Biochemistry Bachelor of science degree

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The biochemistry major focuses on the chemistry of living things to prepare you to address current challenges facing the chemical, pharmaceutical, agricultural, forensic, and biotechnological fields. 

Biochemists focus on the chemistry of life. The biochemistry major provides knowledge in chemistry, biochemistry, and biology which will prepare you to consider real-world problems from a variety of perspectives.  You will be able to immediately contribute your skills in corporate, health care, or government positions.  You will also be ready to enter professional education in medicine or other health-related fields or attend graduate programs in a variety of chemical and life sciences related programs.

Biochemistry majors often have an interest in combining the life and health sciences with a chemistry degree. You’ll take a year of general biology in addition to a typical chemistry curriculum. During the upper-level years, you’ll take a substantial core of courses in biochemistry, physical chemistry, the liberal arts, and elective courses in life sciences. You must take a minimum of two upper-division biology electives. The biochemistry program has been certified by the American Chemical Society (ACS).

Employment opportunities for biochemistry students are available in the chemical, pharmaceutical, agricultural, forensic, and rapidly expanding biotechnological fields. You’ll also be well-prepared to enter advanced degree programs in biochemistry, medicine, pharmacy, dentistry, and veterinary medicine.

Real World Experiences

Undergraduate research experiences are available with professors throughout the School of Chemistry and Material Sciences and are highly encouraged. These opportunities enable you to practice real-world lab application of the information you are currently studying. Cooperative Education is also highly recommended to gain experiences outside of RIT, though they are not required for graduation. Academic Advisors and the Office of Cooperative Education and Career Services are available to assist in finding and scheduling co-ops.

Nature of Work

Employment opportunities for biochemistry graduates exist in the chemical, pharmaceutical, agricultural, forensic, and rapidly expanding biotechnological fields. Graduates also are well-prepared to enter advanced degree programs in biochemistry, medicine, pharmacy, dentistry, and veterinary medicine.


Biochemistry students who graduate with a B.S. degree are qualified for positions working at the bench in the pharmaceutical industry, medical research organizations and environmental quality labs. Many of them progress to earn more advanced degrees, sometimes combining their technical expertise with a law degree or an M.B.A. to forge a new career path. Biochemists need a Ph.D. to work in independent research and development positions. Most Ph.D. holders begin their careers in temporary postdoctoral research positions. During their postdoctoral appointments, they work with experienced scientists, as they continue to learn about their specialties or develop a broader understanding of related areas of research. Postdoctoral positions frequently offer the opportunity to publish research findings. A solid record of published research is essential to get a permanent position doing basic research, especially for those seeking a permanent college or university faculty position.   

 (Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics O.O.H.)


  • Biotech and Life Sciences

  • Pharmaceuticals

  • Scientific and Technical Consulting

  • Higher Education

Typical Job Titles

Analytical Chemist Chemist
Graduate Researcher Perioperative Support Associate
Post-Bac Research Scholar Quality Control Analyst
Research Technologist Scientist

