What is a biochemistry degree?
Whether you want to explore the mysteries of DNA, aid in the development of innovative biotechnologies, or study the diagnosis and treatment of disease, you can reach toward your career goals with a biochemistry degree from Florida Tech. Here you'll develop a strong background in biology and chemistry and get hands-on experience in analysis and instrumentation.
Biochemistry careers are built on a solid foundation of understanding complex chemical reactions that occur inside each living organism. Also known as the chemistry of life, the study of biochemistry connects the living world to the chemical world to study the processes that occur in plants, animals, and single-celled organisms. Biochemistry is responsible for most of the advances in medical research, agriculture, and genetic engineering, all of which are generally accomplished by tying together new medical technologies and discoveries in both genetic and cell biology. When new or transformational discoveries are unveiled, it is likely that a biochemist is part of the team. With a biochemistry degree, this could be you.
Gain Practical Experience
Biochemistry degree students are immersed in "real science," not just book learning. As you get to know your professors and work among your peers in small classes and department gatherings, you'll soon find an opportunity to join a research group. Courses like Biological Discovery and Introduction to Biochemistry are among the classes taken in your first year. Guided by highly qualified faculty who care about your success, you'll hone your strengths and begin specializing as early as your second year.
As seniors, students refine their practical skills in technical electives and specialized labs. They also can undertake exciting collaborative research with a peer or professor or work independently in a topic of their choosing. All undergraduate biochemistry students present papers at academic meetings and conferences. As a result, they get practical experience, an enhanced job search portfolio, and the perfect preparation for employment or graduate school.
Earn an Advanced Degree
After receiving their biochemistry degree, many of our graduates go on to master's and doctoral programs at Florida Tech or other prestigious universities, including the University of Florida, the University of South Alabama, Columbia University, Princeton University, and the University of Texas.
“Why pursue a biochemistry degree at Florida Tech? ”
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You have two graduate study opportunities:
You have three graduate study opportunities:
You have two graduate study opportunities:
Perhaps the greatest benefit of studying biochemistry at Florida Tech is being part of two outstanding science departments—Biology and Chemistry—both of which are committed to a high level of faculty-student interaction and collaboration.
We have strong ties to the Kennedy Space Center and the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute, which means more opportunities for students. In addition, nearby natural resources such as the estuarine habitats of the Indian River Lagoon and the Atlantic Ocean marine ecosystem are ideal for biological research, making Florida Tech one of the country's most attractive biochemistry colleges.
Small Class Sizes and an Internationally Recognized Faculty
Small class sizes with a student-to-faculty ratio of 12:1 give you an opportunity to receive one-on-one attention from professors. Florida Tech's active faculty is involved in research and teaching. The PhD faculty teaches all the classes—no graduate student teachers. In addition, students learn from world-renowned chemists in an environment that encourages undergraduate participation in research projects.
Undergraduate students usually find a home in a research group early in their career, which may result in scientific journal publications and research exchange with other biochemistry colleges. In fact, 75% of chemistry graduates have published a paper in a scientific journal by the time they graduate. Together, the faculty has secured $3 million in external funding for the department, as well as another $2 million to support research instrumentation.
High-Tech Laboratories and Facilities
In terms of facilities, Florida Tech is considered among the top biochemistry colleges in the country because students have access to the F.W. Olin Physical Sciences Center, its Instrumentation Center, and its Life Sciences Building.
The Physical Sciences Center, a 70,000-square-foot facility, houses the Chemistry department, faculty laboratories, state-of-the-art instrumentation, labs for nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectrometers, photochemistry, glass-blowing, and computational chemistry.
The Biology department, housed in Life Sciences Building, contains teaching and research labs, a 16-workstation computer facility, and an electron microscopy suite. The building also includes animal care facilities for housing small mammals and reptiles and a temperature-controlled 800 sq. ft. greenhouse.
Additionally, the biochemistry department has excellent teaching facilities, with a state-of-the-art multimedia auditorium and classroom, and an on-campus Aquaculture Center. Florida Tech established the very first aquaculture program in the United States in 1977, and it remains one of just a few colleges today offering a degree in aquaculture.
Location, Location, Location
Florida Tech is the perfect place for a Biochemistry degree. The 130-acre campus is located on the Space Coast (so named because of the presence of NASA and the Kennedy Space Center on Cape Canaveral just north of us). The area has the fifth largest high-tech workforce in the country, with more than 5,000 high-tech corporations and government and military organizations located nearby. This workforce also provides a variety of internship and employment opportunities.
