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 104Calculus, Part I1
MATH 114Calculus, Part II1
Chemistry Requirement
General Chemistry:
CHEM 101General Chemistry I1
or CHEM 001 Introductory Chemistry I
CHEM 102General Chemistry II1
General Chemistry Laboratories:
CHEM 053
CHEM 054
General Chemistry Laboratory I
and General Chemistry Laboratory II
Other Chemistry Requirements:
CHEM 241Principles of Organic Chemistry1
CHEM 242Principles of Organic Chemistry II1
CHEM 221Physical Chemistry I (Fall Only)1
CHEM 222Physical Chemistry II (Spring Only)1
CHEM 251Principles of Biological Chemistry 21
CHEM 451Biological Chemistry I (Fall Only)1
CHEM 452Biological Chemistry II (Spring Only)1
CHEM 245Experimental Organic Chemistry1
or CHEM 223 Experimental Physical Chemistry I
Physics Requirement
PHYS 150Principles of Physics I: Mechanics and Wave Motion1.5
or PHYS 170 Honors Physics I: Mechanics and Wave Motion
PHYS 151Principles of Physics II: Electromagnetism and Radiation1.5
or PHYS 171 Honors Physics II: Electromagnetism and Radiation
Research Requirement
BCHE 404Biochemistry Laboratory (Fall semester)1
BCHE 404Biochemistry Laboratory (Spring after Fall semester)1
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 241 Principles of Organic Chemistry but BEFORE CHEM 451 Biological Chemistry I.


Requirements: GPA of 3.2 in courses required for for the major, taken at Penn, and not including BCHE 404 Biochemistry Laboratory.

The degree and major requirements displayed are intended as a guide for students entering in the Fall of 2017 and later. Students should consult with their academic program regarding final certifications and requirements for graduation.