About the Major
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology combines biology, the study of living things, and chemistry, which examines the composition, structure, properties and reactions of all forms of matter. This degree takes Wilson’s biology and chemistry programs, which already are popular among students, to a new level. Previously students could take courses in both disciplines, but could not get that in-depth synthesis of topics from both fields.
This major teaches students to draw from information taught in biology courses and apply detailed chemical analysis to understand how and why biological molecules interact. A number of post-graduate options are open to students with the degree, including master’s degree and doctoral programs in biochemistry and biology, bachelor’s degree programs in nursing, and professional schools in pharmacy, medicine, dentistry, and veternary medicine (see specific program for admission requirements). Graduates with a degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology also have a wide variety of career options, including research opportunities and other technical positions in the pharmaceutical industry, biotech companies, forensic testing laboratories and academic, government or military laboratories.
Every student who majors in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology will begin her own research project during the spring semester of her junior year. Wilson's program is unique in that each student can conduct research on the topic of her choice and thus is not limited by the research interests of the faculty. This research project is part of a three semester course sequence that is completed during the spring semester of her senior year. The first semester focuses on writing the research proposal. The second semester she will conduct the research and give oral presentations on the project. At the end of the second semester, each student presents the research at the Physical and Life Sciences Research Symposium. The third semester is when the final research paper is written.
Many students also take the opportunity to present their research findings at the Pennsylvania Academy of Science annual meeting, held every spring.