What Can I Do with My Biochemistry Major?
According to the American Chemical Society, biochemistry is the study of the structure, composition, and chemical reactions of substances in living systems. Biochemistry emerged as a separate discipline when scientists combined biology with organic, inorganic, and physical chemistry and began to study how living things obtain energy from food, the chemical basis of heredity, what fundamental changes occur in disease, and related issues. Biochemistry includes the sciences of molecular biology, immunochemistry, and neurochemistry, as well as bioinorganic, bioorganic, and biophysical chemistry.
The biochemistry major includes coursework in each of the fundamental areas of chemistry and biochemistry. Students who choose this major also have opportunities to participate in undergraduate research by enrolling in research courses, the Georgetown Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program, or on a volunteer basis. Students may also make a more serious multi-term commitment to undergraduate research by pursuing an honors degree that culminates in a senior thesis.
The major provides rigorous training suitable for medical school admissions, graduate study in biochemistry or graduate studies in any of the basic medical sciences. It is particularly well suited for students aspiring to M.D./Ph.D. programs. Some recent graduates have also gone on directly to industrial, academic, or research careers, or to law schools and graduate schools of business.
Biochemistry allows for the development of a core set of skills in a wide range of occupational settings. Throughout your experience in the program, you will obtain the following skills:
Critical Thinking Skills
- Reading and evaluating technical information
- Synthesizing information
- Perceiving patterns and structures
- Logical presentation of information
- Ability to convey complex issues
- Technical writing
- Public speaking
- Formulating and assessing hypotheses
- Research design and implementation
- Using original sources
- Collecting and interpreting data
You can use the examples above, and experiences from classes or research projects to enhance your resume. Try plugging in some of your experiences or skills gained into this formula: Accomplished (X) as measured by (Y) by doing (Z).
Sample Resume Class 1, Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.
Member of Class, taught by Prof. _____
- Synthesized organic ligands and inorganic compounds, on large and small scales, using anaerobic techniques such as (insert techniques applied) in chemistry course
- Developed background in rational drug design and biomolecular engineering in CHEM 572 Advanced Topics in Biochemistry course by (insert course labs work/projects)
- Developed advanced understanding of physical and chemical methods in biochemistry; genes and transfer of genetic information; and biosyntheses of DNA, RNA, and proteins in CHEM 419 Biochemistry course by (insert course lab work/projects)
Georgetown Alumni have taken their biochemistry degree across multiple different industries and have applied the skills they learned in biochemistry across multiple disciplines.
Helpful Keywords to Improve Searches
There are lots of ways to find good keywords to help your job or internship search process, or even just to learn more about the types of jobs you can do within a specific major. One way to explore this is by checking out the job search tool on Google.
Once you are in, type in something generic like your major and the world internship afterward. Once you hit enter, it will give you lots of options to explore, but if you want to explore titles, possible career paths, or keywords, hover your mouse over the ‘Title’ tab on the top of the page. This will give you a ton of ideas and options to explore possible keywords.
Sample Internship Opportunities
- Health Policy and Operations (Center for the Study of the Presidency, Emergency Operations Center, Pan American Health Organization)
- Pharmaceuticals, University Ambassador (Biowizard, Inc.)
- Research, Reproductive Research (Cleveland Clinic)
The Georgetown Chemistry Department Website is rich with additional information on studying biochemistry.
Professional Associations are a great place to go to dive deeper into the field of biochemistry and learn more about what post grad life might look like.
- American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
- Biochemical Society
- American Chemical Society
- Society of Biological Inorganic Chemistry
Vault is a fantastic resource to learn more about specific career fields in biochemistry. Vault has information such as salary information, work environment, education and training requirements, outlooks, and specific tips for entering into the field.
Professors & Academic Deans
Georgetown professors and faculty members can be a wonderful resource for Georgetown students. If you are still curious to learn more about the disciplines of a specific major, we’d encourage you to connect with your professors! Outside of office hours, Georgetown has an online interface called GU360 where students can explore and connect with faculty members that are eager to mentor and support students. You can use this interface to learn more about specific department research, specialties, and areas of study within a major.
You can also connect with your academic dean or counselor to further discuss opportunities within a given major.
Lastly, each department has a dedicated Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS). This is the individual in charge of coordinating the major program or department as a whole. You can find the Director of Undergraduate Studies by exploring the faculty and staff pages of individual departments websites.
Connecting with alumni is a fantastic way to explore a day in the life of any given major student. There are several different ways to connect with Georgetown Alums. Hoya Gateway is Georgetown’s premier networking platform which connects alumni and students to have meaningful conversations and build a strong network of support. This is a platform alumni opt into with the sole purpose of supporting current students, which means there is an extremely high response rate.
You can also utilize LinkedIn to connect with Georgetown Alum. A simple alumni search on Georgetown’s LinkedIn profile will help you get connected to approximately 130 thousand alumni, which you can then filter to meet the location, major, industry, or skills that you are interested in exploring.
You can also check out our Post Graduation Outcomes to learn more about what Georgetown alumni in specific majors are up to after graduation. We survey our seniors at the end of each year and into the following year to learn about jobs they secured, service opportunities they committed to, or graduate schools they decided to attend. You can filter by first major to get an idea of what life after Georgetown looks like. You’ll see in many cases that alums are using majors in a wide variety of ways, and your major doesn’t always equal your career path.
Career Center Staff
You can also connect with career center staff to talk through the possible outcomes of one major over another. In short, there are endless opportunities no matter what major you choose. However, connecting with someone might help you navigate your decision making process a little bit easier.
At the career center, you have the opportunity to meet with either a Career Exploration Counselor or an Industry Advisor. Career Exploration Counselors can help you talk through concerns, goals, the big picture, and strategies to move forward. You can think of them as generalists and a great place to get started. Industry Advisors can help you think through specific questions about a given career path and provide specific industry information and trends. You can think of them as specialists for once you start to narrow down your possible path. If you think an appointment with one of these individuals would benefit you, you can make an appointment on Handshake.