Featured Work


Biochemistry, BS degree, typical course sequence

Course Sem. Cr. Hrs.
First Year
Chemical Connections
This course introduces first-year chemistry and biochemistry majors to the topics of chemical safety, ethics, database searching, citation protocol, presentation development and execution as well as the career options in the field and opportunities at RIT and beyond. These topics will be covered in the context of developing a product that the student will accomplish during the lab component of the course.
General Chemistry
An accelerated entry-level course designed for chemistry and biochemistry majors. Topics include measurement, atomic theory, chemical bonding and structure, stoichiometry, equilibrium and acid-base chemistry.
Chemistry Workshop
This course presents an introduction to working in a modern chemistry laboratory. Students will perform exercises that will aid in the understanding of general laboratory practices, atomic and molecular structure, and Lewis acid base theory. Students will also become familiar with keeping a scientific laboratory notebook and writing scientific abstracts. Students will also utilize modern chemical instrumentation to aid in the understanding of concepts.
LAS Perspective 7A (mathematical): Project-based Calculus I
This is the first in a two-course sequence intended for students majoring in mathematics, science, or engineering. It emphasizes the understanding of concepts, and using them to solve physical problems. The course covers functions, limits, continuity, the derivative, rules of differentiation, applications of the derivative, Riemann sums, definite integrals, and indefinite integrals.
Introductory Biology I
This course serves as an introduction to molecular biology, cellular biology, genetics, developmental biology, and evolutionary biology. Topics will include: a study of the basic principles of modern cellular biology, including cell structure and function; the chemical basis and functions of life, including enzyme systems and gene expression; and both the processes and patterns of the organismal development (ontogeny) and the evolution of life on Earth (phylogeny). Laboratory experiments are designed to illustrate concepts of basic cellular, molecular, developmental, and evolutionary biology, develop laboratory skills and techniques for microscopy and biotechnology, and improve ability to make, record and interpret observations.
Comprehensive Organic Chemistry I
This course is a rigorous study of the structure, nomenclature, reactions and synthesis of the following functional groups: alkanes, alkenes, and alkynes. The course will also provide an introduction to chemical bonding, IR and NMR spectroscopy, acid and base reactions, stereochemistry, nucleophilic substitution reactions, alkene, and alkyne reactions. This course will require the use of mechanisms in describing and predicting organic reactions.
Comprehensive Organic Chemistry Lab I
This course prepares students to perform techniques important in an organic chemistry lab and to carryout reactions covered in the accompanying lecture CHMO-331.
LAS Perspective 7B (mathematical): Project-based Calculus II
This is the second in a two-course sequence intended for students majoring in mathematics, science, or engineering. It emphasizes the understanding of concepts, and using them to solve physical problems. The course covers techniques of integration including integration by parts, partial fractions, improper integrals, applications of integration, representing functions by infinite series, convergence and divergence of series, parametric curves, and polar coordinates.
Introductory Biology II
This course serves as an introduction to the diversification of life, plant anatomy and physiology, animal anatomy and physiology, and ecology. Topics include a survey of the taxonomic diversity of the major groups of living organisms, the anatomical and physiological adaptations of both plants and animals, and the principles of the ecological relationships among organisms and environments. Laboratory exercises are designed to illustrate concepts of taxonomy, anatomical & physiological adaptation, and ecological relationships. Labs are also designed to help the development of laboratory skills and techniques for experiments with live organisms, and improve the ability to make, record and interpret observations.
Year One
The Year One class serves as an interdisciplinary catalyst for first-year students to access campus resources, services and opportunities that promote self-knowledge, personal success, leadership development, social responsibility and life academic skills awareness and application. Year One is also designed to challenge and encourage first-year students to get to know one another, build relationships and help them become an integral part of the campus community.
Wellness Education*
First Year LAS Elective
First Year Writing  (WI)
Second Year
Comprehensive Organic Chemistry II
This course is a comprehensive study of the structure, reactions and synthesis of the following functional groups: aromatic rings, ketones, aldehydes, and carboxylic acids and their derivatives. Students will apply their knowledge from CHMO-331 to predict products and derive mechanisms that describe various organic reactions.
Comprehensive Organic Chemistry Lab II
This course teaches students to perform techniques important in an organic chemistry lab and reactions covered in the accompanying lecture CHMO-332. This course will also help students to solidify the concepts taught in lecture and perform qualitative analysis of unknown compounds. Students are expected to do significant work outside of lab.
Quantitative Analysis
This course will introduce students to quantitative methods. The course will cover gravimetric techniques, equilibria, statistical methods, and solution chemistry. In addition, equilibrium for polyprotic acids, electrochemistry and potentiometry will be discussed.
Analytical Methods Lab
This laboratory is designed for chemistry and biochemistry majors or those interested in pursuing a minor in chemistry. Experiments include statistics, calibration of equipment, spectroscopy, volumetric analyses, kinetics, Gran Plot, double endpoint titrations, potentiometric titration, photometric determination of copper, and water hardness.
Biochemistry I
This course introduces the structure and function of biological macromolecules and their metabolic pathways. The relationship between the three-dimensional structure of proteins and their function in enzymatic catalysis will be examined. Membrane structure and the physical laws that apply to metabolic processes will also be discussed.
Cellular and Molecular Biology
This course will address the fundamental concepts of Cellular and Molecular Biology. Lectures, assignments, and laboratory projects will explore the structure and function of molecules, organelles, and cells and the biological processes they are involved in. Students in this course will gain an understanding of various molecular mechanisms, structure/function relationships, and cellular processes as they relate to cellular and molecular biology. Students in this course will practice and carry out common laboratory techniques used by Cellular and Molecular Biologists including, recombinant DNA technology, cell trafficking, and cloning techniques.
