What is Biochemistry?

Often referred to as the chemistry of life, biochemistry represents the study of organisms, cells, and cellular components at the chemical and molecular level. The field of biochemistry seeks to understand the relationship between chemical structure and biological function, chemical reactions that occur in living things (metabolism), and the chemistry involved in storing and transmitting biological information (the last topic is also intimately connected with molecular biology/genetics).

Studying biochemistry helps to prepare a student for future endeavors in many areas of science. As examples, in addition to basic and applied research, biochemistry students also find themselves well-equipped for work in health care fields, particularly as our understanding of human health and medicine at the molecular and chemical level continues to increase.

See also What can I do with Biochemistry?


"Why biochemistry? I realized early in my college career that my interests lie in many areas of science and I was having trouble choosing just one concentration...I believe that my experience in biochemistry will give me an advantage in future research and greatly prepare me to tackle the challenges I have yet to face."

Chris Alvaro ‘10        Biochemistry More student profiles

The various research techniques taught throughout the biochemistry major not only teach key procedures needed for careers in almost any area of research, but they also show prospective graduate and medical schools that you can grasp difficult and elaborate procedures and concepts. These attributes, along with my mutual fascination for biology and chemistry led me to declare a Biochemistry Major."

Kaitlin Reilly ‘08         Biochemistry More student profiles