Biochemistry, B.S.

Undergraduate Degree

Biochemistry is a laboratory-based science that brings together biology (bio) and chemistry to explore chemical processes related to living organisms and to study what happens inside cells at the molecular level.

Biochemistry influences a range of scientific disciplines, including genetics, microbiology, forensics, plant science and medicine. Studying Biochemistry puts you at the heart of scientific research and discovery to better understand and support our lives.

At Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia, you can earn a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in Biochemistry. Choosing a major in Biochemistry is an excellent choice for these career paths:

Professional scientist with an interest in chemically related processes, working as a technician, bench chemist, laboratory director, high school chemistry teacher or a college professor
Senior healthcare provider—physician, dentist, pharmacist, veterinarian or physician assistant
Completing training in chemistry to enhance work in niche professions such as patent law or technical sales

Why Study Biochemistry at Marshall?

Most important, as a Biochemistry major at Marshall, you will receive fundamental training as a chemist and have a solid foundation in the field of chemistry. This means that even though you’re specializing in Biochemistry, you’ll be prepared to work in any lab and move into other chemical specialties in the future, if you choose.

All chemistry courses are directly taught by top-quality faculty in the Department of Chemistry; no graduate students teach courses in chemistry at Marshall. In addition to the major in Biochemistry, students also can earn bachelor’s degrees in the following four areas: Chemical Sciences; Chemistry, ACS Certified; Forensic Chemistry; and Environmental Chemistry.

Marshall’s Department of Chemistry is approved by the American Chemical Society (ACS). Marshall has been recertified by ACS through 2026. The department has been continuously certified since 1963.

Hands-On Experience

Biochemistry majors are required to complete a research project or internship as a condition of graduation to earn their bachelor’s degree. This also provides students with the opportunity to learn with Marshall Chemistry faculty to do research or to get industry experience working with employers. Biochemistry majors also benefit from small class sizes to receive personalized attention and regular interaction with Chemistry instructors and classmates.


Biochemistry majors can participate in one of two types of internships. The first is the opportunity to work in an industrial setting where majors put their chemical training into practice, typically working as a laboratory technician. In the second type of internship, pre-pharmacy students can receive credit working as pharmacy technicians. Biochemistry majors follow internship guidelines to find a possible placement, and the department evaluates it for appropriateness.

Top Facilities

Marshall University is among leading medium-sized universities nationwide that can provide a comprehensive collection of state-of-the-art chemical instrumentation currently available in the Department of Chemistry. Majors also learn in our research-based Biochemistry lab.

Career Outlook for Biochemistry Majors

What can you do with a Biochemistry degree? Marshall Biochemistry majors are well-prepared for a range of career opportunities in biotechnology, forensics, environmental, pharmaceutical, agricultural and medical fields. Marshall students also have a foundation for graduate-level study in biochemistry, biotechnology, and genetics and molecular biology. Biochemistry also is an excellent choice for Marshall students who want to pursue professional training in medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, law or engineering.

Careers with Biochemistry Degrees

Nationally, employment of biochemists and biophysicists is projected to grow 4 percent through 2029, about as fast as the average for all occupations, reports the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Biochemists will continue to be needed to do basic research that increases scientific knowledge and to develop biological products and processes that improve people’s lives. Techniques, tools and applications of biochemistry and biophysics are expanding as technology and knowledge progress.

The nation’s aging population will drive demand for new drugs and procedures and for biomedical research to cure and prevent disease. For example, biochemists will be needed to conduct genetic research and develop new medicines and treatments that can fight genetic disorders and diseases such as cancer. They will also be needed to develop new tests to detect diseases and other illnesses.

Biochemists who are researchers also can help to advance our capabilities related to clean energy, efficient food production and environmental protection, resulting in employment growth.

Here are examples of the many jobs related to a Biochemistry degree. Some of these professions may require additional specialized education, in addition to a Biochemistry background:

Agricultural scientist
Biological or biomedical engineer
Chemical engineer
Cosmetics developer
Federal regulator of biochemical products
Food researcher and developer
Laboratory scientist
Oil and gas scientist
Petroleum engineer
Science writer

Biochemistry Salaries

The median annual wage for biochemists and biophysicists as of May 2020 was $94,270, with salaries ranging from $52,640 to nearly $170,000 for the top 10 percent of earners in the field, according to the BLS. Here are median (or midpoint) annual wages, as of May 2020, for biochemists and biophysicists in the top industries in which they worked:

Wholesale trade – $115,260
Management, scientific, and technical consulting services – $94,100
Pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing – $89,230
Colleges, universities, and professional schools; state, local, and private – $59,190

Major Employers

Over the past three years, employers of Marshall Biochemistry majors have included: BASF Polymers & Coatings, ICL – Industrial Products, Marathon Petroleum, Novartis Pharmaceuticals, Patheon Pharmaceuticals and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Opportunities for Biochemistry Majors

Active Research Programs

Studying chemistry and Biochemistry is more than learning what others have discovered. Learning also involves creating new knowledge. That’s why the Department of Chemistry offers an active undergraduate research program for Biochemistry majors and other students in the bachelor’s degree programs in chemistry.

Biochemistry majors interested in learning state-of-the-art science are able to join a small research group as early as their first semester. Participating in research enables students to expand their creativity, strengthen their laboratory skills and hone their essential problem-solving skills.

Research projects

Student researchers work directly with their faculty mentors on a daily basis. Research projects are designed to generate results that can be disseminated, preferably through publication, which enables Biochemistry majors to be co-authors of research papers. Because communication skills are central to the long-term success of Marshall graduates, the bachelor’s in Biochemistry degree program requires both a written senior thesis based on their research and an oral presentation of that thesis. The Biochemistry program has a $30,000 budget to fund student travel to national or regional conferences to present research project results. Nearly all chemistry department faculty are active in research and will accept students into their research labs as early as the freshman year. Marshall awards course credit, both regular and honors, for undergraduate research.


The Biochemistry degree program’s capstone graduation requirement is either a research project or internship. The large majority of Biochemistry majors select research with a chemistry faculty member; other students work on chemistry-based projects in the Departments of Biological Sciences, Pharmacy or Forensic Science, or with faculty in the Biomedical Sciences program in Marshall’s medical school. Research with chemistry faculty includes such topics as: the study of biofuels; the surface science of synthetic DNA; diabetes research; microfluidics as applied to drug delivery devices; and electrically responsive surfaces among many projects.

State-of-the-Art Lab Facilities

Chemical instrumentation has become an essential component of both teaching and research in modern chemistry. Few medium-sized universities nationwide can match the extensive collection of state-of-the-art chemical instrumentation used by the Chemistry department at Marshall University.

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