Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Major
Revealing how life works
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Major
Revealing how life works
“The best thing about being a science student at OSU is that I came here wanting to learn and try everything, and I got opportunities to do just that."
Tricia Chau (Biochemistry and Molecular Biology '18), studying medicine at Oregon Health and Science University.
Together, biochemistry and molecular biology help us comprehend the intricate machinery of life. Biochemistry focuses on the chemical processes within living organisms; molecular biology emphasizes the structure and function of the molecules involved, like DNA, RNA and proteins. The scope of study ranges from interactions inside a single cell to the genetic basis of health and disease.
A degree in biochemistry and molecular biology opens doors to careers in protein engineering, structural biology, genetic code expansion and much more. As a BMB major, you'll be a part of the nationally- and internationally-ranked Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics.
As an OSU biochemistry and molecular biology major, you will be
- trained in state-of-the-art experiment strategies, bioinformatics and computer-based analysis of protein structures.
- well-prepared for medical schools, dental school, pharmacy schools, graduate schools and beyond
- highly qualified for jobs in medical, biotechnology and pharmaceutical sectors.
Biochemists and molecular biologists examine molecules like DNA, proteins and enzymes. Some use their training to become doctors or professors. In research positions, molecular biologists work in laboratories exploring complex molecules.
Using cutting-edge facilities and equipment (including electron microscopy, nuclear magnetic resonance, electrophysiology and macromolecular interactions), our research at OSU focuses on:
- Molecular biophysics and structural biology
- Protein engineering
- Cellular and molecular biology
- Computational biology and bioinformatics
- Biochemistry education
The PROGRAM: Studying biochemistry and molecular biology at Oregon State
Biochemistry and molecular biology degree options
As a BMB major, you'll choose from three options, offering you the flexibility to design your education to match your career goals:
- The first two are designed for interests in careers in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries or graduate work in molecular life sciences.
- The second option is ideal for students interested in computational aspects of molecular biology.
- The third option is ideal for students interested in careers in medicine and related health professions.
Fun fact: Our medical school acceptance rate is 67 percent, well above the national average of 40 percent!
The Advanced Molecular Biology option is designed for students interested in pursuing graduate work in molecular life sciences or entering the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries. It provides advanced training in genomics, epigenetics and other areas of current research in molecular biology, in addition to the core courses in the major. Students have numerous opportunities for undergraduate research and can earn research credits, which can be applied to the upper-division science elective requirements.
The Computational Molecular Biology option is designed for students interested in the interface of molecular biology, computer science, and statistics. It provides strong preparation for graduate school in computational biology as well as the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries. This option couples the comprehensive core training in biochemistry and molecular biology with advanced course work in mathematics, statistics, computer science, and bioinformatics. Students participating in undergraduate research can earn research credits, which can be applied to the upper-division science elective requirements.
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology students interested in a career in medicine can select this option. In addition to offering a rigorous foundation in biochemistry, molecular and cellular biology, chemistry, and genetics, the Pre-medicine option meets the requirements for most medical schools in the U.S. by providing students with training in psychology, ethics and social sciences. Students have a wide choice of medically relevant electives in areas such as physiology, microbiology, and immunology. Students have numerous opportunities to participate in undergraduate research.
Learn more about your biochemistry and molecular biology curriculum
Wondering what kind of classes you'll take? Your BMB major includes in-depth curriculum, including courses like:
- Macromolecular Structure
- Advanced Molecular Genetics
Want to know more about coursework requirements? Your BMB major covers different science disciplines, from biology to physics to chemistry. Use the OSU Catalog to learn more about:
- your typical sequence of courses in each discipline
- what pre-requisite courses you'll need
- your major's core curriculum
What does your four-year course load look like as a BMB major? Check out this sample plan for one example of how to map out your academic journey.
WATCH: Meet a biochemistry and molecular biology major
The EXPERIENCE: Hands-on opportunities
What makes a biochemistry and molecular biology degree from Oregon State better? One big reason: our hands-on learning experiences! Science is often a competitive career field - these experiences give you the real-world skills to support your future goals.
This is your chance to see up close what it means to be a scientist. Don’t just study science in the classroom — get in a lab and contribute to it, working alongside world-class faculty!
Internships serve as your perfect transitional experience into a career field. Gain real-world career experience while exploring the career possibilities your degree opens up.
Our students’ work spans the globe! Immerse yourself in another culture to gain a global perspective in your studies.
Here’s your chance to discover like-minded communities of peers who share your interests! Come together and engage in meaningful ways.
The SUPPORT: Learning resources for science students
Team Science is here to help you thrive. Our student support is another reason we always say, "science is better at Oregon State." You'll have access to a huge array of support services and resources designed to thrive both in and out of the classroom. Here are some places to get started:
At OSU, support comes in a LOT of forms — here's where to start. From our Science Success Center to health and wellness resources, connect with the support you need to thrive as a college student.
Learning Assistant (LA) Program
Love learning in smaller, collaborative group settings? Our Learning Assistant Program combines small-school attention with big-school resources. Your LA group replaces traditional lecture formats with active learning strategies, maximizing the way you engage with your STEM courses.
Our tutoring centers are welcoming, friendly spaces where peer and faculty mentors offer guidance and share study techniques to help you grasp course materials and improve your academic performance.
All members of the biochemistry and biophysics advising team are teaching faculty with Ph.D.s in biochemistry who have conducted research. Meeting with your advisor will help you make the most of your academic journey and help keep you on track to graduation.
And of course, you can always reach out to our student Peer Advisors at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions, as well! Our Peer Advisor team is friendly, helpful and can share their first-hand knowledge of the Oregon State experience.
The PAYOFF: Careers in biochemistry and molecular biology
What jobs can you get with a biochemistry and molecular biology degree?
With a biochemistry and molecular biology degree from OSU, you’ll be able to embark on a huge number of career paths.
Here are just several examples of career pathways our BMB alumni have followed:
Resident Doctor | Johns Hopkins
Vascular Surgery Fellow | Mayo Clinic
Medical students | Harvard, Oregon Health & Science University and Baylor University
Graduate students | Stanford, UC Davis and New York University
Professor of Neurology | Mayo Clinic
Emergency Physician and Hospitalist | Hawaii Emergency Physician Association
Curriculum Fellow and Lecturer | Harvard
Gastroenterologist | Cleveland Clinic
Associate Veterinarian | Banfield Pet Hospital
Research Scientist | Oregon Health and Science University
The PROOF: Successful students and alumni
Oregon State University and the College of Science are thrilled to congratulate biochemistry and molecular biology Honors student Maja Engler and biology alumna Emily Newton on receiving the 2021-2022 Fulbright Award.
Ilana Gottfried-Lee has spent the past two years performing cutting-edge research in the Unnatural Protein Facility - diving headfirst into a project that has never been attempted before.
Two students from the College of Science have been awarded the competitive 2021 Goldwater awards.
Joaquin Rodriguez, a biochemistry and biophysics senior doing research on viruses, explains why the coronavirus has a high rate of transmission.
The COVID-19 pandemic is creating a surging interest in science and medicine, attracting a new generation of students to a career in medicine. Enrollment in the College of Science’s pre-med program at Oregon State University has also remained high, with numbers averaging 90-100 pre-med students annually since 2019.