Student in biochemistry lab using a pipette

Biochemistry is a very broad science that studies the molecules and chemistry of life. Biochemistry focuses on the structure, properties, and interactions of molecules such as proteins, nucleic acids, sugars and lipids. Biochemistry’s aim is to understand how these molecules participate in the processes that support the various functions of the living cell. These studies are therefore essential for understanding disease and finding cures, for improving agriculture and the production of food and biofuels, and to produce innovation in biotechnology.

Whereas other biological science majors may focus on cellular, organismal, or population-level biology, biochemistry focuses on processes that occur at the molecular to cellular levels. Therefore, this major has a greater focus on basic and quantitative sciences, such as math and, particularly, on chemistry.

Biochemistry graduates go on to a variety of careers in science and science-related fields. The major is designed to fit the needs of the student who wishes to achieve bachelor’s-level training as well as those planning to pursue graduate or professional study. The degree serves as an excellent background for medical school or veterinary school admission, as well as for graduate study in biochemistry or other allied fields (biology, bacteriology, genetics, molecular biology, or oncology).

How to Get in

Students may declare the major via an appointment with the undergraduate advisor at any time.  

The Biochemistry major is offered through either CALS or the College of Letters & Science (L&S). Students interested in the differences or transferring between CALS and L&S should meet with the advisor to discuss this in more detail. 

Students who attend Student Orientation, Advising, and Registration (SOAR) with the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS) have the option to declare biochemistry at SOAR. Students may otherwise declare after they have begun their undergraduate studies.  

Students who intend to major in Biochemistry may not combine this major ("double major") with the Molecular and Cell Biology major. 

University General Education Requirements

All undergraduate students at the University of Wisconsin–Madison are required to fulfill a minimum set of common university general education requirements to ensure that every graduate acquires the essential core of an undergraduate education. This core establishes a foundation for living a productive life, being a citizen of the world, appreciating aesthetic values, and engaging in lifelong learning in a continually changing world. Various schools and colleges will have requirements in addition to the requirements listed below. Consult your advisor for assistance, as needed. For additional information, see the university Undergraduate General Education Requirements section of the Guide.

General Education
  • Breadth—Humanities/Literature/Arts: 6 credits
  • Breadth—Natural Science: 4 to 6 credits, consisting of one 4- or 5-credit course with a laboratory component; or two courses providing a total of 6 credits
  • Breadth—Social Studies: 3 credits
  • Communication Part A Part B *
  • Ethnic Studies *
  • Quantitative Reasoning Part A Part B *

* The mortarboard symbol appears before the title of any course that fulfills one of the Communication Part A or Part B, Ethnic Studies, or Quantitative Reasoning Part A or Part B requirements.

College of Letters & Science Degree Requirements: Bachelor of Science (BS)

Students pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in the College of Letters & Science must complete all of the requirements below. The College of Letters & Science allows this major to be paired with either the Bachelor of Arts or the Bachelor of Science degree requirements.

Bachelor of Science Degree Requirements

Mathematics Complete two courses of 3+ credits at the Intermediate or Advanced level in MATH, COMP SCI, or STAT subjects. A maximum of one course in each of COMP SCI and STAT subjects counts toward this requirement.
Language Complete the third unit of a language other than English.
LS Breadth Complete:
• 12 credits of Humanities, which must include at least 6 credits of Literature; and
• 12 credits of Social Science; and
• 12 credits of Natural Science, which must include 6 credits of Biological Science and 6 credits of Physical Science.
Liberal Arts and Science Coursework Complete at least 108 credits.
Depth of Intermediate/Advanced Coursework Complete at least 60 credits at the Intermediate or Advanced level.
Major Declare and complete at least one major.
Total Credits Complete at least 120 credits.
UW-Madison Experience Complete both:
• 30 credits in residence, overall, and
• 30 credits in residence after the 86th credit.
Quality of Work • 2.000 in all coursework at UW–Madison
• 2.000 in Intermediate/Advanced level coursework at UW–Madison

Non–L&S students pursuing an L&S major

Non–L&S students who have permission from their school/college to pursue an additional major within L&S only need to fulfill the major requirements. They do not need to complete the L&S Degree Requirements above.

