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Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Major

Revealing how life works

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Major

Revealing how life works

Trisha Chau working in an Oregon State University laboratory

“The best thing about being a science student at OSU is that I came here wanting to learn and try everything, and I got opportunities to do just that."

Tricia Chau (Biochemistry and Molecular Biology '18), studying medicine at Oregon Health and Science University.

The BASICS: Biochemistry & Molecular Biology (BMB)


What is biochemistry and molecular biology?

Biochemistry and molecular biology are closely related fields of study that explore the fundamental processes that underlie life at the molecular level. Biochemistry focuses on understanding the chemical processes and substances that occur within living organisms. Molecular biology is the study of biological processes at the molecular level, with a particular emphasis on the structure and function of nucleic acids (DNA and RNA) and the proteins that interact with them. Together, biochemistry and molecular biology form the foundation for comprehending the intricate machinery of life, from the molecular interactions that occur within a single cell to the broader understanding of genetics and the genetic basis of health and disease.


Why get a biochemistry and molecular biology degree?

As an OSU biochemistry and molecular biology major, you'll be a part of the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, which ranks high nationally and internationally in several areas of research, such as protein engineering, structural biology and genetic code expansion technology. You will benefit from in an innovative, multidisciplinary curriculum with thorough training in biochemistry, molecular and cellular biology, chemistry, molecular genetics, physics and statistics.

BMB majors:

  • study molecular and cellular processes connected with aging, disease and oncogenesis
  • learn how the concepts of molecular biology inform research approaches
  • acquire training in fundamental and state-of-the-art molecular biological experimental strategies, bioinformatics and computer-based analysis of protein structures.
  • have the opportunity to work alongside a faculty mentor on cutting-edge laboratory research projects.

Thanks to rich research experiences, OSU biochemistry and molecular biology majors are well prepared for medical and dental schools, graduate schools, pharmacy schools and are extremely well-qualified for jobs in biotechnology and pharmaceutical sectors.


What do biochemists and molecular biologists do?

Look no further than the work done by our Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics researchers. Our researchers pursue fundamental knowledge and critical solutions to advance medical science, cell biology, genomics, biotechnology, drug development, toxicology and other fields.

Check out our department's research

microscopic view of fluorescent cells.

The PROGRAM: Studying biochemistry and molecular biology at Oregon State

Biochemistry and molecular biology degree options

As a BMB major, you'll choose from three options, offering you the flexibility to design your education to match your career goals: Advanced Molecular Biology, Computational Molecular Biology and Pre-Medicine. The first two options are designed for students interested in careers in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries or graduate work in the molecular life sciences, with the second especially well-suited for students interested in computational aspects of molecular biology. The third option is ideal for students interested in careers in medicine and related health professions.

The Advanced Molecular Biology option is designed for students interested in pursuing graduate work in molecular life sciences or entering the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries. It provides advanced training in genomics, epigenetics and other areas of current research in molecular biology, in addition to the core courses in the major. Students have numerous opportunities for undergraduate research and can earn research credits, which can be applied to the upper-division science elective requirements.

The Computational Molecular Biology option is designed for students interested in the interface of molecular biology, computer science, and statistics. It provides strong preparation for graduate school in computational biology as well as the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries. This option couples the comprehensive core training in biochemistry and molecular biology with advanced course work in mathematics, statistics, computer science, and bioinformatics. Students participating in undergraduate research can earn research credits, which can be applied to the upper-division science elective requirements.

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology students interested in a career in medicine can select this option. In addition to offering a rigorous foundation in biochemistry, molecular and cellular biology, chemistry, and genetics, the Pre-medicine option meets the requirements for most medical schools in the U.S. by providing students with training in psychology, ethics and social sciences. Students have a wide choice of medically relevant electives in areas such as physiology, microbiology, and immunology. Students have numerous opportunities to participate in undergraduate research.

