Biochemistry Curriculum

View the requirements for an AOC in Biochemistry and see sample pathways to graduation.



Area of Concentration Requirements

Students interested in the interface between chemistry and biology may choose an area of concentration in biochemistry. Requirements include:

  • General Chemistry I and II (or Compressed General Chemistry I and II), along with General Chemistry Laboratory during Spring Semester
  • Calculus I and II plus a third semester of math (Calculus III, Differential Equations, or Linear Algebra)
  • Foundations of Biology II
  • Two semesters of Organic Chemistry — Structure and Reactivity, along with the Chemistry Inquiry Laboratory in the fall and Organic Laboratory in the spring.
  • Physics I and II (with 2 semesters of physics lab)
  • Physical Chemistry: Thermodynamics (with one semester of lab)
  • Biochemistry I and II
  • Biochemistry Lab
  • Two molecular-level Biology courses plus 2 labs (chosen from Genetics, Cell Biology, Molecular Biology, or Microbiology)
  • One Independent Study Project in chemistry or biochemistry or molecular biology (plus 2 other ISPs)
  • A senior thesis on research carried out with a faculty mentor

The thesis prospectus must be signed by two chemists and one biologist. Since Biochemistry is already an interdisciplinary area of concentration, joint areas of concentration with Biochemistry are usually not possible.

Recent Courses in Biochemistry

Biochemistry I, Protein Structure and Function
This course will be an in-depth study of protein and nucleic acid structure, function, and regulation. The focus of the class will be on molecular mechanisms of protein function. Mechanisms of human diseases will also be discussed. The last two weeks of the course will include advanced topics chosen by the students themselves.

Biochemistry II, Metabolism and Advanced Topics
This course will be a continuation of Biochemistry I. We will cover advanced topics including sugar, amino acid, lipid, and nucleotide metabolism as well as eukaryotic mechanisms for transcription regulation. The last two weeks of the course will include advanced topics chosen by the students themselves.

Biochemistry Laboratory
This class will allow students to get experience using a variety of modern techniques in biochemistry and molecular biology. Experimental design, laboratory methods, and data analysis will be emphasized. Students will learn to do protein purifications, enzyme essays, the polymerase chain reaction (PCR), restriction enzyme digestions, DNA ligation and transformation of E. coli. Students will do a research project during the course.

Cell Biology Lecture
This course will focus on the structure and function of eukaryotic cells. Topics will include bioenergetics, the structure and function of membranes, organelles and the cytoskeleton, cellular metabolism, macromolecular transport and cellular organization, the cell cycle, cell signaling, and the extracellular matrix. The cellular bases of diseases and of extracellular signal perception will be emphasized.

Cell Biology Laboratory
This laboratory course is designed to compliment the Cell Biology Lecture course. Students will develop laboratory technique and data analysis skills while learning several different approaches used to study cells. Some independent inquiry will be required. Such cell biological techniques as microscopy (various types), tissue preparation for microscopy, sub cellular separation, protein and nucleic acid extraction, gel electrophoresis, immunoblotting, and real time RT-PCR will be emphasized.


New College students must satisfy both the requirements of the Liberal Arts Curriculum (LAC), New College’s general education program, and the specific requirements for the Area of Concentration (AOC). With so many opportunities each term, the pathway below is provided as an example of how a student could complete the requirements for graduation. We’ve put some checkpoints in place so that you make the most of your time at New College. Each term you’ll meet with a faculty advisor to discuss courses, tutorials, internships, or other academic experiences. Schedule a meeting with your faculty advisor to discuss which courses satisfy the LAC and which satisfy the AOC. Each student completes a Provisional AOC Plan in the fifth contract to select an AOC, and each student submits a Thesis Prospectus/AOC Form in the sixth contract.

A Sample Four-Year Pathway for Biochemistry

YearFall Term January / ISPSpring Term
Year 1General Chemistry I (LAC 1)3 ISPs required to gradutate (1 in Chem, Biochem, or Mol. Biol.)General Chemistry II
Calculus I (LAC 2)General Chemistry Laboratory
LAC 3Calculus II (LAC 5)
Year 2Organic Chemistry IISP 2Organic Chemistry II
Organic I (Inquiry) LaboratoryOrganic Lab
Third semester in mathPhysics II
Physics I (LAC 7)Physics II Laboratory
Physics I Laboratory (LAC 8)
Year 3Biochemistry IISP 3Biochemistry II
Genetics Biochemistry II Lab
Genetics LabThermodynamics
Physical Chemistry Lab
Year 4Cell Biology
Cell Biology Lab

A Sample Two-Year Pathway for Biochemistry

YearFall Term January / ISPSpring Term
Year 3Biochemistry IBiochemistry II
Genetics Biochemistry Lab
Genetics LabThermodynamics
Physical Chemistry Lab
Thesis tutorial
Year 4Cell BiologyISP
Cell Biology Lab