Requirements for the Major


Mathematics Requirements

Complete one of the following options:
MATH 221
MATH 222
Calculus and Analytic Geometry 1
and Calculus and Analytic Geometry 2
MATH 171
MATH 217
MATH 222
Calculus with Algebra and Trigonometry I
and Calculus with Algebra and Trigonometry II
and Calculus and Analytic Geometry 2


General Chemistry

Complete one sequence:
CHEM 103
CHEM 104
General Chemistry I
and General Chemistry II
CHEM 109 Advanced General Chemistry5
CHEM 115
CHEM 116
Chemical Principles I
and Chemical Principles II (satisfies both general and analytical chemistry requirements)

Organic Chemistry

Complete All:
CHEM 343 Organic Chemistry I3
CHEM 344 Introductory Organic Chemistry Laboratory2
CHEM 345 Organic Chemistry II3

Analytical Chemistry

Complete one:
CHEM 327 Fundamentals of Analytical Science4
CHEM 329 Fundamentals of Analytical Science4
CHEM 116 Chemical Principles II (satisfies both general and analytical chemistry requirements)5

Physical Chemistry

Complete one:
CHEM 665 Biophysical Chemistry (Recommended)3
CHEM 561
CHEM 563
Physical Chemistry
and Physical Chemistry Laboratory I


Students must complete either Option A (introductory + upper-level biology), or Option B (biocore), for 16 total credits of biological science coursework.

Option A (Introductory and Upper-Level Biology)

Option A Introductory Biology
Complete one of the following introductory biology options:
Introductory Biology
and Introductory Biology (recommended)
Animal Biology
and Animal Biology Laboratory
and General Botany
And Option A Upper-Level Biology

At least 6 credits of upper-level biological science coursework are required (to achieve 16 total credits—more than 6 credits may be required if introductory biology totals less than 10 credits due to transfer credits). Select from the course list below. To see courses offered in specific upcoming semesters, please see the biochemistry website

Important: A course may not double count in both the "upper-level biology" and the "biochemistry" requirements for the major. Biochemistry courses on this list can count only for "upper-level biology" if they are above-and-beyond what is needed to fulfill the "biochemistry" portion of the major. For example, if students have taken BIOCHEM 501, they will need one advanced biochemistry elective to fulfill the biochemistry requirement, and then any additional biochemistry courses taken can count for upper-level biology. 

