Biochemistry encourages students to engage with science in an interdisciplinary manner by integrating biology, chemistry, and physics. Biochemistry students learn, train, and work in broad, diverse, interdisciplinary environments that focus on scientific, health, or world problems.
Biochemistry At a Glance
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Biochemistry majors frequently present their research at regional and national scientific conferences. 100% of students complete the intensive Senior Comp.
Biochemistry majors are often offered external summer internships. Recent examples include Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Lab, Duke University Marine Lab, South Dakota State University, Purdue University, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, and New York University.
Building your interdisciplinary path toward a better future
The Biochemistry major develops communication and critical thinking skills, enabling students to be successful across multiple platforms and collaborate with professionals in different fields.
Introduction to foundational concepts in biology, chemistry, and mathematics: Students take introductory classes that, in parallel, discuss the importance of interactions, energy, dynamics, equilibrium, and proportional reasoning. Many entry points into the major are available; however, most first-year students take Introduction to Chemistry (I, II), Introduction to Biology I, and Calculus (I, II).
Reinforce foundational concepts in biology, chemistry, and physics: Students take intermediate and core courses that reinforce the importance of interactions, energy, dynamics, equilibrium, and proportional reasoning. Additionally, a communication course is offered to learn evidence-based scientific writing and speaking. Second-year students take Organic Chemistry I, Introduction to Biology II, Physics I, and a seminar course in chemistry or biology.
Core Biochemistry interdisciplinary experience: Students explore the intersection of biology, chemistry, mathematics, and physics. In-class and laboratory experiences model interdisciplinary communication and use of foundational concepts to understand complex biological phenomena. The Junior Seminar strengthens evidence-based scientific writing and speaking and prepares students for the Senior Project. Third-year students take biochemistry, molecular biology, physical chemistry, and the Junior Seminar.
Mastering interdisciplinary thinking: Students take advanced courses in biology and chemistry that strengthen interdisciplinary communication and utilization of field-specific foundational concepts to understand complex biological phenomena. The Senior Comp (biology or chemistry) is a two-semester project under the mentorship of a Biochemistry faculty advisor, allowing students to develop relevant biochemical hypotheses and carry out investigations to test their original ideas.
Biochemistry Learning Outcomes
The biochemistry major is designed as an interdisciplinary and integrated experience with educational opportunities that encourage students to see the connections between scientific disciplines, preparing them for a global and diverse working environment. Biochem graduates will be able to:
Demonstrate a broad knowledge of fundamental concepts in chemistry, biology, and physics.
Demonstrate an understanding of how biology and chemistry intersect.
Demonstrate proficiency in developing relevant biochemical questions, carrying out laboratory investigations to answer those questions, and critically analyzing, interpreting, and presenting in oral and written form the results of their experiments.
Locate, critically analyze, interpret, and discuss primary literature.
Understand the societal impacts, both positive and negative, of science and technology and the limitations of science.
Lisa Yoder, Alumna
Biochemistry Major/Global Health Studies Minor, Class of 2019; MD Candidate, Class of 2023, Penn State College of Medicine
“ The community atmosphere of the Allegheny Biochemistry Program helped me to find my support system and create deep connections with others. Critical thinking is fostered in lecture halls, laboratory work, research opportunities, and even the annual Chemii Bake-Off. In every activity, students are instructed to focus on the thought processes of learning and the various pathways to a solution, rather than focusing solely on obtaining the correct answer. ”
Kassandra Hill, Alumna
Biochemistry Major/Psychology Minor, Class of 2020; MD Candidate, Class of 2024, Drexel University College of Medicine
“ Allegheny’s Biochemistry Program is unique because, although there are requirements to complete the major, there is the freedom to explore different and specific topics in biochemistry that interest you. The professors are all incredibly supportive and really want their students to learn. Allegheny’s small campus size allowed me to get to know my professors and to receive support for my classes, as well as support as I applied to medical school. ”