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When you look at a plant or an animal, be it a majestic redwood, your golden retriever, or even another person, you see the entire organism, a smoothly functioning whole.

But beneath the surface is a living machine. At scales much too small for us to see with the naked eye, there are chemical reactions going on that enable organisms to live. For example, when you eat, proteins called enzymes help speed up the chemical reactions that break down food so that you can get the energy you need to live. If you major in biochemistry, you’ll examine these and other chemical reactions.

Students of biochemistry learn about the chemistry, molecules, and chemical processes necessary for life to exist. You’ll learn about substances like carbohydrates, fats, proteins, and the nucleic acids that make up the genetic code.

Did You Know?

Almost all life on earth gets its energy from the sun through plant photosynthesis, a chemical reaction in which plants convert sunlight into chemical energy.

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Are You Ready To...?

  • Give oral presentations on what you’ve learned
  • Conduct your own research
  • Learn in lecture and in the lab
  • Look both at an organism as a whole and at the specific chemical reactions going on within its cells

It Helps To Be...

Into nature and solving puzzles. If you want to understand how living things function, biochemistry might be the major for you.

College Checklist

  • Does the department focus more on chemistry or biology? Which focus do you prefer?
  • What facilities, such as computer and chemistry labs, will you have access to?
  • Do undergrads get to conduct independent research?
  • Will you be able to work one-on-one with a professor?

Did You Know?

Enzymes speed up more than just the digestion of food. For example, enzymes called polymerases help form new DNA.

Course Spotlight

In organic chemistry, you’ll learn about the properties of organic molecules. These compounds contain the chemicals that are the building blocks for life on earth: carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen. You’ll find out how the chemical structures of these molecules affect the characteristics and processes of organisms. 

Which colleges offer a major in Biochemistry?
Find out now

DEGREE TYPE

This major often leads to the bachelor's degree.

HELPFUL HIGH SCHOOL COURSES

TYPICAL MAJOR COURSES

  • Analytic chemistry
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  • Calculus
  • Inorganic chemistry
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  • Biochemistry
  • Cell biology
  • Genetics

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