Choose one of the following:
   Multivariable Calculus
This course is principally a study of the calculus of functions of two or more variables, but also includes the study of vectors, vector-valued functions and their derivatives. The course covers limits, partial derivatives, multiple integrals, and includes applications in physics. Credit cannot be granted for both this course and MATH-221.
   Probability and Statistics
This course introduces sample spaces and events, axioms of probability, counting techniques, conditional probability and independence, distributions of discrete and continuous random variables, joint distributions (discrete and continuous), the central limit theorem, descriptive statistics, interval estimation, and applications of probability and statistics to real-world problems. A statistical package such as Minitab or R is used for data analysis and statistical applications.
Choose one of the following:
   LAS Perspective 5 (natural science inquiry): University Physics I
This is a course in calculus-based physics for science and engineering majors. Topics include kinematics, planar motion, Newton's Laws, gravitation, work and energy, momentum and impulse, conservation laws, systems of particles, rotational motion, static equilibrium, mechanical oscillations and waves, and data presentation/analysis. The course is taught in a workshop format that integrates the material traditionally found in separate lecture and laboratory courses.
   LAS Perspective 5 (natural science inquiry): College Physics I
This is an introductory course in algebra-based physics focusing on mechanics and waves. Topics include kinematics, planar motion, Newton’s laws, gravitation; rotational kinematics and dynamics; work and energy; momentum and impulse; conservation laws; simple harmonic motion; waves; data presentation/analysis and error propagation. The course is taught using both traditional lectures and a workshop format that integrates material traditionally found in separate lecture, recitation, and laboratory settings.
LAS Perspective 1 (ethical)
LAS Perspective 2 (artistic)
LAS Immersion 1
Third Year
Instrumental Analysis
This course presents a preliminary treatment of instrumental theory and technique. The course will cover the theory and implementation of spectroscopic, mass spectrometric, and chemical separations instrumentation and techniques. Instrumental techniques include: atomic and molecular emission and absorption and emission spectroscopies, atomic and molecular mass spectrometry, gas chromatography, and high performance liquid chromatography.
Biochemistry Lab (WI)
An introduction to the theory and practice of modern experimental biochemical laboratory techniques and concepts. The weekly two-hour lecture provides a theoretical framework for the course and includes a discussion of the properties of biomolecules and how those properties are exploited in the separation and characterization of the molecules. Practical laboratory techniques include the preparation of buffers, centrifugation, chromatography, electrophoretic methods, and UV-visible spectrophotometry as applied to the isolation and characterization of proteins and nucleic acids. The manipulation of genetic material in E. coli will also be executed. This course will be offered in a writing intensive format where the students will write and submit the different sections found in scientific papers (abstract, introduction, materials and methods, results, discussion, conclusions, references, figures, tables) in an iterative fashion that will include regular feedback from the instructor.
Instrumental Analysis
This course presents hands-on experience with modern chemical instrumentation including a number of spectroscopic techniques, mass spectrometry, gas chromatography, high performance liquid chromatography, and other. The course will cover the theory of operation of each instrument, their capabilities, and their limitations. Students will perform experiments utilizing modern chemical instrumentation and gain experience in analyzing data and presenting experimental results.
Physical Chemistry I
This course provides fundamental concepts, and organizing principles, applied in all aspects of chemistry and related fields. A rigorous and detailed explanation of central, unifying concepts in thermodynamics and chemical kinetics will be developed. Mathematical models that provide quantitative predictions will be described for thermodynamics and chemical kinetics. These contain the mathematical underpinnings to concepts applied in analytical, inorganic, organic, and biochemistry courses, as well as more advanced topics in chemistry. The course will cover: gases, temperature, energy and the First Law of Thermodynamics, entropy and the Second and Third laws, Helmholtz and Gibbs free energies, criteria for equilibrium and spontaneity, chemical equilibrium, electrochemistry, kinetic molecular theory and chemical kinetics.
Choose one of the following:
   LAS Perspective 6 (scientific principles): University Physics II
This course is a continuation of PHYS-211, University Physics I. Topics include electrostatics, Gauss' law, electric field and potential, capacitance, resistance, DC circuits, magnetic field, Ampere's law, inductance, and geometrical and physical optics. The course is taught in a lecture/workshop format that integrates the material traditionally found in separate lecture and laboratory courses.
   LAS Perspective 6 (scientific principles): College Physics II
This course is an introduction to algebra-based physics focusing on thermodynamics, electricity and magnetism, optics, and elementary topics in modern physics. Topics include heat and temperature, laws of thermodynamics, fluids, electric and magnetic forces and fields, DC electrical circuits, electromagnetic induction, opyics, the concept of the photon, and the Bohr model of the atom. The course is taught using both traditional lectures and a workshop format that integrates material traditionally found in separate lecture, recitation, and laboratory settings.
Advanced Biochemistry Elective
Advanced Biology Elective
LAS Perspective 3 (global)
LAS Perspective 4 (social)
LAS Immersion 2
Open Elective
Fourth Year
Descriptive Inorganic Chemistry
This course covers descriptive inorganic reactions in terms of periodic trends. Topics will include nucleosynthesis and the birth of the universe, applications used in large-scale industrial processes and their environmental impacts, nanostructured materials, and bonding theory will also be discussed. A detailed study of solid-state chemistry and structure will also be addressed.
Advanced Biology Elective
Advanced Biochemistry Elective
Open Electives
LAS Electives
LAS Immersion 3
Choose one of the following:
   Advanced Chemistry Research Elective
This course is a faculty-directed student project or research in chemistry that could be considered of an original nature.
   Biochemistry Independent Study
Total Semester Credit Hours

