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Bachelor of Science

Career options are limitless with an academic background in biochemistry. Biochemists develop vaccinations, conduct forensic investigations, create more effective consumer products and contribute to scientific journals.

Program Overview

Study the substances and molecules that make up all living organisms.

Biochemistry is a blend of both the Biological Sciences and Chemistry that seeks to understand the molecules and processes that make up living organisms. Chemical concepts are applied to the biological reactions that extract energy from foods we eat, as well as the biological reactions used to synthesize the large biological macromolecules that we are made of.

Our Biochemistry curriculum examines the structure, function and chemical reactions that take place in living systems. In our program, you will explore how biochemical research is performed and gain experience with analytical instruments and molecular separation techniques. Using these techniques, our students learn how to quantify and evaluate enzyme-catalyzed reactions that occur within a cell. Students are also exposed to many molecular biology techniques including DNA manipulations, PCR, cloning, transformations, protein expression and purification.

Hands-on labs

Biochemistry students explore the critical chemical reactions required to synthesize the macromolecules that make up cells. Understanding these processes is critical for the individualized patient care and medical research that are the future of the healthcare industries.

Program Requirements

At Western, course rotations are crafted to encompass a variety of subject fields for a comprehensive education and versatile degree. For required courses and degree plans, visit the official University Catalog. Below is a general overview of courses at Western Colorado University related to this area of study.

Program Requirements

A minimum of 67 credits is required including the 26-credit Chemistry Nucleus:

Chemistry Nucleus
CHEM 111General Chemistry I (GT-SC2)3
CHEM 112General Chemistry Laboratory I (GT-SC1)1
CHEM 113General Chemistry II3
CHEM 114General Chemistry Laboratory II1
CHEM 302Chemical Information Literacy and Communication3
CHEM 306Analytical Chemistry (with laboratory)4
CHEM 331Organic Chemistry I3
CHEM 332Organic Chemistry II3
CHEM 334Organic Chemistry Laboratory I1
CHEM 335Organic Chemistry Laboratory II1
CHEM 451Physical Chemistry I3
Total Credits26

And the following supporting courses:

BIOL 150Biological Principles (with laboratory) (GT-SC1)4
BIOL 151Diversity and Patterns of Life (with laboratory)4
BIOL 310Cell Biology3
BIOL 312Genetics (with recitation)4
CHEM 471Biochemistry I3
CHEM 472Biochemistry II3
CHEM 474Biochemistry Laboratory2
CHEM 494Research Problem in Chemistry2-4
MATH 151Calculus I (GT-MA1)4
MATH 251Calculus II4
PHYS 200General Physics I (with laboratory) (GT-SC1)4
PHYS 201General Physics II (with laboratory) (GT-SC1)4
Total Credits41-43
Plan of Study Grid
Year One
BIOL 150 Biological Principles (with laboratory) (GT-SC1) 4
CHEM 111 General Chemistry I (GT-SC2) 3
CHEM 112 General Chemistry Laboratory I (GT-SC1) 1
ENG 102 Academic Writing (GT-CO1) 3
HWTR 100 First Year Seminar 1
MATH 140 College Algebra (GT-MA1) 3
Arts & Humanities GE 3
BIOL 151 Diversity and Patterns of Life (with laboratory) 4
CHEM 113 General Chemistry II 3
CHEM 114 General Chemistry Laboratory II 1
MATH 141 Precalculus (GT-MA1) 4
Year Two
BIOL 310 Cell Biology 3
CHEM 331 Organic Chemistry I 3
CHEM 334 Organic Chemistry Laboratory I 1
COM 202 Academic Writing and Inquiry (GT-CO2) 3
MATH 151 Calculus I (GT-MA1) 4
CHEM 302 Chemical Information Literacy and Communication 3
CHEM 332 Organic Chemistry II 3
CHEM 335 Organic Chemistry Laboratory II 1
MATH 251 Calculus II 4
Social Science GE 3
Year Three
Arts & Humanities GE 3
CHEM 471 Biochemistry I 3
CHEM 474 Biochemistry Laboratory 2
PHYS 200 General Physics I (with laboratory) (GT-SC1) 4
Arts & Humanities GE 3
CHEM 472 Biochemistry II 3
PHYS 201 General Physics II (with laboratory) (GT-SC1) 4
Year Four
CHEM 306 Analytical Chemistry (with laboratory) 4
CHEM 451 Physical Chemistry I 3
Social Science GE 3
BIOL 312 Genetics (with recitation) 4
CHEM 494 Research Problem in Chemistry 1-4
Social Science GE 3
 Total Credits98-101



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BAM Scholarship Applications Opens Dec. 5 and close April 1

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Blackbaud Award Management (BAM) Academic Works

Blackbaud Award Management (BAM) Academic Works is Western’s tool for searching for, applying for and managing scholarship opportunities available to both new and returning students. Through BAM Academic Works, students may identify institutional scholarship opportunities that all Western students may apply for regardless of academic program or department, academic standing, campus involvement, and more. Students may click below to learn more about applying for these campus-wide opportunities.

