Biochemistry

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. It will 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 diverse topics, such 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 cellular processes; 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.

See our Major Map to learn more

Location: 
Botterell Hall
Room number: 
813
Telephone: 
Associate Dean, Life Sciences and Biochemistry: 
Michael D. Kawaja
Life Sciences Program: 
Katherine Rudder
Biochemistry Program: 
Denise Cameron

Degree Options

Bachelor of Science (Honours) - BScH

Specialization in Biochemistry
An intensive course of study with approximately two-thirds of your courses within the subject of study.

Specialization in Biochemistry - Cooperative Program
An intensive course of study with approximately two-thirds of your courses within the subject of study.

Major in Biochemistry
A major is an intensive course of study in one discipline, with approximately half of your courses within the discipline with room for an optional minor in any other Arts and Science discipline.

For a full list of Degree Plans, see the Academic Calendar
Graduate Degree Options

Biochemistry - PhD
Biochemistry - MSc (Anatomical Sciences)
Biochemistry - MSc

Job and Career Opportunities for Biochemistry Grads

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 are a of biochemistry, which is benefiting greatly from the recombinant DNA revolution. The sequencing of the entire genomes of many organisms including humans is the start of a new era in Biochemistry which will involve the use of microchips to study patterns of protein and gene expression changes occurring in disease states. In addition, global efforts are underway to identify all protein lipid and metabolite components of a given state of health or disease. Biochemistry in the 21st century will uncover the biochemical basis for life, continue to unravel the cause for many diseases including cancer and heart disease offering new pathways for the development of cures and 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 and proteins, enzymology, metabolism and bioenergetics, hormones and vitamins and the specialized biochemistry of specific organisms or tissues such as muscle or brain.

Some of our Biochemistry grads work in the following industries:

  • Academia
  • Agricultural Sciences
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Biotechnology Business
  • Dentistry
  • Education
  • Epidemiology
  • Food Science and Technology
  • Forensic Science
  • Forestry
  • Genetics
  • Graduate Studies
  • Journalism
  • Medicine
  • Nutrition & Dietetics
  • Law
  • Pharmacy Pharmaceuticals
  • Public Health
  • Medical Research
  • Veterinary Medicine

Career paths for Biochemistry grads handout from Career Services >

Undergraduate Course Highlights

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 complement of courses in biochemistry are offered in the third year program, together with an extensive laboratory course. The fourth year is devoted almost entirely to biochemistry, covering some of the latest advances, and including a large proportion of advanced laboratory experience.

Undergraduate Admission to Biochemistry

Students apply to Queen’s Science (QS) through the OUAC (Ontario Universities Application Centre) website (ouac.on.ca). Secondary School prerequisites include English 4U, Advanced Functions 4U, Calculus and Vectors 4U, plus two of Biology 4U, Chemistry 4U, or Physics 4U.