Biochemistry is the perfect choice for students interested in careers spanning the more traditional fields of chemistry and biology. Students choosing this major will obtain excellent preparation for a variety of careers including biotechnology, pharmacology and agricultural chemistry or pre-professional programs in medicine, dentistry and optometry.

The biochemistry major at Central is housed within the chemistry department, which is certified by the American Chemical Society, so students receive instruction comparable to that at larger institutions while benefiting from individualized attention and a broad liberal arts background.

The Central Difference

Research Opportunities

Besides internship opportunities, you'll be encouraged take responsibility for a research project. Faculty are involved in many ongoing projects and always willing to help nurture new ideas for research. Current projects include the study of mushroom extracts on cells and organic molecules that bind with phosphorylated compounds.

Success Secrets of a National Scholarship Winner

“The greater the risk, the greater the reward,” says 2020 Goldwater Scholar Katie Wang ’21.

Off-Campus Experiences

Students are encouraged to study abroad with one of Central’s international programs to enhance their development as global citizens, or with partner programs in Chicago, Washington, D.C. or New York City. Learn more about Central’s study abroad programs.

State-of-the-Art Equipment

You'll have direct access to classrooms and laboratories equipped with state-of-the-art instrumentation and presentation technology, including:

  • 300 MHz Bruker NMR
  • Spectrum Rx Perkin Elmer ATR-FTIR Spectrometer
  • HP 6890 GC with an HP 5973 quadrapole mass selective detector
  • HPLC series 1100 with UV-Vis detector
  • Two HP 6890 gas chromatographs with TCD

American Chemical Society

Central is one of only seven Iowa private colleges and universities with a chemistry program endorsed by the American Chemical Society.

Central College student

Beyond Central

Putting the “Hire” in Higher Education

  • Chemist, Keystone Laboratories, Inc.
  • Pharmacist, Providence Medical Group, Portland, Ore.
  • Medical student, Des Moines University Medical School
  • Graduate student, the University of Iowa, pharmacology

Peterson Joins MCRHC

Dr. Megan Kittleson Peterson, a 2012 Central College graduate, has joined Mitchell County Regional Health Center in Osage, Iowa.


  • Bio-Chem Club
  • SCATE (Students Concerned About The Environment)
  • Health Professions Club

Graduate Placement

Thanks to rigorous coursework and top-notch professors, 94 percent of Central students were admitted into their first or second choice graduate school. Whether you are interested in biochemistry, molecular genetics or a health profession, Central can help you achieve your career goals.


Students with internship experience have a proven track record in a professional environment, which often leads to employment following graduation. About 76 percent of Central students complete an internship or pre-professional experience before graduating, which means you can get a head start on your career!

Central College student

Courses & Faculty

The chemistry department offers a strong foundation in concepts, coursework and laboratory skills in organic, analytical, inorganic, physical and biochemistry. The curriculum, certified by the American Chemical Society, means graduates are ensured the strong scientific background and the research opportunities needed for graduate school or careers in chemistry or the health professions.

The department also offers students flexible course options in order to incorporate off-campus experiences, research and other liberal arts interests during their four years on campus.

Learn more about this discipline in the course catalog.

Meet the Faculty

  • James Dunne, B.S., Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Chemistry
  • Ashley Garr, B.S., M.S., Ph.D., Associate Professor of Chemistry
  • Jim Shriver, B.S., M.S., Ph.D., Professor of Chemistry
  • Jay Wackerly, B.S., Ph.D., Associate Professor of Chemistry

Sample Coursework

First Year

  • General Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Introduction to Cells
  • Calculus I

Sophomore Year

  • Organic Chemistry
  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Physics

Junior Year

  • Biochemistry
  • Physical Chemistry
  • Genetics

Senior Year

  • Microbiology
  • Physiology
  • Histology


Learn More

Want to find out more about Biochemistry at Central? Contact us to learn more about this discipline and our other strong academic programs.

Visit campus to observe classes and experience The Central Difference firsthand.

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