Biochemistry Major

7028
Bachelor of Science
Classroom
No
Undergraduate
Main Campus - Melbourne
Major Code: 7028 Degree Awarded: Bachelor of Science
Age Restriction: N Admission status: undergraduate
Delivery Mode/s: classroom only Location/s: main campus

Program Co-chairs
J. Clayton Baum, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Chemistry
Charles D. Polson, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Biological Sciences

Biochemists, in studying all kinds of living organisms including viruses, bacteria, fungi, plants and animals (including humans), have found that many of the fundamental biochemical properties of living systems are shared throughout the hierarchy of life forms. Because biochemists try to unravel the complex chemical reactions that occur in such a wide variety of life forms, biochemistry provides the basis for practical advances in medicine, veterinary medicine, agriculture and biotechnology. Biochemistry underlies and includes such exciting fields as molecular biology and bioengineering. As the broadest of the basic sciences, biochemistry includes many subspecialties, such as inorganic biochemistry, bioorganic chemistry, physical biochemistry, biochemical and molecular genetics, biomedical pharmacology and immunochemistry. Recent advances in many areas of biochemistry have created links among technology, chemical engineering and biochemistry. More than ever, this is the age of biochemistry because the techniques of so many different disciplines can now be applied in studying the chemistry of living systems.

Career opportunities for biochemistry majors are rapidly expanding in the areas of agricultural research, biotechnology firms, governmental laboratories, industrial research, and development and research institutes, as well as university research and teaching. Far-reaching advances in many areas of basic and applied research are projected over the next few years. These areas include plant genetics; the biochemistry of cell receptors for hormones and neurotransmitters; the diagnosis and treatment of disease, particularly inherited diseases; and toxicology. All require an understanding of biochemistry and the use of biochemical techniques.

The course of study leading to a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry is an interdisciplinary program jointly administered by the Department of Biological Sciences and the Department of Chemistry. The curriculum has flexibility in that technical electives can be selected to provide a strong emphasis in either biology or chemistry, and prepare the biochemistry major for a variety of careers. All students take a core curriculum of basic science and mathematics during the first two years. During the junior and senior years, students take many specialized courses that reflect their choice of emphasis between biology and chemistry.

Students entering the biochemistry program as freshmen will normally be assigned faculty advisers in the department of chemistry. A student selecting an upper-division curriculum with a biological emphasis should indicate this intention by the beginning of the second semester of the sophomore year, at which time a new faculty advisor in the department of biological sciences will be assigned. A student's request for a change of advisers from chemistry to biology, or vice versa, will be honored at any time during the program.

Admission Requirements

Students intending to apply for admission to study for a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry should complete at least one year each of high school biology, chemistry and physics. Prospective students should also have at least three years of high school mathematics, including second-year algebra and trigonometry.

Florida Tech has articulation agreements with many of the community colleges in Florida. Students contemplating transfer to Florida Tech should consult with their counselors to determine transferability of community college credits. If there is a question regarding specific courses needed, either of the biochemistry program chairs listed above should be contacted.

Degree Requirements

Candidates for a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry must complete the minimum course requirements as outlined in the following curriculum that includes a strong chemistry emphasis. See the Department of Biological Sciences for the program plan with a strong biology emphasis. Electives are selected in consultation with the faculty advisor to reflect the knowledge a student needs either for employment or graduate school. Deviation from the stipulated program may occur only under unusual circumstances and requires approval of the chair. The bachelor's degree in biochemistry requires 129 credit hours for graduation.

