Aromatic and medicinal plants are critical components of medications, food and perfumes.

This Certificate Program, open to current and returning students, is a distinctive and applied path for biochemistry and other majors, including science and bioengineering students, who are interested in alternative medical therapies, laboratory research skills in plant extract isolation, entrepreneurship opportunities or finding employment in these and related industries. Herbalists and gardeners would be interested in the potential  programs and related courses.

Medicinal and Aromatic Plant Studies require foundational courses in biology, biochemistry and chemistry. To learn this field also requires understanding of plant biology, extraction and characterization techniques, and the relevance of pharmacology and toxicity to any naturally derived compounds. By combining and stacking the required courses, an applied track is obtained in this emerging and exciting field.   The requirements are designed so that a biochemistry major only needs to take 2-3 additional courses.

This certificate is designed to enhance the skills and knowledge of biochemistry and other undergraduate science students interested in and preparing for careers in:

  • The study and application of alternative medications
  • Bioactive plant extraction purification and characterization
  • Integrative Medicine
  • Medicinal chemistry
  • Quality control positions in the health and wellness industries
  • Pharmacy
  • Pharmacology
  • Drug discovery
  • Research in the cosmetic industry
  • Aromatherapy
  • Perfumes and Flavorings

This growing market is an ideal opportunity for biochemistry majors to apply their specific skill set -- extraction and characterization of biochemicals -- in an applied program.

Information about the Certificate


Current degree seeking

Students who have completed the prerequisite courses can be admitted. 

Prerequisite Courses are: BIOL 130 & 140, CHEM 134 &136, CHEM 225 & 226 & 227

Non-degree seeking

Students who have completed the prerequisite courses can be admitted. 

Prerequisite Courses are: BIOL 130 & 140, CHEM 134 &136, CHEM 225 & 226 & 227

Non-degree seeking (have earned a bachelor's degree)

Students who have completed the prerequisite courses can be admitted.

Prerequisite Courses are: BIOL 130 & 140, CHEM 134 &136, CHEM 225 & 226 & 227


Minimum grade required for each class in the certificate? D+

Minimum GPA required (for courses within the certificate) in order to earn the certificate? 2.0

Are P/F courses allowed?  Only for prerequisite courses, (BIOL 130 & 140, CHEM 134 &136, CHEM 225 & 226 & 227) and for the Research options BCHM 495, BCHM 499, LIBS 395, 396, 397

Are transfer courses allowed? Plant Biology BIOL 333 can be a transferred course.  The others cannot.

Can the courses share with other certificates, majors and minors? YES

Is the certificate linked or stand alone? Stand alone, but offered under the governance of the Biochemistry program. Stand-alone certificates comprise a distinct set of courses not wholly aligned with an existing degree program and are offered to non-degree students. Students interested in these certificates should apply directly through standard non-degree seeking admissions procedures.

Is this certificate open to non-degree seeking students and/or post degree students? YES


Credits and Courses

  • 4 credits: BIOL 333 Plant Biology (with lab)
  • 3 credits: BCHM 480 Pharmacology or BCHM 352 Intro to Toxicology  
  • 3 credits: * BCHM 413 Extraction, Purification and Characterization of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants - Seed to Oil 
    • (Prereq CHEM 227 and BCHM 470 or 370)
  • 3 credits: BCHM 495 or 499 Research or LIBS 395, 396,397**

13 total credits

  • 0-9 additional credits for biochemistry majors or ~13 credits for other majors
  • *New course-- BCHM 413
  • Most of these courses require Biology and/or chemistry prerequisites routinely taken by most students interested in medicine or in majors including BioEngineering, Biology, Chemistry, Microbiology, Behavioral and Biological Sciences
  • ** Should be in area related to certificate
Other recommended courses
  • ANTH 430 Medical Anthropology  3 Credit Hours
  • CHEM 447 Instrumental Analysis  3 Credit Hours
  • MICRO 385 Microbiology 4 credit hours
Off campus Research or COOP LIBS 395

Advisor-approved focusing on an area of medicinal biochemistry, nutrigenomics or economic botany. We have preliminary interest from several companies interested in student internships, which we would develop in coordination with the Internship program. 

Certificate Goals
  • Students will be able to use modern techniques for isolation and purification of volatile oils from raw plants
  • Students will use instruments to characterize volatile oils mixtures using methods that are routinely used in industry
  • Students will interpret results and draw conclusions on the constituency and purity of volatile oils
  • Students will skillfully use specialty literature to gain knowledge on volatile oils


Back to top of page