Biological Chemistry Specialist

The Biological Chemistry Program, with its solid core of chemistry, plus the required biology and biochemistry courses, will provide an interesting and challenging option in this increasingly important, interdisciplinary area of chemistry. Biological Chemistry examines Nature at the molecular level by using a combination of synthetic, inorganic, analytical and physical chemistry as well as the tools of molecular biology and biochemistry.  This program provides the setting to understand the chemical reactions and interactions that occur in biological processes, as well as how chemical strategies can be used to control these systems. This program includes sufficient flexibility to allow focus in areas such as bioinorganic, bioorganic, biophysical or medicinal chemistry.  Students graduating from this program will be prepared for career paths in the biotechnology, biomedical and pharmaceutical sectors, as well as for research and teaching in related areas of chemistry and biology. This program is accredited by the Canadian Society for Chemistry.

Biochemistry vs. Biological Chemistry

In biological chemistry the focus is more on the chemistry of biological systems and the study of nature at the molecular level, whereas in biochemistry the emphasis tends to be on whole systems. Biological chemists study individual biomolecules so that they can understand the chemical reactions and interactions that go on in biological systems. In addition, biological chemistry involves manipulation of biological systems, either to figure out how they work or to apply what we know about nature in order to design new systems.

In terms of different undergraduate programs, in biological chemistry there is obviously the opportunity to take more chemistry. Depending on interests, students can focus their program with a few extra courses in organic chemistry, or inorganic, physical or environmental. There is a little overlap with the biochemistry program, especially in second year when a lot of the same introductory material is taken. In the upper years the programs are quite different with respect to the approach that we take in studying biological systems.


Professor G. A. Woolley, Biological Organic Chemistry

Enrolment Requirements:

This is a limited enrolment program. Students must have completed 4.0 credits and meet the requirements listed below to enrol.

Completed courses (with minimum grades)
The following courses with the stated minimum grades are required:

• ( CHM135H1CHM136H1) (63% in each)/ CHM151Y1 (63%)

Students in this program have the option to request enrolment in the Arts & Science Internship Program (ASIP) stream. Students can apply for the ASIP stream after Year 1 (Year 2 entry) or after Year 2 (Year 3 entry, starting Fall 2024). Full details about ASIP, including student eligibility, selection and enrolment, are available in the ASIP section of the Arts & Science Academic Calendar. Please note that the majority of students enter ASIP in Fall term of Year 2. Space is more limited for Year 3 entry. Students applying for Year 3 entry must have been admitted to the Biological Chemistry Specialist in the Summer after Year 2.

Completion Requirements:

(14.0 credits, including 3.0 credits from 400-level courses)

First Year: BIO120H1BIO130H1CHM151Y1 (strongly recommended)/ ( CHM135H1CHM136H1); ( MAT135H1MAT136H1)/ MAT137Y1/​ MAT157Y1

First or Second Year: ( PHY131H1PHY132H1)/ ( PHY151H1PHY152H1)

Second and Higher Years:

  1. BCH210H1BIO230H1/​ BIO255H1CHM217H1CHM220H1/​ CHM222H1 ( CHM220H1 recommended), ( CHM236H1CHM237H1)/ CHM238Y1CHM249H1
  2. CHM310H1CHM347H1CHM348H1CHM379H1
  3. At least 1.0 credit from the following: CHM317H1CHM327H1CHM338H1CHM343H1CHM395Y1/​ CHM499Y1/​ PHC489Y1CHM410H1
  4. CHM437H1CHM447H1CHM479H1
  5. Additional 300/400-level BCH or CHM courses to a total of 14.0 credits. CSB450H1 is also acceptable.

Students in this program have the option to complete the Arts & Science Internship Program (ASIP) stream.


This page was updated on July 5, 2023.  Please consult the Arts & Science Academic Calender for the most up-to-date program requirements.