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Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Major

Revealing how life works

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Major

Revealing how life works

microscopic view of fluorescent cells.

As a biochemistry and molecular biology major, you will be a part of the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, which ranks high nationally and internationally in several areas of research, such as protein engineering, structural biology and genetic code expansion technology. You will find yourself learning in an innovative, multidisciplinary curriculum that provides thorough training in biochemistry, molecular and cellular biology, chemistry, molecular genetics, physics and statistics.

You will study molecular and cellular processes connected with aging, disease and oncogenesis as well as learn how the concepts of molecular biology inform research approaches. You will also acquire training in fundamental and state-of-the-art molecular biological experimental strategies, bioinformatics and computer-based analysis of protein structures. You can choose from three options, offering you the flexibility to design your education to match your career goals: Advanced Molecular Biology, Computational Molecular Biology and Pre-Medicine. Alongside a faculty mentor, you will have the opportunity to work on cutting-edge laboratory research projects in medical science, cell biology, genomics, biotechnology, drug development, toxicology and other fields. Thanks to rigorous research experiences, biochemistry and molecular biology majors are well prepared for medical and dental schools, graduate schools, pharmacy schools and are extremely well-qualified for jobs in biotechnology and pharmaceutical sectors.

Meet a biochemistry and molecular biology major

Options in the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Major

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.

What can you do with a biochemistry and molecular biology degree: Careers of our recent graduates

Resident Doctor, Johns Hopkins

Vascular Surgery Fellow, Mayo Clinic

Medical students at Harvard, Oregon Health & Science University and Baylor University

Graduate students at Stanford, UC Davis and New York University

Professor of Neurology at the Mayo Clinic
Research scientists at biotech companies
Emergency Physician and Hospitalist, Hawaii Emergency Physician Association
Dentist, Gentle Dental
Forensic Pathology Fellow, Office of the Medical Investigator
Curriculum Fellow and Lecturer, Harvard
Gastroenterologist, Cleveland Clinic
Associate Veterinarian, Banfield Pet Hospital
Research Scientist, Oregon Health and Science University

Sample courses

Macromolecular Structure
Advanced Molecular Genetics
Introduction to Neuroscience

Trisha Chau working in an Oregon State University laboratory

“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.

Meet our students and alumni

Fulbright awards will take science students to Germany and New Zealand

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.

‘Fearless’ biochemistry and molecular biology senior works at the cutting edge of cell evolution

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.

Biochemistry, mathematics and molecular biology students win 2021 Goldwater awards for research excellence

Two students from the College of Science have been awarded the competitive 2021 Goldwater awards.

Finding clarity and calm during a global pandemic

Joaquin Rodriguez, a biochemistry and biophysics senior doing research on viruses, explains why the coronavirus has a high rate of transmission.

Oregon's top pre-med program meets the growing demand for doctors

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.


Next steps

Download Biochemistry and Molecular Biology brochure 2022 (PDF)