ANAT&PHY 335 Physiology5
ANAT&PHY 337 Human Anatomy3
ANAT&PHY 435 Fundamentals of Human Physiology5
AGRONOMY 300 Cropping Systems3
AGRONOMY 302 Forage Management and Utilization3
AGRONOMY/​HORT/​SOIL SCI  326 Plant Nutrition Management3
AGRONOMY/​HORT  338 Plant Breeding and Biotechnology3
AGRONOMY/​BOTANY/​HORT  339 Plant Biotechnology: Principles and Techniques I4
AGRONOMY/​BOTANY/​HORT  340 Plant Cell Culture and Genetic Engineering3
AGRONOMY/​A A E/​NUTR SCI  350 World Hunger and Malnutrition3
AGRONOMY/​BOTANY/​SOIL SCI  370 Grassland Ecology3
AGRONOMY 377 Global Food Production and Health3
AGRONOMY/​HORT  501 Principles of Plant Breeding3
AGRONOMY/​ATM OCN/​SOIL SCI  532 Environmental Biophysics3
AN SCI/​FOOD SCI  305 Introduction to Meat Science and Technology4
AN SCI/​DY SCI/​NUTR SCI  311 Comparative Animal Nutrition3
AN SCI 314 Poultry Nutrition3
AN SCI/​DY SCI  320 Animal Health and Disease3
AN SCI/​DY SCI  361 Introduction to Animal and Veterinary Genetics2
AN SCI/​DY SCI  362 Veterinary Genetics2
AN SCI/​DY SCI  363 Principles of Animal Breeding2
AN SCI/​DY SCI  370 Livestock Production and Health in Agricultural Development3
AN SCI/​DY SCI  414 Ruminant Nutrition & Metabolism3
AN SCI 415 Application of Monogastric Nutrition Principles2
AN SCI 431 Beef Cattle Production3
AN SCI 432 Swine Production3
AN SCI/​DY SCI  434 Reproductive Physiology3
AN SCI 503 Avian Physiology3
AN SCI 508 Poultry Products Technology3
AN SCI 511 Breeder Flock and Hatchery Management3
AN SCI 512 Management for Avian Health3
AN SCI/​FOOD SCI  515 Commercial Meat Processing2
AN SCI/​F&W ECOL/​ZOOLOGY  520 Ornithology3
AN SCI/​F&W ECOL/​ZOOLOGY  521 Birds of Southern Wisconsin3
AN SCI 610 Quantitative Genetics3
AN SCI/​NUTR SCI  626 Experimental Diet Design1
B M E/​MED PHYS/​PHMCOL-M/​PHYSICS/​RADIOL  619 Microscopy of Life3
BIOCHEM/​NUTR SCI  510 Nutritional Biochemistry and Metabolism3
BIOCHEM/​NUTR SCI  560 Principles of Human Disease and Biotechnology2
BIOCHEM 570 Computational Modeling of Biological Systems3
BIOCHEM/​M M & I  575 Biology of Viruses2
BIOCHEM 601 Protein and Enzyme Structure and Function2
BIOCHEM/​B M I/​BMOLCHEM/​MATH  609 Mathematical Methods for Systems Biology3
BIOCHEM/​GENETICS/​MICROBIO  612 Prokaryotic Molecular Biology3
BIOCHEM/​NUTR SCI  619 Advanced Nutrition: Intermediary Metabolism of Macronutrients3
BIOCHEM/​GENETICS/​MD GENET  620 Eukaryotic Molecular Biology3
BIOCHEM/​BOTANY  621 Plant Biochemistry3
BIOCHEM 625 Mechanisms of Action of Vitamins and Minerals2
BIOCHEM/​NUTR SCI  645 Molecular Control of Metabolism and Metabolic Disease3
BSE 349 Quantitative Techniques for Biological Systems3
BSE 364 Engineering Properties of Food and Biological Materials3
BSE 365 Measurements and Instrumentation for Biological Systems3
BSE/​ENVIR ST  367 Renewable Energy Systems3
BSE 460 Biorefining: Energy and Products from Renewable Resources3
BSE 461 Food and Bioprocessing Operations3
BSE 472 Sediment and Bio-Nutrient Engineering and Management3
BMOLCHEM/​MICROBIO  668 Microbiology at Atomic Resolution3
B M I/​STAT  541 Introduction to Biostatistics3
B M I/​COMP SCI  576 Introduction to Bioinformatics3
BOTANY 300 Plant Anatomy4
BOTANY 305 Plant Morphology and Evolution4
BOTANY 330 Algae3
BOTANY/​PL PATH  332 Fungi4
BOTANY/​AGRONOMY/​HORT  339 Plant Biotechnology: Principles and Techniques I4
BOTANY 400 Plant Systematics4
BOTANY 401 Vascular Flora of Wisconsin4
BOTANY/​F&W ECOL  402 Dendrology: Woody Plant Identification and Ecology3
BOTANY/​ANTHRO/​ZOOLOGY  410 Evolutionary Biology3
