College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
Curriculum in Biochemistry
Curriculum in Biochemistry is administered by the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics. Biochemists study living systems of all kinds, ranging from the simplest viruses and bacteria to higher plants and animals. These studies are conducted at all levels, ranging from physical chemical studies of proteins to functional studies of the human brain. The goal of the biochemist is to understand living systems at the molecular level. Our knowledge about living systems has increased dramatically in the past 20 years, allowing biochemists to pursue even more interesting problems. Biochemical research using genetic and molecular engineering for manipulating genes has greatly enhanced our approach to solving problems in the life sciences. The new disciplines of bioinformatics and genomics have revolutionized our understanding of how genes respond to different environments. This research has spawned new biotechnology industries based on genetic engineering that have great potential for solving some of the most difficult problems facing the world. Biochemists also have made significant progress in understanding the molecular basis of diseases such as sickle-cell anemia, diabetes, cancer and heart disease. Biochemistry is a dynamic and diverse scientific field which has become the basic discipline for the life sciences.
The undergraduate Biochemistry curriculum is designed to provide a sound scientific education with expertise in chemistry and the physical sciences, as well as a good background in the biological sciences. Consequently, biochemistry is an especially versatile major giving undergraduates many options when they complete their B.S. degree. The majority of our majors either go on to graduate school or to one of the professional schools such as medicine, veterinary medicine or dentistry. For any of these professional opportunities, biochemistry is an excellent major. A biochemistry major provides a strong background for entering graduate school in a variety of fields. Biochemistry majors excel during their first year in biomedical professional schools because they have a good background in the basic science courses such as biochemistry, chemistry, and microbiology. A wide variety of job opportunities is open to biochemistry majors with a B.S. degree. Many find rewarding careers working in laboratories as research scientists, forensic scientists and technicians. Biochemists are employed by many different industries: chemical, pharmaceutical, agricultural, food and scientific equipment. Positions also are available in clinical, governmental and university laboratories.