BS Biochemistry

The current course catalog has a version of this page that includes hyperlinks to relevant resources. 
Click here for the 21-22 course catalog.

Biochemistry is the chemistry of life - the molecules, reactions, and energy transformations that underlie structure and function in all living organisms. The study of biochemistry combines knowledge from chemistry, biology, physics, and mathematics (and sometimes other disciplines) to understand how life works at the molecular level. This integrated scientific knowledge will be essential for understanding the future of human health, sustainable energy, and the environment.

The BS Biochemistry program at CU Denver strongly emphasizes connections between basic science and human health. Required coursework covers much of the foundational knowledge and skills for graduate and health professions entrance exams. Several courses explore connections between cutting-edge biochemical research and different diseases.  Students are encouraged to take advantage of undergraduate research opportunities in biochemistry and related fields either at CU-Denver or on the nearby Anschutz Medical campus. Graduates learn skills in critical thinking, problem solving, and scientific communication for careers in the health and natural sciences.

A BS in Biochemistry stands out as a premiere accomplishment in applications for professional degree programs, including pharmacy, medicine, nursing, dentistry, medical technology, and many others. 

These degree requirements are subject to periodic revision by the academic department, and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences reserves the right to make exceptions and substitutions as judged necessary in individual cases. Therefore, the College strongly urges students to consult regularly with their major advisor and CLAS advisor to confirm the best plans of study before finalizing them.

Qualified majors are strongly urged to participate in directed research and departmental honors programs. We also strongly encourage Biochemistry majors to participate in the Chemistry department by serving as learning assistants or teaching assistants.

The chemistry department offers two options for a chemistry degree. A BS Chemistry and a BS Biochemistry. Students may also double major in Biochemistry and Chemistry. Students interested in the Biochemistry major should consult regularly with the a Biochemistry Majors Advisor, Dr. Marta Maron.

Program Delivery

  • This is an on-campus program.

Program Learning Goals

  1. Students possess an adequate knowledge base in several sub-disciplines in chemistry, including biochemistry, as defined by the American Chemical Society.
  2. Students can rely on this knowledge base to link more than one biochemical principle to solve problems, both qualitatively and quantitatively, individually and in groups.
  3. Students can (a) recognize and define a general problem related to biochemistry, (b) design and carry out at least one significant experiment which addresses the problem, and (c) competently analyze and report their experimental results in oral and written form, adhering to proper conventions.
  4. Students can (a) identify when information is needed to solve a problem, (b) identify and locate appropriate sources of information, and (c) effectively extract and construct scientific meaning from critical reading of written material, including primary, secondary, and instructional literature. 
  5. Students understand the concepts of safe laboratory practice, use ethical reasoning to evaluate their practices in performing experiments and communicating results, and conduct themselves responsibly according to the ethical and safety standards of the profession. 

Declaring This Major

General Requirements

To earn a degree, students must satisfy all requirements in each of the three areas below, in addition to their individual major requirements.

  • CU Denver General Graduation Requirements  
  • CU Denver Core Curriculum   
  • College of Liberal Arts & Sciences Graduation Requirements 
  • Click Here for Information about Academic Policies 

Program Requirements

  1. Students must complete a minimum of 74 credit hours, including a minimum of 33 CHEM credit hours and minimum of 26 credit hours in ancillary coursework.
  2. Students must complete a minimum of 16 upper-division (3000-level and above) CHEM credit hours.
  3. Students must earn a minimum grade of C- (1.7) in all major courses taken at CU Denver and must achieve a minimum cumulative major GPA of 2.0.  All graded attempts in required and elective courses are calculated in the major GPA.  Students cannot complete major or ancillary course requirements as pass/fail.
  4. Students must complete a minimum of 14 credit hours with CU Denver faculty including CHEM 4518 or CHEM 4538 or CHEM 4548.


Program Restrictions, Allowances, and Recommendations

  1. A student who has declared a Biochemistry major at CU Denver may not take additional chemistry courses outside of the department for the purpose of applying those credits toward meeting the requirements of the major without prior written approval of the undergraduate Biochemistry advisor. No more than 3 additional hours of such pre-approved transfer credits will be allowed.
  2. All courses applied to the Biochemistry major need to be taken within ten years of the graduation date with the exception of General Chemistry I and II Lecture and Laboratory (CHEM 2031/2038 and CHEM 2061/2068). In the event that the student would like to apply for expired credit for Organic I Lecture (CHEM 3481), the student will need to test at the 50th percentile on the ACS Standardized Exam for Organic Chemistry I.
  3. Intro Experimental Physics labs I and II (PHYS 2321 and PHYS 2341) are specifically designed for students in non-Physics majors and can be paired with either College Physics (PHYS 2010 and PHYS 2020) or General Physics (PHYS 2311 and PHYS 2331) lectures.  Students pursuing a second major in Physics should complete General Physics lectures (PHYS 2311 and PHYS 2331) and Applied Physics Labs (PHYS 2351 and PHYS 2361).
  4. Students may double major in Biochemistry and Chemistry. Students can apply the requirements for both majors, if the respective courses are a major requirement for both the Chemistry and Biochemistry major. Students must select unique Chemistry or Biochemistry elective courses to satisfy elective course credit requirements for both majors. A course cannot fulfill more than two requirement/ elective areas in a student’s degree.

