Courses and Course Materials

Listed below are all course requirements for the Chemistry and Chemical Biology Graduate Program including course name and number, quarters offered, units, and instructors.

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Required core courses

BP 204 A and B: Macromolecular Structure and Interactions

4 units each
James Fraser and John Gross in Fall, Robert Stroud and Oren Rosenberg in Winter

BP 204A: This is a team-based class where students work in small groups develop their own analysis of real data that they have collected. The course will function in three modules. In module 1 “data collection” students collect either NMR, negative stain EM, and X-ray crystallographic data. In module 2 “fundamentals of analysis,” students will are mixed into new groups for lectures and hands-on computational tutorials. These lessons emphasize connections to both the molecular interpretations and the fundamental physical principles that generated the data. In module 3 “integrative structural biology,” the students will finalize their analysis and lectures will emphasize computational frameworks for integrative structural modeling. Finally, each group will present to their findings to the class and course faculty.

BP 204B: In this course, we will pursue a qualitative and quantitative understanding of the physical basis of macromolecular function. We will examine: the nature and quantification of the forces that drive macromolecular interactions, both intramolecular (macromolecular folding), and with other proteins and ligands; diffusion of macromolecules; the structural underpinnings of the kinetics and thermodynamics of macromolecular reactions; and the physical basis of important biophysical methods. We will examine the distinctions for macromolecules residing in lipid bilayers. The classwork will be mostly interactive with a weekly lecture that informs in class problem solving and discussion of relevant classic and current literature.

CHEM 243: Chemical Biology

5 units
Charles S. Craik

This survey course is team-taught and designed to illustrate the use of chemical approaches to investigate biological processes at the biochemical, the cellular, and the organismal levels.

CHEM 244: Reaction Mechanisms

3 units
Adam Renslo

This course is designed to develop knowledge of organic reaction mechanisms. This interactive course involves some lectures, but enforces student learning through intensive arrow-pushing sessions with students at the board. Current topics include: electrocyclic reactions, Woodward-Hoffman rules, sigmatropic reactions, migration reactions, neighboring group effects, carbanions and free radicals, carbenes, carbenoids, nitrenes, six-membered heterocyclic rings, five-membered heterocyclic rings.

Other required courses

CHEM 206: Laboratory Rotation

Fall/winter/spring, first year only
3-unit rotation

CHEM 219: Special Topics in Chemical Biology (mini courses)


UCSF Basic Science Graduate Programs collaborate to offer elective courses that allow for diversification of curriculum. Students are expected to take at least one mini course outside the Chemistry and Chemical Biology Program.


CHEM 221: Seminar Program (BBC Seminar Series)

1 unit
Jason Gestwicki

Selected topics by guest lecturers

CHEM 223: CCB Student Seminar Program

1 unit
Jason Gestwicki

This seminar provides graduate students with a forum in which to develop seminar and poster presentation skills, critically organize and critically review scientific data, and analyze and question oral scientific presentations.

CHEM 225: Graduate Research Opportunities (BBC Pizza Talks)

Fall/winter, first year only
1 unit
Jason Gestwicki

This course offers first-year students a series of weekly presentations on research interests of basic science faculty. The purpose is to acquaint new graduate students with research projects and opportunities in faculty laboratories.

CHEM 297: QBC Journal Club

1 unit each
Brian Shoichet

QBC Journal Club, critical review of published scientific papers from scholarly journals, including comprehension, analysis, and evaluation of published scientific data.

CHEM 250: Research

8 units
Thesis advisor

CHEM 266: Research Planning Conference

1 unit
Thesis advisor

Discussion and practice in research problem formulation and design selection. Core classes and small group sessions are organized around students' interests by faculty within the area of specialization.

Graduate 214: Ethics and the Responsible Conduct of Research

Spring first year, eight sessions
1 unit

Sessions cover data management, animals in research, human subjects in research, rules and etiquette of publications, procedures and rules of grants, corporate-academic interactions.