Chemical Biology and Pharmacology, B.S.

Saint Louis University's Bachelor of Science in Chemical Biology and Pharmacology is an interdisciplinary degree in which students gain a strong foundation in chemistry, biology and pharmacology. The degree is customizable to align with students' interests in medicinal chemistry, pharmacology, or molecular biology.

Chemical biology is the application of chemistry toward solving biological problems and pharmacology is the study of the action of drug molecules. The B.S. in chemical biology and pharmacology provides excellent preparation for students seeking employment in industry (biotechnology, pharmaceutical, agriculture, etc.), as well as for those who want to continue their studies in professional school (medical, pharmacy, dental, veterinary, law, etc.) and graduate school. 

Other highlights include:

  • A rigorous program that makes graduates competitive for employment in STEM areas.
  • Opportunities for students to strengthen their scientific communication skills through research activities that pair an undergraduate with a faculty researcher.
  • A mentoring program that runs freshman through senior year and provides guidance and support to students.

Curriculum Overview

This program places a great emphasis on undergraduate research. Students have ample opportunity to pursue research projects under the close mentorship of a full-time faculty member in the Department of Chemistry, Department of Biology and the School of Medicine’s Department of Pharmacology and Physiology. Students use a variety of specialized equipment and computers in their laboratories and in their research. Students in upper-level courses enjoy small classes and personalized attention.

  • First year: General Chemistry I and II with labs, Principles of Biology I and II with labs, Calculus I and II
  • Second year: Organic Chemistry I and II with labs, Analytical Chemistry I with lab, Physics I and II with labs
  • Third year: Human Physiology, Biochemistry I and II with labs, Molecular Pharmacology, Physical Chemistry, Undergraduate Research, Chemistry Literature
  • Fourth year: Chemical biology electives (three selected from upper-level chemistry, biology and pharmacology coursework), Undergraduate Research, Medicinal Chemistry

Fieldwork and Research Opportunities

Benefits of this program also include career opportunities. Undergraduate students work with faculty in undergraduate laboratories as laboratory assistants.

Undergraduates who study chemical biology at SLU can attend professional meetings and present their research results. In recent years, SLU students have presented numerous talks and poster presentations at regional and national meetings of the American Chemical Society and other scientific conferences.

Careers

Career options in chemical biology and pharmacology include:

  • Education
  • Chemical research and development in industry or government laboratories
  • Pharmaceutical research and drug development
  • Biotechnology
  • Pharmacy
  • Management and administration in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries and health care
  • Chemical, pharmaceutical, biotech and scientific instrumentation sales

This degree provides excellent preparation for medical, veterinary and pharmacy school. Other graduates continue through law school and specialize in patent law. The public health sector is also a common area to work.

Admission Requirements

Begin Your Application

Saint Louis University also accepts the Common Application.

Freshman

All applications are thoroughly reviewed with the highest degree of individual care and consideration to all credentials that are submitted. Solid academic performance in college preparatory coursework is a primary concern in reviewing a freshman applicant’s file.

To be considered for admission to any Saint Louis University undergraduate program, applicants must be graduating from an accredited high school, have an acceptable HiSET exam score or take the General Education Development (GED) test. 

Transfer

Applicants must be a graduate of an accredited high school or have an acceptable score on the GED.

Students who have attempted fewer than 24 semester credits (or 30 quarter credits) of college credit must follow the above freshmen admission requirements. Students who have completed 24 or more semester credits (or 30 quarter credits) of college credit must submit transcripts from all previously attended college(s).

In reviewing a transfer applicant’s file, the Office of Admission holistically examines the student’s academic performance in college-level coursework as an indicator of the student’s ability to meet the academic rigors of Saint Louis University. Where applicable, transfer students will be evaluated on any courses outlined in the continuation standards of their preferred major.

International Applicants

All admission policies and requirements for domestic students apply to international students along with the following:

  • Demonstrate English Language Proficiency
  • Proof of financial support must include:
    • A letter of financial support from the person(s) or sponsoring agency funding the time at Saint Louis University
    • A letter from the sponsor's bank verifying that the funds are available and will be so for the duration of study at the University
  • Academic records, in English translation, of students who have undertaken postsecondary studies outside the United States must include the courses taken and/or lectures attended, practical laboratory work, the maximum and minimum grades attainable, the grades earned or the results of all end-of-term examinations, and any honors or degrees received. WES and ECE transcripts are accepted.

Scholarships and Financial Aid

There are two principal ways to help finance a Saint Louis University education:

  • Scholarships: Scholarships are awarded based on academic achievement, service, leadership and financial need.
  • Financial Aid: Financial aid is provided in the form of grants and loans, some of which require repayment.

For priority consideration for merit-based scholarships, apply for admission by Dec. 1 and complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by March 1.

For information on other scholarships and financial aid, visit www.slu.edu/financial-aid.

