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Biochemistry and Molecular Biology: What to Expect

The Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry at the University of South Carolina offers a Bachelor of Science with a major in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.  This interdisciplinary major is a rigorous program that includes most of the requirements for both Biological Science and Chemistry majors. The major features practical, hands-on laboratory experience and requires student-conducted research. Biochemistry and Molecular Biology majors are well-prepared for medical, dental and graduate school and careers in biotechnology, pharmaceutical development and sales, food and drug research, and environmental research and protection.
The following courses fulfill some of the course requirements for a Bachelor of Science with a major in Biological Sciences:

  • General Chemistry I and II
  • Organic Chemistry I and II
  • Principal Chemistry
  • Physical Biochemistry
  • Biological Principles
  • Bacteriology
  • Cell and Molecular Biology
  • Fundamental Genetics

A detailed list of degree requirements can be found in the Undergraduate Bulletin.

Requirements

To be admitted to the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology major, a student must have earned at least 30 semester hours with a minimum 3.25 grade point average on a 4.00 scale. The 30 semester hours must include CHEM 111, CHEM 112, BIOL 101, BIOL 102, and MATH 141, each passed with a grade of C or higher.

Enhancing your Experience

Study Abroad allows you to earn academic credits toward your USC degree while seeing the world! Overseas study can complement any academic program or major. You may also choose to intern, volunteer, or conduct research abroad. You are encouraged to visit the Study Abroad Web site for more information on opportunities to broaden and extend your knowledge and perspectives.
Student Organizations can be instrumental in helping you adjust to life on campus and network within your field. The University of South Carolina has a family of nearly 300 student organizations. As a Biochemistry and Molecular Biology major, you can get involved with The American Chemical Society Student Affiliates. You will be able to network within your major and attend regional and national conferences. You will also have the opportunity to participate in student research poster and presentation competitions. Getting involved in an organization that interests you can help you network, meet new friends, and develop leadership skills. You can also seek out volunteer opportunities that relate to your major. Find a student organization on campus that interests you!
Graduate School is one of many possibilities following graduation. The majority of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology majors go on to advanced studies. Graduates often pursue doctorate programs in Chemistry, biochemistry, molecular biology, medical school, pharmacy school, dental school, and law school.
Distinguished Faculty can help enhance your overall academic experience while at the University. Eight faculty members in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry have received the Michael J. Mungo Undergraduate Teaching Award, five of which are currently active in research (Donna A. Chen, Scott R. Goode, John J. Lavigne, Ken D. Shimizu, and Daniel L. Reger).  Five faculty members earned the University’s highest honor for excellence in teaching, the Amoco Foundation Award, of which two are currently active in teaching (Daniel L. Reger and Scott R. Goode).  The Biological Sciences Department boasts two Amoco and Michael J. Mungo Undergraduate Teaching Award winners: Dr. Thomas Hilbish and Dr. Richard Showman.
Departmental Scholarships may be awarded to outstanding entering freshmen or current students. The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry offers additional scholarships each year.

Internship and Research Opportunities

Internships can be an important asset to your overall educational experience. Internship experiences often help you confirm your career interests, give you hands-on experience in a professional setting, help build your resume, reinforce what you’ve learned in class and can often lead to full-time employment. Likewise, pursuing professional research opportunities as an undergraduate student can also help enrich your academic experience while at the University. As an undergraduate student, you can work closely with faculty research mentors and explore a discipline that interests you. Both internship and research opportunities help you build a competitive edge in the job market.

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology majors are required to conduct research. There are also many government and privately sponsored internships for the sciences and specifically for chemistry related areas available.

As a USC student you will have numerous resources at your disposal to assist you with locating internship and research opportunities. The USC Career Center is the central location at USC for assisting students with internship preparation and finding an internship. In addition, be sure to visit your academic department as many programs offer supplemental internship guidance specific to your major. The Office of Undergraduate Research assists all USC undergraduates by providing research and scholarly experiences in their chosen fields.

Career Opportunities

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology majors typically pursue careers in pharmaceutical, medical and environmental labs, government agencies, and high school teaching. The average salary for majors within the first five years after graduation is $50,000.

You can find more information about career options in the US Department of Laborís Occupational Outlook Handbook.

The USC Career Center offers numerous resources which provide more information about career opportunities for students in this major. Once admitted, a Career Development Coach is available to help you assess your interest areas, make decisions about your career path, and identify the experiences and skills that will help you accomplish your goals. Spur Connections will help you locate mentors from among USC alumni, employers and community members who can provide insights based on their careers and experiences. Early planning and preparation are keys to success.

About the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of South Carolina focuses on training professional chemists and providing a base degree for advanced study in medicine, pharmacy, and other professional schools. The department places an emphasis on undergraduate research and has outstanding faculty members. The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry is in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Points of Pride

  • The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry is ranked No. 32 in the Nation in the recent National Research Council’s ratings of chemistry departments. The rankings are based on research findings and publications.
  • The department's new research building has outstanding instrumentation and research variety.

Additional Resources.
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry Website
College of Arts and Sciences Website
University Career Center
Undergraduate Bulletin