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Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

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 pursuing a bachelor of science or arts degree, as well as those seeking entry to medical or graduate school.

Overview
Gain employable lab experience

From the start of your program, you will have access to the key instruments and techniques commonly employed in biology and chemistry laboratories. You will also gain extensive experience in the use of recombinant DNA and genetic engineering technology to study gene structure and function.

Develop cutting-edge biotech skills

Our curriculum emphasizes techniques utilized in genomics and bioinformatics — two important focus areas that you will use as you design and carry out your own experiments.

During your first two years, you will focus on basic concepts and theories. Then, in your third and fourth years, you will apply these concepts and principles to the broader study of biotechnology.

Prepare for further studies

Pre-professional programs in medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, pharmacy and bioengineering can be pursued through the biochemistry program at Cal Lutheran. With biochemistry, you’ll get a solid foundation to launch your future in the health and natural sciences.


At a Glance

Degree Type

Bachelor of Arts
Bachelor of Science

Department

Biology / Chemistry

School/College

College of Arts and Science

Next Steps

Interested in this major? Here's what you can do next:

The Curriculum

With challenging and relevant courses, outstanding faculty, small class sizes, and an emphasis on hands-on learning, the biochemistry and molecular biology program will position you to succeed in your chosen career.

Program Details

Find out what it takes to earn a degree in biochemistry and molecular biology and explore the courses.


Highlighted Courses

Get familiar with some of the courses you might take in this major.

BIOL 331: Genetics

This course concerns the mechanisms by which genetic information is stored, decoded and transmitted. We will focus on the experimental basis upon which our understanding of the above mechanisms rests. Methods of genetic analysis that involve interpretation of abstract data will be emphasized, although molecular and bioinformatic approaches, including structural and functional genomics, will be treated.

See description
BIOL 332: Macromolecular Structure

The elaborate interplay of a variety of macromolecules underlies the mechanisms that govern cell function. This advanced course deals with the structure-function relationships of these macromolecular machines. It is intended that students emerge from this course with a deep understanding of the principles that govern macromolecular structure and the functional consequences of these principles.

See description
BIOL 361: Microbiology

Studies the morphology, physiology, taxonomy and ecology of micro-organisms and their role in infection and disease.

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BIOL 428: Virology

The study of prokaryotic and eukaryotic viruses. The structure and function of viruses, including their genomes, replication, and assembly are explored. Also covered are transmission of viruses, virus-host interactions, vaccines and antiviral drugs.

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CHEM 405: Physical Chemistry

The study of kinetic theory, structure of condensed phases, thermodynamics, equilibria, electrochemistry, quantum chemistry and chemical kinetics.

See description
CHEM 332: Organic Chemistry II

Covers the structure, nomenclature, reactions and synthesis of organic compounds, plus the theory and mechanism of organic reactions.

See description


Recommended Minors

Want to add even more value to your degree? Consider one of these minors to gain a unique combination of skills and perspectives.


Learning Spaces

Check out the spaces and tools you'll have access to in this major. Explore the entire Cal Lutheran campus with our virtual tour

The Experience

We offer hands-on opportunities that give you the freedom to explore your passion through real-world work and prepare for a fulfilling career.

  • Research Opportunities

    We offer numerous hands-on research experiences, including summer research fellowships. Students have also 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.

  • Conference Presentations

    Many of our students have the opportunity to perform independent research with faculty advisors on campus and present their findings at research consortiums, such as our annual Festival of Scholars or off-campus conferences.

  • Student Clubs

    Join our pre-health student clubs to connect with other students and faculty who share your passions and goals.

    The American Medical Student Association is a club with a goal to foster the next generation of medical practitioners. This club provides students with the opportunity to participate in clinical and community volunteering. Furthermore and most importantly, this club offers the mentorship students need in order to pursue their careers within medicine.

  • Honors Society

    To build additional experience, you can join our departmental honors program with additional research-intensive courses, or the TriBeta National Biological Honor Society.

Student photo

I chose this major because I love both biology and chemistry, and biochemistry is the perfect middle ground between them. If you love chemistry and biology, I definitely recommend the major as it is a surefire way to develop your knowledge in all of the sciences and math.

Nasharli Abeygunawardene '25
Biochemsitry and Molecular Biology Major

Career Paths

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


Potential Careers

Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technologists

Perform complex medical laboratory tests for diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease. May train or supervise staff.

See description

Physicians, Pathologists

Diagnose diseases and conduct lab tests using organs, body tissues, and fluids. Includes medical examiners.

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Pharmacists

Dispense drugs prescribed by physicians and other health practitioners and provide information to patients about medications and their use. May advise physicians and other health practitioners on the selection, dosage, interactions, and side effects of medications.

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Chemists

Conduct qualitative and quantitative chemical analyses or experiments in laboratories for quality or process control or to develop new products or knowledge.

See description

Biochemists and Biophysicists

Study the chemical composition or physical principles of living cells and organisms, their electrical and mechanical energy, and related phenomena. May conduct research to further understanding of the complex chemical combinations and reactions involved in metabolism, reproduction, growth, and heredity. May determine the effects of foods, drugs, serums, hormones, and other substances on tissues and vital processes of living organisms.

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Microbiologists

Investigate the growth, structure, development, and other characteristics of microscopic organisms, such as bacteria, algae, or fungi. Includes medical microbiologists who study the relationship between organisms and disease or the effects of antibiotics on microorganisms.

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Molecular and Cellular Biologists

Research and study cellular molecules and organelles to understand cell function and organization.

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Geneticists

Research and study the inheritance of traits at the molecular, organism or population level. May evaluate or treat patients with genetic disorders.

See description

Looking for more career paths? Search these related areas to discover more options.

Employers

Graduates from this major have gone to work at:

  • Amgen
  • Baxter Bio Science
  • BioSource International
  • Dako
  • Hirauo Optometric
  • Integrity Bio
  • Invitrogen
  • Thermo Fisher Scientific

Graduate Schools

Our alumni have pursued advanced degrees at:

  • California Institute of Technology
  • Colorado State University
  • Harvard University
  • Loyola University of Chicago School of Medicine
  • Scripps Research Institute
  • University of California, Berkeley
  • UCLA
  • University of California, San Diego
  • University of California, San Francisco
  • University of Nevada School of Medicine
  • University of Southern California
The science program is rigorous, unique, and highly influenced by new technologies: some of your courses may even take place in a computer lab where your job is to program molecular structure, or decipher and analyze strings of DNA. It's moving more towards a practical hands-on learning environment that takes the student outside of the traditional environment for the sake of real-world experience, which translates to more success in industry and future academia.

Sam Theis '14
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Major
Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.) Student, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM)

This page includes information from O*NET OnLine by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA). Used under the CC BY 4.0 license. Some occupations listed above may require a related graduate degree.

How We Prepare You for Success

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Our excellent career counselors in the Career Services center will get in touch with you during your very first term on campus. They offer over 50 workshops each year on resume writing, interviewing, salary negotiations, applying to graduate schools, and other critical skills to help you begin your career successfully.

After you graduate from Cal Lutheran, you receive free access to Career Services for life, as a valued member of our alumni family.

Learn more about career outcomes

of Cal Lutheran graduates find a job or enroll in graduate school within nine months

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