Biochemistry and Biotechnology BS

Degree Requirements

General Education Requirements

Students must satisfy the university and college general education requirements. Some math or science courses required for the major may be used to meet the science and mathematics requirement of the university. There is no foreign language requirement for the degree.

All Biochemistry & Biotechnology majors are required to take a capstone seminar (either CHEM 4797 or BIOL 4797) during the semester in which they plan to graduate (the winter semester for students graduating in the summer). Students may not receive credit for both CHEM 4797 and BIOL 4797.

Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory Option

Up to 18 credit hours may be taken on a satisfactory /unsatisfactory (s/u). Excluded from this option are required courses in biology, chemistry, physics, and mathematics.

Non-major Biology or Chemistry courses

Courses in Biology with a number less than 1800 and courses in Chemistry with a number less than 1100 do not count toward the credit hours required for a major in biochemistry and biotechnology.

Research for Credit

A maximum of 3 credit hours from any combination of BIOL 4905 and CHEM 3905 may be applied toward the Biochemistry & Biotechnology program.

Transfer of Credit from Saint Louis Community Colleges

Students transferring BIO 219 and BIO 220 from Saint Louis Community Colleges will not have to complete BIOL 4614.  However, they will have to take an additional 3 credit hours of Biochemistry and Biotechnology Elective coursework.

Biology Core Courses
BIOL 1831Introductory Biology: From Molecules to Organisms (MOTR BIOL 150L)5
BIOL 2012Genetics3
BIOL 2013Genetics Laboratory2
BIOL 2482Microbiology3
BIOL 2483Microbiology Laboratory2
BIOL 3622Cell Biology3
Chemistry Core Courses
CHEM 1111Introductory Chemistry I (MOTR CHEM 150L)5
CHEM 1121Introductory Chemistry II5
CHEM 2223Quantitative Analysis in Chemistry3
CHEM 2612Organic Chemistry I3
CHEM 2622Organic Chemistry II3
CHEM 2633Organic Chemistry Laboratory2
CHEM 3302Physical Chemistry for The Life Sciences3
Math and Physics Core Courses
MATH 1030College Algebra (MOTR MATH 130)3
MATH 1035Trigonometry2
MATH 1100Basic Calculus3
or MATH 1800 Analytic Geometry and Calculus I
PHYSICS 1011Basic Physics I4
PHYSICS 1012Basic Physics II4
Biochemistry and Biotechnology Core Courses
BIOL 4602Molecular Biology (if both courses are taken, one can be used as an elective)3
or BIOL 4612 Molecular Genetics of Bacteria
BIOL 4614Biotechnology Laboratory I (if both courses are taken , one can be used as an elective)4
or BIOL 4615 Biotechnology Laboratory II
BIOL/CHEM 4712Biochemistry3
CHEM 4733Biochemistry Laboratory2
CHEM 4722Advanced Biochemistry3
BIOL 4797Biochemistry and Biotechnology Seminar (Students may not receive credit for both BIOL 4797 and CHEM 4797)1
or CHEM 4797 Biochemistry and Biotechnology Seminar
Biochemistry and Biotechnology Elective Courses
Select two of the following:6
Bacterial Pathogenesis
Molecular Biology
Molecular Genetics of Bacteria
Biotechnology Laboratory I
Biotechnology Laboratory II
Cellular Basis of Disease
Nucleic Acid Structure and Function
Plant Molecular Biology and Biotechnology
Research (up to 3 credit hours)
Selected Topics in Biology (when relevant)
Advanced Organic Chemistry Laboratory
Chemical Research
Physical Biochemistry
Total Hours80

Recommendations include basic statistics (MATH 1310 or MATH 1320), computer science, public speaking (COMM 1040), foreign language, ethics, and undergraduate research.

Minor in Biology

Students who complete the B.S. degree in Biochemistry and Biotechnology may also obtain a minor in biology by completing BIOL 1821, Introductory Biology : Organisms and the Environment. The minor must be approved by the chair of the Department of Biology. At least 9 hours of the biology course credits must be taken in residence at UMSL. Candidates must have a cumulative grade point average of 2.0 or better in the minor, and none of the courses may be taken on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory (S/U) basis.