BAM Scholarship Applications Opens Dec. 5 and close April 1

Please check individual scholarship opportunity start dates and deadlines as there are exceptions.

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Alumni Association Future Alumni Scholarship

The Alumni Association Scholarship is a one-time scholarship of $1,000 and is applicable for the student’s junior or senior year at Western.

Any child or grandchild of an alumni is eligible to receive the Future Alumni Scholarship.

  • This is a one-time non-renewable scholarship of $1,000.
  • Only one Future Alumni Scholarship will be awarded per academic year.
  • GPA must be 3.2 or above (college).

Due date has been extended to April 1 for 2022. An Alumni selection committee, appointed by the Alumni Advisory Council, will review applicants and select awardee by June 1.


Alumni Legacy Scholarship

The Alumni Legacy Scholarship is a one-time non-renewable scholarship and is only applicable for the student’s first year at Western (incoming freshman or new transfer students are eligible).

Do you have a son or daughter looking at college? Have they considered attending Western? As an alumni, your son, daughter and/or grandchildren are eligible for certain benefits distributed through this scholarship, as follows:

  • This is a one-time scholarship of $1,000.
  • Nominee must be an incoming first-year student or new transfer.
  • The cost of orientation is reduced by half (a $45 value).
  • The admission application fee is waived (a $30 value).
  • GPA must be 2.5 or above (high school or college of transfer).

The applicant must fill out the application form found below. Application forms are accepted year-round. If the applicant meets the GPA guidelines, the scholarship will be awarded.


Mountaineer Alumni Recommendation Scholarship

The Mountaineer Alumni Recommendation Scholarship is a one-time non-renewable scholarship and is only applicable for the student’s first year at Western. This scholarship is not available to midyear transfers or students beginning in the spring semester.

Are you an alumni or employee of Western and know a prospective (or incoming) student who would be a great fit at Western? A recommendation from alumni and employees can support any new student and provide them a $500 scholarship their first year. (Western employees may not recommend a spouse or dependent receiving tuition benefits).

  • Any Western alumni/employee may nominate only one student per academic year to receive the $500 scholarship (distributed $250 per semester).
  • The scholarship is good for the first year only and is non-renewable.
  • The recommended student must be a full-time undergraduate student, attending Western for the first time.

The applicant must fill out the application form found here. The nominating alumni/employee must fill out the application form and submit the required documents by June 1. The recommended student must meet university admissions acceptance standards and complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

The Presidential Promise is guaranteed to students who have received a scholarship through the Denver Scholarship Foundation (DSF) and/or GearUp—and are eligible for a Pell Grant.

For students who meet these criteria, Western will cover the cost of tuition and fees through the combination of federal, state and institutional aid. For more information on the Presidential Promise, visit our scholarships page.


The Western Presidential Honors Scholarships, established by the Jack and Marilyn MacAllister Foundation shall be an elite class of scholarships awarded to Western’s highest achieving and most deserving students, celebrating the ideals of academic excellence and service to the campus and community. Recipients of the Scholarships will be members of the Western Colorado University Honors Program.

There are eight Presidential Honors Scholarships of $2500 each. Each year two new Presidential Honors Scholarships will be awarded to two incoming first-year students.

Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE) or Central Plains (CP) tuition represents a substantial savings relative to normal, out-of-state tuition. Students eligible for the WUE or CP program will be charged 150% of Western’s total in-state tuition. For 2018-19, total in-state tuition was $8,934. WUE/CP tuition was $13,401. The WUE/CP discount is valued at $4,695.

For more information about the WUE and CP geography-based programs, visit Western’s Tuition Discount Programs Page.

Immediately upon acceptance at Western, every student is considered for a merit scholarship worth between $2,500-$4,500 per year for in-state students and $8,000-$10,000 for out-of-state students. The amount is based on the student’s GPA and ACT/SAT scores. Visit our Net Price Calculator at western.edu/cost to determine whether you qualify for a merit scholarship.

For more information about merit scholarships at Western, visit our scholarships page.

Get Involved

Take advantage of everything Western Colorado University has to offer.

A college education is more than just taking courses. Meet new people, apply your skills and stretch beyond your comfort zone. Make your education an experience.

  • Chemistry Club: Members share their love of chemistry with the community in an annual demonstration that draws hundreds of people from campus and beyond.
  • Lab Assistantships: Students commonly obtain positions helping their professors with fieldwork and research.
  • Pre-Health Club: Brings together students with a common interest in health fields to network and to provide career preparation, advice and peer support.
  • Thornton Biology Research Program: Students work with faculty mentors on funded, original research.

Sharing chemistry with the community

Western Chemistry Club students and faculty put on a magic show for kids in the local community.

Additional Resources

Thornton Biology Research Program

The Thornton Biology Research Program gives undergraduate students the opportunity to work with faculty on funded, original research.

Learn More

Department Chairperson

Anne W. Ryter, Ph.D.

Professor of Chemistry

Administrative Assistant

Lori Clement

NES Administrative Assistant

Contact Information



Campus Location

Western Colorado University
Hurst Hall 128
1 Western Way
Gunnison, CO 81231

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