Biochemistry is the study of how living organisms work at the molecular level. It is an interdisciplinary major, incorporating principles of chemistry, biology and physics. It looks at the structure, function and interactions of biological molecules, the nature of genetic material and control of its expression, and leads to an understanding of the molecular structure of living things. One of the most stimulating and positive aspects of biochemistry is its increasing interaction with medicine.

Pursuing a career as a biochemist could see you working on the biochemistry of diseases such as diabetes, cancer, cystic fibrosis and AIDS, to enable definitive diagnosis and development of cures.

For more information on the program structure and content, view the Science Undergraduate Handbook.

Major outline

Students undertake required junior units of study in chemistry, mathematics and molecular biology and genetics, and also normally undertake units of study in biology, physics, or computer science.

Intermediate study includes the structure and function of proteins and enzymes, protein synthesis, the breakdown of energy-rich fuel molecules to provide energy, the synthesis of biological molecules and the storage of fuels, and the response of fuel breakdown and storage pathways to different physiological situations.

Laboratory classes offer students the experience of real experimental science and training in practical skills for senior study in molecular biology, immunology, the structural biochemistry of macromolecules, aspects of metabolic biochemistry, functional genomics and proteomics.

Molecular Biology and Biochemistry – Genes
Molecular Biology and Biochemistry – Proteins
Human Molecular Cell Biology
Medical and Metabolic Biochemistry
Proteomics and Functional Genomics

Graduate opportunities

Biochemists work at the forefront of scientific research in organisations which include the food manufacturing industries, biotechnology companies, hospitals, diagnostic laboratories, universities, schools, the pharmaceutical industry, agriculture and research institutes.

Further study for major

Eligible students may apply for admission to a BSc honours year in biochemistry, or postgraduate coursework study in the sciences. Honours students undertake a research project, working in a research laboratory. Outstanding honours graduates may apply for admission to higher degree doctoral research. There are five well-equipped and well-funded research areas in the School of Molecular Bioscience at Sydney with active research groups in each: proteomics; structural and physical biochemistry; molecular and cellular biology; metabolic and medical biochemistry; and human nutrition and dietetics.

Related subject areas

Cell Pathology
Medicinal Chemistry

Our courses that offer this major