Minor in Chemistry

Students who complete the B.S. degree in Biochemistry and Biotechnology will also fulfill the course requirements for a minor in Chemistry. A GPA of at least 2.0 is required for the courses presented for the minor. At least three courses toward the Chemistry minor must be completed at UMSL.

Program Learning Outcomes

Students often think of the physical and life sciences as areas in which one masters a collection of “scientific facts”. However, an education in Biochemistry & Biotechnology involves much more than memorizing facts. Students in this program will develop a well-rounded set of competencies in several critical areas. These include:

  • Discipline-Specific Knowledge. Graduates will demonstrate a clear understanding of the overriding principles and theorems within and between the primary content areas of chemistry, biology, and biochemistry, including the
    • Structure and function of the basic biological units of living organisms and their role in life and disease.
    • Information flow, exchange, and storage from parent to offspring or from parent cells to progeny cells.
    • Organic reactions and physical chemical principles underlying metabolic reactions.
    • Molecular mechanisms commonly used to regulate metabolic and cellular pathways.
  • Laboratory Skills. Scientists not only learn the results of others, they work in the lab to generate new knowledge. Graduates will develop basic skills associated with performing laboratory experiments in chemistry, biology, and biochemistry following a broad introduction of commonly used equipment and procedures. 
  • Critical thinking Skills.  Graduates will be able to formulate meaningful hypotheses and evaluate data critically, including an appreciation of the potential sources of error associated with laboratory measurements and an ability to troubleshoot technical issues.
  • Problem Solving Skills. Graduates will be able to define and solve scientific problems. In part, this expands on laboratory skills, as students learn how to interpret and evaluate their data. 
  • Translational Skills.  Graduates will be able to take general principles from various areas of chemistry, biochemistry, and biology and apply them towards solutions for novel and emerging biotechnology problems.
  • Communication Skills. Scientists not only must be able to solve problems, they must also be able to communicate those solutions to others. Graduates of this program can present data in a clear and accurate manner.  Graduates will be able to write scientific reports and make effective oral presentations of their results and ideas.
  • Scientific Literacy. Scientists must be able to build on the previous work of others and to put their new results into the larger context of the field.  Graduates will be able to find and retrieve information within the vast scientific literature in chemistry, biology, and biochemistry. Graduates will have the background knowledge necessary to read the literature and scientific information presented to the public with good comprehension and be able to critically evaluate reliability, accuracy, authority, and point of view or bias.
  • Professional Ethics. Graduates will follow standard scientific practices, including honestly and objectively evaluating and reporting data and acknowledging the ideas and published work of others. In doing so, graduates will demonstrate an understanding and respect for the accepted standards of conduct associated with the profession. 

Sample Four Year Plan

First Year
INTDSC 10031CHEM 11115
ENGL 11003CORE - Communication Proficiency3
MATH 10303EXPLORE - Humanities and Fine Arts3
MATH 10352EXPLORE - Social Sciences3
CORE - US History and Government3 
EXPLORE - Social Sciences3 
 15 14
Second Year
BIOL 18315BIOL 20123
CHEM 11215BIOL 20132
MATH 11003CHEM 26123
Cultural Diversity Requirement3EXPLORE - Social Sciences3
 EXPLORE - Humanities and Fine Arts3
 16 14
Third Year
BIOL 36223BIOL 24823
BIOL 46144BIOL 24832
CHEM 26223BIOL 46023
PHYSICS 10113CHEM 22233
ENGL 31603PHYSICS 1012L1
 17 15
Fourth Year
CHEM 47123CHEM 33023
CHEM 26332CHEM 47223
CHEM 47332Biochemistry/Biotechnology Elective3
Biochem/Biotech Elective3CHEM 4797 or BIOL 47971
EXPLORE - Humanities and Fine Arts3Elective or minor 3
Elective or minor3 
 16 13
Total Hours: 120

Please Note: This plan is an example of what a four year plan could look like for a typical student. Placement exam scores in math as well as the completion of coursework may change the plan. It should not be used in the place of regular academic advising appointments. All students are encouraged to meet with their advisor each semester. All requirements are subject to change