Freshman Year
Fall (16 Credit Hours)
Complete:
  • ASC 1000 University Experience
    Credit Hours: 1
    Helps first-year students adjust to the university and acquire essential academic survival skills (classroom behavior, academic honesty, study skills, etc.) that enhance academic and social integration into college.
  • BIO 1010 Biological Discovery 1
    Credit Hours: 4
    The first of a two-semester sequence on the scientific approach to biology. Emphasizes the scientific method, analytical techniques, use of original source materials, ethical questions in biology, historical perspectives of the development of biological theory and profiles of prominent figures in biology.
  • CHM 1101 General Chemistry 1
    Credit Hours: 4
    Covers fundamental principles of modern chemistry, including stoichiometry, properties of gases, liquids and solids, thermochemistry, atomic structure, properties of solutions and equilibrium. Includes lab component.
  • COM 1101 Composition and Rhetoric
    Credit Hours: 3
    The first of two courses in college-level writing skills. Focuses on writing essays using various rhetorical modes: persuasion, description, comparison and analysis. Presents basic methods of library research, as well as the MLA documentation system. Students write one research paper and several essays.
    Requirement(s):
    Passing grade on placement exam or prerequisite course
  • MTH 1001 Calculus 1
    Credit Hours: 4
    Functions and graphs, limits and continuity, derivatives of algebraic and trigonometric functions, chain rule; applications to maxima and minima, and to related rates. Exponential logarithmic, circular and hyperbolic functions: their inverses, derivatives and integrals.
    Requirement(s):
    High school algebra and trigonometry, and a passing score on the placement test, or prerequisite course
Spring (15 Credit Hours)
Complete:
  • BIO 1020 Biological Discovery 2
    Credit Hours: 4
    The second of a two-semester sequence on the scientific approach to biology. Continues an integrated approach to the study of the hierarchal structure and function of living systems, including the origin and history of life on Earth.
  • CHM 1102 General Chemistry 2
    Credit Hours: 4
    Continues . Covers acids and bases, thermodynamics, electrochemistry, kinetics, descriptive chemistry of metals and nonmetals, coordination chemistry, nuclear chemistry. Introduces organic chemistry. Includes lab component.
  • COM 1102 Writing About Literature
    Credit Hours: 3
    The second of two courses in college-level writing skills. Focuses on reading and analyzing poems, plays and short works of fiction. Students write several essays and one research paper on literary topics.
  • MTH 1002 Calculus 2
    Credit Hours: 4
    Integration and applications of integration, further techniques of integration, improper integrals, limits, l'Hospital's rule, sequences and series, numerical methods, polar coordinates and introductory differential equations.
Sophomore Year
Fall (18 Credit Hours)
Complete:
  • BIO 2110 General Genetics
    Credit Hours: 4
    The fundamentals of genetics from Mendel to modern day. Emphasizes the transmission of genetic material, the molecular nature of heredity and the heredity of populations. In the lab, students perform genetic analyses with online bioinformatics software and hands-on with DNA purified from several sources.
  • CHM 2001 Organic Chemistry 1
    Credit Hours: 3
    Studies the fundamentals of structure and reaction mechanisms. Includes a review of bonding, preparations and reactions of organic substances.
  • CHM 2011 Organic Chemistry Laboratory 1
    Credit Hours: 2
    Introduces organic chemistry techniques for lab operations. Includes preparation, reaction and analysis of organic compounds.
  • MTH 2001 Calculus 3
    Credit Hours: 4
    Cylindrical and spherical coordinates, vectors, functions of several variables, partial derivatives and extrema, multiple integral, vector integral calculus.
  • PHY 1001 Physics 1
    Credit Hours: 4
    Includes vectors; mechanics of particles; Newton's laws of motion; work, energy and power; impulse and momentum; conservation laws; mechanics of rigid bodies, rotation, equilibrium; fluids, heat and thermodynamics; and periodic motion.
  • PHY 2091 Physics Laboratory 1
    Credit Hours: 1
    Experiments to elucidate concepts and relationships presented in , to develop understanding of the inductive approach and the significance of a physical measurement, and to provide some practice in experimental techniques and methods.
Spring (17 Credit Hours)
Complete:
  • BIO 2801 Biometry
    Credit Hours: 4
