MadSci Network: Biochemistry

Re: Career in Biochemistry, what is it like?

Date: Thu Nov 12 21:53:09 1998
Posted By: Dr. James Kranz, Post-doc, Biochem & Biophys
Area of science: Biochemistry
ID: 898116633.Bc


This is a tough question to answer as Biochemistry means different things to different people. But this means you should be able to find something that fits your interests very well.

Most careers in the biochemical (or biomedical) sciences primarily involve research. So, if you enjoy lab work as I do, you'll find it a very enjoyable career. I can't really get more specific in terms of the type of research that is available as you'll have plenty of time to figure that out for yourself once you get to college. Generally, you will need at least a Bachelor's degree. If you wish to do independent research (either as a professor or in a biomedical company), it is generally necessary to earn a PhD.

As for getting started, the best advice I can give is to make sure you go to a school that specifically offers an undergraduate degree in Biochemistry; not all schools do. For example, the two best graduate schools offering PhD's in Biochemistry do not offer Bachelor's degrees; they are:

Washington U., St. Louis
John's Hopkins U., Baltimore

(So, when you're ready to go to grad school, you should check them out, but they may not be the best choice for getting started).

When I was in your situation, I found that most of the big notable state schools have what you'll need. The large schools have the biggest array of courses, allowing you to taylor your degree to fit your scientific interests. Some ideas are:

University of Iowa (where I went) Biochemistry
University of Wisconsin Biochemistry
Michigan State University Biochemistry
University of Michigan Biological Chemistry

Of course, these are just a sample of some departments I know for certain offer excellent undergraduate degrees specifically in biochemistry.

To find other information you might want these URL's:

U. Florida list of American Universities (a COMPLETE list):

WWW Virtual Library: Biosciences:

And as always, feel free to ask another question if you want more specific advice.

Dr. Jim Kranz

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