Learn Biochemistry Online: Overview of Biochemistry Study Options

Essential Information

Students who want to study biochemistry through distance learning can find stand-alone courses as well as classes offered through formal academic programs. For instance, biochemistry courses may be part of an online undergraduate degree program or perhaps a master's degree program in a field like chemical studies. A number of institutions offer online options, including several four-year universities or colleges. Non-credit distance learning courses may also be available through schools' continuing education departments or their OpenCourseWare offerings.

While many fully online courses are available, some programs also require campus visits and proctored exams. Prior to enrollment in a certificate or bachelor's degree program, students need to have taken some science classes, while applicants to master's degree programs must have a master's degree.

Information & Requirements

Distance learning biochemistry students typically access course materials through online course management systems. Learning is usually asynchronous, although all students have the same course start and end date. Course materials can include video lectures, online problems, assigned readings and quizzes. Exams are generally offered on-campus or through off-campus arrangements where proctors supervise student test-taking.

Certificate & Degree Programs

While online formal program options specifically in biochemistry are rare, it is possible to fulfill some completion requirements for a certificate, associate's, bachelor's or master's degree program with an online biochemistry class. Certificate and degree fields can vary widely among areas that include biochemistry, ranging from chemistry to liberal arts to forensic science. Online courses in this field of study are sometimes designed for specialized audiences, like allied health or medical students.

In many cases, students have to take certain classes prior to enrolling in online biochemistry classes. Prerequisites, which may or may not be available online, can include biology, chemistry and organic chemistry. Those interested in entering a degree program typically must meet strict admission requirements before being allowed to take classes. For example, graduate-level coursework in biochemistry requires that students have a bachelor's degree, usually in a related field.

OpenCourseWare (OCW)

In some cases, students may be interested in non-credit online study choices in biochemistry. Some universities participate in the OpenCourseWare Consortium. They make course materials from previously offered on-campus classes available to online learners for free. Students undertake self-directed learning activities using the class syllabus, lecture notes, reading assignments and similar materials.

A biochemistry course might include lecture notes on topics like chemical thermodynamics and the properties of reactions. OCW classes do not result in academic credit or grades, and students do not have the opportunity to interact with faculty or other students.

Students seeking formal biochemistry education may pursue a degree or certificate in the field, although, in many programs, only some courses may be offered online. Individuals looking for personal enrichment can find relevant non-credit courses through the OpenCourseWare Consortium.

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