Academics & Majors


College of Veterinary Medicine

School of Molecular Biosciences
Offered as:
Graduate program


Biochemistry is the study of life on the molecular level. It combines approaches from chemistry, physics, and biology to study the fundamental mechanisms of living things and is the central discipline of the molecular biosciences and their biomedical applications.

Biochemistry majors choose one of two emphasis options in the program:

  • Molecular Biology provides increased emphasis on cell biology and molecular genetics, integrating genetics with the study of life on the molecular level.
  • Biochemistry/biophysics provides increased emphasis on physics and mathematics, applying physics and math to the study of life on the molecular level.

Specialization tracks available

Strengths of the program
  • Learn research techniques and operate advanced equipment.
  • Undertake a research project of your own under a noted faculty researcher.
  • The prestigious STARS program helps ambitious, high-achieving students get an early start on research and earn their Ph.D. in biochemistry, genetics and cell biology, or microbiology up to two years faster.
  • You can join a math, science, and engineering community residence hall at WSU Pullman—share classes with your neighbors, study together, get free tutoring, and use the hall’s computer lab.
  • Individualize your course of study within the School of Molecular Biosciences.
  • Study with faculty noted for their work in protein biochemistry, DNA repair, structural biology, and reproductive biology.
Featured courses

To start with, you'll take chemistry and biology courses that give you a strong foundation to build on. Then, beginning in your sophomore year, you can start delving into biochemistry and choose which emphasis to take.

Here are some of the courses you could take in biochemistry:

General Genetics
Introductory Biochemistry
General Microbiology
Human Genetics
Microbial Genetics
General Virology
Principles of Biophysical Chemistry
Physical Biochemistry

For detailed information on the program and its requirements, check out the biochemistry home page in the School of Molecular Biosciences site.

Note: See the WSU Catalog for degree requirements and talk with your academic advisor about planning and scheduling your courses. All students must meet requirements as outlined in the catalog in order to graduate.

Biochemistry facilities

Biochemistry students have access to the following outstanding facilities:

  • Equipment for ultracentrifugation, recombinant DNA techniques, HPLC, protein analysis and purification, DNA sequencing and synthesizing, and more
  • Bioanalytical Laboratory
  • Electron Microscopy Center
  • Nuclear Radiation Center
  • Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Center
  • X-ray Crystallography Laboratory
  • Owen Science and Engineering Library, the largest library of its kind in the Northwest
Careers in biochemistry

Biochemistry majors have wide and diverse career opportunities in the life sciences.

Careers open to graduates in this major include technical positions in the food, pharmaceutical, agricultural, and biotechnology industries, private or governmental laboratories, and nonprofit institutions such as clinical and hospital laboratories and at institutes that focus on research.

Graduates are also prepared to pursue advanced degree work in medicine, dentistry, veterinary science, and other fields. With advanced degrees, they practice medicine, teach at the college level, or conduct basic or applied research in the government, higher education, or private industry. Others have careers in law, business, and government.

Scholarships and financial aid

Washington State University awards millions of dollars in financial aid and scholarships to students every year based on financial need, academic merit, or a combination of the two.

For biochemistry majors

Biochemistry majors are eligible for scholarships offered by the College of Veterinary Medicine and the School of Molecular Biosciences. Additionally, a variety of federal, state, and University-sponsored programs are available to assist students with education costs.

For all students at WSU

Students must complete the WSU scholarship application to be eligible for scholarships from the University. All students should also complete the FAFSA to ensure their eligibility for the widest range of scholarships and need-based financial aid.

For information or to apply for financial aid and scholarships from WSU, see the Scholarships and Finances section of the WSU website.

Suggested strengths, interests, and preparation

Good high school preparation in biology, chemistry, and mathematics

At least three years of sciences and math in high school recommended

Strong reading, writing, reasoning, and computer skills