Biochemistry, BA

Contemporary biological sciences are based on principles of chemistry and physics. The importance of this relationship is the basis of the Penn Biochemistry major, which prepares students for advanced study in areas as diverse as biophysics, biotechnology, cell biology, genetic engineering, genomics, molecular biology, molecular genetics, nanotechnology, neurobiology, structural biology, systems biology, and biochemistry. The major provides the basic science background for graduate and health professional schools and for prospective science teachers.

The minimum total course units for graduation in this major is 36. Double majors may need more course units.

For information about the General Education requirements, please visit the College of Arts & Sciences Curriculum page.

College General Education Requirements and Free Electives
Foundational Approaches + Sectors + Free Electives18
Calculus Requirement
MATH 1400Calculus, Part I1
MATH 1410Calculus, Part II1
Chemistry Requirement
General Chemistry:
CHEM 1011Introduction to General Chemistry I1
or CHEM 1012 General Chemistry I
CHEM 1021Introduction to General Chemistry II1
General Chemistry Laboratories:
CHEM 1101General Chemistry Laboratory I.5
CHEM 1102General Chemistry Laboratory II.5
Other Chemistry Requirements:
CHEM 2411Principles of Organic Chemistry I with Laboratory1.5
CHEM 2421Principles of Organic Chemistry II with Laboratory1.5
CHEM 2210Physical Chemistry I (Fall Only)1
CHEM 2220Physical Chemistry II (Spring Only)1
CHEM 2510Principles of Biological Chemistry 11
CHEM 5510Biological Chemistry I (Fall Only)1
CHEM 5520Biological Chemistry II (Spring Only)1
Physics Requirement
PHYS 0150Principles of Physics I: Mechanics and Wave Motion1.5
or PHYS 0170 Honors Physics I: Mechanics and Wave Motion
PHYS 0151Principles of Physics II: Electromagnetism and Radiation1.5
or PHYS 0171 Honors Physics II: Electromagnetism and Radiation
Research Requirement
BCHE 4597A
BCHE 4597B
Total Course Units34

Take before end of fourth semester.  Take after CHEM 2411 Principles of Organic Chemistry I with Laboratory but BEFORE CHEM 5510 Biological Chemistry I.


Requirements: GPA of 3.2 in courses required for the major, taken at Penn, and not including BCHE 4597A & BCHE 4597B Biochemistry Laboratory.


The degree and major requirements displayed are intended as a guide for students entering in the Fall of 2024 and later. Students should consult with their academic program regarding final certifications and requirements for graduation.