This degree program is designed to provide the student with an understanding of the structural and functional relationships between the chemical constituents of cells and their roles in life processes. The requirements include courses in biological sciences and chemistry, and appropriate courses in mathematics and physics. The degree in biochemistry prepares a student for careers in industry, medicine, teaching and research.

In addition to the major requirements, students must complete all CASL Degree Requirements.

Prerequisites to the Major

A solid background in mathematics is essential to success in any of the scientific disciplines. Incoming students who intend to choose a  major in Biochemistry should have completed at least three years of high school mathematics. First year students should plan to enroll in MATH 105, MATH 115 or MATH 116 based on the results of their math placement tests. The CHEM 134 and CHEM 136 or CHEM 144 and CHEM 146 sequence is a prerequisite to many other courses in the Natural Sciences Department; students should complete this sequence as early as possible.

BCHM 210Biochemistry Laboratory Techniques2
BIOL 130
BIOL 140
Intro Org and Environ Biology
and Intro Molec & Cellular Biology
Select one of the following:8
General Chemistry IA
and General Chemistry IIA
Gen Chemistry IB
and General Chemistry IIB
CHEM 225
CHEM 226
CHEM 227
Organic Chemistry I
and Organic Chemistry II
and Organic Chemistry Laboratory
MATH 115
MATH 116
Calculus I
and Calculus II
Select one of the following:8
General Physics I
and General Physics II
Introductory Physics I
and Introductory Physics II
Total Credit Hours42

Major Requirements

Biochemistry Core15
Biochemistry I
Biochemistry II
Biochemistry Laboratory I
Biochemistry Laboratory II
Molecular Biology
Complex Systems (Biochemistry Capstone)
Physical Chemistry I
Biochemistry Electives6
Any BCHM upper level courses (excluding BCHM 495, BCHM 498, and BCHM 499)
Select one of the following:
Biostatistics I
Applied Statistics I
Environmental Statistics
Other Science Elective 13
Any upper level BCHM, BIOL, CHEM, MICR, PHYS courses (excluding BIOL 494, BIOL 495, BIOL 498, BIOL 499, BCHM 370, BCHM 495, BCHM 498, BCHM 499, CHEM 495, CHEM 498, CHEM 499, MICR 495, MICR 498, MICR 499, PHYS 495, PHYS 498, PHYS 499).
Total Credit Hours30-31

Elective credits needed may vary depending on biochemistry electives credits and statistics credits completed.


  1.  A maximum of 65 hrs. in BCHM, BIOL, CHEM may count towards the 120 hours for degree.
  2. At least 20 of the 30 upper level hours must be elected at UM-Dearborn.
  3.  A maximum of 6 hrs. of independent study/research in any Dept. of Natural Sciences discipline may count towards the 120 hours required to graduate.
  4. BCHM 370 cannot be used in the major.

Honors Designation in Biochemistry

The Biochemistry program seeks to recognize exceptional biochemistry majors who are exemplary in coursework and productive in research.

Honors in Biochemistry will be earned by meeting all of the following criteria:

  • cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher in Biochemistry courses
  • cumulative GPA of 3.3 or higher in all university courses
  • completion of a minimum of 6 six credit hours of Independent/Directed Research (BCHM 495/498/ 499), spread over 2 or more years, under the supervision of one principal investigator, who will serve as thesis advisor. This research must have a biochemical (broadly defined) focus.
  • presentation of the research in a public forum (e.g. scientific meeting, College of Arts, Sciences, and Letters (CASL) Research Day, Department of Natural Sciences Poster Day)
  • completion of a thesis-like document that thoroughly describes the background, experimental design, methodology and discussion of data generated   in the context of the scientific literature.
  • defense of the research thesis before a committee of four faculty: the thesis advisor, two full time Faculty from the Biochemistry program committee and one external member of the student’s choosing.  The defense should be held a minimum of 2 weeks prior to the final-exams week of the semester in which the student is graduating.  The committee must be provided with a draft of the thesis one week prior to the defense.

In order to be considered for Honors in Biochemistry, a student must complete and submit an honors application to the Biochemistry Program committee Chair via his/her advisor no later than the end of the term prior to graduation.

