Biochemistry

High School Background Required
Life After Graduation
First Year Requirements
Further Information

Biochemistry, the study of chemical processes in living tissues, is one of the fastest developing subjects within the biological sciences. Many of the major scientific discoveries during the last forty years have been in the area of biochemistry, which is benefiting greatly from the recombinant DNA revolution. The sequencing of the entire genomes of many organisms including humans has ushered in a new era in Biochemistry which includes the use of state-of-the-art techniques to study patterns of protein and gene expression changes occurring in disease states. In addition, global efforts are underway to characterize lipid and metabolite components in a given state of health or disease. Biochemistry in the 21st century will continue to uncover the biochemical basis for life, to unravel the molecular basis for many diseases including cancer and heart disease thereby offering new strategies for the development of cures and to establish new tools for the development of emerging nanotechnologies.

Biochemistry has wide scope and deals with such diverse topics as molecular genetics, the structure and function of nucleic acids, proteins, and lipids, enzymology, metabolism and bioenergetics, hormones and vitamins and the specialized biochemistry of specific organisms or tissues such as muscle or brain.

The biochemist applies the basic principles of chemistry, mathematics, physics and biology to the study of living tissues; thus a good grounding in these subjects is an integral part of the B.Sc.(Honours, Biochemistry) program at Queen's.

The first two years of study in the Biochemistry program involve courses in general chemistry, organic chemistry, mathematics and biology, the latter giving also a first introduction to biochemical themes. The first full courses in biochemistry are offered in the third year of the B.Sc. program, together with an extensive laboratory course; and the fourth year is devoted almost entirely to biochemistry, covering some of the latest advances, and including a large proportion of advanced laboratory experience.

The aim of the program is to train students in the principles and techniques of biochemistry, and also to provide a foundation for those who may choose to go on to Graduate School to pursue a career in biochemical or related research. This program will also provide a strong background in biochemistry for those contemplating careers in biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries as well as professional schools.

The Co-op Degree

Biochemistry students have the chance to get valuable work experience in leading research laboratories as part of the Biochemistry Co-operative Degree program. Entry to the Co-op program is selective.

Work terms in major pharmaceutical, and biotechnology companies, government funded research laboratories and hospital and university research institutes provide opportunities to the co-op students to increase their laboratory skills, apply academic theories and knowledge, and to develop confidence in working as part of a team at the front line of biomedical research.

Currently there is one eight-month work term (May to December) and one four-month work term (May to August): the first starting at the end of the third undergraduate year, followed by a term on campus: then the second work term, followed by a final term on campus before graduation. Thus the degree program is extended to five years, and includes twelve months of paid work experience.

Every work term placement is closely monitored and evaluated by Queen's Faculty.

High School Background Required

Ontario requires 4U Advanced Functions and Introductory Calculus, Chemistry and Physics or recognized equivalents. If coming from another province, see the Admissions webpage for more information.

Ontario recommends 4U Geometry, Discrete Mathematics and Biology or recognized equivalents.  If coming from another province, see the Admissions webpage for more information.

Life After Graduation

  • Medicine or related health professions
  • Graduate studies/research
  • Pharmaceutical industry/Government/Commerce
  • Administration of biotechnology or pharmaceutical companies

First Year Requirements

Go to Choose Your First Year Courses for more information

Further Information

Biochemistry Home Web Page
Phone: (613) 533-2900
Fax: (613) 533-6796

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