Do you want to learn about the chemistry of life? Do you want to be well prepared for medical or dental school, to do graduate work, or to seek employment in industry?

The bachelor of science in biochemistry degree can be applied to many disciplines and professions that include medicine, pharmacology, drug research and development, biotechnology, agricultural research, and genetic engineering. Biochemistry is a core discipline that provides the foundation for nearly all advances in all fields related to health professions, biotechnology, and agriculture. The program offers a combination of biology, chemistry, math, and physics classes that prepare students especially well for successful entry into the work force.

Many of our biochemistry majors are involved in research projects in their areas of interest. Independent research projects with biology, chemistry, or medical school faculty provide students with valuable hands on experience in the laboratory. A large percentage of our students present their research at regional and/or national meetings. Most of our biochemistry majors graduate with a double major: a BS in biochemistry and a BA in chemistry. They are highly employable.

ECU Advantage

We believe that what makes our department special is our students and our faculty. Our faculty have been widely recognized by ECU and the UNC system with numerous awards, nationally with competitive grants, and internationally through publications in prestigious journals and awards from professional societies. We are united by an enthusiasm for research, a commitment to serving our community and region, and a passion for communicating our knowledge and skills to students.

Students graduating with a degree in biochemistry from ECU gain admission to the most competitive graduate programs.

What You Will Study

Program Coordinator: Jean-Luc Scemama (105-N Howell Science Complex; 252-328-6313; scemamaj@ecu.edu)Chemistry Concentration Program Coordinator: Allison Danell (591 Science and Technology Building; 252-328-9766; danella@ecu.edu)

The purpose of the BS biochemistry degree program is to: prepare our students with the knowledge and confidence to apply the scientific method in biochemical research; train our students to communicate scientific discoveries in standard scientific formats; educate our students so they understand, and are able to apply, foundational biochemical concepts necessary for graduate education or a career in the biochemical sciences.

Minimum degree requirement is 120 s.h. of credit as follows:

1. General education requirements including those listed below - 40 s.h.

(For information about courses that carry general education credit see General Education Program .)

  • CHEM 1150 - General Chemistry I
  • CHEM 1151 - General Chemistry Laboratory I

  • MATH 1065 - College Algebra or approved general education calculus course
2. Core - 32 s.h.

(Students must complete both BIOL and CHEM core courses.)

    Biology (15 s.h.)
    • BIOL 1100 - Principles of Biology I
    • BIOL 1101 - Principles of Biology Laboratory I
    • BIOL 1200 - Principles of Biology II
    • BIOL 1201 - Principles of Biology Laboratory II
    • BIOL 4880 - Principles of Biochemistry I
    • BIOL 4890 - Principles of Biochemistry II
    • BIOL 4891 - Principles of Biochemistry Laboratory
    Chemistry (17 s.h.)
    • CHEM 1160 - General Chemistry II
    • CHEM 1161 - General Chemistry Laboratory II
    • CHEM 2250 - Quantitative and Instrumental Analysis
    • CHEM 2251 - Quantitative and Instrumental Analysis Laboratory
    • CHEM 2750 - Organic Chemistry I
    • CHEM 2753 - Organic Chemistry Laboratory I
    • CHEM 2760 - Organic Chemistry II
    • CHEM 2763 - Organic Chemistry Laboratory II
3. Cognates - 25 s.h.
  • MATH 1083 - Introduction to Functions
  • MATH 2171 - Calculus I
  • MATH 2172 - Calculus II
  • MATH 2173 - Calculus III
  • PHYS 1251 - General Physics Laboratory I
  • PHYS 1261 - General Physics Laboratory II
  • PHYS 2350 - University Physics I
  • PHYS 2360 - University Physics II
4. Concentrations - 20-22 s.h.

(Choose one of the following.)

    Biology (22 s.h.)
      Required courses - 6 s.h.
      • BIOL 2300 - Principles of Genetics
      • BIOL 3260 - Cell and Developmental Biology
      Electives - 16 s.h.

      (Choose from the following.)

      • BIOL 2100 - Basic Laboratory Methods for Biotechnology
      • BIOL 2101 - Basic Laboratory Methods for Biotechnology Laboratory
      • BIOL 3220 - Microbiology
      • BIOL 3221 - Microbiology Laboratory
      • BIOL 4230 - Concepts in Cell Biology
      • BIOL 4260 - Cell Biology
      • BIOL 5870 - Molecular Biology of the Gene
      • BIOL 5900 - Biotechniques
      • BIOL 5901 - Biotechniques Laboratory
      • MATH 4331 - Introduction to Ordinary Differential Equations
      • Research hours
    Chemistry (20 s.h.)
      Required courses - 10 s.h.
      • CHEM 3950 - Physical Chemistry I
      • CHEM 3951 - Physical Chemistry I Laboratory
      • CHEM 3960 - Physical Chemistry II
      • CHEM 3961 - Physical Chemistry II Laboratory
      Electives - 10 s.h.

      (Choose from the following.)

      • BIOL 2300 - Principles of Genetics
      • CHEM 3450 - Elementary Inorganic Chemistry
      • CHEM 3451 - Elementary Inorganic Chemistry Laboratory
      • CHEM 4350 - Instrumental Analysis
      • CHEM 4351 - Instrumental Analysis Laboratory
      • CHEM 4522 - Pharmaceutical Industry Skills Laboratory: Good Manufacturing Practices
      • CHEM 4550 - Advanced Inorganic Chemistry
      • CHEM 5760 - Organic Structure Elucidation
      • MATH 4331 - Introduction to Ordinary Differential Equations
      • 3 hours of research in biology or chemistry
5. Electives to complete requirements for graduation.
    For more information about this degree visit the university's academic catalogs.

    Careers With This Degree

    Graduates with this degree are successful in many fields and careers, including the following:

    • Biochemistry
    • Biochemistry
    • Biochemists
    • Biophysicists
    • Medical Scientists
    • Biological Science Teachers, Postsecondary
    • Scientific and Technical Services
    • Education and Training

    Career Opportunities

    ECU has developed resources to help you learn more about career opportunities and job market outlook. In addition, the websites below provide specific information on careers in the various majors from which students may choose:

    NC Tower

    This website provides graphs and tables of in-depth information on employment rates, wages and ongoing higher education enrollment of graduates from the North Carolina Community College System and from the University of North Carolina system schools. NC Tower includes data on former UNC students who are working in roughly 90% of all jobs in North Carolina. This database excludes information for graduates who are:

    • Self-employed;
    • Work for the federal government, including the military: or
    • Work outside of North Carolina.

    US Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook

    This website also provides in-depth information regarding pay, projected new jobs, required education, growth rate and on-the-job training information on various occupations.

    Degree-specific internships

    For information on internship information for specific majors, go to the home page of the department in which the major is located and, as available, find the link to the information on internships in that major.