  1. Graduates will be able to explain major principles in organic chemistry, biochemistry and pharmacology.
  2. Graduates will be able to conduct laboratory techniques and experiments safely.
  3. Graduates will be able to analyze quantitative data.
  4. Graduates will be able to apply chemistry principles to biology.
  5. Graduates will be able to articulate scientific results in both oral and written forms.

Chemical biology and pharmacology students must complete a minimum total of 78 credits for the major.  Twelve hours from the math and science college core requirements are satisfied within the required major coursework.

University Undergraduate Core32-35
Major Requirements
BIOL 1240
BIOL 1245
General Biology: Information Flow and Evolution
and Principles of Biology I Laboratory
4
BIOL 1260
BIOL 1265
General Biology: Transformations of Energy and Matter
and Principles of Biology II Laboratory
4
CHEB 3970Chemical Biology Research3
or CHEM 3970 Undergraduate Research
or BIOL 4980 Advanced Independent Study
CHEM 1130
CHEM 1115
General Chemistry 1 for Majors
and General Chemistry 1 Laboratory
4
CHEM 1140
CHEM 1125
General Chemistry 2 for Majors
and General Chemistry 2 Laboratory
4
CHEM 2200
CHEM 2205
Analytical Chemistry 1
and Analytical Chemistry 1 Laboratory
4
CHEM 2430
CHEM 2435
Organic Chemistry 1 for Majors
and Organic Chemistry 1 Lab for Majors
4
CHEM 2440
CHEM 2445
Organic Chemistry 2 for Majors
and Organic Chemistry 2 Laboratory for Majors
4
CHEM 3330Physical Chemistry 13
or CHEM 3340 Physical Chemistry 2
CHEM 3100The Chemical Literature1
CHEM 4470Medicinal Chemistry3
CHEM 4610
CHEM 4615
Biochemistry 1
and Biochemistry 1 Laboratory
4
CHEM 4620
CHEM 4625
Biochemistry 2
and Biochemistry 2 Laboratory
4
MATH 1510Calculus I4
MATH 1520Calculus II4
PHYS 1310
PHYS 1320
College Physics I
and College Physics I Laboratory
4
or PHYS 1610
PHYS 1620
University Physics I
and University Physics I Laboratory
PHYS 1330
PHYS 1340
College Physics II
and College Physics II Laboratory
4
or PHYS 1630
PHYS 1640
University Physics II
and University Physics II Laboratory
PPY 2540Human Physiology4
or HSCI 3300
HSCI 3310
Anatomy & Physiology I
and Anatomy & Physiology I Lab
PPY 4410Molecular Pharmacology3
Chemical Biology Electives 9
Nine credit hours selected from courses with the 'Chemical Biology Elective' attribute, examples include:
Basic Human Anatomy (Recommended for paring with PPY 2540 or HSCI 3400. HSCI 3410 must be taken concurrently)
Principles of Genetics
Cell Structure & Function
Plant Physiology
Biochemical Pharmacology
Foundations of Immunobiology
General Microbiology
Molecular Biology
Biometry
Analytical Chemistry 2
Organic Spectroscopy
Inorganic Chemistry
Bioorganic Chemistry
Advanced Organic Chemistry
Synthetic Organic Chemistry
Biophysical Chemistry
Introduction to Chemical Biology & Biotechnology
Introduction to Computer Science: Bioinformatics
Elementary Statistics with Computers (STAT 3850 is recommended)
Foundation of Statistics
General Electives7-18
Total Credits128-120

Students take three semesters, one credit per semester, regardless of which course is taken.

A student interested in tailoring their degree towards a particular emphasis may customize their degree as follows:

  • Medicinal Chemistry Emphasis:  CHEM 5460 (Synthetic Organic Chemistry), CHEM 4400 (Organic Spectroscopy), plus 1 other Chemical Biology Elective.
  • Pharmacology Emphasis:  BIOL 3030 Genetics, BIOL 4930 Biochemical Pharmacology, plus 1 other Chemical Biology Elective.
  • Molecular Biology Emphasis: BIOL 3030 Genetics, BIOL 4700 Molecular Biology, plus 1 other Chemical Biology Elective.
  • Pre-Med: BIOL 3030 Genetics, plus 2 other Chemical Biology Electives.
  • Pre-Dental/PA/Pharmacy/Vet:  ANAT 1000 Basic Human Anatomy, PPY 2540 Human Physiology, STAT 3850 Foundation of Statistics, BIOL 4640 General Microbiology; OR, if anatomy/physiology lab is a required pre-requisite for the professional program you plan to apply to, select HSCI 3300/3310 Anatomy & Physiology I + Lab (in place of PPY 2540 Human Physiology) and select HSCI 3400 Anatomy & Physiology II as an elective in place of ANAT 1000 Basic Human Anatomy.  Note that some professional programs may require Microbiology plus lab.

Non-Course Requirements

All undergraduate majors must complete an exit interview with the department chair during their final semester. B.S. majors are required to submit an undergraduate thesis and present their research prior to graduation.

