Consider a major in biochemistry at Lawrence.

As is the case in choosing any major, prospective biochemistry majors should consider the short-term and long-term goals they have for themselves, as well as what the kinds of material they enjoy learning and the kinds of activities they most enjoy undertaking. Biochemists work to understand the molecular-level interactions of life. 

Some questions that might help you determine whether a biochemistry major is a good fit include:

  • Do I want to know how living cells work?
  • Am I interested in how non-living molecules (such as DNA, proteins, and lipids) work together to create life?
  • Do I enjoy lab science and want to develop these skills further? 

If you answer yes to these questions, a biochemistry major might be a good fit for you! Remember that a biochemistry major at a liberal arts college does not mean that you must want to be a professional biochemist (though that would be pretty cool). Biochemistry majors go on to earn degrees in pharmacy, medicine, or law. They can work in industry, sales, or do anything else that liberal arts graduates can do with excellent problem-solving skills!

Course Planning for New and Exploring Students

Students considering a biochemistry major are well served by taking two or three introductory science courses (BIOL 130: Cellular Form and Function, CHEM 115: Principles of Chemistry: Structure and Reactivity, CHEM 116: Principles of Chemistry: Energetics and Dynamics), ideally in the first year. We recommend that first-year students begin in fall term with whichever course is in their area of strength to ease the adjustment to college-level science learning. Students pursuing this major should also complete MATH 140: Calculus within the first two years.

New students should not take more than one natural science laboratory course per term.

AP/IB Credit and Advanced Placement

Students who have earned AP or IB credit in biology are exempt from BIOL 130: Cellular Form and Function. Students who have earned AP or IB credit in chemistry should take the chemistry placement exam to determine if CHEM 116: Principles of Chemistry: Energetics and Dynamics is a better starting point in the chemistry course sequence.

Students without AP/IB credit can opt to take a departmental exemption exam for  BIOL 130: Cellular Form and Function if they feel well qualified based on previous coursework. Contact the biology department chair, Judith Humphries (, for more information. Meanwhile, students with a strong background in chemistry who pass the online chemistry placement exam can skip CHEM 115: Principles of Chemistry: Structure and Reactivity and begin with CHEM 116: Principles of Chemistry: Energetics and Dynamics.

Declare a Major/Minor

All students are expected to declare a major before the end of sophomore year. Ideally, sophomore students will declare a major (and switch to an advisor in the major) before advance registration advising begins in spring term.

Major Advising

All students will transition to a major advisor upon declaration. The major advisor will help students plan their coursework to satisfy requirements for the major, select courses in other areas to complement the major or satisfy personal interests, and prepare for their Senior Experience. Prospective biochemistry majors can consult with any of the following faculty about serving as a major advisor:

Add a Major Advisor

Need help identifying an advisor in the major? Students can contact for assistance with advisor matching.

If you still have questions about advising support related to the biochemistry program, we invite you to contact the program director.