Metabolic Biochemistry: Study Options and Degree Information

Metabolic biochemistry is a very specific subset of biochemistry, and schools don't generally offer whole degree programs devoted to the subject. However, students interested in studying metabolic biochemistry should consider enrolling in a bachelor's or doctoral program in biochemistry.

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Essential Information

Biochemistry is an interdisciplinary scientific field that combines studies in biology, chemistry and physics, focusing on how organisms and their constituent cells operate. A baccalaureate degree in the field can prepare graduates for entry-level positions as research associates or science assistants, while a doctoral program can prepare graduates for more advanced work in research or academia.

Bachelor programs may require an undergraduate research project. Some Ph.D. programs require students to serve as teaching assistants. Doctoral students must pass department exams, as well as compose and defend a dissertation. Common prerequisites include a high school diploma or equivalent to enter a bachelor program and at least a bachelor's degree to enter a Ph.D. program.


Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry

Biochemistry bachelor's degree programs usually include general education requirements in areas like computer programming, English and the humanities. Core coursework usually focuses on specific areas of biology, chemistry and mathematics. Common topics include:

  • Analytic, organic and physical chemistry
  • Cell and molecular biology
  • Human biology
  • Genetics
  • Enzymes and proteins
  • Metabolic biochemistry

Doctor of Philosophy in Biochemistry

Ph.D. programs in this field are designed to train researchers who can conduct original fieldwork. These programs may integrate topics in biophysics, metabolic biochemistry, molecular biology, cellular biology, nucleic acids and genetics. In some cases, doctoral students receive a master's degree en route to obtaining the Ph.D.

Coursework at the doctoral level is designed to be a supplement to students' research interests and dissertation projects. Topics may include:

  • Biological structures
  • Cell regulation
  • Genetics
  • Molecular biophysics
  • Nucleic acids, proteins and enzymes

Popular Career Options

The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) lists a number of positions in laboratory science and academia that are commonly pursue by biochemists (www.asbmb.org). Possible titles include:

  • Biochemistry professor
  • Genotyping scientist
  • Protein chemist
  • Research lab specialist

Continuing Education Info

Many Ph.D. holders pursue postdoctoral training at outside institutions. This training enhances their abilities to design original research projects and to obtain corresponding funding. Postdoctoral positions may also transition to laboratory director positions.

Metabolic biochemistry studies aren't widely available, however students can study biochemistry at the bachelor's and Ph.D. levels. A professor, scientist or lab specialist are all viable career options for graduates.

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