Minor or Integrative Studies Concentration Requirements

A minor or concentration consists of 12 credit hours of upper-level courses in biochemistry (BCHM) from the following:

Required: BCHM 370 or BCHM 470 and BCHM 471

Additional biochemistry (BCHM) courses: 6-9 credits BCHM to equal 12 credits total.

A maximum of 3 credit hours of independent study/research (BCHM 495 ,BCHM 498, or  BCHM 499) can be applied to meet the requirements of the minor or concentration.

If BCHM 370 is completed, BCHM 470 and BCHM 471 cannot be used in the minor/concentration. If BCHM 470 and BCHM 471 is completed, BCHM 370 cannot be used in the minor/concentration.

At least 9 of the 12 credits must be elected at UM-Dearborn.

  • A minimum GPA of 2.0 is required for the minor/concentration. The GPA is based on all coursework required within the minor (excluding prerequisites).
  • A minimum of 9 credits must be completed at UM-Dearborn for a 12 credit minor/concentration.
  • A minimum of 12 credits must be completed at UM-Dearborn for a 15 or more credit minor/concentration.
  • Courses within a minor/concentration cannot be taken as Pass/Fail (P/F)
  • Only 3 credit hours of independent study or internship may be used to fulfill the requirements for a 12 credit hour minor/concentration.  Only 6 credit hours of such credit may be used in a 15 or more credit hour minor/concentration.
  • Minors requiring 12 credits may share one course with a major. Minors requiring 15 credits or more may share two courses with a major. This does not apply to concentrations for the Integrative Studies major.

Learning Goals

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of the underlying laws of Chemistry, Biology and Physics and their applications to organisms.
  2. Demonstrate proficient knowledge of the biochemical reactions that sustain life.
  3. Demonstrate an understanding of how biochemical reactions are regulated and integrated, and the flux and exchange of energy and matter between organisms and their surroundings.
  4. Understand the biochemical foundations for the unity and the diversity of the living organisms.
  5. Understand and employ the methods and techniques of biochemical research.
  6. Understand how to analyze, interpret and communicate biochemical data.
  7. Possess the skills and knowledge to collaborate with researchers in related and interdisciplinary fields.

BCHM 113     Medicinal and Aromatic Plants in Culture and Practice     3 Credit Hours

Medicinal and aromatic plants have been used for thousands of years to treat illness, create aromatic atmospheres, enhance food flavors, and in ritual ceremonies. Recently, use of plants as alternative therapy has increased in medical practices leading to initiatives to regulate and assess their safety and effectiveness. This course is designed for students interested in health-related careers, food, culture and nutrition. The course explores the history, cultural practices, everyday use, and current research on medicinal and aromatic plants. (YR).

Prerequisite(s): BIOL 130 or BIOL 140 or CHEM 134

BCHM 210     Biochemistry Laboratory Techniques     2 Credit Hours

Biochemical Laboratory Techniques in an introduction to the equipment, procedures, and concepts used in the biochemistry laboratory. The class will cover topics such as scientific literature, keeping a laboratory notebook, statistical analysis and computer programs, as they relate to biochemistry. (W,YR)

Prerequisite(s): (CHEM 134 or CHEM 144) and (CHEM 136 or CHEM 146) and BIOL 140

Can enroll if Major is Biochemistry

BCHM 352     Introduction to Toxicology     3 Credit Hours

An introduction to the principles of toxicology with an emphasis on environmental toxicology. Major topics include toxic agents, toxicological mechanisms, and use of toxicological reference literature. Discussion of chemical carcinogenesis, genetic toxicology, immunotoxicology, teratology, and toxic responses of the skin, eyes, and nervous system. Three hours lecture. (AY).

Prerequisite(s): CHEM 225

BCHM 370     Principles of Biochemistry     3 Credit Hours

A concise but comprehensive survey of various areas of biochemistry designed for non-biochemistry majors. The course follows the standard approach to the subject including a description of cells, their structure and constituent macromolecules (proteins, nucleic acids, carbohydrates and lipids), enzymology, bioenergetics, intermediary metabolism, and gene regulation. Students cannot take both Biochemistry 370 and 470 or 471 for any combination of concentration, cognate or minor requirement. Three hours lecture. (F).

