Broadly speaking, biochemistry is the study of the chemistry of living systems. In our department, there are a number of ways in which we try to do that.
On the one hand, we study things at a small scale and ask questions about what happens inside a cell. This is molecular biochemistry. We ask questions about the structure of large molecules found in cells, such as muscle fibres and starch, or outside cells, such as lung surfactant or the matrix that holds many cells together. We also want to know about the genes that encode these molecules and how those genes are regulated in, for example, zebrafish and sea urchins.
A different perspective is offered by physiological biochemistry. In bodies such as our own, cells are organized into tissues, such as the heart, the liver, the kidneys, and muscles. Understanding the complex interplay between tissues is important for good health and well-being. We ask questions about diabetes, heart disease and obesity, which are important health issues for us here in Newfoundland and Labrador. We ask questions about the food that we eat, about cholesterol, fats and amino acids, and how the body responds and regulates itself in response to different diets.
We invite you to read the webpages of our individual faculty members to see how we study biochemistry here in Newfoundland.
There are several programs available for students interested in studying biochemistry. The Department of Biochemistry website and the university Calendar outline the requirements for completing each of the available programs.
Sample first-year program for students completing a bachelor of science degree with a major in biochemistry:
|Fall Semester||Winter Semester|
|Math 1000 (1090)*||Math 1001 (1000)*|
|Chemistry 1050 (1010)**||Chemistry 1051 (1011)**|
|Physics 1050 (1020)***||Physics 1051***|
|Biology 1001 or Elective||Biology 1002 or Elective|
|English 1080****||English 1101, 1102, 1103 or 1110****|
* Students completing Mathematics 1090/1000 will also be required to complete Mathematics 1001.
** Students registered in Chemistry 1050 must also be registered in Mathematics 1000 (not 1090). Students completing Chemistry 1010/1011 will be required to complete Chemistry 1031 as well. Students attending Grenfell Campus will normally complete Chemistry 1200/1001 in their first year.
*** Students registered in Physics 1050 must also be registered in Mathematics 1000 (not 1090). Students registered in Physics 1051 must also be registered in Mathematics 1001. All students will be required to complete Physics 1051. Students who complete Physics 1050 with at least 50 per cent or Physics 1020 with at least 65 per cent should take Physics 1051.
**** Students attending Grenfell Campus will normally complete English 1000/1001 in their first year.
- Biochemistry majors are required to complete Biology 1001/1002, which may be taken in place of physics in their first year. However, it is recommended that both physics and biology courses be taken in the first year (with no elective).
- Entry to the biochemistry major program is based on academic standing. To be considered for admission to the program, you must have at least 30 credit hours in courses and have successfully completed the following courses (or their equivalents) with a minimum overall average of 60 per cent:
- Mathematics 1000 (or 1090, 1000), 1001 Chemistry 1050, 1051 (or 1010, 1011)Physics 1050, 1051 (or 1020, 1021) or Biology 1001, 1002English 1080, and one of 1101, 1102, 1103 or 1110
- In addition, you must be eligible for entry into Chemistry 2400.
- In order to complete the biochemistry major program within four years, you MUST be eligible for Chemistry 2400 in the fall semester of your second year. The prerequisite for Chemistry 2400 is Chemistry 1051 or 1031; or a grade of 80 per cent in each of Chemistry 1010 and 1011; or a grade of 85 per cent in Chemistry 1011; or a grade of 65 per cent in Chemistry 1001.
- All biochemistry majors who complete Chemistry 1010/1011 MUST complete Chemistry 1031 as it is a prerequisite for Chemistry 2301. It is strongly recommended that you complete 1031 in the spring semester before beginning your second year of studies.
Applicants to the biochemistry major are strongly recommended to apply for admission by May 31. Failure to apply by this date may result in your application not being processed before your registration time.
Job opportunities for biochemists are available in:
- Pharmaceutical, chemical, biotechnology, and cosmetics industries
- Universities – as teachers or researchers
Nutrition graduates may be employed in:
- Community education programs
- Communications media
- Food industry
- Laboratory research
With further training students may be eligible for careers as a:
- Medical doctor
- Environmental health specialist