Coursework is an important part of the Chemical Biology Ph.D. program. In our program, students have the freedom to tailor their course choices and load toward their research interests. Students are required to take two major courses during their first year (preferentially) to build a core understanding of chemical biology, and the remaining coursework to fulfill the Departmental minor requirement should typically be completed by the end of the second year (no later than the third). Additional information about the UW Graduate School minor requirement can be found here.

In addition to courses, students are also strongly encouraged to attend pertinent seminars inside and outside of the Department throughout their graduate career. See the seminar page for upcoming seminars.


Required Major Courses

  • Chemical Biology (Biochem 704), offered every Fall
  • A Methods and Techniques in Chemical Biology course (Must complete at least ONE of the following six courses for the maximal numbers of credits offered, if variable (e.g. 3 credits if offered for 2-3). Semesters offered can be subject to change:
  • Biophysical Spectroscopy (Cavagnero; Chem 860 - offered every other Fall (2015, 2017).  Chemistry 860 covers a variety of spectroscopic and miscroscopy techniques employed to solve biological problems at the atomic and molecular level.  Techniques taught in this class include electronic absorption and fluorescence spectroscopy, circular dichroism, light scattering, fluorescence microscopy, multidimensional nuclear magnetic resonance, and electron spin resonance.
  • Physical Methods for Structure Determination (Brunold; Chem 606), offered every other Spring (2016, 2018,...)  A survey of spectroscopic methods for inorganic strucutre determination.  This course will introduce the major non-crystallographic techniques with an emphasis on the application to strctural analysis.  The basic theory and methodology of each form of spectroscopy will be presented.  Topics covered include: ligand field theory, electronic absorption, IR/Raman, Mossbauer and EPR stectroscopies, and magnetic susceptiblity. 
  • Methods and Technologies for Protein Characterization (Coon; Chem 627), offered every other Spring (2015, 2017,...)
  • Instrumental Analysis (Wright; Chem 621), offered every Fall, Chemistry 621 covers the fundamental physical principles that control chemical measurements.  The topics are broad and include spectroscopic instrumentation, molecular spectroscopy, vibrational spectroscopy, liquid and gas chromatography, electrophoresis, mass spectroscopy (MS), electrochemistry, and NMR.  There is an emphasis on quanititative descriptions of the physical processes and the instruments, including simulations of instrumental methods.
  • Organic Analysis/Biological Mass Spectrometry (Li; Chem 622), offered every other Fall (2015, 2017,...)  Chemistry 622 provides the basics in instrumentation and applications of mass spectrometry in life sciences with special emphasis on proteomics, disease diagnosis, and drug discovery.  The goals of this course are to provide students with necessary background to effectively design mass spectrometric experiments; more efficiently utilize the available mass spectrometric resources on campus, and effectively interpret and use mass spectrometric data to help their own research.
  • (Ge; Chem 630) Offered every Fall on Friday for 120 minutes. Proteomics and metabolomics are playing an increasingly important role in biology and medicine.  Many biology labs are now starting to use proteomics and metabolomics methods in their research projects.  This course is designed specifically for students in biological/biochemical sciences who have interests in learning proteomics and metabolomics.  It will integrate formal classroom lectures with one-on-one consultation.  Lectures include the essential fundamentals and applications in mass spectrometry-based proteomics and metabolomics to address biological/medical problems. Meanwhile, one-on-one consultation will be offered to respond to students’ individual needs, including the design of proteomics/metabolomics experiments, troubleshooting, and proper interpretation of the results.


    Recommended Minor Courses

    • These depend on your area(s) of interest. You will need a total of 9 credits for your distributed minor.  No minor credit is given for Chemistry 637 (advanced NMR training) or Chemistry 607 (safety course).  Note, only one 500-level class can count toward your minor.  Selected recommended courses by sub-area are listed in the attached document.