Chemistry-Biochemistry Concentration

Exploring the Major— Students considering a major in Chemistry should enroll in CHM 131 after having completed or waived the MAT 012 and CHM 101 prerequisites, which may be taken concurrently with permission of instructor. Students who wish to waive CHM 101 will take a standardized chemistry examination over high school chemistry content that will also be covered in CHM 131. Students who perform at an appropriate level will be waived from the CHM 101 course and will be allowed to move directly into CHM 131. The focus of the test is on concepts and not quantitative skills. Students may only take the waiver test one time; however, students who wish to move up to CHM 131 in the Fall Term from CHM 101 once they start the course will be allowed to do so in consultation with the instructor of the course. Similarly, students in CHM 131 who find the pace too fast will be allowed to move back to CHM 101. The goal is to provide flexibility and help each student find the appropriate starting point for their chemistry career. Also see foreign-language recommendation in “Other Considerations and Recommendations,” to follow.

If a student has a clear commitment to studying Chemistry, said student will be encouraged to consult with a Chemistry faculty member to discuss options and consider the pros and cons to specific Chemistry Concentrations. For example, students interested in pursuing a Professional Concentration will be encouraged to complete their required Calculus courses early and take the calculus-based Physics (PHY 221 and PHY 222) rather than the algebra-based Physics (PHY 127 and PHY 128). Students interested in Biochemistry Concentration will be advised to complete BIO 110 as quickly as possible and to consider other biology electives that might align with the students' academic and professional interests.

Admission to the Major— While there are no strict requirements, it is advisable that students satisfactorily complete a minimum of two CHM courses, plus waive or complete CHM 101, before declaring a Chemistry major with a Biochemistry Concentration. (This is often fulfilled by completing CHM 131, and CHM 221 or CHM 331.)

Course Sequencing Considerations (in order to complete degree requirements within eight terms)— Because they are prerequisites, if not waived, concurrent enrollment in CHM 101 and MAT 012 is suggested for students who plan to take CHM 131 (offered in Fall and Spring terms). The remaining courses that should be completed in sequence during the first two years are CHM 221, CHM 222, and CHM 311. BIO 110 should be taken concurrently with one of these chemistry courses. All required collateral courses should be completed by the beginning of the junior year (other than PHY 127 and PHY 128, which may be taken during the junior year).

Proficiency Requirements for Retention in and Completion of the Major— The laboratory component of the major requires that all students maintain a portfolio that will be reviewed as part of the advanced laboratory sequence. Each portfolio must demonstrate proficiencies in a range of chemistry subdisciplines (i.e., biochemistry, physical, inorganic, organic, and analytical), as well as proficiency in a variety of instrumental methods (i.e., spectroscopy like FTIR, UV/Visible, NMR, and AA; chromatography like GC and HPLC; and mass spectrometry like EI-Quadrupole, ESI-Ion Trap, and MALDI-TOF). Students are required to give at least two presentations related to their research efforts. One presentation must be on campus and one must be off campus. Off campus venues include, but are not limited to, meetings of the American Chemical Society, the Kentucky Academy of Sciences, or the National Council of Undergraduate Research. In addition, all students must pass a department proficiency exam, administered in CHM 471, in order to graduate. For a Biochemistry Concentration, students will need to document additional biochemistry experiences gained through the lab portion of BIO 441, Cellular and Molecular Biology.

Other Considerations and Recommendations (including advice for graduate school and anything that did not fit into the other categories) — Students completing the Biochemistry Concentration who plan to attend graduate school in biochemistry are encouraged (but not required) to take both CHM 361 and CHM 362. Students with strong mathematics backgrounds are encouraged to take the calculus-based physics sequence, PHY 221/PHY 222, in place of PHY 127/PHY 128. Students who do not already speak a second language are encouraged (but not required) to study at least one year of a foreign language to fulfill the Berea College perspective requirement. Additional coursework in Biology, particularly in courses with a molecular component like BIO 222 and BIO 330, is strongly encouraged.

Teaching Certification – Students interested in gaining certification to teach in the area of Chemistry (Grades 8 – 12) must meet all requirements for admission to the Chemistry major as well as admission to and completion of the Teacher Education Certification requirements. (See Teacher Certification Requirements)