Florida Tech is just minutes from the Atlantic Ocean, the Indian River Lagoon, the most diverse estuary in North America, 72 miles of beautiful beaches, and a short trip to the Florida Keys or the Orlando theme parks. We also have a rich campus life that includes a wide range of intramural and collegiate sports, clubs, and social activities.
Build Lasting Professional Relationships through Campus Organizations
Florida Tech’s student chapter of the American Chemical Society (ACS) is a highly active group of students from all disciplines who enjoy learning about and sharing an interest in chemistry. ACS regularly holds campus-wide events to inspire an interest in chemistry, including ice cream socials and silver bottling events. This is also a great way to network and learn about other possible opportunities and biochemistry internships.
Beyond the classroom, biochemistry majors build leadership and professional experience through exciting internships (see below) and participation in academic organizations like Beta Beta Beta (TriBeta, the biological sciences honor society), the Premed Club, student government, and over 100 other student organizations.
Biochemistry majors also participate in exciting summer fieldwork programs that take them to Costa Rica, Peru, the Caribbean, Australia, the Appalachians and the Rocky Mountains, and the African savannah.
“How will a biochemistry degree prepare me for the future? ”
Peerless Internship Opportunities
Florida Tech students take part in high-tech biochemistry internships with many different companies and organizations from around Florida and the nation. Some of the companies that provide biochemistry internships to Florida Tech students are:
- American Museum of Natural Science
- Andean Biodiversity Consortium
- Epcot Center
- Florida Center for Environmental Studies
- Florida Medical Entomology Lab
- Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute
- The Perry Institute for Marine Science
- Shedd Aquarium
Biochemistry internships allow students to gain experience with the high-tech tools and techniques used by chemists around the world such as NMR spectrometers, mass spectrometers, thermogravimetric analyzers, and more.
Stunning Undergraduate Research Opportunities
Research completed both at Florida Tech and during biochemistry internships allows students to build a portfolio of original content to present to potential employers after graduation. Biochemistry students research a variety of topics in both biology and chemistry, often as part of experienced faculty research teams.
Topics studied by student and faculty researchers include:
- Novel approaches to degenerative diseases
- DNA analysis and chromosome replication
- Chemical counter-measures for biological threat agents
- Plant molecular biology
- Chemical toxicology
All biochemistry students present research papers at academic meetings and conferences. This provides the perfect introduction to the world of professional biochemistry. Three-quarters of our students later have their work published in scientific journals.
“What can you do with a biochemistry degree? ”
Biochemistry careers continue to grow, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, stating that biochemists and biophysicists can expect a 31% increase in job opportunities through 2020. According to the agency, this increase is due to the need to develop biological products and processes that can improve our lives. Biochemistry is responsible for most of the advances in medical research, agriculture, genetic engineering, pharmacy, forensics, and food science.
Florida Tech Biochemistry grads are routinely hired immediately after graduation by the organizations listed above who offer internships to students. Other students have been hired by such organizations as:
- Baltimore Aquarium
- Brevard County Environmentally Endangered Lands Program
- Brevard Zoo
- Sea World Florida
Biochemistry careers are found in private and non-profit organizations, government agencies and research institutions. Undergraduates getting their biochemistry degree often participate in research endeavors, internships, and cooperative learning.
The US Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) publishes a resource called the Occupational Outlook Handbook that provides detailed information about hundreds of jobs, including data about median pay, projected growth in employment, and specifics about what the jobs entail and prerequisites.
Florida Tech graduates can choose from among such lifelong biochemistry careers in:
- Drug discovery / pharmacology
- Drug research and development
- Cancer research
- Agricultural research
- Animal population restoration
- Agricultural and food science
- Chemist and material science
- Medical science
- Postsecondary education
- Zoologist and wildlife biology
A typical biochemist or biophysicist does the following:
- Plan and conduct complex projects in basic and applied research
- Manage laboratory teams and monitor the quality of their work
- Isolate, analyze, and synthesize proteins, enzymes, DNA, and other molecules
- Research the effects of substances such as drugs, hormones, and food on tissues and biological processes
- Prepare technical reports, research papers and recommendations based on their research
- Present research findings to scientists, engineers, and other colleagues
Graduate and Doctoral Programs
Students are often interested in graduate school or a doctoral degree program before starting their professional lives. In addition to pursuing master's and doctoral degrees at Florida Tech, biochemistry majors attend such prestigious universities as:
- University of Florida
- University of South Alabama
- University of Miami
- University of Texas
- University of South Florida
For more information about biochemistry after college and biochemistry careers, see the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.