Biochemistry is the study of life at the molecular level. It examines how cells work and the genetic functioning of living organisms. Biochemistry dates back over a century but the modern age of biochemistry had its start almost 60 years ago with the discovery of the double helical structure of DNA and the elucidation of the molecular mechanism of heredity. The completion of the sequencing of the human and other genomes has allowed biochemists to begin to decipher the genetic codes within cells and, in turn, has increased our understanding of the pathways that link the many molecules responsible for cellular activity. These advances in biochemistry have led to life-changing discoveries for humankind and, as part of the next generation of biochemists, you could be at the forefront of this exciting and momentous revolution.
As a Biochemistry student at York, you will work with professors who are approachable, dedicated teachers and leaders in all aspects of biochemistry and molecular biology. Support and academic advising are available throughout the program to help you meet your personal, educational and professional goals.
High academic achievers will thrive in this prestigious Specialized Honours program as they examine the interface of Biology and Chemistry and explore the functions, structure and regulation of living organisms at the cellular and molecular levels.
In the first year of the program, most students take Biology, Physics, Chemistry, Calculus and Computer Science. You will start your specialization in second year by taking courses such as Organic Chemistry, Cell Biology, Biochemistry, Thermodynamics, Inorganic Chemistry and Genetics. Your final years will consist of a selection of advanced courses, including Nucleic Acid Metabolism, Biotechnology and Gene Expression, along with many of your own choosing. Toward the end, you will engage in a supervised research study, which can include original laboratory work, or a theoretical project and/or field investigations under the supervision of a professor of your choice. There will also be additional opportunities for laboratory work and research during summer terms or part-time during the school year.
Facilities and Opportunities
York has outstanding research centres and facilities available to students and faculty members. Biology and Chemistry labs at York are state-of-the-art, and they have cutting-edge equipment available for students to use in their course work or independent research. The new Life Sciences Building, houses new undergraduate laboratories, an advising office and a learning commons dedicated to first-year life science students and research laboratories. Combined with faculty members who are active researchers, these facilities provide students with exposure to cutting edge research. The Centre for Research in Mass Spectrometry, the Center for Research in Biomolecular Interactions, and the Combinational Chemistry Facility are award-winning and internationally recognized research facilities that support biochemical research.
Biochemistry graduates at York are prepared to enter the workforce and take meaningful and well paid jobs in a variety of fields. A foundation in biochemistry will allow you work to in research and teaching fields that include genetic engineering, forensics, pharmaceutical drug design, disease research, agriculture and many others. Such foundations can even aid in work on specific projects such as DNA fingerprinting or public health laboratory work, to name a few. With the solid grounding of an undergraduate degree, you may also decide to pursue further studies in the sciences at the graduate level or in professional schools such as medicine, dentistry, pharmacy,optometry, law or business.
First year in Biochemistry, you wil probably take:
• Computer Use
• General Education course
In second year you will probably take:
• Cell Biology and Biochemistry
• Organic Chemistry
• Inorganic Chemistry
• a general education course
Courses in your upper years include:
• Advanced Biochemistry
• Nucleic Acid Metabolism
• Advanced Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics Laboratory
• Macromolecules of Biochemical Interest
• Regulation of Gene Expression
• Bioanalytical Chemistry
• Honours Thesis
• Pharmaceutical Discovery
You could also take courses in:
• Cellular Regulation
• Membrane Transport
• Biology of Cancer
• Human Molecular Genetics
• Cell and Molecular Biology of Development
and many, many more
Career options for Biochemistry majors include:
• Biochemistry Research – academic government, industry
• Pharmaceutical Research and Development
• Medical Research
• Hospital and Diagnostic Laboratories
• Biotech, Pharmaceutical or Chemical Industry – product development, technical information, product information, quality control, regulatory affairs
• Agriculture – geneticist, molecular biologist, biochemist
• Professional Schools – Medicine, Dentistry, Pharmacy, etc
• Graduate Studies