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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

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Principal Course Distribution Requirement

Principal courses offer introductions to the breadth of disciplines in the College. They acquaint students with the subject matter in an area, with the types of questions that are asked about that subject matter, with the knowledge that has been developed and is now basic to the area, and with the methods and standards by which claims to truth are judged.

Students must complete courses in topical groups in three major divisions (humanities, natural sciences and mathematics, and social sciences). For the B.A., three courses are required from each division, with no more than one course from any topical group. The B.G.S. requires two courses from each division, with no more than one from any topical group. To fulfill the requirement, a course must be designated as a principal course according to the codes listed below.

These are the major divisions, their topical subgroups, and the codes that identify them:


  • HT: Historical studies
  • HL: Literature and the arts
  • HR: Philosophy and religion

Natural Sciences and Mathematics

  • NB: Biological sciences
  • NE: Earth sciences
  • NM: Mathematical sciences
  • NP: Physical science

Social Sciences

  • SC: Culture and society
  • SI: Individual behavior
  • SF: Public affairs

No course may fulfill both a principal course distribution requirement and a non-Western culture or second-level mathematics course requirement. Laboratory science courses designated as principal courses may fulfill both the laboratory science requirement and one of the distribution requirements. No free-standing laboratory course may by itself fulfill either the laboratory science requirement or a principal course requirement. Students should begin taking principal courses early in their academic careers. An honors equivalent of a principal course may fulfill a principal course requirement.

View all approved principal course distribution courses »

Non-Western Culture Requirement

A non-Western culture course acquaints students with the culture, society, and values of a non-Western people, for example, from Asia, the Pacific Islands, the Middle East, or Africa. Students must complete one approved non-Western culture course.

One approved non-Western culture course is required. Occasionally courses with varying topics fulfill the non-Western culture course requirement. See the Schedule of Classes for details. These courses are coded NW.

View all approved non-Western culture courses »

Transfer and Earned Credit Course Codes

These codes are used to evaluate transfer credit and to determine which academic requirements a course meets.

  • H: Humanities
  • N: Natural Sciences and Mathematics
  • S: Social Sciences
  • W: World Civilization and Culture
  • U: Undesignated Elective Credit (course does not satisfy distribution requirement)

All Biochemistry and Molecular Biology courses

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Weekly meetings. LEC
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Application of physical techniques to the study of biological macromolecules in solution. Emphasis on utilization of data obtained from such studies in interpreting biological processes at the molecular level. Course will be taught in the spring. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor. LEC
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Selected topics in biochemistry with varying subject matter. Students should inquire before enrolling. Topics are in-depth studies of current research areas. The course may consist of formal lectures and/or directed readings and studies. IND
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Students and faculty meet once weekly to discuss the research of students or the current biochemical literature. The student is required to make one presentation. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor. LEC
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Research for the M.A. degree. RSH
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Restricted to the writing of the master's thesis. THE
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An in-depth analysis of the structure and function of gene regulatory proteins and the mechanisms of gene transcription, and DNA replication and repair. Lectures and discussion of current literature. Prerequisite: consent of instructor. Course will be presented in the fall semester and will include several faculty leading discussions in their area of research interests. LEC
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The relationship between protein structure, binding, and physiological function. Emphasis is on proteins as enzymes, structural components, and regulators. Course will be taught in the spring. Prerequisite: consent of instructor. LEC
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Research for the doctoral degree. RSH
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Restricted to the writing of the doctoral dissertation. THE
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