BOTANY 422 Plant Geography3
BOTANY/​F&W ECOL  455 The Vegetation of Wisconsin4
BOTANY/​F&W ECOL/​ZOOLOGY  460 General Ecology4
BOTANY/​ENTOM/​ZOOLOGY  473 Plant-Insect Interactions3
BOTANY/​AMER IND/​ANTHRO  474 Ethnobotany3-4
BOTANY 500 Plant Physiology3-4
BOTANY/​ENTOM/​PL PATH  505 Plant-Microbe Interactions: Molecular and Ecological Aspects3
BOTANY/​PL PATH  563 Phylogenetic Analysis of Molecular Data3
BOTANY/​HORT/​SOIL SCI  626 Mineral Nutrition of Plants3
BOTANY/​ENVIR ST/​F&W ECOL/​ZOOLOGY  651 Conservation Biology3
BOTANY/​GENETICS/​M M & I/​PL PATH  655 Biology and Genetics of Fungi3
BOTANY/​LAND ARC  670 Adaptive Restoration Lab2
CHEM 575 Advanced Topics in Chemistry (Topics in Chemical Biology)1-4
CRB 625 Stem Cell Seminar1
CRB 640 Fundamentals of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology3
CRB 650 Molecular and Cellular Organogenesis3
DY SCI 378 Lactation Physiology3
DY SCI 535 Dairy Farm Management Practicum3
ENTOM/​ZOOLOGY  302 Introduction to Entomology4
ENTOM 321 Physiology of Insects3
ENTOM 331 Taxonomy of Mature Insects4
ENTOM 351 Principles of Economic Entomology3
ENTOM/​ZOOLOGY  371 Medical Entomology3
ENTOM 432 Taxonomy and Bionomics of Immature Insects4
ENTOM/​F&W ECOL  500 Insects in Forest Ecosystem Function and Management2
ENTOM/​ZOOLOGY  540 Theoretical Ecology3
ENTOM/​GENETICS/​ZOOLOGY  624 Molecular Ecology3
ENVIR ST/​LAND ARC  361 Wetlands Ecology3
ENVIR ST/​POP HLTH  471 Introduction to Environmental Health3
ENVIR ST/​POP HLTH  502 Air Pollution and Human Health3
ENVIR ST/​F&W ECOL  515 Natural Resources Policy3
ENVIR ST/​ATM OCN  520 Bioclimatology3
FOOD SCI/​MICROBIO  324 Food Microbiology Laboratory2
FOOD SCI/​MICROBIO  325 Food Microbiology3
FOOD SCI 410 Food Chemistry3
FOOD SCI 440 Principles of Food Engineering3
FOOD SCI 511 Chemistry and Technology of Dairy Products3
FOOD SCI 514 Integrated Food Functionality4
FOOD SCI 550 Fermented Foods and Beverages2
FOOD SCI 611 Chemistry and Technology of Dairy Products3
F&W ECOL 300 Forest Measurements4
F&W ECOL 306 Terrestrial Vertebrates: Life History and Ecology4
F&W ECOL 318 Principles of Wildlife Ecology3
F&W ECOL/​ZOOLOGY  335 Human/Animal Relationships: Biological and Philosophical Issues3
F&W ECOL/​ENVIR ST/​ZOOLOGY  360 Extinction of Species3
F&W ECOL 379 Principles of Wildlife Management3
F&W ECOL 401 Physiological Animal Ecology3
F&W ECOL 404 Wildlife Damage Management3
F&W ECOL 410 Principles of Silviculture3
F&W ECOL 415 Tree Physiology3
F&W ECOL/​SURG SCI  548 Diseases of Wildlife3
F&W ECOL 550 Forest Ecology3
F&W ECOL 561 Wildlife Management Techniques3
F&W ECOL/​LAND ARC/​ZOOLOGY  565 Principles of Landscape Ecology2
F&W ECOL 590 Integrated Resource Management3
F&W ECOL/​AGRONOMY/​ENTOM/​M&ENVTOX  632 Ecotoxicology: The Chemical Players1
F&W ECOL/​AGRONOMY/​ENTOM/​M&ENVTOX  633 Ecotoxicology: Impacts on Individuals1
F&W ECOL/​AGRONOMY/​ENTOM/​M&ENVTOX  634 Ecotoxicology: Impacts on Populations, Communities and Ecosystems1
F&W ECOL/​A A E  652 Decision Methods for Natural Resource Managers3
F&W ECOL 655 Animal Population Dynamics3
GEN&WS 533 Special Topics in Gender and Biology3
GENETICS 466 Principles of Genetics3
GENETICS 467 General Genetics 13
GENETICS 468 General Genetics 23
GENETICS 525 Epigenetics3
GENETICS 545 Genetics Laboratory2
GENETICS/​HORT  550 Molecular Approaches for Potential Crop Improvement3
GENETICS/​MD GENET  565 Human Genetics3
GENETICS 566 Advanced Genetics3
HORT 320 Environment of Horticultural Plants3
HORT/​AGRONOMY  501 Principles of Plant Breeding3
