Rochester Institute of Technology

Academic Program Overviews

Student Skills & Capabilities, Salary Data, Career Information 

Biochemistry BS

Program Overview

Biochemistry is an exciting variation of the BS chemistry program, with an emphasis on gaining an understanding of biology through chemistry.  Students who enroll in the program often have an interest in combining the life and health sciences with a chemistry degree.  During the first two years students take a year of general biology, in addition to the general chemistry, organic chemistry, analytical chemistry and biochemistry.  During upper-level years students take advanced electives in biochemistry and biology, along with liberal arts requirements.

Degrees Awarded

  • Bachelor of Science
  • BS/MS (dual degrees, Biochemistry/Chemistry)

Enrollment

  • Approximately 73 undergraduate students

Cooperative Education & Experiential Education Component

  • All students have the option (recommended) of participating in co-op employment during any term following completion of 1st year courses.

Salary Information

                        Average                             Range
Co-op:            $12.63/hr                             $9.00-$22.50/hr
*BS:                $45,000*                              $35,100 - $55,000*
 
*Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition

Student Skills & Capabilities

  • In a technician capacity, students are able to perform many general chemistry and analytical chemistry laboratory tasks, with minimal supervision, even after their first year of coursework.  They continue to enhance their lab skills in upper level courses to increase their ability to eventually contribute to research initiatives independently.
  • Based on their elective choices, senior students may have skills in microbial and genetic manipulations, separations and environmental applications.

Accreditation

The biochemistry program offers two tracks, one that follows the guidelines of the American Society of Biochemists and Molecular Biologists (ASBMB) and one that is certified by the American Chemical Society (ACS). The ASBMB program allows more science and university-wide electives in such fields as biology, while the ACS program is for students interested in a graduate chemistry program such as that offered by RIT.

Equipment & Facilities

New NMR Spectrometer
 
The school recently acquired a 500 MHz nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometer, which is used to determine the structure and dynamics of molecules as well as images of plants and materials.
 
Chemical Analysis Laboratory
 
The school has a wide range of analytical instrumentation which can be used to perform quantitative and qualitative analysis of chemical or materials samples. Our well-trained faculty, staff, and students are experienced with a variety of analyses.
 
NanoImaging Lab
 
The Nano Imaging Lab conducts research into the design, development, and application of imaging to material and biological systems on very small scales, in conjunction with the schools of chemistry and physics. The lab conducts research into the creation of nano-materials for biological imaging and imaging display technologies.

Nature of Work

Biochemists and biophysicists study the chemical and physical principles of living things and of biological processes such as cell development, growth, and heredity. (Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition)

Training / Qualifications

A bachelor’s degree in biochemistry or a related discipline usually is the minimum educational requirement for entry-level chemist jobs. However, many research jobs require a master’s degree. Students planning careers as chemists and materials scientists should take courses in science and mathematics, should like working with their hands building scientific apparatus and performing laboratory experiments, and should like computer modeling. Perseverance, curiosity, and the ability to concentrate on detail and to work independently are essential. Because R&D chemists are increasingly expected to work on interdisciplinary teams, some understanding of other disciplines, including business and marketing or economics, is desirable, along with leadership ability and good oral and written communication skills. Graduate students typically specialize in a subfield of chemistry, such as analytical or organic chemistry, depending on their interests and the kind of work they wish to do. (Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics O.O.H.)

Job Outlook

Employment of biochemists and biophysicists is projected to grow 8 percent from 2014 to 2024, about as fast as the average for all occupations. More biochemists and biophysicists are expected to be needed to do basic research that increases scientific knowledge and to research and develop biological products and processes that improve people’s lives. (Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics O.O.H.)

Job Titles

Biochemist, Assistant/Associate Research & Development Scientist, Quality Control Specialist, Analytical Chemist, Organic Chemist, Inorganic Chemist, Physical Chemist, Medical Chemist, Lab Technician

Employment

Chemists and materials scientists held about 34,100 jobs in 2014. Chemists accounted for most of these. In addition, many with a background in chemistry and materials science hold teaching positions in high schools and in colleges and universities. Chemists are employed in all parts of the country, but are mainly concentrated in large industrial areas. (Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics O.O.H.)

Significant Points

  • A bachelor’s degree in biochemistry or a related discipline is the minimum educational requirement; however, many research jobs require a masters degree or more often a Ph.D.
  • Job growth will be much faster-than-average and concentrated in pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing companies and in professional, scientific and technical services firms.
  • Graduates with a bachelor’s degree will have opportunities at smaller research organizations; those with a master’s degree, and particularly those with a Ph.D., will enjoy better opportunities at larger pharmaceutical and biotechnology firms (Source: U

Selected Employer Hiring Partners

Ortho-Clinical, University of Illinois – Urbana, University of Rochester – Med. Ctr (Pharmacology), Rural/Metro Medical Services, UCB, Inc., Merck & Co., National Renewable Energy Lab, Genencor, Pfizer, Amgen, Novartis, Syngenta, LMI

Contact Us

We appreciate your interest in your career. We will make every effort to help you succeed. Call our office and ask to speak with Mindy Blake, thecareer services coordinator who works with the Biochemistry program. For your convenience, you can access information and services through our web site at www.rit.edu/careerservices.

Mindy Blake, Career Services Coordinator, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 585.475.5467
Rochester Institute of Technology . Office of Career Services and Cooperative Education
Bausch & Lomb Center
57 Lomb Memorial Drive . Rochester NY  14623-5603
585.475.2301

Unless otherwise noted, information is based upon data collected by RIT Office of Career Services and Cooperative Education.