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.

Degrees in Biochemistry

Bachelor Degrees

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:

  • Principles of Immunology
  • Molecular Cell Biology & Genetics I & II
  • Analytical Chemistry

Bachelor degree-holders can begin work as a:

  • Laboratory Technician
  • Research Associate I
  • Assistant Molecular Scientist

Master Degrees

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:

  • Environmental Biochemistry
  • Protein Structure & Function
  • Introduction to Bioinformatics & Computational Biology

A master-certified graduate of a Biochemistry program can become a:

  • Research Associate - Protein Biochemistry & Purification
  • Graduate Chemist
  • R&D Scientist - Sample Prep

Doctoral Degrees

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:

  • Synthetic Biochemistry
  • Medicinal Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry & Nutrition

With a Ph.D. in Biochemistry, graduates have their pick of positions. They could become a:

  • Clinical Biochemist
  • Biochemistry Professor
  • Host Organism Engineer

We found 344 schools offering biochemistry degree programs in the U.S.

>> See all 344 Biochemistry Colleges in the U.S.

Biochemistry Schools Ranked By US News and World Report

Harvard University
Cambridge, MA  |  Total Enrollment: 24279

Degrees Offered: Associate's, Bachelor's, Postbaccalaureate certificate, Master's, Post-Masters certificate, Doctor's, First-professional degree, First-professional certificate
University of California - Berkeley
Berkeley, CA  |  Total Enrollment: 31277

Degrees Offered: Bachelor's, Postbaccalaureate certificate, Master's, Post-Masters certificate, Doctor's, First-professional degree, First-professional certificate
University of California - San Francisco
San Francisco, CA  |  Total Enrollment: 3517

Degrees Offered: Bachelor's, Master's, Doctor's, First-professional degree, First-professional certificate
Scripps Research Institute
La Jolla, CA  |  Total Enrollment: 0

Degrees Offered: Doctor's
University of Wisconsin - Madison
Madison, WI  |  Total Enrollment: 40658

Degrees Offered: Bachelor's, Postbaccalaureate certificate, Master's, Post-Masters certificate, Doctor's, First-professional degree
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Cambridge, MA  |  Total Enrollment: 10090

Degrees Offered: Bachelor's, Master's, Doctor's, First-professional degree
Stanford University
Stanford, CA  |  Total Enrollment: 18549

Degrees Offered: Bachelor's, Master's, Post-Masters certificate, Doctor's, First-professional degree
California Institute of Technology
Pasadena, CA  |  Total Enrollment: 1968

Degrees Offered: Bachelor's, Master's, Post-Masters certificate, Doctor's
Yale University
New Haven, CT  |  Total Enrollment: 11099

Degrees Offered: Bachelor's, Postbaccalaureate certificate, Master's, Post-Masters certificate, Doctor's, First-professional degree
University of California - San Diego
La Jolla, CA  |  Total Enrollment: 20197

Degrees Offered: Bachelor's, Postbaccalaureate certificate, Master's, Post-Masters certificate, Doctor's, First-professional degree, First-professional certificate

Browse All 344 Colleges With Biochemistry Programs

Title City State Enrollment
Abilene Christian University Abilene TX 4739
Adelphi University Garden City NY 5908
Agnes Scott College Decatur GA 901
Albright College Reading PA 1728
Alma College Alma MI 1409
Alvernia College Reading PA 1574
Andrews University Berrien Springs MI 2749
Arizona State University at the Tempe Campus Tempe AZ 44126
Asbury College Wilmore KY 1359
Atlantic Union College South Lancaster MA 755
Austin College Sherman TX 1234
Barnard College New York NY 2285
Bates College Lewiston ME 1694
Baylor College of Medicine Houston TX 1192
Baylor University Waco TX 13719
Beloit College Beloit WI 1262
Benedictine College Atchison KS 1369
Benedictine University Lisle IL 2842
Berry College Mount Berry GA 2033
Biola University La Mirada CA 4092
Birmingham Southern College Birmingham AL 1477
Boston College Chestnut Hill MA 15240
Boston University Boston MA 28318
Bowdoin College Brunswick ME 1609
Bradley University Peoria IL 5951
Brandeis University Waltham MA 4774
Bridgewater State College Bridgewater MA 8839
Brigham Young University Provo UT 32554
Brigham Young University - Hawaii Laie HI 2353
Brown University Providence RI 7723
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
Canisius College Buffalo NY 4814
Carleton College Northfield MN 1936
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
Chatham College Pittsburgh PA 1002
Chestnut Hill College Philadelphia PA 1561
Claremont Mckenna College Claremont CA 1003
Clark University Worcester MA 2910
Clarkson University Potsdam NY 2877
Clemson University Clemson SC 17465
Coe College Cedar Rapids IA 1301
Colgate University Hamilton NY 2820
College Misericordia Dallas PA 2271
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
Converse College Spartanburg SC 1412
Cornell College Mount Vernon IA 987
Cornell University Ithaca NY 12043
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
Dartmouth College Hanover NH 5386
Denison University Granville OH 2108
Dickinson College Carlisle PA 2115
Duke University Durham NC 12192
Duquesne University Pittsburgh PA 9667
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
Elizabethtown College Elizabethtown PA 1825
Elmhurst College Elmhurst IL 2611
Emmanuel College Boston MA 1765
Florida Institute of Technology - Melbourne Melbourne FL 4248
Florida State University Tallahassee FL 33971
George Washington University Washington DC 20527
Georgetown University Washington DC 12427
Georgia State University Atlanta GA 23625
Georgian Court University Lakewood NJ 2483
Gettysburg College Gettysburg PA 2234
Grand Canyon University Phoenix AZ 3615
Grove City College Grove City PA 2329
Gustavus Adolphus College Saint Peter MN 2388
Hamilton College Clinton NY 1765
Harding University Searcy AR 4337
Hartwick College Oneonta NY 1431
Harvard University Cambridge MA 24279
Hofstra University Hempstead NY 13144
Holy Family University Philadelphia PA 2530
Hood College Frederick MD 1702
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