Please see General Education Curriculum–Liberal Arts and Sciences (LAS) for more information.

(WI) Refers to a writing intensive course within the major.

* Please see Wellness Education Requirement for more information. Students completing bachelor's degrees are required to complete two different Wellness courses.


Advanced biochemistry electives
Advanced Special Topics
This is an advanced course on a topic that is not part of the formal curriculum. This course is structured as an ordinary course and has specific prerequisites, contact hours, and examination procedures.
Advanced Biochemistry Independent Study
This course is a faculty-directed tutorial of appropriate topics that are not part of the formal curriculum. The level of study is appropriate for student in their final two years of study.
Infectious Disease: Impact on Society and Culture
This course investigates the mechanisms of pathogenesis of bacterial, viral, and other microbial infectious agents. This course also covers the historical, social, and cultural impact that these infectious diseases have had on society. Topics may include: antibiotics and antibiotic resistance, vaccines, gut microflora and health, foodborne illnesses, bioterrorism, HIV, tuberculosis, malaria, and staph infections.
Advanced Protein Biochemistry
This course analyzes protein structure function relationships. Students will investigate how proteins function and how the structure relates to that function. The principles that explain enzyme rate enhancements and mechanistic enzymology will be examined. Additionally, protein superfamilies for phylogenetic relationships will be explored to enhance understanding of protein structure-function relationships. Students will read and discuss the current scientific literature and classic papers.
Protein Conformation and Dynamics
An advanced study of the structure and function of proteins and enzymes. Biophysical and mechanistic aspects of enzyme function will be examined. Applications of computation to protein structure will also be discussed.
Biochemistry of Nucleic Acids
This course will cover nucleic acid structures as determined by NMR and X-ray crystallography and nucleic acid catalysis, especially that of ribozymes. Genomics, specifically whole-genome sequencing papers, will be analyzed. Current RNA topics including the RNA World, Ribozymes, RNAi, and Riboswitches will be discussed. Current DNA topics including Lateral/Horizontal DNA Transfer, Genome Duplication, Alternate Gene Expression and Synthetic Life will also be discussed.
Biochemistry independent study electives
Chemistry Research
This course is a faculty-directed student project or research in chemistry that could be considered of an original nature.
Advanced Chemistry Research
This course is a faculty-directed student project or research involving laboratory work, computer modeling, or theoretical calculations that could be considered of an original nature. The level of study is appropriate for students in their final two years of study.
Advanced Instrumental Analysis Lab
This is a capstone course requiring students to develop experimental protocols involving advanced techniques in instrumental analysis. This course is intended to give an opportunity to develop innovative skills and writing proficiency. Library, literature and textbook research will be required.
Practical NMR
A graduate level lecture and laboratory course designed to teach a student how to use a Bruker high-resolution NMR spectrometer to perform a variety of chemical analyses. Students are presented a series of brief descriptions of how to perform various functions and experiments on a Bruker NMR. Students then receive hands-on training and perform the experiment. Specific operations taught include: file management, magnet shimming, probe tuning, parameter optimization, pulse sequence development, one-dimensional and two-dimensional acquisitions, variable temperature studies, data processing, diffusion measurements, and measuring relaxation times. This course serves as mechanism to gain different levels of access to the Chemistry Department's NMR spectrometers.
Biochemistry Research
This course is a faculty-directed student project or research in biochemistry that could be considered of an original nature.
Advanced Biochemistry Research
This course is a faculty-directed student project or research involving laboratory work, computer modeling, or theoretical calculations that could be considered of an original nature. The level of study is appropriate for students in their final two years of study.
Preparative Inorganic Chemistry Lab
This course provides a laboratory environment for students to learn the strategies necessary to synthesize a wide variety of inorganic compounds and organometallic complexes. Students will learn how to plan and develop synthetic protocols in both atmospheric and inert reaction processes. This course is intended to give an opportunity to develop innovative skills and writing proficiency. Library, literature and textbook research will be required.
Advanced Techniques in Organic Synthesis
This advanced lab course teaches students to perform advanced techniques important in an organic chemistry lab. Techniques covered include working under inert atmospheres, working with air-sensitive reagents, using syringes, purification methods, and carrying on material for subsequent synthetic steps. Characterization of synthesized compounds will be conducted.
Advanced biology electives
Introduction to Microbiology
