To Infinity and Beyond: Where Biochemistry Can Take You

Lab pictureBy Mariam Ayyash and Amal Algahmi, University of Michigan-Dearborn

The biochemistry program at University of Michigan-Dearborn (UMD) has always been considered one of the toughest degrees on campus. Yet every year, a large percentage of students entering the natural sciences program choose biochemistry as a major. So, what is it about biochemistry that attracts so many students?

Biochemistry is the science in which the principles of chemistry and biology are combined to study the chemical processes inside living organisms. Biochemistry creates a strong bridge between biology and chemistry. In order to provide students with the right preparation, undergraduate biochemistry programs require rigorous coursework in biology, chemistry, mathematics, genetics, and physics.

A student who studies biochemistry will be exposed to a diverse coursework that is beneficial for future career choices. Studying biochemistry also allows students to develop skills such as critical thinking, communication, problem solving, and scientific analysis. All of these skills open doors for students graduating with a biochemistry degree. Therefore, biochemists tend to have a wide-range of career opportunities available to them.

So what are some of the career options for biochemistry graduates?

With a B.S. or B.A in biochemistry, graduates can find jobs as lab technicians at research facilities, pharmaceutical companies, or medical laboratories. It is also possible to work as sale representatives for pharmaceutical or biotechnology companies.

At UMD however, most biochemistry majors choose to continue their schooling after college. Many biochemistry graduates at UMD attend medical school. A large number of graduates also enter Ph.D. programs in biochemistry, biology, or chemistry. Some students have also chosen pharmacy as a career after college.

In our opinion, studying biochemistry as an undergraduate can provide opportunities that no other field of study can. It is common for students to broaden their future career choices even more through supplementing their degree with another in either the behavioral sciences or natural sciences (Amal is a biochemistry and psychology double major.) We have also observed an increasing trend among students to major in chemistry as well as biochemistry (Mariam is a biochemistry/chemistry double major). Having a strong chemistry background is very important. After all, biochemistry studies chemical reactions occurring within the body. The better we understand the chemistry, the more capable we are of expanding biochemistry research.

If you’re a high school student considering biochemistry as a career, you can download a copy of the well written biochemistry and molecular biology career brochure published by ASBMB at http://www.asbmb.org/Page.aspx?id=264. If you’re serious about pursuing a degree in biochemistry, take a look at the UMD program!

If you’re a student of biochemistry at another school, let us know how your program differs from ours. Where do the graduates go after college? The more we can improve our biochemistry programs, the better the biochemists of the future generation will be!

You can learn more about the Biochemistry Program at UMD: http://www.umd.umich.edu/565401

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