Sep 23, 2014
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I have the option to take one of the following two biochemistry courses, but I'm not sure which one would be better or if it would even matter.

1. Biochem and Molecular Biology - 300 level course in the biology department
Course description: Discussion of the essential concepts underlying biochemistry. Topics include chemical concepts, structure of biological molecules, catalysis, and metabolic regulation.

or

2. Biochemistry I - 400 level course in the chemistry department
Course description: Chemistry of carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, nucleic acids, vitamins, and hormones, with major emphasis on biochemical processes in human cells and organs, enzyme kinetics.

I think the second option offered in the chemistry department is the better option but I thought I would see what others thought first. Thanks for any advice.
 

Jabbed

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The general rule of thumb is to take biochemistry through the medical college or biology department. Taking it in the chemistry department usually means that you end up talking about electrons and crap. That said, the 300 level course looks super basic. I'd ask people who took either course what exactly each entails.

EDIT: Many people will tell you that it doesn't matter whether or not you take biochem as undergrad, much less what type of course you take. IMO it's a very useful transition into med school biochem.
 
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DermViser

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What are the textbooks for each course?
 
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Sep 23, 2014
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What are the textbooks for each course?
I emailed the department's and haven't found out that information yet but the adviser for the chemistry department said they are interchangeable courses so I assume they cover very similar topics.
 

DermViser

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I emailed the department's and haven't found out that information yet but the adviser for the chemistry department said they are interchangeable courses so I assume they cover very similar topics.
Why not just check your undergrad's bookstore website? I'm not talking about topics.
 
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Smurfette

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Either course should give you an overview of biochem, which is your goal. Pick whichever seems best, whether that's due to your schedule, degree requirements, or simply the best professor.

Moving to PA as this is a premed question.
 
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Why not just check your undergrad's bookstore website? I'm not talking about topics.
From what's available for the professor this semester, the chemistry department course is using Voet's Fundamentals of Biochemistry textbook.
 

DermViser

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I emailed the department's and haven't found out that information yet but the adviser for the chemistry department said they are interchangeable courses so I assume they cover very similar topics.
The reason I say this is bc a lot of the times, medical school Biochem professors use undergrad type Biochem books for their courses, so it would beneficial to enroll in the course that uses that.
 

DermViser

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From what's available for the professor this semester, the chemistry department course is using Voet's Fundamentals of Biochemistry textbook.
Yeah, Voet's is usually not used in medical school Biochem courses bc it's too chemistry based - so not that one. Usually they use something like Stryer's, Lehninger's, Devlin, Marks, etc.
 

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Yeah, Voet's is usually not used in medical school Biochem courses bc it's too chemistry based - so not that one. Usually they use something like Stryer's, Lehninger's, Devlin, Marks, etc.
I've taken courses that used Voet, Lehninger, and Devlin. I wouldn't say Voet is too chemistry heavy compared to the others, a bit more detail heavy but not too much. Just my $0.02 but I'd go with the class that uses Voet.
 

nd3220

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I'm currently taking both the chemistry and biology sections of biochem (yes I'm insane) this semester. To be honest, I haven't really noticed much difference between the two except for the pace. I've had to learn chemical structures in both sections. Bio section uses Lehninger, Chem section uses Garrett. For me, the chem section just went into more detail as to how the interactions between enzymes, proteins, lipids, etc. works, whereas the bio section just goes over the main concepts, functions, and reactions. So if you want to know how things work in addition to the pathways and stuff, take the chem section. Otherwise, there is not much difference.
 

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Be easy on yourself. Don't take the chemistry dept. course. Take the easier (Bio) course and keep moving. Don't worry about what textbooks are used. That's not relevant here. Professors will pick and choose topics to use. For example, in my Bio dept. course we used the "chem heavy" Voet but only focused on selected topics.