This course is an introduction to microorganisms and their importance. Principles of structure and function, metabolic diversity, taxonomy, environmental microbiology, bioremediation, and infectious diseases of bacteria are discussed. Basic laboratory techniques covered include: microscopy; staining, culturing, isolation, and identification of bacteria; isolation and identification of normal flora; identification of unknown bacteria; antibiotic resistance; metabolic tests; clinical and commercial testing protocols; and detection and counting of bacteria in environmental samples (foods, water, soils).
Evolutionary Biology
This course investigates the historical framework of evolutionary biology and the meaning/nature of evidence pertinent to biological evolution. Topics will include: earth history, the evolution of proteins and the genetic code, molecular evolution, neutral theory vs. selection, genetic variation, natural selection, migration, mutation, genetic drift, fitness, population dynamics and genetics, speciation, systematics and classification systems, molecular phylogenetics, the evolution of eukaryotic organisms, behavioral evolution, historical biogeography, and human evolution and variation.
Ethical Issues in Biology and Medicine
This course explores major ethical issues in medicine and biology via lecture, readings, films, and presentation and discussion of cases. Students report on current events in ethics as researched on the internet or other news media. The first portion of the course is in a lecture format. Students learn about various theories of ethical analysis that are in current use. Subsequent classes are devoted to particular ethical areas. Relevant cases are given to the students for presentation in both written and oral formats. Any additional background material that may be required to discuss the cases is presented by the instructor and the remainder of the period is discussion based on the philosophical foundation provided at the beginning of the course.
Cell Physiology
This course is a study of functional eukaryotic cellular physiology with an emphasis on the role of global gene expression in cellular function and disease. Nuclear and cytoplasmic regulation of macromolecular synthesis, regulation of cellular metabolism, control of cell growth, and the changes in cell physiology in disease are covered. This course also covers the technology used for studying changes in gene expression associated with cell differentiation and disease. The associated laboratory covers microarray techniques. This includes design and implementation of an experiment to acquire gene expression data, analyzing the acquired data using simple computer programs, such as MAGIC, and writing a research paper explaining findings.
Plants, Medicine, and Technology
Plants have played a significant role in the shaping of our world. This course will explore the utilization of plants for foods, fuels, materials, medicine, novel genetic information, and social aspects of different cultures. All cultures depend on about fifteen plant species, most of which have been changed by plant improvement methods to enhance human benefits. This course will explore these changes in important crops, plant constituents used in medicine, and the technology used to produce important plant-produced medicines.
Microbiology of Wastewater
This is an advanced course in the microbiology of wastewater treatment, solids treatment, and the generation and maintenance of drinking water. Topics include activated sludge processes, clarification processes, disinfection processes, trickling filters, rotating biological contactors, waste stabilization ponds, sludge microbiology, anaerobic digestion of biosolids, microbial aspects of drinking water and drinking water distribution systems, and public health aspects of wastewater and biosolids disposal on land and in marine systems.
Bioenergy: Microbial Production
This course presents how microbial processes are used to produce various biofuels from renewable feedstocks. The topics presented include bioethanol production, biobutanol production, methane (biogas) production, biodiesel production, and the economics involved with the production of alternative fuels.
Comparative Animal Physiology
This course is a comparative study of fundamental physiological mechanisms. It covers a broad range of organisms studied from the standpoint of evolution of functional systems, the mechanisms and morphological variations that exist to deal with functional problems posed by the environment, and the special mechanisms used to cope with extreme environments.
Tissue Culture
This course will present the techniques and applications of culturing eukaryotic cells, tissues, and organs in vitro. Emphasis will be placed on mammalian systems. Lectures will cover the historical background of tissue culture, how to authenticate cell lines, basic cell culture techniques; as well as stem cells, tissue engineering, and the role of cell culture in regenerative medicine. In the laboratory, students will be introduced to growth curves, cloning techniques, primary cell culture, and making a cell line; as well as detecting mycoplasma and other cell culture contaminants.
Introduction to the principles of inheritance; the study of genes and chromosomes at molecular, cellular, organismal, and population levels.
Developmental Biology
This course is a study of the processes of growth, differentiation and development that lead to the mature form of an organism. The course will also address how developmental biology is integrated with other aspects of biology including disease, ecology, and evolution.
Bioinformatics introduces students to the analysis of biological sequences: DNA, mRNA, and protein. Emphasis is placed on classical bioinformatics analyses such as gene prediction, sequence alignment, and phylogenetics. The methods are applicable to both human and model organism studies in medical, biotechnological, and classical biology research.
