PhD Programs in Biochemistry: Degree Program and Career Information

Ph.D. programs in biochemistry provide students with an advanced understanding of the physical, chemical, mathematical and biological sciences as they pertain to living cells and organisms. Students will examine processes such as growth, reproduction and metabolism.

Essential Information

Graduates from Ph.D. programs in biochemistry are prepared for research-oriented careers in government, academia and private industry. Most Ph.D. programs in biochemistry are research-based and require a dissertation. These programs often include a teaching component that provides students the opportunity to assist in teaching undergraduate-level lab courses.

Prospective students will need to have a master's degree in biochemistry or closely related science field, courses in organic chemistry, general biochemistry, physical chemistry and others, knowledge in mathematics through calculus, GRE scores, transcripts, and letters of recommendation.

Ph.D. in Biochemistry

In a biochemistry Ph.D. program, in addition to lecture and seminar courses, students are typically required to participate in laboratory rotations that provide extensive hands-on experience in research methods, approaches and procedures. Other than physical biochemistry and bioinformatics, common subject matter for this degree includes:

  • Immunology
  • Enzymology
  • Nucleic acids
  • Cell biology
  • Protein chemistry
  • Metabolic pathways

Employment and Salary Information

Graduates are prepared for careers in education and research. Postdoctoral research and teaching positions are available with colleges and universities. Biochemists are also able to find employment with biotech and pharmaceutical companies. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of biochemists and biophysicists was projected to grow by 8% between 2014 and 2024 ( This rate is faster than the average for all occupations.

As of May 2015, the BLS reported that biochemists and biophysicists in the U.S. earned a median annual wage of $82,150, with the scientific research and development services industry providing the highest number of employment opportunities. Biological science teachers at the postsecondary level earned a median salary of $75,320, as of May 2015.

A Ph.D. in biochemistry prepares students for careers in biotechnology industries, as well as positions in academia as postsecondary biochemistry professors. Students will have the opportunities to get necessary lab rotations, as well as comprehensive education in major specialty areas.

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