This major is interdisciplinary in nature, focusing on the interface between biology and chemistry, specifically examining the composition, structure, properties and reactions of biologically relevant molecules.
Biochemistry students use research, labs and observation to explore complex questions about the world around us. What happens chemically to “turn on” a gene or “knock it out?” Why are certain chemical signals chosen in a protein or a cell? How do DNA, protein and/or ligand binding work at the chemical level? What are the chemical details of how a protein is degraded or targeted for degradation? Students draw on information learned in biology courses and apply detailed chemical analysis to explain how and why biological molecules interact.
Coursework and laboratory work in biology and chemistry
The Biochemistry I and II course sequence provides the synthesis of information learned in foundations biology and chemistry courses and shows how the synthesis of the two fields enables a student to understand, critically analyze and potentially solve complex biological problems.
The biology and chemistry faculty collaborate in the delivery of an advanced laboratory techniques course that informs and equips students to develop and implement quality independent research projects that examine biological molecules, processes and problems from the perspective of chemistry.
Career and graduate prospects for biochemistry majors
Students completing this program of study have a wide variety of career options. Graduate and professional programs in biochemistry, molecular biology and the biomedical sciences are expanding to meet the needs of a rapidly growing biotechnology industry.
Graduate degree options include the M.S., Ph.D. and Ph.D./M.D. degrees. For students interested in pre-professional programs, Physics I and II are also recommended. A biochemistry and molecular biology major would be well-prepared to transfer to a bachelor’s degree in a nursing program.
A biochemistry and molecular biology major without aspirations of graduate school would be well-trained for a career in the pharmaceutical industry, biotech companies, environmental or forensic testing laboratories, academic research laboratories and government or military laboratories.