Biochemistry Bachelor of Science
Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
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OVERVIEW OF MAJOR
Has the chemical composition of living things always been fascinating to you? Do you love molecules? Would you like to have a role in the detection, diagnosis and treatment of disease? Are you curious about gene expression and cellular replication? Would you like to design laboratory equipment or processes? Are you interested in discovering how bacteria store and transmit genetic information? What about how our bodies synthesize vitamins and minerals? Have you ever thought about a career in water purification or sewage treatment? If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, then maybe a biochemistry major is for you.

As the name suggests, biochemistry links biology and chemistry. Biochemistry is most simply defined as the chemistry of living systems. It is the science which tries to explain how "lifeless" molecules work together to make "living" organisms. The methods of chemistry and molecular biology are used to study the structure and behavior of the complex molecules found in biological materials and the ways these molecules interact to form cells, tissues, and whole organisms. Biochemistry provides the basis for advances in human and veterinary medicine, agriculture and biotechnology. Biochemists may participate in interdisciplinary research and development projects alongside chemical engineers, biologists, microbiologists, agronomists, physicians and other professionals. They investigate the molecular mechanisms of diseases such as AIDS, diabetes, and heart disease and develop solutions to environmental problems through biotechnology. The undergraduate major provides students with a strong background in the biological, physical and mathematical sciences. Depending on the particular career and other academic objectives for each student, the department offers three different concentrations in Biochemistry: Biochemistry with the general degree concentration, Biochemistry with a Health and Medical concentration, and Biochemistry with a Pre-Pharmacy concentration.

The general concentration allows the student to choose the bioscience electives that best fit with their interests. It also provides the student more “free elective” credits, which they can use to pursue a minor, a double major, and/or other academic interests. Thus, this concentration is designed to provide a broad education in biochemistry and can be tailored to meet the individual needs of specific students. The general degree is recommended for students considering teaching and/or research as a career.

The Biochemistry degree with a Health & Medical concentration augments the extensive Biochemistry core with additional coursework in anatomy and physiology, the biochemistry of disease, and medical internship by requiring an additional credits of concentration-specific coursework. The Medical and Health Sciences concentration is geared toward students interested in medical, veterinary or dentistry careers.

Biochemistry with a Pre-Pharmacy concentration includes additional coursework in physiology, microbiology, immunology, and public speaking.

The Biochemistry major provides a student with a strong, well-balanced background in the biological, physical, and mathematical sciences. As a biochemistry major, your studies will include macromolecular structure and function; cellular biochemistry; metabolism; gene expression, structure, replication, and repair; cell organization, communication, growth, aging, and death. You will also be required to take courses in physics, organic chemistry, physical chemistry for life sciences, and statistical measurements and methods used in research. Opportunities exist for independent study, internships, or advanced research-oriented laboratory classes during your junior and senior years, which provide opportunities for experiential learning and working closely with our faculty.

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CHARACTERISTICS AND SKILLS
* Interest in sciences
* Motivation to learn, intellectual curiosity
* Attention to detail
* Critical thinking skills
* Strong organizational skills
* Analytical skills
* Problem solving skills
* Imaginative, yet logical
* Interpreting technical/scientific data
* Perceiving/defining cause and effect relationships
* Ability to work as part of a team
* Patience
* Good decision maker
* Strong communication skills – oral and written
* Computer literate
* Ability to use scientific instruments and equipment

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POTENTIAL CAREER OPTIONS
Because biochemistry is such a broad science, it is an excellent preparation for many different careers. Over one-half of Colorado State Biochemistry graduates continue in graduate studies (biochemistry, molecular biology, or related life sciences), or professional health fields. Graduates who go on for advanced studies can attain more responsible positions with the possibility of rising to top professional levels. Approximately one-fourth are pre-med or pre-vet students, and one-fourth obtain employment in industrial, governmental, academic, or biotechnology sectors of the job market. Participation in internships is highly recommended to enhance practical training and development. This type of experience provides the opportunity to build a relationship with a faculty member. Thus, a student obtains experience and a meaningful reference, which greatly enhances their ability to obtain a job of their choosing or entrance into a top graduate or professional program.

Biochemists are involved in laboratory-based research and development, production, marketing, sales, and management in pharmaceutical, agricultural, food, biotechnology, and health care industries. Some of the Federal government employers are the Food and Drug Administration, U.S. Depts. of Agriculture, Interior, Defense, and the National Institute of Health. Good employment opportunities exist in biotechnology, genetic engineering, cancer research, and pharmacology. However, medical scientists can expect considerable competition for basic research and academic positions.

The following job titles are some of the possible opportunities for graduates in biochemistry (Some may require further training or education):

* Process research technician
* Production/quality assurance lab technician
* Biomedical/Pharmaceutical researcher or salesperson
* Molecular biologist
* Biophysicist
* Cytologist
* Toxicologist
* Biotechnologist
* Industrial hygienist
* Dairy technologist
* Environmental analyst, hygienist or chemist
* Wastewater treatment chemist
* Food and drug inspector
* Museum technician
* Teacher
* Writer
* Fisheries biologist
* Research analyst
* Medical or clinical lab technologist

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RELATED STUDENT ORGANIZATIONS
* Biochemistry/Biotechnology Club
* Pre-Veterinary Medicine Association
* Premedica
* Natural Sciences College Council

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MORE INFORMATION
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
316 Molecular and Radiological Biosciences Building
1870 Campus Delivery
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, CO 80523-1870
970-491-5602
http://www.bmb.colostate.edu
* Academic and career advising for majors


Center for Advising and Student Achievement (CASA)
TILT Building
801 Oval Drive
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, CO 80523-1032
970-491-7095
http://www.casa.colostate.edu/
* Academic advising/Major exploration


Career Center
120 Lory Student Center
Fort Collins, CO 80523
970-491-5707
http://career.colostate.edu
* Major and career exploration/Job search information


Admissions and Undergraduate Recruitment
Ammons Hall
711 Oval Drive
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, CO 80523
970-491-6909
http://www.admissions.colostate.edu
* Admission applications/University visits and tours


General Catalog Online
http://www.catalog.colostate.edu/

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