Continuation Standards

The following standards apply to all new freshmen and transfer students:

  • Students must earn "C-" or better in CHEM 1110 General Chemistry 1 or CHEM 1130 General Chemistry 1 for Majors) and a "C-" or better in CHEM 1120 General Chemistry 2 or CHEM 1140 General Chemistry 2 for Majors, or the equivalent in transfer.
  • Students must earn a "C-" or better in Analytical Chemistry 1 (CHEM 2200 Analytical Chemistry 1).

Students who do not earn a "C-" in any of the identified courses must retake the course at SLU in the following semester. If a "C-" is not earned on the second attempt the student will be dismissed from the major. A student who withdraws from one of these courses on the first attempt will only have one more attempt to earn a "C-."

Students must maintain a 2.00 grade point average (GPA) in their major (CHEB or CHEM) and required related courses (BIOL, PHYS, MATH, etc.). If a student falls below a 2.00 major GPA, the student must meet with the program coordinator to review their academic performance. If the student cannot raise the major GPA to 2.00 in two semesters, the student will be dismissed from the major.

Graduation Requirements

  • Complete a minimum of 120 credits (excluding pre-college level courses numbered below 1000).
  • Complete the University Undergraduate Core curriculum requirements.
  • Complete major requirements: minimum 30 credits required.
  • Complete remaining credits with a second major, minor, certificate and/or electives to reach the minimum of 120 credits required for graduation.
  • Achieve at least a 2.00 cumulative grade point average, a 2.00 grade point average in the major(s) and a 2.00 grade point average in the minor/certificate, or related elective credits.
  • Complete department-/program-specific academic and performance requirements.
  • Complete at least 50% of the coursework for the major and 75% for the minor/certificate through Saint Louis University or an approved study abroad program.
  • Complete 30 of the final 36 credits through Saint Louis University or an approved study abroad program.
  • Complete an online degree application by the required University deadline.

Roadmaps are recommended semester-by-semester plans of study for programs and assume full-time enrollment unless otherwise noted.  

Courses and milestones designated as critical (marked with !) must be completed in the semester listed to ensure a timely graduation. Transfer credit may change the roadmap.

This roadmap should not be used in the place of regular academic advising appointments. All students are encouraged to meet with their advisor/mentor each semester. Requirements, course availability and sequencing are subject to change.

Plan of Study Grid
Year One
FallCredits
Critical course:  BIOL 1240
BIOL 1245
General Biology: Information Flow and Evolution
and Principles of Biology I Laboratory
4
Critical course:  CHEM 1130
CHEM 1115
General Chemistry 1 for Majors
and General Chemistry 1 Laboratory
4
MATH 1510 Calculus I 4
University Core 3-4
 Credits15-16
Spring
Critical course:  BIOL 1260
BIOL 1265
General Biology: Transformations of Energy and Matter
and Principles of Biology II Laboratory
4
Critical course:  CHEM 1140
CHEM 1125
General Chemistry 2 for Majors
and General Chemistry 2 Laboratory
4
Critical course:  MATH 1520 Calculus II 4
University Core 3
 Credits15
Year Two
Fall
Critical course:  CHEM 2430
CHEM 2435
Organic Chemistry 1 for Majors
and Organic Chemistry 1 Lab for Majors
4
PHYS 1310
PHYS 1320
College Physics I
and College Physics I Laboratory
4
Critical course:  CHEM 2200
CHEM 2205
Analytical Chemistry 1
and Analytical Chemistry 1 Laboratory
4
University Core 3
 Credits15
Spring
Critical course:  CHEM 2440
CHEM 2445
Organic Chemistry 2 for Majors
and Organic Chemistry 2 Laboratory for Majors
4
PHYS 1330
PHYS 1340
College Physics II
and College Physics II Laboratory
4
University Core 6
 Credits14
Year Three
Fall
CHEM 3100 The Chemical Literature 1
Critical course:  CHEM 4610
CHEM 4615
Biochemistry 1
and Biochemistry 1 Laboratory
4
CHEM 3330 Physical Chemistry 1 3
PPY 2540 Human Physiology 4
CHEB 3970
Chemical Biology Research
or Undergraduate Research
or Advanced Independent Study
1
University Core 2-3
 Credits15-16
Spring
Critical course:  CHEM 4620
CHEM 4625
Biochemistry 2
and Biochemistry 2 Laboratory
4
CHEB 3970
Chemical Biology Research
or Undergraduate Research
or Advanced Independent Study
1
Critical course:  PPY 4410 Molecular Pharmacology 3
University Core 3
General Elective 4
 Credits15
Year Four
Fall
Critical course:  Chemical Biology Electives 6
CHEB 3970
Chemical Biology Research
or Undergraduate Research
or Advanced Independent Study
1
University Core 3
General Electives 6
 Credits16
Spring
Critical course:  Chemical Biology Elective 3
CHEM 4470 Medicinal Chemistry 3
University Core 3-4
General Electives 6
 Credits15-16
 Total Credits120-123