M M & I 301 Pathogenic Bacteriology2
M M & I 341 Immunology3
M M & I/​ENTOM/​PATH-BIO/​ZOOLOGY  350 Parasitology3
M M & I/​PATH-BIO  528 Immunology3
M M & I 554 Emerging Infectious Diseases and Bioterrorism2
MED PHYS/​H ONCOL  410 Radiobiology2-3
MED PHYS/​B M E/​H ONCOL/​PHYSICS  501 Radiation Physics and Dosimetry3
MICROBIO 303 Biology of Microorganisms3
MICROBIO 304 Biology of Microorganisms Laboratory2
MICROBIO 305 Critical Analyses in Microbiology1
MICROBIO 330 Host-Parasite Interactions3
MICROBIO/​AN SCI/​BOTANY  335 The Microbiome of Plants, Animals, and Humans3
MICROBIO 345 Introduction to Disease Biology3
MICROBIO 357 General Bioinformatics for Microbiologists3
MICROBIO/​SOIL SCI  425 Environmental Microbiology3
MICROBIO 450 Diversity, Ecology and Evolution of Microorganisms3
MICROBIO 470 Microbial Genetics & Molecular Machines3
MICROBIO 520 Planetary Microbiology: What Life Here Tells Us About Life Out There3
MICROBIO/​SOIL SCI  523 Soil Microbiology and Biochemistry3
MICROBIO 525 Field Studies of Planetary Microbiology and Life in the Universe3
MICROBIO 526 Physiology of Microorganisms3
MICROBIO 527 Advanced Laboratory Techniques in Microbiology2
MICROBIO 551 Capstone Research Project in Microbiology2
MICROBIO 607 Advanced Microbial Genetics3
MICROBIO 626 Microbial and Cellular Metabolomics3
MICROBIO 632 Industrial Microbiology/Biotechnology2
NTP/​NEURODPT  610 Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience4
NTP/​NEURODPT/​PSYCH  611 Systems Neuroscience4
NTP/​NEURODPT  629 Molecular and Cellular Mechanisms of Memory3
NUTR SCI 332 Human Nutritional Needs3
NUTR SCI 431 Nutrition in the Life Span3
ONCOLOGY 401 Introduction to Experimental Oncology2
PHM SCI 310 Drugs and Their Actions2
PHM SCI/​B M E  430 Biological Interactions with Materials3
PHYSICS/​B M E/​MED PHYS/​PHMCOL-M/​RADIOL  619 Microscopy of Life3
PL PATH 300 Introduction to Plant Pathology4
PL PATH/​SOIL SCI  323 Soil Biology3
PL PATH 517 Plant Disease Resistance2-3
PL PATH 558 Biology of Plant Pathogens3
PL PATH 559 Diseases of Economic Plants3
PL PATH 602 Ecology, Epidemiology and Control of Plant Diseases3
PL PATH 622 Plant-Bacterial Interactions2-3
PL PATH/​M M & I/​ONCOLOGY  640 General Virology-Multiplication of Viruses3
PSYCH 454 Behavioral Neuroscience3
PSYCH 513 Hormones, Brain, and Behavior4
PSYCH 612 Neuropharmacology3
SOIL SCI/​F&W ECOL  451 Environmental Biogeochemistry3
SOIL SCI/​CIV ENGR  623 Microbiology of Waterborne Pathogens and Indicator Organisms3
SOIL SCI/​CIV ENGR/​M&ENVTOX  631 Toxicants in the Environment: Sources, Distribution, Fate, & Effects3
ZOOLOGY 300 Invertebrate Biology and Evolution3
ZOOLOGY 301 Invertebrate Biology and Evolution Lab2
ZOOLOGY 304 Marine Biology2
ZOOLOGY/​ENVIR ST  315 Limnology-Conservation of Aquatic Resources2
ZOOLOGY 316 Laboratory for Limnology-Conservation of Aquatic Resources2-3
ZOOLOGY 425 Behavioral Ecology3
ZOOLOGY 430 Comparative Anatomy of Vertebrates5
ZOOLOGY 470 Introduction to Animal Development3
ZOOLOGY 504 Modeling Animal Landscapes3-5
ZOOLOGY/​ENVIR ST  510 Ecology of Fishes3
ZOOLOGY/​ENVIR ST  511 Ecology of Fishes Lab2
ZOOLOGY/​PSYCH  523 Neurobiology3
ZOOLOGY/​GEOSCI  541 Paleobiology3
ZOOLOGY/​GEOSCI  542 Invertebrate Paleontology3
ZOOLOGY 555 Laboratory in Developmental Biology3
ZOOLOGY 570 Cell Biology3
ZOOLOGY 603 Endocrinology3-4
ZOOLOGY 611 Comparative and Evolutionary Physiology3
ZOOLOGY 612 Comparative Physiology Laboratory2
ZOOLOGY/​ANTHRO/​NTP/​PSYCH  619 Biology of Mind3
ZOOLOGY 625 Development of the Nervous System2

