Joint Major in Chemistry and Biology Program

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 at the interface of biology and chemistry.

The goal is to 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 they 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 Harvey Mudd students and reinforce their abilities to think across disciplines.

Many schools have used the terms "biochemistry" or "biological chemistry" and some of the newer programs call themselves "chemical biology." But since the boundaries between chemistry and biology as separate disciplines are rapidly dissolving, and students can choose to steer their studies in many directions, we chose to call it simply the "Joint Major in Chemistry and Biology."

The Joint Major

and

  • Credits: 3

    Instructors: Haushalter, Vosburg (Chemistry)

    Offered: Spring

    Description: Relation of molecular structure and energy flow to reactions in living systems.

    Prerequisites: CHEM056 HM 

or

  • Credits: 3

    Instructors: Haushalter, Vosburg

    Offered: Spring

    Description: Relation of molecular structure and energy flow to metabolic reactions, signal transduction, and transport across membranes in living systems.

    Prerequisites: CHEM056 HM 

and

or

and

or

One Pair of Courses Selected From

  • Credits: 3

    Instructors: Hawkins, Van Ryswyk

    Offered: Fall

    Description: Applications of chemical equilibria in qualitative and quantitative analysis with emphasis on inorganic systems. Introduction to electrochemistry, mass spectrometry, and chromatography.

    Prerequisites: CHEM023A HM, CHEM023B HM, and CHEM024 HM 

    Concurrent requisites: CHEM109 HM is recommended

and

  • Credit: 1

    Instructors: Hawkins, Van Ryswyk

    Offered: Fall

    Description: Cooperative, project-based application of chemical analysis in a tropical marine ecosystem. Techniques include spectrophotometry, potentiometry, chromatography, and redox and complexometric titrations.

    Corequisites: CHEM103 HM 

or

  • Credits: 3

    Instructors: Johnson, Van Heuvelen, Van Hecke

    Offered: Spring

    Description: Systematic study of the preparation, properties, structures, analysis, and reactions of inorganic compounds.

    Prerequisites: CHEM056 HM; CHEM052 HM recommended

and

One Course Selected From

  • Credits: 3

    Instructor: Ahn

    Offered: Spring

    Description: Topics in the structural basis underlying general physiological mechanisms of plants and animals.

    Prerequisites: BIOL052 HM 

  • Credits: 3

    Instructors: Adolph, McFadden

    Offered: Spring

    Description: Principles of organization of natural communities and ecosystems, including population dynamics, species interactions, and island biogeography. Modern experimental and mathematical approaches to ecological problems. Application of ecological principles to conservation biology, human demography, and harvesting of natural resources.

    Prerequisites: BIOL052 HM and MATH019 HM 

  • Credits: 3

    Instructors: Adolph, McFadden

    Offered: Fall

    Description: Evolutionary mechanisms, including natural selection, population genetics, speciation, and macroevolutionary processes. Modern methods of phylogenetic reconstruction. History of biological diversity and the fossil record.

    Prerequisites: BIOL052 HM and MATH019 HM 

Three Credits of Upper Division Biology Electives

  • Three elective credits of upper level Biology courses, to be selected by the student in consultation with her or his advisor.

Biology Colloquium and Chemistry Seminar

Two successive semesters of Biology Colloquium:

  • Credit: 0.5

    Instructor: Staff

    Offered: Fall and Spring

    Description: Oral presentations and discussions of selected topics including recent developments. Participants include biology majors, faculty members, and visiting speakers. Required for junior and senior biology majors. No more than 2.0 credits can be earned for departmental seminars/col­loquia.

    Prerequisites: HMC Biology (including joint majors) only.

and

Two successive semesters of Chemistry Seminar:

  • Credit: 0.5

    Instructor: Staff

    Offered: Fall and Spring

    Description: Presentations of contemporary research by students, faculty, and visiting scientists. Attendance by junior and senior majors is required. No more than 2.0 credits can be earned for departmental seminars/colloquia.

Joint chemistry and biology majors who study abroad may waive one semester of Chemistry Seminar. The student must request the waiver from the Chemistry department chair, and the waiver must be communicated by the department chair to the registrar.

Senior Thesis Research

Two semesters (at least 6 credits total) of Senior Thesis Researc

  • Credits: 3

    Instructor: Staff

    Offered: Fall and Spring

    Description: A year-long experimental investigation in biology under the direction of a faculty advisor. Two oral presentations, a written proposal, and a thesis are required. Required of all senior biology majors.

    Prerequisites: Permission of instructor

or

  • Credits: 6

    Instructor: Staff

    Offered: Fall and Spring

    Description: Intensive experimental research in biology undertaken in consultation with a faculty member. Replaces 3 credits of BIOL193 HM and 3 credits of advanced biology courses for credit toward biology major.

    Prerequisites: BIOL161 HM, and departmental approval of formal application

or

  • Credits: 2-3

    Instructor: Staff

    Offered: Fall

    Description: A yearlong experimental or computational investigation in chemistry under the direction of a faculty advisor. Two oral reports and a written thesis are required. Two or three credit hours per semester (2 credit hours equals a minimum of 6 hours of laboratory per week, 3 credit hours equals a minimum of 10 hours of laboratory per week: additional library time is required).

    Prerequisites: Senior standing

and

  • Credits: 2-3

    Instructor: Staff

    Offered: Spring

    Description: A yearlong experimental or computational investigation in chemistry under the direction of a faculty advisor. Two oral reports and a written thesis are required. Two or three credit hours per semester (2 credit hours equals a minimum of 6 hours of laboratory per week, 3 credit hours equals a minimum of 10 hours of laboratory per week: additional library time is required).

    Prerequisites: Senior standing

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 Harvey Mudd, cross-listed Harvey Mudd courses (e.g., topics in biological engineering), and appropriate courses offered by other Claremont Colleges. Prior approval, granted by the chairs of biology and chemistry, will be required to substitute electives.