Joint Major in Chemistry and Biology

Interdisciplinary Programs

Students cannot be awarded a double major in a joint major and one of its component majors.

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 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

  • Chemistry 51. PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY
  • Chemistry 53. PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY LABORATORY
  • Chemistry 56. CARBON COMPOUNDS
  • Chemistry 58. CARBON COMPOUNDS LABORATORY
  • Chemistry 105. ORGANIC CHEMISTRY
  • Chemistry 111. ORGANIC CHEMISTRY LABORATORY
  • Biology 54. BIOLOGY LABORATORY
  • Biology 154. BIOSTATISTICS
  • Biology 111. MOLECULAR BIOLOGY LABORATORY
  • Biology 113. MOLECULAR GENETICS
  • Biology/Chemistry 182. CHEMISTRY IN LIVING SYSTEMS
  • Biology/Chemistry 184. METHODS IN BIOCHEMISTRY
  • Biology/Chemistry 189. TOPICS IN BIOCHEMISTRY AND MOLECULAR

Biology

One pair of courses selected from:

  • Chemistry 103: CHEMICAL ANALYSIS / Chemistry 109: CHEMICAL ANALYSIS
    LABORATORY
  • Chemistry 104: INORGANIC CHEMISTRY / Chemistry 110: INORGANIC
    CHEMISTRY LABORATORY

One course selected from:

  • Biology 101. COMPARATIVE PHYSIOLOGY
  • Biology 108. ECOLOGY AND ENVIRONMENTAL BIOLOGY
  • Biology 109. EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGY

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

Two successive semesters of Biology 191–192 (Biology Colloquium) and Chemistry 199 (Chemistry Seminar), four semesters total. Joint chemistry and biology majors who study abroad may waive one semester of either Biology 191/192 or Chemistry 199. The student must request the waiver from the relevant department chair, and the waiver must be communicated by the department chair to the registrar.

Two semesters (at least 6 credits total) of Senior Thesis Research (Biology 193–194, or Biology 195196, or Chemistry 151–152). The senior thesis will have two readers, a mentor from one department and a coreader 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 Harvey Mudd, crosslisted Harvey Mudd 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.