Option B (Biocore)

Biocore is an honors-level, integrated sequence of lecture and lab courses that covers introductory and intermediate biology topics. Students must apply and be accepted to the program to take BIOCORE classes. 

Complete these lecture courses:
BIOCORE 381 Evolution, Ecology, and Genetics3
BIOCORE 383 Cellular Biology3
BIOCORE 485 Principles of Physiology3
BIOCORE 587 Biological Interactions3
Complete two of these lab classes:4
Evolution, Ecology, and Genetics Laboratory
Cellular Biology Laboratory
Principles of Physiology Laboratory
Total Credits16

Physics (Calculus-Based)

Physics Requirements

Complete one of the following options: 1
General Physics
and General Physics (recommended)
General Physics
and General Physics


One set of introductory coursework and the capstone course are required, for a total of three BIOCHEM courses. 

Introductory Courses

Select one of the following options:
General Biochemistry I
and General Biochemistry II (recommended)
BIOCHEM 501 Introduction to Biochemistry3
And one of the following advanced biochemistry electives:
Nutritional Biochemistry and Metabolism
Principles of Human Disease and Biotechnology
Computational Modeling of Biological Systems
Biology of Viruses
Protein and Enzyme Structure and Function
Mathematical Methods for Systems Biology
Prokaryotic Molecular Biology
Eukaryotic Molecular Biology
Plant Biochemistry
Mechanisms of Action of Vitamins and Minerals
Molecular Control of Metabolism and Metabolic Disease


BIOCHEM 551 Biochemical Methods4
Total Credits4

Residence and Quality of Work

  • 2.000 GPA in all BIOCHEM and major courses
  • 2.000 GPA on at least 15 upper-level major credits in Residence. 2
  • 15 credits in BIOCHEM, taken on campus 

Students should consult with their advisor to discuss options if they have credit for PHYSICS 103 and PHYSICS 104.


Major courses numbered 300-699 are considered Upper-Level in the major for purposes of this requirement.

Honors in the Major

Students may declare Honors in the Biochemistry Major in consultation with their Biochemistry undergraduate advisor. To be admitted to Honors in the Major in Biochemistry, students must have declared a major in Biochemistry and have a 3.300 overall university GPA.

