BCH 4053--General Biochemistry I--Spring 2003


BCH 4053

General Biochemistry I

Spring 2003


Class Meeting Times


11:15-12:05 MWF 214 HTL



Robley Light



204 DLC







Office Hours


2:30-3:30 MW; 9:30-10:30 TTh
or by appointment.
(Occasionally I may have a conflict at these times—best to double check)



Biochemistry, 2nd Edition, Garrett and Grisham Saunders Publishing Co.

Course Description/Objectives

BCH 4053 is the first course in a two-semester sequence in biochemistry for advanced undergraduatees and beginning graduate students. The sequence provides a comprehensive survey of the major topics in biochemistry, with the objective of developing the tools necessary to understand biological processes in chemical terms. The first semester focuses on the organization and major structural components of living cells: proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, and nucleic acids. It explores how the structures of these molecules relate to their function, and how water and pH affect these structural properties. It discusses the energetics of biochemical reactions and processes, and the kinetics and mechanism of enzyme catalysis. It provides an introduction to a study of metabolic pathways by examining the degradation of glucose through glycolysis and the citric acid cycle, and the conservation of energy in the form of ATP.

While the concepts in the course are not particularly difficult, the volume of material to be assimilated is large. It is particularly important to keep up with the material from the beginning, including reading the text book before lectures, taking careful notes and reviewing them afterwards, and working practice problems when appropriate. Make sure you understand all concepts as they are discussed--ask questions when something is not clear.


The second semester of a two-semester organic chemistry course is a co- or prerequisite. Basic concepts from general chemistry, including stoichiometric calculations, acid-base chemistry and pH, and chemical thermodynamics will be assumed. You should carefully review the structure of organic functional groups and these concepts from general chemistry if they are not fresh in your mind. A course in biology will be helpful, but is not required.


There are three hour tests worth 100 points each and a final exam, which counts double (2 x 100 or 200 points), for a total possible score of 500 points.  The final exam score can also substitute for the lowest hour test grade if it is higher, so it can count either 40% or 60% of the final grade.

No make-up tests

In exceptional circumstances, it might be possible to arrange to take the hour test a day early.  In the case of excused absences where this is not possible, the exam grade will substitute for the missed test.

Optional extra credit

There will be eight optional “Web Tests” available on the web..  These tests are taken on the computer and graded by the computer.  They can be taken open-book and with notes, but you cannot receive help from another person.  They are timed tests, and you will have only one attempt at each.  The six highest on-line test grades will be averaged, and the average can replace a lower hour test grade.  Each test will only be available for a few days, so you must keep up with the course material in order to take advantage of them.

In addition a few optional group problems will be assigned to encourage some interaction and study with others in the class.  These problems will be worth a few points each to be added to the total raw test scores before dividing by 5.

Grading Scale

Following are the estimated percentage cut-off's for a given letter grade, obtained by dividing the total raw score by 5. Depending on test difficulty and class performance, these cut-off's might be lowered slightly, but they will not be raised. I will not know until all grades are in whether any adjustment will be made.

     90-100 A or A-       75-89   B or B-       60-74   C or C-       50-59   D or D-

Help Sessions:

Help Sessions will be given at 5:00 pm on Thursday the week of hour tests.

Class Web Page

 A class web page will provide a variety of class-related information, including the syllabus, lecture schedule, lecture notes, assignment dates, and pointers to information on the internet that is relevant to the material you are studying.  The web page entry is through Blackboard. The URL http://campus.fsu.edu/ will take you to your home page on Blackboard, which will have a link to all your courses.   You will need your account and password for your garnet (or mailer) email account in order to login to Blackboard. Access to some of the course materials can be obtained by logging in as "guest" with the password "guest" (without the quotes). If you are auditing the class and want more complete access, you must contact Dr. Light to gain entry.

 For additional information on Email accounts, computer help, etc., go to the ACNS web sites:

http://gtcr.fsu.edu (A guide to computing at FSU) and https://cars.acns.fsu.edu (information about registering).

 Honor Code

Students are expected to uphold the Academic Honor Code. The Academic Honor System of The Florida State University is based on the premise that each student has the responsibility to:

1.  Uphold the highest standards of academic integrity in the student’s own work,
2.  Refuse to tolerate violations of academic integrity in the University community, and
3.  Foster a high sense of integrity and social responsibility on the part of the University community.

The full honor code is available at


ADA Requirements

Students with disabilities needing academic accommodations should:

1.  Register with and provide documentation to the Student Disability Resource Center (SDRC).    
2.  Bring a letter to the instructor form the SDRC indicating you need academic accommodations. This should be done within the first week of class.

(This syllabus and other class materials are available in alternative format upon request.)

For more information about services available to FSU students with disabilities, contact the Assistant Dean of Students:

Disabled Student Services
08 Kellum Hall
Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL 32306-4066
(850) 644-9566,    

or visit their web site at:


Return to Dr. Light's Class Index Page     
 Comments or questions, mail to: rlight@garnet.acns.fsu.edu
© 2003 Florida State University