Biochemistry

What Is It?:

The Biochemistry curriculum is intended for students who desire a rigorous education in chemistry, biochemistry, and biology, who have definite research-oriented goals, and whose career objectives include graduate school, MD or PhD programs, or industry.

For more information, please visit the Department of Biochemistry website

Courses That Introduce the Major:

  • CHEM 102/103—General Chemistry I / General Chemistry Lab I
  • CHEM 104/105—General Chemistry II / General Chemistry Lab II
  • MATH 220—Calculus
  • MCB 150—Molecular & Cellular Basis of Life

Students should consult with an academic advisor regarding course selection prior to the advanced registration period. 

Possible Career Opportunities:

The career possibilities for students trained in the life sciences have never been better. Biochemists may work in industry, pharmaceutical houses, hospitals, universities, or private research labs. The federal government employs many biochemists, as do state and local government agencies, and the rapidly growing field of biotechnology has a great need for biochemists.

Many jobs in biochemistry involve high-level research and require advanced-degree training. However, with the demand for biochemists at all levels and the excellent quality of University of Illinois's training at the undergraduate level, a variety of employment opportunities can be found with a bachelor's degree.
Some jobs available to graduates with bachelor's degrees might include:

  • biochemist
  • medical or pharmaceutical lab technician
  • food scientist
  • industrial salesperson

The undergraduate biochemistry major is excellent preparation for professional schools, such as medicine, dentistry, optometry, or veterinary medicine. This major also provides a sound background for pursuing advanced master's or PhD degree work in the biological sciences. In general, jobs for graduates with master's degrees involve more responsibility and higher pay. For positions designing or directing research projects, a PhD is a must.

Common Career Titles Related to this Major:

(Some careers may require education beyond an undergraduate degree)

  • Air Pollution Specialist
  • Analytical Biochemist
  • Biochemist
  • Bio-Organic Chemist
  • Clinical Laboratory Technologist
  • Criminalist
  • Dentist
  • Genetic Technician
  • Geneticist
  • Immunologist
  • Medical Technologist
  • Microbiologist
  • Nutritionist
  • Pharmaceutical Salesperson
  • Pharmacist
  • Pharmacologist
  • Physician
  • Plant Biochemist or Physiologist
  • Quality Control Technician
  • Research Assistant
  • Science Librarian
  • Technical Writer
  • Toxicologist
  • Weights & Measures Assistant

Enhancing Your Academic Experience:

  • Participating in undergraduate research
  • Applying for a study abroad experience
  • Utilizing resources of The Career Center
  • Joining a Registered Student Organization (RSO) related to this major, such as:
    • American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) Undergrad Chapter: links together students interested in Biochemistry and provides a medium for students to pursue and discover the plethora of fields associated with Biochemistry.

Related Skills:

  • Analytical & quantitative abilities
  • Biology theory & practical knowledge
  • Curiosity and creativity
  • Independent worker
  • Information handling & organization
  • Innovative talents
  • Numerical computation
  • Operate scientific equipment
  • Oral & written communication
  • Problem solving
  • Statistical awareness
  • Teamwork
  • Technical skills

Further Information:

For more information on what you can do with a major in Biochemistry, visit The Career Center’s webpage: What Can I Do With This Major.

There are several professional organizations dedicated to Biochemistry.  Their websites might be able to provide a glimpse in the world of Biochemistry.  These organizations include Association for Clinical Biochemistry and American Association for the Advancement of Science.

For more information on the classes needed for a degree in Biochemistry, visit Undergraduate Programs.