Joint Major in Chemistry and Biology

The disciplines of biology and chemistry are undergoing remarkable and converging transformations. In response to these new developments, Harvey Mudd College has established a unique opportunity for undergraduate students: the Joint Major in Chemistry and Biology.

The Joint Major provides an organized framework that will enable students to think at the interface, to effortlessly move back and forth between chemistry and biology. They will have the background to appreciate the biological context of their research questions and will have mastered the chemistry fundamentals that underlie the properties and reactions of biomolecules. These successful students will be able to make connections and have insights that are difficult to obtain without a thorough training in both chemistry and biology. The program in chemistry and biology will capture the imaginations of talented HMC students and reinforce their abilities to think across disciplines.

Students interested in the Joint Major should contact Professor Steve Adolph, interim chair of the Biology Department and/or Professor Hal Van Ryswyk, chair of the Chemistry Department.

Requirements for the Joint Major in Chemistry and Biology

  • Chemistry 51: Physical Chemistry
  • Chemistry 53: Physical Chemistry Laboratory
  • Chemistry 56: Carbon Compounds
  • Chemistry 58: Carbon Compounds Laboratory
  • Chemistry 103: Chemical Analysis
  • Chemistry 105: Organic Chemistry
  • Chemistry 109: Chemical Analysis Laboratory
  • Chemistry 111: Organic Chemistry Laboratory
  • Biology 54: Biology Laboratory
  • Biology 111: Molecular Biology Laboratory
  • Biology 113: Molecular Biology
  • Biology/Chemistry 182: Chemistry in Living Systems
  • Biology/Chemistry 184: Methods in Biochemistry
  • Biology/Chemistry 189: Topics in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

One course selected from:

  • Biology 101: Comparative Physiology
  • Biology 108: Ecology and Environmental Biology
  • Biology 109: Evolutionary Biology
  • Five elective credits of upper level Biology courses, to be selected by the student in consultation with her/his adviser. Prior permission from the Department of Biology is required.
  • Two successive semesters of Biology 191–192 (Biology Colloquium) and Chemistry 199 (Chemistry Seminar) (four semesters total).
  • Two semesters of Senior Thesis Research (Biology 193–194, or Biology 195-196, or Chemistry 151–152). The senior thesis will have two readers, a mentor from one department and a co-reader from the other department.

NOTE: In order to optimize their opportunities and to enable individual flexibility, students may request to count other courses not currently listed as Biology electives. These other courses might include new Biology courses developed at HMC, cross-listed HMC courses (e.g., topics in biological engineering), and appropriate courses offered by other Claremont Colleges. Prior approval, granted by the faculties of Biology and Chemistry, will be required to substitute electives.