Complete remaining credits with a second major, minor, certificate and/or electives to reach the minimum of 120 credits required for graduation.
  • Achieve at least a 2.00 cumulative grade point average, a 2.00 grade point average in the major(s) and a 2.00 grade point average in the minor/certificate, or related elective credits.
  • Complete department-/program-specific academic and performance requirements.
  • Complete at least 50% of the coursework for the major and 75% for the minor/certificate through Saint Louis University or an approved study abroad program.
  • Complete 30 of the final 36 credits through Saint Louis University or an approved study abroad program.
  • Complete an online degree application by the required University deadline.

Roadmaps are recommended semester-by-semester plans of study for programs and assume full-time enrollment unless otherwise noted.  

Courses and milestones designated as critical (marked with !) must be completed in the semester listed to ensure a timely graduation. Transfer credit may change the roadmap.

This roadmap should not be used in the place of regular academic advising appointments. All students are encouraged to meet with their advisor/mentor each semester.  Requirements, course availability and sequencing are subject to change.

Plan of Study Grid
Year One
FallCredits
CHEM 1130 General Chemistry 1 for Majors 3
CHEM 1115 General Chemistry 1 Laboratory 1
MATH 1510 Calculus I 4
BIOL 1240 General Biology: Information Flow and Evolution 3
BIOL 1245 Principles of Biology I Laboratory 1
University Core 3
 Credits15
Spring
CHEM 1140 General Chemistry 2 for Majors 3
CHEM 1125 General Chemistry 2 Laboratory 1
MATH 1520 Calculus II 4
BIOL 1260 General Biology: Transformations of Energy and Matter 3
BIOL 1265 Principles of Biology II Laboratory 1
University Core 3
 Credits15
Year Two
Fall
CHEM 2430 Organic Chemistry 1 for Majors 3
CHEM 2435 Organic Chemistry 1 Lab for Majors 1
CHEM 2200 Analytical Chemistry 1 2
CHEM 2205 Analytical Chemistry 1 Laboratory 2
University Core 6
 Credits14
Spring
CHEM 2440 Organic Chemistry 2 for Majors 3
CHEM 2445 Organic Chemistry 2 Laboratory for Majors 1
University Core 6
General Electives 6
 Credits16
Year Three
Fall
CHEM 4610 Biochemistry 1 3
CHEM 4615 Biochemistry 1 Laboratory 1
PHYS 1610 University Physics I 3
PHYS 1620 University Physics I Laboratory 1
University Core 6
 Credits14
Spring
CHEM 4620 Biochemistry 2 3
PHYS 1630 University Physics II 3
PHYS 1640 University Physics II Laboratory 1
University Core 6
General Elective 3
 Credits16
Year Four
Fall
CHEM 3330 Physical Chemistry 1 (or CHEM 3XXX Elective) 1 3
BIOL 3030 Principles of Genetics 3
University Core 4
General Electives 6
 Credits16
Spring
Completion of Exit Interview  
CHEM 3340 Physical Chemistry 2 (or CHEM 3XXX Elective) 1 3
CHEM 3XXXElective 3
General Electives 8
 Credits14
 Total Credits120
1

At least one semester of Physical Chemistry is required.

Program Notes

Engineering Physics (PHYS 1610 University Physics I (3 cr)-PHYS 1640 University Physics II Laboratory (1 cr) is recommended. However, Physics (PHYS 1310 College Physics I (3 cr)-PHYS 1340 College Physics II Laboratory (1 cr) also fulfills the physics requirement.