Department of Chemistry, College of Science and Engineering
Why Consider a Biochemistry Major?
This major is part of an interdisciplinary program between the biology and chemistry departments at Western. The BS degree in biochemistry (with greater emphasis on the physical chemical theory behind biological chemistry) is offered via the chemistry department, whereas a BS degree in cellular and molecular biology (with a different emphasis) is offered via the biology department. The requirements for the BS in biochemistry are listed below. For the cellular and molecular biology degree program, see the Biology Department section of this catalog.
The Biochemistry major provides many benefits to students through coursework and research opportunities, and is designed to meet diverse career goals. There is close student-faculty contact and relatively small classes. The students have direct access to modern laboratory equipment and instrumentation, and there are opportunities for research work under the direction of a faculty advisor.
This program is specifically designed for students who seek graduate study or employment in biochemistry or molecular biology.
Chemistry Department Chair
P. Clint Spiegel
Chemistry Building 270A
Chemistry Program Coordinators
Chemistry Building 270
Chemical/Pharmaceutical Sales | Physician | Crime Lab Analyst | High School Teacher | Industrial Chemist | Technical Writing | Dentist | Forensic Scientist | Quality Assurance Specialist | Research Scientist | Occupational Safety Specialist | Veterinarian | Science Lab Technician | Biochemist | Biotechnology Scientist | College Professor | Environmental Scientist/Consultant
How to Declare (Admission and Declaration Process):
Admission to the Bachelor of Science major in biochemistry is based upon an application process that considers both the applicant’s academic performance in prerequisite courses and responses to prompts about their motivations, career goals, and past experiences. There is frequently more demand for the BS biochemistry major than space and resources allow. Therefore, neither completion of the prerequisites nor attainment of any specific GPA guarantees admission to full-major (Phase II) status. The range of GPAs and the median GPA for recent rounds of Phase II admission to the BS biochemistry major are available on the department webpage chemistry.wwu.edu.
A typical four-year program leading to a Bachelor of Science degree in biochemistry is described on the department’s website.
Students may apply for pre-major (Phase I) status any time after completion of CHEM 161 or CHEM 175 by meeting with the Chemistry Department program coordinator. The pre-major (Phase I) declaration process is completed by meeting with a faculty advisor assigned by the program coordinator.
Major Application Process
Students are eligible to apply to Phase II of the BS biochemistry major once they have accomplished the following:
- Completion of the pre-major (Phase I) declaration process.
- Completion (with a C- or above) of the following prerequisite (Phase I) courses: CHEM 161, CHEM 162, CHEM 163, (or CHEM 175, CHEM 176, and CHEM 225), CHEM 351, CHEM 352, BIOL 205, MATH 124, and MATH 125.
Priority will be given to applications from students who:
- Are enrolled in or have completed MATH 224 (with a C- or above)
Applications for full-major (Phase II) status are reviewed twice per year and are due by either the end of the first day of spring quarter or by the end of the first week of fall quarter. The online application includes written responses to several prompts and reporting grades in the prerequisite (Phase I) coursework listed above. The application and further information about the process can be found on the Chemistry Department website chemistry.wwu.edu.
A grade of C- or better is required for a student’s major or minor courses, and supporting courses for majors and minors.