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. It 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 entail 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 + Sectors1 + 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 1101
CHEM 1102
General Chemistry Laboratory I
and General Chemistry Laboratory II
Other Chemistry Requirements:
CHEM 2410Principles of Organic Chemistry I1
CHEM 2420Principles of Organic Chemistry II1
CHEM 2210Physical Chemistry I (Fall Only)1
CHEM 2220Physical Chemistry II (Spring Only)1
CHEM 2510Principles of Biological Chemistry 21
CHEM 5510Biological Chemistry I (Fall Only)1
CHEM 5520Biological Chemistry II (Spring Only)1
CHEM 2230Experimental Physical Chemistry I1
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 4597ABiochemistry Laboratory1
BCHE 4597BBiochemistry Laboratory1
Total Course Units36

You may count no more than one course toward both a Major and a Sector requirement. For Exceptions, check the Policy Statement.


Take concurrently with or after CHEM 2410 Principles of Organic Chemistry I 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 2022 and later. Students should consult with their academic program regarding final certifications and requirements for graduation.