Feb 24, 2024  
2017-2018 Catalog 
2017-2018 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Biochemistry: Biology Emphasis, B.S.

Major Code: 7028 Degree Awarded: Bachelor of Science
Delivery Mode(s): Classroom Age Restriction: No
Admission Status: Undergraduate Location(s): Main Campus - Melbourne

Program Co-chairs

Nasri Nesnas, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Chemistry
Charles D. Polson, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Biological Sciences

Biochemists, in studying all kinds of living organisms including viruses, bacteria, fungi, plants and animals (including humans), have found that many of the fundamental biochemical properties of living systems are shared throughout the hierarchy of life forms. Because biochemists try to unravel the complex chemical reactions that occur in such a wide variety of life forms, biochemistry provides the basis for practical advances in medicine, veterinary medicine, agriculture and biotechnology. Biochemistry underlies and includes such exciting fields as molecular biology and bioengineering. As the broadest of the basic sciences, biochemistry includes many subspecialties, such as inorganic biochemistry, bioorganic chemistry, physical biochemistry, biochemical and molecular genetics, biomedical pharmacology and immunochemistry. Recent advances in many areas of biochemistry have created links among technology, chemical engineering and biochemistry. More than ever, this is the age of biochemistry because the techniques of so many different disciplines can now be applied in studying the chemistry of living systems.

Career opportunities for biochemistry majors are rapidly expanding in the areas of agricultural research, biotechnology firms, governmental laboratories, industrial research, and development and research institutes, as well as university research and teaching. Far-reaching advances in many areas of basic and applied research are projected over the next few years. These areas include plant genetics; the biochemistry of cell receptors for hormones and neurotransmitters; the diagnosis and treatment of disease, particularly inherited diseases; and toxicology. All require an understanding of biochemistry and the use of biochemical techniques.

The course of study leading to a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry is an interdisciplinary program jointly administered by the Department of Biological Sciences and the Department of Chemistry. The curriculum has flexibility in that technical electives can be selected to provide a strong emphasis in either biology or chemistry, and prepare the biochemistry major for a variety of careers. All students take a core curriculum of basic science and mathematics during the first two years. During the junior and senior years, students take many specialized courses that reflect their choice of emphasis between biology and chemistry.

Students entering the biochemistry program as freshmen will normally be assigned faculty advisers in the department of chemistry. A student selecting an upper-division curriculum with a biological emphasis should indicate this intention by the beginning of the second semester of the sophomore year, at which time a new faculty advisor in the department of biological sciences will be assigned. A student’s request for a change of advisers from chemistry to biology, or vice versa, will be honored at any time during the program.

Admission Requirements

Students intending to apply for admission to study for a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry should complete at least one year each of high school biology, chemistry and physics. Prospective students should also have at least three years of high school mathematics, including second-year algebra and trigonometry.

Florida Tech has articulation agreements with many of the community colleges in Florida. Students contemplating transfer to Florida Tech should consult with their counselors to determine transferability of community college credits. If there is a question regarding specific courses needed, either of the biochemistry program chairs listed above should be contacted.

Degree Requirements

Candidates for a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry must complete the minimum course requirements as outlined in the following curriculum that includes a strong biology emphasis. See the Department of Chemistry  for the program plan with a strong chemistry emphasis. Electives are selected in consultation with the faculty advisor to reflect the knowledge a student needs either for employment or graduate school. Deviation from the stipulated program may occur only under unusual circumstances and requires approval of the chair. The bachelor’s degree in biochemistry requires 129 credit hours for graduation

Freshman Year

Sophomore Year

Junior Year

Fall (16 credit hours)

Spring (13 credit hours)

Senior Year

Fall (17 credit hours)

Spring (17 credit hours)

Totals Credits Required: 129

Restricted Electives

At least 12 credit hours must be selected from biological sciences and at least six credit hours from chemistry. For students not electing to complete the senior thesis, at least one course must bear the Q designation.

Senior Thesis

The biochemistry curriculum allows for significant undergraduate research experience, culminating in a senior thesis for those students who wish to pursue postgraduate studies and are maintaining a grade point average of 3.0 or better in all science and mathematics courses. A qualified student wishing to participate in the senior thesis program must notify the appropriate department (either biological sciences or chemistry, depending on the student’s research interests and curriculum emphasis) no later than the end of the fall semester of the junior year. A thesis committee, consisting of one or more faculty members from each department, will be formed to consider the thesis proposal, which must be submitted during the spring semester of the junior year. After the approval of the senior thesis committee and the appropriate department head, based on both the proposal and the student’s academic record, the student will be permitted to register for Senior Thesis in Biochemistry (BCM 4991  and BCM 4992 ) during the senior year. These courses and Research Sources and Systems (COM 2012 ) represent seven credit hours of restricted biological sciences electives toward meeting the degree requirements listed above. Senior Thesis in Biochemistry students are encouraged to include at least one year of foreign language (French or German) in their degree programs.