This course introduces students to the analysis of complex genomes. Emphasis is placed on genetic information derived from the human genome project but advances with genomes of other model systems will be discussed. Lectures cover scientific techniques used to map and sequence the human genome, as well as strategies for identification of disease susceptibility genes. The laboratory utilizes an automated DNA sequencer to demonstrate the acquisition of genetic sequences. Laboratory sessions emphasize cycle sequencing of cloned DNA fragments using an automated fluorescent DNA sequencer.
Introduction to Population Genetics
This course consists of a study of DNA, genes, inheritance, genetic variation, genetic architecture, and change within and among populations. Fundamental genetics topics include DNA, gene, and chromosomal structure and function along with, transmission genetics, Mendelian inheritance patterns, sex-linked inheritance, genetic linkage, and the Hardy-Weinberg Principle. Population based topics will include genetic variation, its importance, how it originates and is maintained as well as inbreeding, random mating, mutation, migration, selection, genetic drift, the effects of small population size, fitness, population subdivision, the shifting balance theory, inter-deme selection, kin selection, neutral theory, molecular evolution, molecular clocks, multi-gene families, gene conversion, artificial selection, the genetic basis of quantitative traits and the fundamental theorem of natural selection.
Environmental Biology
This course presents the microbiology of soils, freshwater, marine environments, and extreme environments. Topics include nutrient cycling in soils by microorganisms, the diversity of microorganisms in soils, the role of microorganisms in freshwater environments such as lakes, rivers, and wetlands and marine environments such as the open ocean, coastline environments, and salt marshes, and the diversity of microorganisms in extreme environments including highly acidic, highly alkaline, and highly saline environments. Laboratory experiments will explore the types of bacteria in different types of soils in Western New York, types of bacteria in different freshwater environments in Western NY, determining total and fecal coliform counts in freshwaters, determining the presence of antibiotic resistant coliforms in sediment samples, and examining the survival of various human pathogens in surface waters.
Advanced Immunology
This course is an in-depth treatment of the molecular and cellular events associated with innate and adaptive immune responses. The response of the host to the environment of microbes and pathogens will be emphasized. Recognition and response of the host to the infectious agents and the resolution of the disease state will be examined at the cellular and molecular levels. The immune response to tumors will be treated and medical advances in treating neoplastic disease using immunological therapy will be presented. The laboratories will focus on the cellular and molecular techniques employed in the modern immunology laboratory. A laboratory module employing hybridoma techniques will provide an intensive experience with monoclonal antibodies and their use in diagnostics and disease treatment.
This course is an introduction to bioremediation focusing on the interactions between engineers, chemists, hydrologists, and microbiologists to develop, design, and implement strategies to remediate contaminated soils or water. Topics include microorganisms involved in bioremediation, types of chemical pollutants, economics of remediation, environmental factors important in bioremediation, in situ processes, and ex situ processes. The laboratory project involves the isolation of hydrocarbon degrading bacteria from soils and sediments and further characterization of the hydrocarbon degrading isolates with respect to types of hydrocarbons degraded and rate of degradation.
Biological Separations: Principles and Practices
This is a laboratory-based course that teaches classic concepts and techniques to enable the use of these techniques to purify small molecules and macromolecules from whole organisms. Detection techniques will include the use of bacterial biosensors, coomassie-blue staining, silver staining, and immunoblot analysis. Separation techniques will include SDS Polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (PAGE) analysis, thin layer chromatography, and paper electrophoresis. Purification techniques will include ammonium sulfate precipitation, affinity chromatography, and thin layer chromatography.
Fundamentals of Plant Biochemistry and Pathology
This course is primarily focused on biochemical and pathological aspects of a plant's life. This course provides an understanding of why protein catalysts are important in the field of plant biochemistry and plant pathology. More specifically, the role enzymes play in the basic cellular processes of plant growth and development is presented. Topics related to plant pathology are presented; such as plant disease epidemics, plant diagnosis, plant diseases caused by fungi, bacteria, nematodes, viruses, and plant-pathogen interaction, at the ecological, physiological and genetic level.
Human Genetics
The course provides an overview of concepts and applications in human genetics. Topics include classical and complex mechanisms of inheritance, the human genome, human origins & evolution, forensic applications, personalized medicine, and ethical issues.
This course is an introduction to virology with specific emphasis on the molecular mechanisms of virus infection of eukaryotic cells and virus-cell interactions. Virus structure, genetics, the infectious cycle, replication strategies, pathogenesis, persistence, effects on host macromolecular synthesis, viral oncogenesis, viral vectors, emerging viral diseases, and strategies to protect against and combat viral infection will be discussed.
