Undergraduate Program

What is Biochemistry?

Biochemistry is the study of chemical processes in living things. Biochemists try to understand the structures and functions of molecules in cells, the chemical reactions necessary for life and the molecular basis of disease.

History of the Biochemistry Department

The Biochemistry Department, which was organized in 1948, consists of 25 research-active primary and secondary faculty members. The faculty supervise post-doctoral fellows, graduate students and undergraduates in active research programs that are well supported by grants from the NIH, NSF, ACS, AHA, and other agencies. 

Why Major in Biochemistry?

Students who major in biochemistry do so for many reasons. Those interested in the chemical basis of life and the deep relationships that connect all organisms find that modern biochemistry reveals the molecular basis of growth and development, and offers insights into the causes of cancer and other diseases. For these students, biochemistry is a strong liberal arts major that offers many intellectual satisfactions.

Advantages of a Biochemistry Major

  • Prepares pre-medical students for the MCAT Medical School entrance exam, which places a large emphasis on Biochemistry.
  • Allows pre-med science courses, including those in psychology, to count as advanced science electives for their degree.
  • Provides real research experience in laboratories early in their undergraduate career that count towards their degree.
  • Offers a laboratory-intensive BS degree or BA degree that provides flexibility for additional pre-medical coursework and/or a minor.
  • Provides opportunities to network with students in the major through the Biochemistry Undergraduates Majors Club.

Career Opportunities for Biochemistry Majors

Some students plan to engage in biomedical research.  For them, biochemistry provides an excellent conceptual framework for advanced studies.  Similarly, students who plan to pursue a health career in medicine or a related field find that biochemistry provides a strong background for professional studies.

Biochemistry students can also choose a career path in industry. For them, biochemistry provides a grounding in the most current discoveries and techniques.  The biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries, among others, depend extensively on biochemists. The chart provides the career paths recent graduates have taken.