  • CHEM 2031 - General Chemistry I  or
  • CHEM 2081 - Honors General Chemistry I or
  • CHEM 2032 - Majors General Chemistry 1


  • CHEM 2038 - General Chemistry Laboratory I  or
  • CHEM 2088 - Honors General Chemistry I Laboratory or
  • CHEM 2039 - Majors General Chemistry I Lab 


  • CHEM 2061 - General Chemistry II  or
  • CHEM 2091 - Honors General Chemistry II Lecture or
  • CHEM 2062 - Majors General Chemistry 2


  • CHEM 2068 - General Chemistry Laboratory II  or
  • CHEM 2098 - Honors General Chemistry II Laboratory or
  • CHEM 2069 Majors General Chemistry II Lab 


  • CHEM 3481 - Majors Organic Chemistry I
  • CHEM 3488 - Majors Organic Chemistry Laboratory I
  • CHEM 3491 - Majors Organic Chemistry II
  • CHEM 3498 - Majors Organic Chemistry Laboratory II
  • CHEM 4810 - General Biochemistry I  or
  • CHEM 5810 - Graduate Biochemistry I
  • CHEM 4828 - Biochemistry Lab
  • CHEM 4521 - Physical Chemistry: Quantum and Spectroscopy or
  • CHEM 4511 - Physical Chemistry: Thermodynamics and Kinetics
  • CHEM 4548- Physical Biochemistry Laboratory (recommended) or
  • CHEM 4538- Physical Chemistry Laboratory: Molecular Structure or
  • CHEM 4518- Physical Chemistry Laboratory: Reaction Analysis

  • BIOL 4125 - Molecular Biology Laboratory
  • BIOL 4225 Genomics and Bioinformatics
  • CHEM 4411 - Bioconjugate Techniques and Theranostic Nanomedicine
  • CHEM 4815 - Structural Biology of Neurodegenerative Diseases
  • CHEM 4820 - General Biochemistry II
  • CHEM 4825 - Biochemistry of Metabolic Disease
  • CHEM 4835 - Biochemistry of Gene Regulation and Cancer
  • CHEM 4845- Molecular Modeling and Drug Design
  • CHEM 4860 – Bioinorganic Chemistry: Bioinorganic compounds in medicine
  • CHEM 4880 - Directed Research (For faculty-mentored research projects related to biochemistry. Major credit for this course requires prior approval from the Chemistry/Biochemistry majors advisor and the research mentor. Major credits do not count toward departmental Honors requirements.)
  • CHEM 4600/  CHEM 5600 - Graduate Topics in Chemistry (certain topics, with permission from the Biochemistry Advisor)
  • CHEM 5830 - Graduate Biochemistry II

  • CHEM 4121 - Instrumental Analysis
  • CHEM 4421/  CHEM 5421 - Cannabis Chemistry
  • CHEM 4511 - Physical Chemistry: Thermodynamics and Kinetics 
  • CHEM 4521 - Physical Chemistry: Quantum and Spectroscopy 
  • CHEM 4700 - Environmental Chemistry
  • CHEM 4880 - Directed Research 
  • BIOL 3124 - Introduction to Molecular Biology
  • BIOL 3225 - Human Physiology
  • BIOL 3611 - General Cell Biology
  • BIOL 3654 - General Microbiology
  • BIOL 3763 - Biostatistics
  • BIOL 3804 - Developmental Biology
  • BIOL 3832 - General Genetics
  • BIOL 4024 - Introduction to Biotechnology
  • BIOL 4064 - Cell Biology of Disease
  • BIOL 4165 - Neurobiology
  • BIOL 4550 - Cell Signaling
  • MATH 3511 - Mathematics of Chemistry 
  • PHYS 3452 - Biophysics of the Cell NM
  • PSYC 3832 - Neural Basis of Learning

  • BIOL 2010 – Organisms to Ecosystems (Gen Bio) or
  • BIOL 2030 – Honors Organisms to Ecosystems (Gen Bio)
  • BIOL 2011 – Organisms to Ecosystems Lab (Gen Bio) or
  • BIOL 2031 – Honors Organisms to Ecosystems Lab (Gen Bio)
  • BIOL 2020 – Molecules to Cells (Gen Bio) or
  • BIOL 2040 – Honors Molecules to Cells (Gen Bio)
  • BIOL 2021 – Molecules to Cells Lab (Gen Bio) or
  • BIOL 2041 Honors Molecules to Cells Lab (Gen Bio)
  • MATH 1401 - Calculus I
  • MATH 2411 - Calculus II

Refer to note 3 under Program Restrictions, Allowances and Recommendations for alternative Physics lab information.

Sequence A

  • PHYS 2311 - General Physics I: Calculus-Based
  • PHYS 2321 - Intro Experimental Phys Lab I​
  • PHYS 2331 - General Physics II: Calculus-Based
  • PHYS 2341 - Intro Experimental Phys Lab II
  • MATH 3511 - Mathematics of Chemistry or
  • CHEM 4500 - Foundations of Physical Chemistry 


Sequence B

  • PHYS 2010 - College Physics I
  • PHYS 2321- Intro Experimental Phys Lab I​​
  • PHYS 2020 - College Physics II
  • PHYS 2040 - Intro Experimental Phys Lab II​​
  • CHEM 4500 - Foundations of Physical Chemistry