Prerequisite(s): BIOL 140 and CHEM 226

BCHM 390     Current Topics in Biochemistry     1 to 3 Credit Hours

Special topics current to the field of biochemistry. Topics and format for the course may vary. See Schedule of Classes for current topic. Permission of instructor. (OC).

Prerequisite(s): (BCHM 370* or BIOL 370* or CHEM 370*) or (BCHM 470* or BIOL 470* or CHEM 470*)

BCHM 404     Mech. Chronic Human Disease     3 Credit Hours

This course focuses on the biochemical, molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying the progression of chronic diseases, such as diabetes mellitus and atherosclerosis. Techniques in epidemiology, pathology, genetics, molecular biology, and biochemistry are used to understand how relevant physiological processes become pathological. The examination of chronic diseases provides an opportunity to understand biological processes across many scales of life, from extracellular matrix proteins to cells in blood vessel walls to risk factors in patient populations to the pharmacology of treatments. Use of primary literature is emphasized. Three hour lecture.

Prerequisite(s): BIOL 301 or BIOL 306 or BIOL 357 or BCHM 370 or BIOL 370 or CHEM 370 or BCHM 471 or BIOL 471 or CHEM 471

Can enroll if Class is Junior or Senior

BCHM 413     Extraction, purification, and characterization of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants     3 Credit Hours

Students will learn the techniques behind essential oil extraction and the biological uses of medicinal plants. Independent work throughout the semester will allow students to grow, extract, and analyze an oil from a medicinal plant of their choosing. Through working in groups, students will collaboratively produce a final product of diffusing oils, candles, or soaps with aromatherapy uses. Uses and case studies throughout the semester will appeal to the pre-health student interested in learning about holistic medicine while manufacturing techniques and discussions will interest scientists with an industrial career outlook. (W).

Prerequisite(s): CHEM 227 and (BCHM 370 or BIOL 370 or CHEM 370 or BCHM 470 or BIOL 470 or CHEM 470)

BCHM 430     Bioinorganic Chemistry     3 Credit Hours

This course examines the roles that metals play in biological systems, including the chemical principles that make metal ions well-suited for roles in protein structure, in redox catalysis and in acid base chemistry. The physical and experimental techniques that are applied to explore the structure and function of metals systems will be introduced using case studies from the primary scientific literature in the field. BCHM 370 or its equivalent are strongly recommended but not required.

Prerequisite(s): CHEM 136 and BIOL 140

BCHM 470     Biochemistry I     3 Credit Hours

Life processes from a chemical viewpoint: structure/function relationships of biomolecules with emphasis on proteins, enzyme kinetics, and mechanisms of action. Three hours lecture. (W).

Prerequisite(s): ((BIOL 130 and BIOL 140 and (CHEM 134 or CHEM 144) and (CHEM 136 or CHEM 146) and CHEM 225))

BCHM 471     Biochemistry II     3 Credit Hours

Intermediary metabolism, bioenergetics, energy transformation, metabolic interrelationships, biochemical regulation, highly structured subcellular biochemical systems. Three hours lecture. (W).

Prerequisite(s): BCHM 470 or CHEM 470 or BIOL 470

BCHM 472     Biochemistry Laboratory I     1 Credit Hour

The techniques of preparative and analytical biochemistry. Preparation and characterization of proteins and nucleic acids. Physical and chemical properties of proteins and nucleic acids. Four hours laboratory. CHEM 344 Recommended. (F).

Prerequisite(s): (BIOL 470* or BCHM 470* or CHEM 470*) and CHEM 227

BCHM 473     Biochemistry Laboratory II     1 Credit Hour

The techniques of preparative and analytical biochemistry. Preparation and characterization of lipids and carbohydrates. Methods in metabolism. Four hours laboratory. (W).

Prerequisite(s): (BCHM 471* or BIOL 471* or CHEM 471*) and (BCHM 472* or BIOL 472* or CHEM 472*)

BCHM 474     Molecular Biology     4 Credit Hours

This course will emphasize the molecular biology of eukaryotes, and topics will include genome organization and complexity, chromatin structure and function, gene expression, DNA replication and repair, genetic rearrangements, and the molecular biology of development. The laboratory will emphasize the application of recombinant DNA technology to the study of biological problems. Three hours lecture, four hours laboratory. (W).