Learn more about your biochemistry and molecular biology curriculum

  • What kind of classes will you take?
Check out our list of biochemistry and molecular biology courses

  • What could your class schedule look like over four years?
Biochemistry and molecular biology major: sample plan

  • What coursework does your major require?
Biochemistry and biophysics course requirements

WATCH: Meet a biochemistry and molecular biology major

Meet Giulia, a Biochemistry & Molecular Biology (BMB) major at Oregon State’s College of Science. She fell in love with OSU’s biochemistry program while visiting campus and meeting one of our advisors. From bee ecology labs to krill research in Antarctica, Giulia’s OSU experience has been more than just memorable — it’s set her up for an exciting career in biochemistry.

The EXPERIENCE: Hands-on opportunities

What makes a biochemistry and molecular biology degree from Oregon State better? One big reason: our hands-on learning experiences! Science is often a competitive career field - these experiences give you the real-world skills to support your future goals.


Undergraduate Research

This is your chance to see up close what it means to be a scientist. Don’t just study science in the classroom — get in a lab and contribute to it, working alongside world-class faculty!

Learn why undergraduate research is better here

Internships

Internships serve as your perfect transitional experience into a career field. Gain real-world career experience while exploring the career possibilities your degree opens up.

Learn about amazing internship opportunities

Study Abroad

Our students’ work spans the globe! Immerse yourself in another culture to gain a global perspective in your studies.

Take your science studies around the world

Clubs/Organizations

Here’s your chance to discover like-minded communities of peers who share your interests! Come together and engage in meaningful ways.

Connect with a club and more members of Team Science

The SUPPORT: Learning resources for science students

Team Science is here to help you thrive. Our student support is another reason we always say, "science is better at Oregon State." As a Team Science student, you'll have access to a huge array of support services and resources designed to thrive both in and out of the classroom. Here are some places to get started:

  • Want to know more about everything Team Science has to offer?
Check out our student resources page

  • Love learning in smaller, collaborative group settings?
Explore our Learning Assistant Program

  • Want more help in a specific science subject?
Learn more about our four science-focused tutoring centers

  • Curious about the biochemistry and biophysics advising experience?
Visit the department's advising page

And of course, you can always reach out to our student Peer Advisors at sciencesuccess@oregonstate.edu with questions, as well! Our Peer Advisor team is friendly, helpful and can share their first-hand knowledge of the Oregon State experience.

The PAYOFF: Careers in biochemistry and molecular biology

What jobs can you get with a biochemistry and molecular biology degree?

With a biochemistry and molecular biology degree from OSU, you’ll be able to embark on a huge number of career paths.

Here are just several examples of career pathways our BMB alumni have followed:

Resident Doctor | Johns Hopkins
Vascular Surgery Fellow | Mayo Clinic
Medical students | Harvard, Oregon Health & Science University and Baylor University
Graduate students | Stanford, UC Davis and New York University
Professor of Neurology | Mayo Clinic
Emergency Physician and Hospitalist | Hawaii Emergency Physician Association
Curriculum Fellow and Lecturer | Harvard
Gastroenterologist | Cleveland Clinic
Associate Veterinarian | Banfield Pet Hospital
Research Scientist | Oregon Health and Science University

The PROOF: Successful students and alumni

Fulbright awards will take science students to Germany and New Zealand

Oregon State University and the College of Science are thrilled to congratulate biochemistry and molecular biology Honors student Maja Engler and biology alumna Emily Newton on receiving the 2021-2022 Fulbright Award.

‘Fearless’ biochemistry and molecular biology senior works at the cutting edge of cell evolution

Ilana Gottfried-Lee has spent the past two years performing cutting-edge research in the Unnatural Protein Facility - diving headfirst into a project that has never been attempted before.

Biochemistry, mathematics and molecular biology students win 2021 Goldwater awards for research excellence

Two students from the College of Science have been awarded the competitive 2021 Goldwater awards.

Finding clarity and calm during a global pandemic

Joaquin Rodriguez, a biochemistry and biophysics senior doing research on viruses, explains why the coronavirus has a high rate of transmission.

Oregon's top pre-med program meets the growing demand for doctors

The COVID-19 pandemic is creating a surging interest in science and medicine, attracting a new generation of students to a career in medicine. Enrollment in the College of Science’s pre-med program at Oregon State University has also remained high, with numbers averaging 90-100 pre-med students annually since 2019.

Download Biochemistry and Molecular Biology brochure 2022 (PDF)