Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Offered as a major (B.S.)

Biochemists and molecular biologists study the chemistry of life. This includes protein structure and function, metabolism, and the mechanics of DNA, RNA, and protein synthesis.

Our program serves students whose end goal is a bachelor of science degree, as well as those seeking entry into medical or graduate school.

The Curriculum

Real-world equipment and techniques

From the start, you will have access to the key instruments and techniques commonly employed in molecular laboratories. You will also gain extensive experience in the use of recombinant DNA techniques such as polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and DNA sequencing to study gene structure and function.

An education founded on research

Our program emphasizes genomics and bioinformatics—two important methods that you will use as you design and carry out your own experiments. During the first two years of study, you will focus on basic concepts and theories. Then, during the next two years, you will apply these concepts and principles to the broader study of biotechnology. Throughout, you will have the opportunity to conduct original research with faculty advisors and present your findings at research conferences.

Year-round research opportunities

You will also be encouraged to apply for summer research work. Students who have done so have garnered recognition through California Heart Association grants, National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation summer research posts, and internships at local biotechnology firms such as Amgen and Baxter—among the nation's top biopharmaceutical corporations.

The Experience
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The work I've done has prepared me for the demands I face in pursuing medical school by allowing me the opportunity to develop the skills to interpret data, analyze information, and drive the intellectual process.

Brittany Smolarski '16

Read Brittany's Story

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My research was focused on identifying mutations in common canine cancers and examining how they relate to human cancers. An additional focus of mine is on screening these canine cancers to an array of anti-tumor drugs to determine their response and suitability for use in other mammalian models.

Tristen Burt '15

Read Tristen's Story

Your Future

Many of our biochemistry majors are accepted into medical, dental, pharmaceutical, and graduate schools throughout the United States.

As part of a growing field, you will have many career possibilities. You could work on the frontiers of science in the heart of America's biotechnology industry, practice medicine, participate in cutting-edge research, unlock the secrets of recombinant DNA, or break new ground in genomics and proteomics.

Our alumni study at:

  • University of California, Berkeley
  • University of California, Davis
  • University of California, San Francisco
  • University of California, San Diego
  • University of Hawaii at Manoa
  • University of Nevada School of Medicine
  • California Institute of Technology
  • Colorado University
  • Concordia University
  • University of Tennessee

They work for:

  • 3M
  • Amgen
  • Baxter Bio Science
  • Boeing
  • BioSource International
  • Hirauo Optometric
  • UCLA Research Lab
  • Invitrogen

Career paths:

  • Quality Control Chemist
  • BioTech Manufacturing Associate
  • Research Associate
  • EMT
  • Research Associate
  • Associate Scientist
  • Science Teacher
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