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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
FallCredits
BIOL 150Biological Principles (with laboratory) (GT-SC1)4
CHEM 111General Chemistry I (GT-SC2)3
CHEM 112General Chemistry Laboratory I (GT-SC1)1
ENG 102Academic Writing (GT-CO1)3
HWTR 100First Year Seminar1
MATH 140College Algebra (GT-MA1)3
Credits15
Spring
Arts & Humanities GE3
BIOL 151Diversity and Patterns of Life (with laboratory)4
CHEM 113General Chemistry II3
CHEM 114General Chemistry Laboratory II1
MATH 141Precalculus (GT-MA1)4
Credits15
Year Two
Fall
BIOL 310Cell Biology3
CHEM 331Organic Chemistry I3
CHEM 334Organic Chemistry Laboratory I1
COM 202Academic Writing and Inquiry (GT-CO2)3
MATH 151Calculus I (GT-MA1)4
Credits14
Spring
CHEM 302Chemical Information Literacy and Communication3
CHEM 332Organic Chemistry II3
CHEM 335Organic Chemistry Laboratory II1
MATH 251Calculus II4
Social Science GE3
Credits14
Year Three
Fall
Arts & Humanities GE3
CHEM 471Biochemistry I3
CHEM 474Biochemistry Laboratory2
PHYS 200General Physics I (with laboratory) (GT-SC1)4
Credits12
Spring
Arts & Humanities GE3
CHEM 472Biochemistry II3
PHYS 201General Physics II (with laboratory) (GT-SC1)4
Credits10
Year Four
Fall
CHEM 306Analytical Chemistry (with laboratory)4
CHEM 451Physical Chemistry I3
Social Science GE3
Credits10
Spring
BIOL 312Genetics (with recitation)4
CHEM 494Research Problem in Chemistry1-4
Social Science GE3
Credits8-11
Total Credits98-101

Spotlight

Biochemistry

Dr. Sean Markey

Alumni

"From truck driver to neurosurgeon—thanks to Western and its nurturing professors."

Biochemistry

Chris Lee

Faculty

“I really appreciated the small school experience as a student,” he says. “And having that as my backdrop of what college should and could be informs my relationships with students.”

Careers

Career preparation starts your first year at Western and is the primary focus of every degree.

Visit Career Services in Library 120 or online to discover your interests, define your goals, and land the career of your dreams.

The data below is automatically collected by Burning Glass Technologies, a firm that sources job market data and provides analytics. The statistics illustrate general trends in U.S. careers, but do not precisely represent every job and salary.

Scholarships

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 15 for 2021. An Alumni selection committee, appointed by the Alumni Advisory Board, will review applicants and select awardee by June 1.

Apply

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 freshman 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 here (click). Application forms are accepted year-round. If the applicant meets the GPA guidelines, the scholarship will be awarded.

Apply

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.

Description

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 freshmen.

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

Robin A. Bingham, Ph.D.

Professor of Biology

Administrative Assistant

Samantha Siegfried

Administrative Assistant for NES

Campus Location

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

Take the Next Step

Apply to Western

Apply to Western

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Alumni Community

Alumni Community

We keep the Mountaineer spirit going strong within our alumni community. Whether getting together with friends at an annual event, making a donation or mentoring a student, graduates continue to play an important role in the Western community.