During the upper-level years, students take a substantial core of courses in biochemistry, physical chemistry, liberal arts, and elective courses in life sciences. Students must take a minimum of two upper-division biology electives.
Undergraduate research experiences are available with professors throughout the School of Chemistry and Material Sciences and are highly encouraged. These opportunities enable students to practice real world lab application of the information they are currently studying. Cooperative Education is also highly recommended to gain experiences outside of RIT, though they not required for graduation. Academic Advisors and the Office of Cooperative Education and Career Services are available to assist in finding and scheduling co-ops.
Employment opportunities for biochemistry graduates exist in the chemical, pharmaceutical, agricultural, forensic, and rapidly expanding biotechnological fields. Graduates also are well-prepared to enter advanced degree programs in biochemistry, medicine, pharmacy, dentistry, and veterinary medicine.
Biochemists need a Ph.D. to work in independent research and development positions. Most Ph.D. holders begin their careers in temporary postdoctoral research positions. During their postdoctoral appointments, they work with experienced scientists, as they continue to learn about their specialties or develop a broader understanding of related areas of research. Postdoctoral positions frequently offer the opportunity to publish research findings. A solid record of published research is essential to get a permanent position doing basic research, especially for those seeking a permanent college or university faculty position. Bachelor’s and master’s degree holders are qualified for some entry-level positions in biochemistry.
Employment of biochemists is projected to grow 19 percent from 2012 to 2022, faster than 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 our lives.
The aging baby-boom population and the demand for lifesaving new drugs and procedures to cure and to prevent disease likely will drive demand for biochemists involved in biomedical research. For example, biochemists will be needed to conduct genetic research and to develop new medicines and treatments that are used to fight genetic disorders and diseases such as cancer. They also will be needed to develop new tests used to detect diseases and other illnesses.
Areas of research and development in biotechnology other than health are expected to provide employment growth for biochemists and biophysicists. Greater demand for clean energy should increase the need for biochemists that research and develop alternative energy sources, such as biofuels. A growing population and rising food prices are expected to fuel the development of genetically engineered crops and livestock that provide greater yields and require fewer resources. Efforts to discover new and improved ways to clean up and preserve the environment will increase demand for biochemists, as well.
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.
Baltimore Police Dept, Ortho-Clinical Diagnostics (Johnson & Johnson), University of Illinois–Urbana, University of Rochester – Med. Ctr (Pharmacology), Rural/Metro Medical Services, UCB, Inc., Fraser Papers, Merck & Co., National Renewable Energy Lab, Genencor, Syngenta, Harvard Stem Cell Institute, LMI