This is a beautiful comment:

I'm currently taking both the chemistry and biology sections of biochem (yes I'm insane) this semester. To be honest, I haven't really noticed much difference between the two except for the pace. I've had to learn chemical structures in both sections. Bio section uses Lehninger, Chem section uses Garrett. For me, the chem section just went into more detail as to how the interactions between enzymes, proteins, lipids, etc. works, whereas the bio section just goes over the main concepts, functions, and reactions. So if you want to know how things work in addition to the pathways and stuff, take the chem section. Otherwise, there is not much difference.
At this point, just keep it simple and get your "A" in the Bio dept. There are no points for chem dept. Biochem and the major concepts and things you absolutely need to know (amino acids etc.) are covered in both.
 
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I'm currently applying to med school, and a lot of schools strongly recommend that applicants take/have taken biochem. That being said, I'm getting the sense that they don't care which department you take it under. You'll probably learn more in the chem version, so take it if you can handle it. I don't know if you need to know it in that much depth for med schoo, though.
 

mehc012

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I'm currently taking both the chemistry and biology sections of biochem (yes I'm insane) this semester. To be honest, I haven't really noticed much difference between the two except for the pace. I've had to learn chemical structures in both sections. Bio section uses Lehninger, Chem section uses Garrett. For me, the chem section just went into more detail as to how the interactions between enzymes, proteins, lipids, etc. works, whereas the bio section just goes over the main concepts, functions, and reactions. So if you want to know how things work in addition to the pathways and stuff, take the chem section. Otherwise, there is not much difference.
Why would you ever take both? You're taking up one of your class spots with a near-carbon-copy of another class. How is that useful? That's like saying "I took Calc I twice at the same time so I could get double credit without any extra learning!"

At my school, they split things into Biochem I and Biochem II, both dual-listed (you chose either Bio or Chem), but one taught by a Chem prof and one by a Bio prof. They collaborated pretty heavily so that it was a seamless transition, but they were very open that the first half delved into more detail on the chem aspects (so you learned the basics of the interactions and, as you said, how things work) and the second on the Bio parts (assuming you know the how from Part I and filling in endless details of what/why). I liked that setup, though I ended up not taking the second one due to scheduling issues :(
 

nd3220

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Why would you ever take both? You're taking up one of your class spots with a near-carbon-copy of another class. How is that useful? That's like saying "I took Calc I twice at the same time so I could get double credit without any extra learning!"

At my school, they split things into Biochem I and Biochem II, both dual-listed (you chose either Bio or Chem), but one taught by a Chem prof and one by a Bio prof. They collaborated pretty heavily so that it was a seamless transition, but they were very open that the first half delved into more detail on the chem aspects (so you learned the basics of the interactions and, as you said, how things work) and the second on the Bio parts (assuming you know the how from Part I and filling in endless details of what/why). I liked that setup, though I ended up not taking the second one due to scheduling issues :(
I am a double major (Bio and Chem), so I needed to take the Bio section for my biology requirement and the Chem section for my chem requirement. For some reason they aren't interchangeable here. Taking them at the same time has actually freed up my time a bit more because everything is so similar. I get to fulfill both of my requirements with half the amount of studying, and stuff from the chem section has helped to better clarify some of the more difficult concepts for me. It gives me time to focus on interviews and med school stuff.

The point remains the same: Take the chem section if you want to learn the normal biochem stuff and know how things work. Otherwise, just stick to the bio section.
 

mehc012

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I am a double major (Bio and Chem), so I needed to take the Bio section for my biology requirement and the Chem section for my chem requirement. For some reason they aren't interchangeable here. Taking them at the same time has actually freed up my time a bit more because everything is so similar. I get to fulfill both of my requirements with half the amount of studying, and stuff from the chem section has helped to better clarify some of the more difficult concepts for me. It gives me time to focus on interviews and med school stuff.

The point remains the same: Take the chem section if you want to learn the normal biochem stuff and know how things work. Otherwise, just stick to the bio section.
Wow, that sounds awful...I'd be livid with the school if I were you. Then again, I didn't take the ONE course between me and a double major because I wasn't interested in the subject (ecology) and refused to waste a class slot on something I wasn't interested in just to have Bio join the Chem on my diploma. I didn't end up with a Biochem minor for similar reasons (some random, non Biochem related req), though in that case it was also that I liked Bio and Chem, but less so Biochem!