Biochemistry Major

The Department of Chemistry offers an option leading to the Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry. Biochemistry is the study of the chemistry of living systems. As such, it fits between the traditional fields of chemistry and biology, and biochemists must be well-trained in both fields.

What is Biochemistry?

Biochemistry includes the study of chemical processes involved in the formation and breakdown of substances which make up living systems as well as the processes involved in movement, transmission of signals, and reproduction of organisms. An understanding of biochemical processes has contributed to the production of new drugs and agricultural products using recombinant DNA technology.Biochemistry is the newest branch of chemistry. It has seen enormous growth in the past 30 years. Individuals who are still living have generated most biochemical knowledge. The study of biochemistry leads to an appreciation for the diversity of living systems as well as the similarity of the metabolic processes occurring in thosdiverse organisms. Biochemical knowledge is also having profound influence on areas as diverse as medicine and agriculture. As the mechanisms by which diseases destroy living systems are explained, new medical treatments can be developed. New varieties of plants are being produced which resist pests and can resist weed killers. New information is rapidly being transferred from the research laboratory to practical application.

Career Opportunities

Individuals trained as biochemists have a variety of employment opportunities available. Those choosing not to pursue advanced training in graduate or medical school generally find employment working in an industrial, governmental, or hospital laboratory setting. Industries hiring biochemists include, but are not limited to, pharmaceuticals, forensic laboratories, foods, and the emerging biotechnology industry. Most studies predict a shortage of chemists of all types, making job markets excellent for many years to come.


Required courses include;

  • Inorganic Chemistry I, II, (8 SH)
  • Organic Chemistry I & II (9 SH)
  • Laboratory Safety Practices (1 SH)
  • Chemistry Literature (1 SH)
  • Analytical Techniques (3 SH)
  • Physical Chemistry (4 SH)
  • Biochemistry (4 SH)
  • Advanced Biochemistry (4 SH)
  • Biochemistry Topic (4 SH)
  • Senior Research (3 SH)
  • Calculus I & II (9 SH)
  • Physics (8 to 10 SH)
  • A Biology minor (16 to 20 SH)
  • And Computer Science (3 SH)

For more information about becoming a Biochemistry Major at WIU, please contact us.