Are you drawn to the chemistry of life? Biochemistry studies life on the molecular and atomic levels – deep inside of each living organism at its most basic components. It encompasses not only the structures of the chemical components of living matter, but also the metabolism of living matter and molecular genetics. If you find that interesting, this might be the major for you.
Students majoring in Biochemistry who complete all requirements earn the degree of Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Chemistry.
Areas of Study
In the UMW biochemistry major, which you will pursue through the Department of Chemistry, you’ll take chemistry, biology, and physics as well as biochemistry lectures and labs. If you choose, there are electives in nutrition and metabolism, the biology of cancer, biochemistry of proteins, and more.
A biochemistry degree is great preparation for careers in dentistry, medicine, veterinary medicine, nutrition, and more. For some, it leads to entry-level careers in medicine, agriculture and the environment. Because of the transferable and highly employable skills you develop during your studies, you have the choice to pursue a variety of careers outside of science as well.
Students are encouraged to pursue research and internship opportunities with such employers as the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and the American Chemical Society. Learn more about UMW internships in chemistry, some of which are specific to biochemistry.
I just feel like that’s the place where I can help the most people, people who are facing extremely slim odds of making it through their illnesses,” Matt Tovar ’18 said of his planned work as a neurosurgeon. “I feel that’s my calling.”
Pursuing graduation with honors in biochemistry requires a 3.25 grade-point average in your chemistry courses and a 3.0 overall GPA. You’ll complete an independent research project, then write and defend a thesis. Students accepted for the honors program enroll in Chemistry 491 for four credits in each semester of the senior year.
To receive a bachelor of science degree in biochemistry, you must earn 48 credits from the disciplines of biology and chemistry. You will also need to complete the introductory physics sequence and calculus I and II. You may choose electives tailored to your interests, such as nutrition, cancer research, or others to prepare you for future endeavors.
Each year, the department awards two UMW Foundation research-focused scholarships (Mahoney and Rodgers fellowships) and two more general scholarships (Cook and Crissman scholarships). These are awarded annually on the basis of merit and, in some cases, financial need. In addition, there are three other scholarships that the department offers on a rotating basis with the other science departments (Cope, Gill, and Rimnac scholarships).