Plant Biotechnology
In this course aspects of plant biotechnology will be investigated. Areas of concentration will include: tissue culture, genetic transformation of plant cells, regeneration of transgenic plants, and the construction and characterization of transgenic plants for food production, experimental biology investigations, and novel product(development. The laboratory will provide experiences to complement(the lecture information in plant cell culture and experiences in the use of Agrobacterium as the gene shuttle to introduce novel genetic information into plants.
Plant Molecular Biology
The course will introduce molecular biology concepts and encourage the application of these concepts to the particular plant gene being studied. This upper-level elective course has a strong laboratory element. Small groups will study different plant genes during the semester. The laboratory element will be a self-paced group project to amplify, clone, sequence, and examine the expression profiles of plant genes. Gene databases such as TAIR and NCBI, as well as sequence analysis software, will be used throughout the course. The groups will be guided to make week-by-week project plans, to troubleshoot problems, and record results in laboratory notebooks. In addition, weekly results and progress will be shared via an interactive wiki.
Bacterial-Host Interaction
This course focuses on the bacterial and host (human, insect, plant, animals and fungi) mechanisms used in interactions with hosts during both pathogenesis and symbiosis. We will explore molecular, microbiome and genomic levels, drawing on the disciplines of genomics, biochemistry, molecular biology and cell biology. Several of the agonistic and antagonistic interactions will illustrate broader principles and contribute to our fundamental understanding of biological processes. The results of these interactions have a strong impact on biological productivity, and so are also ever increasing important in human health. An emphasis will be on the roles of molecules and cell structures in determining the outcome of an interaction. Course is intended to allow students to develop knowledge of host-bacterial interactions at the molecular to organismal level, with an emphasis on several model symbiotic- and patho-systems. Knowledge about bacterial mechanisms use to associate with host organisms and the different strategies bacteria employ to gain entry, damage host tissue and obtain nutrients for growth will be explored. We will also illustrate several mutualistic relationships between eukaryotic hosts with partner symbiotic bacteria. Genomic approaches to describe microbiomes (microbial communities) on host organisms and in environments will also be explored.
Ethics in Bioinformatics
This course focuses on individual and organizational responsibilities in bioinformatics research, product development, product commercialization and clinical and consumer genetic testing.
Microbial and Viral Genetics
This course will examine bacterial and viral genetic systems. These systems will be studied with the idea that they are simple examples of the genetics systems found in higher organisms, and can also be used as biotechnological tools. This course will show how these prokaryotic systems have served as excellent model systems for studying the genetics of higher organisms. This course will examine how these systems can be genetically manipulated using transformation, transduction, transposition, and conjugation. Bacteria and viruses will be discussed as important tools for many of the greatest discoveries in biology; especially in molecular biology and genetics. In addition some of the primary research journal articles will be critiqued.
Eukaryotic Gene Regulation and Disease
This course presents an overview of gene expression in eukaryotic systems, with an emphasis on how disease can result when gene regulation is disrupted. Points of control that are examined include: chromatin structure, transcription initiation, transcript processing, stability and modification, RNA transport, translation initiation, post-translational events, and protein stability. The mechanisms involved in regulating these control points are discussed by exploring specific well studied cases. The significance of these processes is highlighted by a discussion of several diseases that have been shown to be due to defects in gene regulation.
Bioinformatics Algorithms
Genetic Engineering
This course is a laboratory-intensive introduction to the theoretical basis, laboratory techniques, and applications of gene manipulation.
Molecular Modeling and Proteomics
Research Based Writing
This course is intended for students with significant research experience to work closely with their faculty mentors to prepare a manuscript for publication or write a proposal for external funding. Students will devote significant time to writing, revision and peer review. A submission-quality manuscript or proposal is expected at the end of the semester.
Human Anatomy and Physiology I
This course is an integrated approach to the structure and function of the nervous, endocrine, integumentary, muscular and skeletal systems. Laboratory exercises include histological examination, actual and simulated anatomical dissections, and physiology experiments with human subjects.
Human Anatomy and Physiology II
This course is an integrated approach to the structure and function of the gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, immunological, respiratory, excretory, and reproductive systems with an emphasis on the maintenance of homeostasis. Laboratory exercises include histological examinations, anatomical dissections and physiological experiments using human subjects.


