The interdisciplinary major in biochemistry offers a rigorous course of study that builds on two years of fundamental coursework in biology and chemistry. With this broad preparation, students engage with biochemistry and molecular biology at a very high level, allowing them to integrate their knowledge in molecular and cellular biology, and to think and address issues occurring at the forefront of the biochemical/biomedical sciences.

Majors are also encouraged to participate in academic-year or summer research and majors usually have more than one research internship experience before graduation. All courses are designed to contribute in various ways to the College’s Learning Goals and the Biochemistry Departments Learning Goals. Please see the Biochemistry Program section of the course catalog for more detailed information.

Biochemistry Major

The major in Biochemistry is intended to provide a strong background in the fundamentals of both Biology and Chemistry and to develop an awareness of the unique principles of Biochemistry and to develop an awareness of the unique principles of Biochemistry.

The core curriculum consists of:

  • Chemistry 101 (or 160), 201, 202, 302, and 346 (or 308)
  • Biology 145 (or 160), 200, and 230
  • Biochemistry 311 and 314

In addition to these core courses, 8 additional credits of advanced (300-level) work are required. Advanced courses may be selected from 300-level courses offered in Biochemistry, Biology, and Chemistry. This requirement is intended to increase the breadth and depth of your knowledge and application of biochemistry through related 300-level course work.

Students who are interested in taking the Biochemistry core courses (Biochemistry 311 and 314) in their junior year are encouraged to complete at least Chemistry 101 (or 160) and 201 and Biology 145 (or 160) and 200 during the first year. The committee further recommends  Chemistry 325 to students planning graduate work in Biochemistry.

Finally, all majors are required to complete to give an oral presentation on a biochemical topic in the Senior Symposium.


A minimum of 48 credits plus credits for prerequisite courses to Chemistry 346/308.
(Students with advanced credits, see below.)


  • Chemistry 101 (or 160) and 201, General Chemistry I and II; 202 and 302, Organic Chemistry I and II; and 346 (or 308), Chemical Thermodynamics 
  • Biology 145 (or 160) and 200, Introductory Biology I and II, and 230, Cell and Molecular Biology 
  • Biochemistry 311, Protein Biochemistry and Cellular Metabolism and Biochemistry 314, Nucleic Acids Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 
  • 8 additional credits selected from 300-level courses in Biochemistry, Biology, and Chemistry. Please consult MyMountHolyoke for current elective offerings.
  • An oral presentation on a biochemical topic at the Senior Symposium

Students with Advanced Credits
A student coming to the College with advanced credits from IB or A-level course-work or Advanced Placement examinations can skip up to four courses at the introductory level (Biology 145 (or 160), 200; Chemistry 101 (or 160), 201) in accordance with the number of advanced credits she has received. However, advanced placement courses cannot replace more than 8 credits of the major. A student considering skipping introductory-level courses should consult with the program chair or other members of the Biochemistry Program Committee. 

No minor in Biochemistry is offered.