Biochemistry

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Articles on Biochemistry:
   Major in Biochemistry
   A Future in Chemistry
   Biochemistry / Chemistry Major...A Closer Look
   Explore a Major in Biochemistry

Major in Biochemistry

Article by Rachelle Wiggins

            “I stand in awe of God because of what he has done through his creation. Only a rookie who knows nothing about science would say science takes away from faith. If you really study science, it will bring you closer to God.”  ~James M. Tour; organic chemist

Biochemistry, at its core, is the study of living systems at the molecular level.  As its name implies, Biochemistry links biology and chemistry and looks at the chemical basis for life.  It seeks to understand the cellular components and interactions of living things and is interested in the chemical processes that allow organism growth, cellular repair and reproduction. To choose a major in Biochemistry is to begin down any number of career paths, from medicine to manufacturing to research to education. How important and helpful to gain an education in this field from a Christian perspective, where our all-powerful God receives the credit due Him for creating, sustaining and holding all things together by His powerful word!

Those who get excited about subjects such as DNA, chemical reactions and the human genome project may end up as Biochemistry Majors. These individuals tend to have an innate mathematical wiring and enjoy conducting scientific experiments. Biochemistry majors are inquisitive, with a passion for discovery and understanding how things work. They are not afraid of deep analyzation and asking the tough questions necessary for honest scientific thought. Beyond this, a Biochemistry major needs other important skills and traits as well. For example, it is helpful to have critical thinking skills, a sharp memory and a detail-oriented mind. A Biochemistry degree requires plenty of research, experiment design, hypotheses formulation and assessment, technical reading and report writing, and careful lab work. Though it is true that Biochemistry majors must sometimes work independently, you will also encounter plenty of collaborative opportunities (such as working with lab partners, and team research projects) where strong communication and people skills are a must.

Physics and upper level math classes are par for the course in this rigorous major. In addition, you can expect lots of hands-on learning as you conduct research in the lab. Depending upon your program, it’s possible you may write a senior thesis or participate in an internship. Standard classes you may take include:

  • Analytic, Organic and Inorganic Chemistry  
  • Microbiology
  • Cell Biology
  • Genetics 

Unlike some majors, a Biochemistry graduate does not follow a well-defined career path. Rather, this major offers a strong foundation of knowledge and a plethora of transferrable skills useful in many work settings. Many Biochemistry majors go on for graduate level learning in areas such as medicine or pharmacology or pursue careers in research or other specialized fields of such as chemical engineering. However, there’s a wide range of career outcomes for those who delay or forgo a master’s degree. Some examples are:     

  • Science Technician (in a medical, vet, pharmacy, forensics or chemistry lab)
  • Toxicologist
  • Research assistant
  • Environmental specialist
  • Postsecondary Biology Teacher (requires additional teaching certificate)
  • Pharmaceutical Sales Representative

Someday we will all give an account to God for what we did with what He gave us. If He has gifted you with an analytical, scientific mind or feel ready to make a contribution in one of the exciting new biotechnology jobs emerging every year, then a major in Biochemistry may be the perfect fit for you!