    Experimental design and hypothesis testing in the biological sciences, and the analysis of biological data using descriptive statistics and applying parametric and non-parametric tests. Computer applications include statistical packages, spreadsheets, graphics preparation and word processing in the development of reports on modules of field-, clinic- and lab-based studies.
  • CHM 2002 Organic Chemistry 2
    Credit Hours: 3
    Studies the fundamentals of structure and reaction mechanisms. Includes a review of bonding, preparations and reactions of organic substances.
  • CHM 2012 Organic Chemistry Laboratory 2
    Credit Hours: 2
    Continues . Introduces organic chemistry techniques for lab operations. Includes preparation, reaction and analysis of organic compounds.
  • HUM 2051 Civilization 1: Ancient Through Medieval
    Credit Hours: 3
    Introduces civilization from its early development to the European Renaissance. Emphasizes the interpretation of primary texts that reflect the intellectual and historical changes in society. The first of two interdisciplinary courses.
  • PHY 2002 Physics 2
    Credit Hours: 4
    Includes electricity and magnetism, Coulomb's law, electric fields, potential capacitance, resistance, DC circuits, magnetic fields, fields due to currents, induction, magnetic properties; and wave motion, vibration and sound, interference and diffraction.
  • PHY 2092 Physics Laboratory 2
    Credit Hours: 1
    Continues . Includes experiments pertaining to .
Junior Year
Fall (17 Credit Hours)
Complete:
  • CHM 3001 Physical Chemistry 1
    Credit Hours: 3
    Includes fundamental principles of chemical phenomena; thermodynamics, equilibria and states of matter; and chemical kinetics.
  • CHM 3011 Physical Chemistry Laboratory 1
    Credit Hours: 2
    Experiments illustrating the principles and techniques of physical chemistry studied in .
  • COM 2223 Scientific and Technical Communication
    Credit Hours: 3
    Practice in the technical and scientific writing style and format, including gathering and using data to prepare reports. Includes abstracts, reports, letters, technical descriptions, proposals and at least two oral presentations.
  • Humanities Core Course Credit Hours: 3
  • Restricted Elective (BIO, CHM) Credit Hours: 3
  • Social Science Elective Credit Hours: 3
Spring (14 Credit Hours)
Complete:
  • CHM 3002 Physical Chemistry 2
    Credit Hours: 3
    Continues . Includes chemical dynamics, quantum mechanics, atomic structures, chemical bonding and spectroscopy.
  • CHM 3012 Physical Chemistry Laboratory 2
    Credit Hours: 2
    Experiments illustrating the principles and techniques of physical chemistry studied in .
  • Liberal Arts Elective Credit Hours: 3
  • Restricted Electives (BIO, CHM) Credit Hours: 6
Senior Year
Fall (16 Credit Hours)
Complete:
  • BIO 4010 Biochemistry 1
    Credit Hours: 4
    Introduces the structure and properties of proteins, carbohydrates, lipids and nucleic acids. Includes lectures and labs involving intermediary metabolism, properties of enzymes, bioenergetics including oxidative phosphorylation and photosynthesis.
  • CHM 4700 Physical Biochemistry
    Credit Hours: 1
    Emphasizes the physical aspects of biochemistry. Includes enzyme mechanism, kinetics, inhibition, thermodynamics and binding constraints. Explores molecular modeling of proteins and protein folding, highlighting chemical interactions. Also includes an examination of protein-DNA binding interactions.
  • CHM 4800 Undergraduate Research 1
    Credit Hours: 3
    Senior research conducted under the direct supervision of a chemistry department faculty member.
    Requirement(s):
    Department head approval
  • CHM 4900 Chemistry Seminar
    Credit Hours: 0
    Presents topics of current chemical research interest by students, faculty and distinguished visiting scientists.
  • Humanities Elective Credit Hours: 3
  • Restricted Elective (BIO, CHM) Credit Hours: 2
  • Technical Elective Credit Hours: 3
Spring (16 Credit Hours)
Complete:
  • BIO 4110 Biochemistry 2
    Credit Hours: 4
    Lectures and labs involving the metabolism of carbohydrates, lipids and nitrogenous compounds including amino acids, proteins and nucleic acids. Discusses in detail the regulation of metabolism, biosynthesis of macromolecules and control of gene expression.
  • CHM 4900 Chemistry Seminar
    Credit Hours: 0
    Presents topics of current chemical research interest by students, faculty and distinguished visiting scientists.
  • Free Elective Credit Hours: 3
  • Liberal Arts Elective Credit Hours: 3
  • Restricted Electives (BIO, CHM) Credit Hours: 6
Total Credits Required: 129
Restricted Electives

