Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

What is Biochemistry-Molecular Biology?

A common concern for the life and composition of the cell brings biologists and chemists together in the field of biochemistry-molecular biology. The vast and complex array of chemical reactions occurring in living matter and the chemical composition of the cell are the primary concerns of the biochemist. Life processes occurring at the molecular level, including the storage and transfer of genetic information and the interactions between cells and the viruses that infect them, are the investigatory concerns of the molecular biologist.

Throughout the Biochemistry-Molecular Biology program, students encounter and work with the sophisticated techniques and equipment that allow them to penetrate what one scientist refers to as "the boundaries between what we know and what we do not know, between our current understanding and what we are seeking to understand." At UCSB, students learn not only in the classroom, but also in the laboratory. There they actively engage in research with faculty and routinely interact with graduate students and postdoctoral research fellows. A continuing series of seminars conducted by outside researchers, as well as seminars on advanced topics conducted by department faculty, supplement the curriculum.

General Major Information

How Can I Tell I Would Like Biochemistry-Molecular Biology?

Biochemistry and molecular biology are sub-disciplines within the larger, more general area of biological sciences. The study of biochemistry and molecular biology requires that students be genuinely interested and able to perform successfully in the "quantitative" sciences and that they have acquired a solid foundation in biology, chemistry, mathematics, and physics.

What Are Potential Topics Within This Major?

Although the following list can provide students with topics that may be covered in this major, look at the UCSB catalog and consult with the Undergraduate Department Advisor for more detailed information about requirements and course offerings.

  • Biophysical Chemistry
  • Cell Biology
  • Pharmacology
  • Microbiology
  • Bacterial Pathogenesis
  • Animal Biology
  • Oncongenesis
  • Medical Immunology
  • Recombinant DNA Methods
  • Post-Translational Protein Processing
  • Neurobiology
  • Enzymes
  • Drug Design
  • The RNA World

To learn more about whether you might enjoy this major, check with a peer in the Career Resource Room for details on:

- Focus 2 to explore college majors and careers.

- The Strong Interest Inventory®, an assessment that compares your interests against six broad categories of work. This assessment helps match your interests and suggests potential careers to explore.

What Can I Do To Make My Major More Marketable?

  • Pursue relevant work, internship, volunteer, and/or research experience.
  • Choose a complementary minor.
  • Specialize in an area; take courses in related fields.
  • Develop your computer skills.
  • Learn a foreign language.
  • Study abroad.
  • Join professional associations.
  • Get involved in student clubs.
  • Participate in community organizations.
  • Seek out leadership positions.
  • Research specific prerequisites for different positions.
  • Network with others in fields that interest you.

General Career Information

What Are Some Possible Career Options?

Note: On its own, your major does not dictate what your job will be. The following list provides only a handful of possibilities. Biochemistry and Molecular Biology majors with a strong liberal arts background may pursue career options in hundreds of fields. Depending on experience, specialized coursework, and possible graduate study, options include:

  • Research and Development
  • Biotechnology Developer
  • Medical Illustrator
  • Biochemist
  • Physical Chemist
  • Research Assistant
  • Biological Scientist
  • Biophysicist
  • Microbiologist
To learn more about these and other occupations, please visit:
Occupational Outlook Handbook
Come visit the Career Resource Room to see our vast collection of career books and resources.
See what other UCSB alumni are doing with their major on LinkedIn

Graduate and Professional Schools

Click “Graduate School” for information on how to choose a grad school, how to pay for grad school, how to survive and flourish in grad school.
This is a comprehensive website that provides information about where graduate programs are offered throughout the nation.

This is a database to help find where graduate programs are offered throughout the U.S.

Come to the Career Resources Room to view the CHOICES lab version of graduate schools.

Experience Search Strategies

New Scientist Jobs
All types of biology jobs categorized by field, location, government/private, etc.
Lists biotech jobs, biology teaching jobs and bioscience jobs

A website of job postings related to biological sciences.

UCSB Career Services “Job Links” section
Check out job links in the following categories: Local/CA, National, International, Industry Specific, UCSB Careers by Majors and Diversity.

When you join LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network, you get access to people, jobs, news, updates, and insights that help you be great at what you do.

Professional Associations

The American Institute of Biological Sciences
The American Institute of Biological Sciences is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) scientific association dedicated to advancing biological research and education for the welfare of society.

Cellular & Molecular Biology Online
Lists common professional organizations for cell and molecular biologists. Most society web sites provide information about associated publications, meetings, membership and careers.

Scholarly Societies Project
The ultimate site for professional biology associations, national and international.

American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
This association is committed to outreach, networking opportunities, and providing resources to help advance careers in the field.

The Association of Biomolecular Resource Facilities:

Association of Medical and Graduate Departments of Biochemistry:

UCSB Resources