Biochemistry is a popular laboratory science at the intersection of biology and chemistry. Practitioners examine the chemical processes that drive living things at the molecular and genetic level. It is the science of such varied phenomena as the human brain, disease pathology, forensic science, and genetic modification.
Biochemistry is a broad and multidisciplinary field of study that can lead to many different kinds of careers. Biochemists have led numerous scientific breakthroughs over the last century, and their roles continue to expand. They may work as research scientists, academics, or professionals with an applied orientation, like a pharmaceutical consultant, government investigator, or forensic scientist.
The education required of a biochemist depends on one's ultimate career goals. In general, it is recommended that students earn at least a graduate degree to be taken seriously as a scientist. To pursue a career in academia or independent research, a doctoral degree is necessary. Students do not have to major in Biochemistry per se to pursue this field of study; a related field like molecular biology is generally acceptable.
Recently, the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) initiated an accreditation initiative for U.S. biochemistry programs. Students who earn an ASBMB-accredited degree will be eligible for voluntary national certification with the ASBMB.
A career in biochemistry begins with a 4-year bachelor's degree. A bachelor's degree can often be used to access entry-level employment, but the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) recommends aspiring biochemists use it to get into a quality graduate school and advance in the field.
Bachelor students are introduced to statistical analysis, experimental design, and scientific research. They learn how to produce results in labs, while studying the structure and composition of different chemical reactions and forms of biochemical matter. Students headed to graduate school should try to get exposure to research to be competitive in grad school admissions.
At the baccalaureate level, it's okay to focus on gaining a broad-based scientific education. Future Ph.D.s can major in biochemistry, chemistry, or a related discipline like biology, physics, or even engineering at this level. Biochemistry programs confer a solid foundation in biology and chemistry; physics and math; and computer science and statistical data analysis. Many biochemistry programs are jointly offered by biology and chemistry departments; independent Biochemistry divisions are mainly found at large universities.
A bachelor's degree in Biochemistry includes classes like:
Bachelor degree-holders can begin work as a:
While undergraduate programs focus on classroom instruction, master programs let students dive into the research process. A master's degree in biochemistry can give job applicants an edge in industries like food and drug inspection or product development. Many employers accept graduate education as a substitute for experiential requirements. Most biochemistry master degrees require students to defend a thesis, or independent research project, under the supervision of an advisor.
At the master's level, students tend to gravitate toward an area of specialization within biochemistry, such as molecular biology, immunochemistry, or neurochemistry, for example. Other popular foci are bioinorganic, biophysical, and bioorganic chemistry. Master programs may last anywhere from 1 to 3 years.
To get into the best biochemistry schools, like the best interior design schools, master's study applicants should cultivate stellar undergraduate professor recommendations. They should also consider taking the Graduate Record Exam, including the Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology subject test, in the first semester of their senior year. Although not required for all programs, proof of GRE scores is typically required to obtain a biochemistry fellowship.
Master's-level coursework in Biochemistry might include:
A master-certified graduate of a Biochemistry program can become a:
The Ph.D. is the most competitive educational qualification in biochemistry. It is also often a minimum qualification for research-oriented work in academia, the government, and private industry. Biochemistry is an in-demand field with solid career opportunities for independent researchers, especially those with clinical experience.
Doctorates take longer to complete than master programs, approximately 5 to 6 years. Much of this time goes to writing and defending a dissertation. Unlike many master's candidates, doctoral students are more likely to receive departmental funding or external support through a pre- or postdoctoral fellowship. The federal government is an active funder of biochemical research via the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Possible areas of study for a doctorate in Biochemistry include:
With a Ph.D. in Biochemistry, graduates have their pick of positions. They could become a:
We found 344 schools offering biochemistry degree programs in the U.S.
|Abilene Christian University||Abilene||TX||4739|
|Adelphi University||Garden City||NY||5908|
|Agnes Scott College||Decatur||GA||901|
|Andrews University||Berrien Springs||MI||2749|
|Arizona State University at the Tempe Campus||Tempe||AZ||44126|
|Atlantic Union College||South Lancaster||MA||755|
|Barnard College||New York||NY||2285|
|Baylor College of Medicine||Houston||TX||1192|
|Berry College||Mount Berry||GA||2033|
|Biola University||La Mirada||CA||4092|
|Birmingham Southern College||Birmingham||AL||1477|
|Boston College||Chestnut Hill||MA||15240|
|Bridgewater State College||Bridgewater||MA||8839|
|Brigham Young University||Provo||UT||32554|
|Brigham Young University - Hawaii||Laie||HI||2353|
|California Institute of Technology||Pasadena||CA||1968|
|California Lutheran University||Thousand Oaks||CA||2766|
|California Polytechnic State University - San Luis Obispo||San Luis Obispo||CA||16877|
|California State University - East Bay||Hayward||CA||12705|
|California State University - Fullerton||Fullerton||CA||28381|
|California State University - Long Beach||Long Beach||CA||30918|
|California State University - Los Angeles||Los Angeles||CA||19593|
|California State University - Northridge||Northridge||CA||29066|
|Calvin College||Grand Rapids||MI||4309|
|Campbell University Inc||Buies Creek||NC||5880|
|Case Western Reserve University||Cleveland||OH||9304|
|Catholic University of America||Washington||DC||5493|
|Cedar Crest College||Allentown||PA||1519|
|Centenary College of Louisiana||Shreveport||LA||1035|
|Chestnut Hill College||Philadelphia||PA||1561|
|Claremont Mckenna College||Claremont||CA||1003|
|Coe College||Cedar Rapids||IA||1301|
|College of Mount Saint Vincent||Bronx||NY||1512|
|Colorado College||Colorado Springs||CO||1942|
|Colorado State University||Fort Collins||CO||26807|
|Columbia Union College||Takoma Park||MD||1030|
|Columbia University in the City of New York||New York||NY||19639|
|Connecticut College||New London||CT||1856|
|Cornell College||Mount Vernon||IA||987|
|Cornell University - NY State Statutory Colleges||Ithaca||NY||8083|
|Cornell University Medical College||New York||NY||717|
|Cuny City College||New York||NY||11055|
|Cuny College of Staten Island||Staten Island||NY||11115|
|Cuny Graduate School and University Center||New York||NY||3567|
|East Carolina University||Greenville||NC||18750|
|East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania||East Stroudsburg||PA||5811|
|Eastern Mennonite University||Harrisonburg||VA||1398|
|Eastern Michigan University||Ypsilanti||MI||23561|
|Eastern University||Saint Davids||PA||2939|
|Edinboro University of Pennsylvania||Edinboro||PA||7278|
|Florida Institute of Technology - Melbourne||Melbourne||FL||4248|
|Florida State University||Tallahassee||FL||33971|
|George Washington University||Washington||DC||20527|
|Georgia State University||Atlanta||GA||23625|
|Georgian Court University||Lakewood||NJ||2483|
|Grand Canyon University||Phoenix||AZ||3615|
|Grove City College||Grove City||PA||2329|
|Gustavus Adolphus College||Saint Peter||MN||2388|
|Holy Family University||Philadelphia||PA||2530|