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General Information

What is Biochemistry?

Anyone who has ever imagined making a more effective medicine, discovering a cure for a disease, or finding a way to convert toxic waste into a valuable source of energy may want to consider a career in biochemistry. Biochemists look at how living organisms function at the molecular level. Biochemists may be teachers or researchers. They may study subjects such as the structure of enzymes, the transfer of genetic information, or photosynthesis. Biochemists tackle fundamental questions as they try to uncover the structures of molecules, examine how molecular structure determines biological function, investigate how molecules recognize one another in order to form complex cellular structures, and discover the nature of the dynamic chemical changes that occur in cells.  Looking for answers to such questions is exciting, considering that all of the uniquely human factors-memory, thinking, learning, feeling-are rooted in biochemical processes.  Biochemists have found that many biochemical processes are shared by all life forms. Basic research into the complex chemistry of living systems provides a springboard for practical advances in medicine, agriculture, and biotechnology.

The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Ohio State offers excellent training in the chemical basis of life and insight into the chemistry of living systems. The study of biochemistry provides a good background for further study or employment in many basic science fields.  Students can pursue either the Bachelor of Science and the Bachelor of Arts degrees in Biochemistry. The BS is the degree of choice for the professional biochemist. The BA is a liberal arts degree, often choosen by students who want a background in biochemistry as a basis for future work in other areas of science or in professional programs such as medicine, secondary education, pharmacy, or law.

Ohio State's faculty and students are engaged in a range of research, including projects in biochemical and physiological processes of higher animals, molecular genetics, photosynthesis, and mammalian cell gene expression.

What can I do with a degree in biochemistry?

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 The Ohio State University'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, and industrial salesperson.  Biochemistry graduates with education credentials are in demand to teach in high schools and middle schools.  Many companies are actively seeking Ohio State biochemistry majors. 

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.

If you think a biochemistry major is the right fit for you, spend some time on our CBC Undergraduate Program Blog, where we post information about department events, spotlights on outstanding students, instructors, and alumni, as well as job postings, internships, and research opportunities.  An advisor would love to speak with you to answer additional questions about the major.  Contact the Undergraduate Studies Office to schedule an appointment.