Honors in the Major in Biochemistry: Requirements

To earn honors in the major in biochemistry, students must satisfy the requirements for the major (above) as well as the following requirements. All courses used for honors in the major requirements must receive "B" or better grades to fulfill requirements.


MATH 341 Linear Algebra3
MATH 375 Topics in Multi-Variable Calculus and Linear Algebra5
MATH 376 Topics in Multi-Variable Calculus and Differential Equations5
MATH 521 Analysis I3
MATH 522 Analysis II3
MATH 541 Modern Algebra3
MATH 542 Modern Algebra3


CHEM 109 Advanced General Chemistry5
CHEM 115 Chemical Principles I5
CHEM 116 Chemical Principles II5
CHEM 343 Organic Chemistry I3
CHEM 345 Organic Chemistry II3
CHEM 344 Introductory Organic Chemistry Laboratory2
CHEM 329 Fundamentals of Analytical Science4
CHEM 547 Advanced Organic Chemistry3
CHEM 561 Physical Chemistry3
CHEM 565 Biophysical Chemistry4
CHEM 563 Physical Chemistry Laboratory I1
CHEM 562 Physical Chemistry3
CHEM 564 Physical Chemistry Laboratory II1


PHYSICS 201 General Physics5
PHYSICS 202 General Physics5
PHYSICS 207 General Physics5
PHYSICS 208 General Physics5
PHYSICS 241 Introduction to Modern Physics3
PHYSICS 247 A Modern Introduction to Physics5
PHYSICS 248 A Modern Introduction to Physics5
PHYSICS 249 A Modern Introduction to Physics4

University Degree Requirements

Total Degree To receive a bachelor's degree from UW–Madison, students must earn a minimum of 120 degree credits. The requirements for some programs may exceed 120 degree credits. Students should consult with their college or department advisor for information on specific credit requirements.
Residency Degree candidates are required to earn a minimum of 30 credits in residence at UW–Madison. "In residence" means on the UW–Madison campus with an undergraduate degree classification. “In residence” credit also includes UW–Madison courses offered in distance or online formats and credits earned in UW–Madison Study Abroad/Study Away programs.
Quality of Work Undergraduate students must maintain the minimum grade point average specified by the school, college, or academic program to remain in good academic standing. Students whose academic performance drops below these minimum thresholds will be placed on academic probation.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Identify the fundamental biochemical principles that underlie all biological processes.
  2. Communicate biochemical knowledge in both written reports and oral presentations to scientists and non-scientists.
  3. Evaluate how biochemistry relates to other scientific disciplines and to contemporary issues in our society.
  4. Demonstrate professional and ethical responsibility in scientific research.
  5. Design and conduct quantitative experiments and/or interpret data to address a scientific question.

Four-Year Plan

This Four-Year Plan is only one way a student may complete an L&S degree with this major. Many factors can affect student degree planning, including placement scores, credit for transferred courses, credits earned by examination, and individual scholarly interests. In addition, many students have commitments (e.g., athletics, honors, research, student organizations, study abroad, work and volunteer experiences) that necessitate they adjust their plans accordingly. Informed students engage in their own unique Wisconsin Experience by consulting their academic advisors, Guide, DARS, and Course Search & Enroll for assistance making and adjusting their plan.

Sample Biochemistry Four-Year Plan

CHEM 103 or 1094-5CHEM 104 (if needed)5
MATH 2215MATH 2224
Communications Part A3Literature Breadth3
BIOCHEM 10011Social Science Breadth3
 13 15
CHEM 3433CHEM 3442
Literature Breadth3CHEM 3453
Social Science Breadth3Ethnic Studies3
INTER-LS 2101Social Science Breadth3
 15 16
PHYSICS 207 or 2015PHYSICS 208 or 2025
Humanities Breadth3CHEM 3274
 15 16
CHEM 665 or BIOCHEM 5513-4BIOCHEM 551 or CHEM 6653-4
Upper-Level Biology for major3Upper-Level Biology for major3
Social Science Breadth3Humanities Breadth3
Electives 2Electives 2
BIOCHEM 691 or 681 (if needed)33BIOCHEM 692 or 682 (if needed)3
 15 15
Total Credits 120

