The Chemistry of Living Systems

Fall 2019
Winter 2020
Class Size: 50
Credits per quarter

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Taught by

biology, genetics, microbiology
biology, biochemistry

This upper-division science program will develop and interrelate concepts in experimental (laboratory) organic chemistry and biochemistry. It will cover the chemistry material that is usually offered in Molecule to Organism and provide prerequisites for the following careers and graduate programs: medicine and other health sciences, biology and chemistry, veterinary medicine, etc. Throughout both quarters, we will integrate topics in both subjects to gain an understanding of the structure-property relationship of synthetic and natural organic compounds. We will also examine the key chemical reactions of industrial processes as well as those reactions that are important to the metabolic processes of living systems in the context of structure-property-function and evolution. Each week in seminar, we will read primary literature and critically analyze data and its interpretation.

There will be a significant laboratory component—students can expect to spend at least a full day in lab each week, maintain laboratory notebooks, write formal laboratory reports and give formal presentations of their work. Students will work collaboratively on laboratory and library research projects incorporating the theories and techniques of chemical synthesis and biological reactions. All laboratory work and approximately one half of the non-lecture time will be spent working in collaborative problem-solving groups.

This is an intensive program. The subjects are complex, and the sophisticated understanding we expect to develop will require devoted attention and many hours of scheduled lab work each week. Each student will be expected to develop a sufficient basis of advanced conceptual knowledge and practical skills necessary for pursuing work in a chemistry-based discipline.

This offering will prepare you for careers and advanced study in:

chemistry, biochemistry, industrial or pharmaceutical research, medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, naturopathy, optometry and pharmacy.


Credits per quarter

Fields of study: 
One year of college-level general chemistry required.
Online learning:
  • Enhanced Online Learning - This offering requires access to web-based tools, but use of these tools does not displace any face-to-face instruction.

Upper division science credit:

Up to 32 upper division science credits will be awarded to students who successfully complete the program requirements.

Class Standing: Sophomore–Senior
Class Size: 50

Scheduled for: Day

Final schedule and room assignments:

First meeting:

Monday, January 6, 2020 - 9:00 am
Purce Hall 2 - Lecture

Located in: Olympia

2018-08-15deleted faculty signature requirement