At least eight credit hours must be selected from chemistry and at least six credit hours from biological sciences.

Biological Sciences
Complete:
  • BIO 2010 Microbiology
    Credit Hours: 4
    Covers the fundamentals of microbiology. Examines the structure, classification, metabolism and pathogenicity of prokaryotes, eukaryotic microorganisms and viruses. Labs cover aspects of isolation, culture, enumeration, identification and control of microorganisms.
  • BIO 3210 Mammalian Physiology
    Credit Hours: 4
    Introduces the study of bodily functions. Emphasizes biophysical principles and control systems to explain organ system function and the maintenance of homeostasis.
  • BIO 3220 Developmental Biology
    Credit Hours: 4
    Overviews developmental processes including contemporary themes of molecular, cellular and multicellular aspects of embryonic and postnatal development. Discusses the issues of induction, regulation, differentiation and senescence.
  • BIO 4101 Molecular Biology
    Credit Hours: 3
    Presents the structure, function and regulation of genetic information. Includes in-depth discussion of nucleic acid replication, transcription and translation. Introduces uses and applications of nucleic acids in current research.
  • BIO 4120 Genetic Engineering Techniques
    Credit Hours: 4
    Lectures and labs on the theory and practice of gene splicing and manipulation, the use of restriction enzymes, plasmid and phage vectors and the cloning of genes. Also includes nick translation, random primer labeling, colony hybridization and southern blotting.
  • BIO 4130 Nucleic Acid Analysis
    Credit Hours: 4
    Lectures and laboratories involving the theory and practice of current methods of nucleic acid manipulation. Techniques studied include restriction site mapping, end-labeling, sequencing, mRNA isolation, cDNA synthesis, DNA:DNA and DNA:RNA hybridization, PCR technology and DNA fingerprinting.
  • BIO 4201 Immunology
    Credit Hours: 3
    Covers basic immunology and the fundamental principles relating to clinical immunology. Studies the two functional divisions of the immune system, the innate and the adaptive immune systems, along with the cells and the soluble factors responsible for the immune response.
  • BIO 4210 Plant Physiology
    Credit Hours: 4
    Presents the physiological processes of plants and their interactions with their environment. Covers water relations, plant biochemistry, plant development and environmental physiology.
  • BIO 4301 Cell Biology
    Credit Hours: 3
    Emphasizes the interdependence of three systems: a membrane-cytoskeletal system, a system that directs genetic information into synthesis of cell constituents; and a system integrated into membranes that converts energy, supplied to cells as nutrients or light, into cell function and cell synthesis.
Chemistry
Complete:
  • CHM 3301 Analytical Chemistry 1
    Credit Hours: 3
    Focuses on the principles of modern analytical methods. Includes chemical separation and quantitative measurements, important equilibrium considerations and the treatment of experimental data.
  • CHM 3302 Analytical Chemistry 2: Instrumentation
    Credit Hours: 3
    Principles of modern chemical instrumentation, focusing on spectroscopy.
  • CHM 3311 Analytical Chemistry Laboratory 1
    Credit Hours: 2
    Students conduct experiments in quantitative analytical techniques.
  • CHM 3312 Analytical Chemistry 2: Instrumentation Laboratory
    Credit Hours: 2
    Quantitative and instrumental analysis techniques to accompany .
  • CHM 4001 Inorganic Chemistry 1
    Credit Hours: 3
    Covers basic theoretical concepts of inorganic chemistry as related to elementary structure and bonding, stressing representative elements; and donor-acceptor concepts, symmetry and group theory. Introduces transition metal chemistry.
  • CHM 4002 Advanced Inorganic Chemistry
    Credit Hours: 3
    Includes structure and stability in coordination chemistry, spectroscopy of transition metal compounds; descriptive transition metal chemistry and reactions of metal compounds; and lanthanides and actinides. Introduces bioinorganic chemistry.
  • CHM 4111 Advanced Physical Chemistry
    Credit Hours: 3
    Selected topics in physical chemistry. Includes statistical mechanics and molecular modeling.
  • CHM 4304 Advanced Analytical Chemistry
    Credit Hours: 3
    Includes electrode processes, thermodynamic and kinetic considerations, electrochemical methods and recent research articles.
  • CHM 4500 Advanced Organic Chemistry
    Credit Hours: 3
    Fundamentals of physical organic chemistry. Includes stereochemistry and structure, methods of mechanistic elucidation and selected mechanistic descriptions.
  • CHM 4550 Polymer Chemistry
    Credit Hours: 3
    Introduces classes of polymers, their general patterns of behavior, polymer synthesis, physics of the solid state, polymer characterization, polymer rheology and polymer processing.
  • COM 2012 Research Sources and Systems
    Credit Hours: 1
    Acquaints students with a variety of library services, sources and systems. Emphasizes research strategies and tools useful in each student's field of study, as well as the use of print, Internet and other electronic resources.
Senior Thesis

The biochemistry curriculum allows for significant undergraduate research experience, culminating in a senior thesis for those students who wish to pursue postgraduate studies and are maintaining a grade point average of 3.0 or better in all science and mathematics courses. A qualified student wishing to participate in the senior thesis program must notify the appropriate department (either biological sciences or chemistry, depending on the student's research interests and curriculum emphasis) no later than the end of the fall semester of the junior year. A thesis committee, consisting of one or more faculty members from each department, will be formed to consider the thesis proposal, which must be submitted during the spring semester of the junior year. After the approval of the senior thesis committee and the appropriate department head, based on both the proposal and the student's academic record, the student will be permitted to register for Senior Thesis in Biochemistry (BCM 4991 and BCM 4992) during the senior year. These courses and Research Sources and Systems (COM 2012) substitute for Undergraduate Research 1 (CHM 4800) and four credit hours of restricted chemistry electives toward meeting the degree requirements listed above. Senior Thesis in Biochemistry students are encouraged to include at least one year of foreign language (French or German) in their degree programs.