Jul 21, 2024  
2024-2025 Catalog 
2024-2025 Catalog

Biochemistry, B.S.

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Program of Study

CSU San Marcos offers a program of courses leading to a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry. Biochemistry focuses on the atomic and molecular level principles of chemical reactions in living systems. It is involved with elucidating the structure and function of biological molecules that control the basic processes in living organisms. It therefore plays an important role in understanding the chemical causes of disease, the development of medicines to control and cure illnesses, and the development of safe food supplies. Biochemistry majors are needed to help solve some of society’s most difficult technological problems through research, development, and teaching.

With suitable choice of electives, this degree meets certification requirements of the American Chemical Society.

Program Student Learning Outcomes

Students who graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry will be able to:

  1. Carry out synthetic and analytical experiments in the laboratory; make careful and accurate observations and measurements; and organize and interpret experimental data. [Empirical basis of chemical knowledge]
  2. Explain how different chemical substances and mixtures are held together using covalent, coordinate, and ionic bonding, as well as intermolecular forces; identify the geometrical relationship of atoms and molecules within these combinations; and explain the importance of these geometries to chemical and physical properties. [Structure and Bonding]
  3. Analyze the different levels of protein structure and identify the covalent and non-covalent interactions involved in each level. [Protein Structure]
  4. Apply the ideas presented in the principal laws of thermodynamics to interpret and predict the behavior of chemical substances. [Thermodynamics]
  5. Analyze data from the rates of enzyme catalyzed chemical reactions to put forward models of how enzyme catalysis is carried out and how enzyme activity is regulated. [Mechanisms of Reactions]
  6. Explain how in living organisms nutrients are degraded and new substances synthesized; explain how energy is transferred; and explain how metabolism is regulated. [Biochemical Reactions]
  7. Plan and execute the purification of compounds from biological sources. [Analysis]
  8. Use modern chemical instrumentation to determine the physical and chemical properties of compounds from biological sources. [Chemical Instrumentation]
  9. Retrieve detailed information about chemical and physical properties of substances and accounts of other experimental or theoretical research; and communicate their own results in writing and speaking using appropriate scientific formats and language. [Communication of Scientific Results]

Career Opportunities

The degree in Biochemistry prepares students to go into a variety of careers. Students are prepared for industrial careers in both the biotechnology and traditional drug development sector. In addition, the courses required for the degree meet the requirements for almost all medical, dental, optometry, pharmacy, veterinary, and other health-profession schools. The degree is also excellent preparation for graduate work in biochemistry or the biomedical sciences. Therefore, the completion of this degree program leaves the student with many possible career options (students wishing to pursue a career in a health profession should meet with the CSUSM pre-health advisor for specific requirements for professional schools in their area).

Since chemical principles are the basis for understanding biochemistry, each student will study the areas of organic, analytical, inorganic, and physical chemistry as well as biochemistry. In addition, students will take courses in molecular biology, and they will learn to use the most recent technology in instrumentation.


Up to five (5) units of chemistry credit can be applied toward a B.S. degree in Biochemistry at Cal State San Marcos for students who have successfully completed the Advanced Placement Test in chemistry with a score of 4 or 5. It is recommended that students with a score of 4 or 5 on the AP Test in chemistry consider auditing CHEM 150  during the Fall semester in preparation for CHEM 162 .

Special Conditions for the Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry

With the exception of CHEM 100 , all courses counted toward the major, including Preparation for the Major courses, must be completed with a grade of C (2.0) or better. Transfer students must complete a minimum of 24 units counted toward the biochemistry major at CSUSM.

General Education (48 Units)

General Education Requirements  

Preparation for the Major (49 Units)


*Nine (9) lower-division General Education  units in Area B are automatically satisfied by courses taken in Preparation for the Major.

**Some courses supporting the preparation or electives in the major may satisfy the Mathematics and Science requirements of General Education. The courses fulfilling this double requirement are denoted by **.

Major Requirements (35 Units)


Or another science course with written approval from a Chemistry or Biochemistry faculty member.

*Course can be taken twice for a total of four (4) units.

Minimum Total (120 Units)

The minimum number of units required for this degree is 120

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