 First-year students interested in exploring the major can enroll in BIOCHEM 100


Students may wish to consider pursuing the Biology Core Curriculum (Biocore) Honors certificate. For more details about how BIOCORE coursework can help them meet requirements for this major, see the Requirements page. Students should consult with their advisor to identify the biological science sequence that best suits their academic and personal goals.


Senior Thesis, Directed Study, or work experience in laboratory are recommended, but are not required for the major. However, a Senior Honors Thesis is required to earn Honors in the Major.

Advising and Careers

How to Seek Advising

Career Examples

  • Take your skills to a rewarding career in product development, quality control, hospitals, biotechnology, university labs, pharmaceuticals, forensics, and more. Possibilities at top organizations and leading companies include positions such as protein purification scientist, lab manager, medical scribe, clinical research coordinator, and food safety and quality chemist.
  • Pursue a professional degree in medical, dental, or veterinary school, using your background in biochemistry to aid your admission and success.
  • Build on your research experience and continue graduate studies in biochemistry or a related field to shape a career in academia as a professor or in industry.
  • Use your science background to inform patent law, science policy and ethics, sales and marketing for science and technology companies, scientific article publishing, and related fields. 

L&S Career Resources

Every L&S major opens a world of possibilities.  SuccessWorks at the College of Letters & Science helps students turn the academic skills learned in their major, certificates, and other coursework into fulfilling lives after graduation, whether that means jobs, public service, graduate school or other career pursuits.

In addition to providing basic support like resume reviews and interview practice, SuccessWorks offers ways to explore interests and build career skills from their very first semester/term at UW all the way through graduation and beyond.

Students can explore careers in one-on-one advising, try out different career paths, complete internships, prepare for the job search and/or graduate school applications, and connect with supportive alumni and even employers in the fields that inspire them.



Amasino, Rick
Attie, Alan
Bednarek, Sebastian
Butcher, Sam
Chaudhari, Snehal
Fox, Brian (Chair)
Friesen, Paul
Henzler-Wildman, Katie
Holden, Hazel
Hoskins, Aaron
Kimble, Judith
Landick, Bob
Ntambi, James
Ralph, John
Rayment, Ivan
Rienstra, Chad
Senes, Alessandro
Sussman, Mike
Wright, Elizabeth

Associate Professors

Raman, Vatsan

Assistant Professors

Cantor, Jason  
Chaudhari, Snehal 
Coyle, Scott
Grant, Tim
Kirchdoerfer, Robert 
Lim, Ci Ji
Neugebauer, Monica
Simcox, Judith 
Weeks, Amy

Associate Faculty

Pennella, Mario
Shu, Erica

Academic Advisors

Biochemistry & Microbiology Undergraduate Advising Hub

For more information, see the Department of Biochemistry directory.

Wisconsin Experience

The following opportunities can help students connect with other students interested in biochemistry, build relationships with faculty and staff, and contribute to out-of-classroom learning:

  • The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) UW–Madison Student Chapter is a student organization for students interested in biochemistry. ASBMB provides information about careers and job opportunities, how to get involved in research, and volunteer and outreach opportunities.
  • Several biochemistry faculty members offer experiential study abroad programs, where students can immerse themselves in research or global health field experiences. Students can review the Biochemistry Major Advising Page on the International Academic Programs website for information on these and other programs, as well as requirements that can typically be fulfilled abroad and things to consider when fitting study abroad into an academic plan.
  • Students are encouraged to get involved in research, whether in the biochemistry department or through other life science or chemistry-related departments. Research can be performed for either course credit or pay, depending on the opportunity. The Biochemistry website and the advisors can provide more information on finding research opportunities. Summer funding awards for research are available through the department.