What Are Biochemistry and Molecular Biology?

When you study biochemistry and molecular biology, you'll learn to understand the chemical and physical principles that make life as we know it possible. You'll examine biological processes from physical, chemical, and genetic perspectives in an academic discipline with great overlap with many other fields in the biological, chemical, medical, and behavioral sciences. There are endless possible areas of research, including investigations into the chemicals that constitute living organisms, how biochemical reactions are integrated and regulated, and how the genetic information stored in living organisms is expressed and controlled.

What can I do with an undergraduate degree in biochemistry and molecular biology?

A BMB degree prepares you for opportunities in a wide range of fields, including:

  • Graduate programs in biochemistry, molecular genetics, immunology, pharmacology, virology, physiology, and nutrition.
  • Professional schools for medical, dental, pharmacy, and optometry.
  • Positions with biotechnology companies, the food industries, clinical laboratories, scientific equipment suppliers, the government, universities, and medical laboratories.

While many of our majors go on to graduate school or medical school, you'll find there are a wide variety of positions for biochemists who have only completed an undergraduate degree.

What is it like to be a biochemistry and molecular biology major?

The Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (BMB) program at UMass Amherst offers you a rigorous and exciting major that's designed for motivated undergraduates looking for a program with lots of opportunities for faculty contact and hands-on research.

Recommended Prerequisites

Our program emphasizes instruction in mathematics, physics, chemistry, and biology. Upper-level courses in biochemistry build on this foundation and prepare you well for either employment or further study.

BMB may be a good fit for you if you're strong in:

  • Calculus
  • Chemistry
  • Biology

AP credit in these areas is a plus.

Independent Research

As a major, you can earn Independent Research credits for time spent working on a research project. Students typically start a project in the fall semester of the junior year. Learn more about our faculty and their research.


Sophomores with a grade point average of 3.4 or better should consult with the Chief Undergraduate Advisor and Departmental Honors Coordinator about the Commonwealth Honors College. BMB Departmental Honors includes a year of laboratory research and a thesis.


We have Academic Advisors who are available for email, Zoom, and in-person appointments. We also have Peer Advisors who can answer any questions you may have about the student experience; they're available for drop-in advising throughout the course of the semester.