Biochemistry Overview

There has never been a more opportune or exciting time to pursue a degree in Biochemistry.

That’s because biochemistry plays a key role in addressing and working to solve global issues such as the treatment and prevention of disease, food security and energy production.

Biochemists tackle big problems and ask hard questions. They figure out how pollutants and chemicals in the environment affect humans and wildlife, and work on growing high-yield, nutritious crops that can feed hungry populations of people. Others study ways to convert energy found in algae or waste products into biofuels.

Biochemists help to solve pressing problems and have the potential to improve life for people around the globe.

We are extremely proud of our science programs and facilities at Alvernia. Biochemistry courses are taught in the O’Pake Science Center, a state-of-the-art facility with two floors of laboratory and classroom space, all offering the latest in educational technology.

As a Biochemistry major at Alvernia, you’ll learn more than what is contained in textbooks. You’ll experience “real-world learning” that will enable you to link your classroom experiences to the larger community and, indeed, the world.

Your Career

Earning a Biochemistry degree from Alvernia University can prepare you for a wide variety of careers. While many biochemists work in traditional laboratory and research settings, others pursue careers in fields including business, sales, law and consulting.

You might be interested in a career in the chemical or pharmaceutical industry, or want to work as a research assistant or a testing and inspection professional. You may pursue a job as a quality control technician, secondary school teacher, scientific editor, associate chemist, analytical chemist, or a technical sales or service representative.

Or, you might choose to enter graduate school to study pharmacology, physiology, chemistry or biochemistry. Alvernia biochemistry graduates have also pursued further study in dentistry, medical school, pharmacy school, optometry, microbiology, forensic pathology and education.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that employment of biochemists is projected to increase by 19 percent between 2012 and 2022, a rate that is higher than the average for all occupations.

In addition, Alvernia partners with Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine to offer an early acceptance program for students who quality to enter the college’s School of Dental Medical, School of Pharmacy or Medical College following completion of their degree at Alvernia.

For more information about Alvernia’s Biochemistry Program contact the Admissions Office at 1-888-ALVERNIA or 610-796-8269 or


All Alvernia students must successfully complete a minimum of 123 semester credits to receive a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science degree.

Courses required for Biochemistry majors are:

CHE 104 General Chemistry I
CHE 105 General Chemistry II
CHE 107 Laboratory Safety
CHE 110 General Chemistry I Lab
CHE 111 General Chemistry II Lab
CHE 201 Organic Chemistry I
CHE 202 Organic Chemistry II
CHE 210 Organic Chemistry I Lab
CHE 211 Organic Chemistry II Lab
CHE 301 Physical Chemistry I
CHE 302 Physical Chemistry II
CHE 310 Physical Chemistry I Lab
CHE 311 Physical Chemistry II Lab
CHE 401 Biochemistry
CHE 410 Biochemistry Laboratory

Related courses that also are required are:

BIO 103 Principles of Biology
BIO 115 Human Form & Function
BIO 116 Human Form & Function Lab
BIO 221 General Microbiology w/Lab
BIO 303 Genetics
BIO 304 Cell Biology -- AND -- BIO 311 Cell Physiology Lab –OR—BIO 409 Immunology
BIO 309 Molecular Genetics Lab
PHY 200 Physics I w/Lab
PHY 201 Physics II w/Lab
MAT 209 Probability and Statistics
MAT 131 Precalculus (recommended)
MAT 220 Math/Statistics Computer Lab
MAT 230 Calculus I
SCI 402 Seminar

Choose one from these elective courses:

BIO 205 Botany w/Lab
BIO 315 Forensic Medicine
BIO 405 Pharmacology
BIO 409 Immunology
CHE 212 Analytical Chemistry w/Lab
CHE 221 Instrumental Analysis
CHE 315 Forensic Toxicology
MAT 231 Calculus II

You also must complete either an internship in Math or Science or an individual research project under the direction of a faculty member. The internship or research project counts for 6 credits.

For more information about careers in biochemistry check the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology website at

Student Perspective

"Forensic science goes beyond combining chemistry and biology; it requires critical thinking and a desire to challenge what the eyes see. At Alvernia, my professors taught me the true value of research and how the results can change how we see the world around us. In the 17 years I've been in school, I've never learned a more valuable lesson."

- Kelsey Schubert '16, PSU Graduate Student

Contact Information

Rosemarie C. Chinni, Ph.D.

Science & Mathematics Department Chair and Director of the Forensic Science Program
Bernardine Hall 234