The biochemistry program offers two tracks, one that follows the guidelines of the American Society of Biochemists and Molecular Biologists (ASBMB) and one that is certified by the American Chemical Society (ACS). The ASBMB program allows more science and university-wide electives in such fields as biology, while the ACS program is for students interested in a graduate chemistry program such as that offered by RIT.

Admission Requirements

Freshman Admission

For all bachelor’s degree programs, a strong performance in a college preparatory program is expected. Generally, this includes 4 years of English, 3-4 years of mathematics, 2-3 years of science, and 3 years of social studies and/or history.

Specific math and science requirements and other recommendations

  • 3 years of math required; pre-calculus recommended
  • Biology and chemistry required

Transfer Admission

Transfer course recommendations without associate degree

Courses in liberal arts, physics, math, and chemistry

Appropriate associate degree programs for transfer

AS degree in liberal arts with chemistry option; chemical technology, laboratory technology

Learn about admissions and financial aid 

Additional Info

Undergraduate research opportunities

Students are encouraged to meet the professors in the School of Chemistry and Materials Science early in their time on campus. Many of our students join research labs and engage in research starting as early as their first year. Participation in undergraduate research leads to opportunities to make presentations at local and national conferences. Many of our student researchers also become contributing authors on peer-reviewed manuscripts.