Prerequisite(s): (BCHM 470 or BIOL 470 or CHEM 470 or BCHM 370 or BIOL 370 or CHEM 370) and CHEM 227

Corequisite(s): BCHM 474L

BCHM 480     Biochemical Pharmacology     3 Credit Hours

Pharmacology is a study of drugs. In this course, the biochemical and molecular basis of drug action will be emphasized. Different categories of drugs, their use, abuse, and side effects will be presented. Three hours lecture. Permission of instructor. (OC).

Prerequisite(s): CHEM 370 or BCHM 370 or BIOL 370 or BCHM 470 or CHEM 470 or BIOL 470

BCHM 485     Nutrition and Metabolism     3 Credit Hours

Full Course Title: The Biochemistry of Human Nutrition and Metabolism Human Nutrition and Metabolism is an introduction to the relationship between food and nutrients, and their integration in the metabolic pathways. An understanding of the molecular basis of nutrition, related diseases, and overall health will be built on previous knowledge of cell biology and biochemistry. (AY)

Prerequisite(s): (BCHM 471 or BIOL 471 or CHEM 471) or (BCHM 370 or BIOL 370 or CHEM 370)

BCHM 490     Topics in Biochemistry     1 to 3 Credit Hours

A course in special topics that examines research problems of current interest in biochemistry. Topics and format may vary. See current Schedule of Classes. One to three hours seminar. (W).

BCHM 495     Off-Campus Research in Biochem     1 to 3 Credit Hours

Participation in ongoing research at an off-campus laboratory. No more than 6 hours combined from any Natural Science courses numbered 495, 498, and 499 may be credited toward the 120 hours required for a degree. Four to twelve hours laboratory. Permission of concentration advisor. (F,W,S).

BCHM 496     Complex Systems     3 Credit Hours

Full Title: Biochemistry Capstone: Complex systems in Biochemistry A complex system is defined as a system featuring a large number of interacting variables whose combined activity is non-linear and whose seemingly random behavior leads to self-organization. Current topics ** are used to explore how complex systems function in biology. All reading material in the class are taken from the scientific literature giving students a chance to become familiar with how biochemists convey ideas and report their findings. Each student will present a paper to the class to demonstrate the ability to communicate concepts of Biochemistry effectively. Students will also learn the process of proposal writing and will have the opportunity to research and write their own proposal and have it peer-reviewed by their classmates. **The topics for this course will change each year, depending on the instructor, and the focus of current advances in Biochemistry/Complex systems. (W,YR)

Prerequisite(s): BCHM 470 and BCHM 472 and BCHM 474

Can enroll if Class is Senior

BCHM 497     Seminar in Biochemistry     1 Credit Hour

A seminar course that examines research problems of current interest in biochemistry. The course format may include training students to read and present scientific papers, guest lecturers, and lectures by the instructor on a selected topic. One hour seminar. Permission of instructor. (W).

Prerequisite(s): (BCHM 470 or BIOL 470 or CHEM 470) and (BCHM 474 or BIOL 474)

BCHM 498     Directed Reading in Biochem     1 to 3 Credit Hours

Library research in a specific area of biochemistry performed under the direction of a faculty member. No more than six hours combined from departmental courses numbered 495, 498, and 499 may be credited toward the 120 hours required for a degree. Four to twelve hours readings. Permission of instructor. (F,W,S).

BCHM 499     Laboratory Research in Biochem     1 to 3 Credit Hours

Directed laboratory research performed under the supervision of a faculty member. Research training is encouraged. No more than six hours combined from departmental courses numbered 495, 498, and 499 may be credited toward the 120 hours required for graduation. Four to twelve hours laboratory. Permission of instructor. (F,W,S).

*An asterisk denotes that a course may be taken concurrently.

Frequency of Offering

The following abbreviations are used to denote the frequency of offering: (F) fall term; (W) winter term; (S) summer term; (F, W) fall and winter terms; (YR) once a year; (AY) alternating years; (OC) offered occasionally