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Undergraduate Studies

About Biochemistry

- How can exploring the structure of a bacterial enzyme allow us to create new antibiotics?

- How can examining the mutations in a cancer patient’s tumor guide us to improve their treatment?

- How can we develop more effective treatments for genetic diseases like cystic fibrosis by studying the cellular proteins that these diseases compromise?

- How is the information in our genomes ‘translated’ into the extraordinarily complex beings we are?

What do all of these questions have in common? - Answering each of them (and many more) requires us to study the molecules that make up living organisms, to investigate their individual functions and to understand how they work together to create and to sustain life. This is the fundamental goal of biochemistry, the study of the molecules that make up living things and how they function, in health and disease, in systems ranging from single cells to the most complex organisms.

Our undergraduate programs teach students to understand the molecules found in living systems, the tools that we use to study them and how we use our ever-growing knowledge about the biochemical bases of life to address critical issues in human health and many other fields. 

Bachelor’s degree programs

Our Major and Honours programs provide a strong background for students aiming for a professional career in biochemistry. The less specialized Liberal program allows students to combine core courses in biochemistry with a breadth component from another discipline (please visit this link (https://mcgill.ca/science/student/newstudents/u1/bscprogram) for more details).

Training for the future

The increasingly complex technologies used in the life sciences require solid training in both biology and chemistry. The combination of biochemistry, molecular biology, enzymology and molecular genetics taught in our programs provides the essential background and training needed for careers in the areas of biotechnology, health care and the chemical and pharmaceutical industries.

Our graduates can work in a variety of positions in industry and health. These range from R&D in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries, to testing and research in government and hospital laboratories, to management.

Many graduates take higher degrees in research and attain academic positions in universities and colleges or senior positions in industry or government institutions.

Overview of Our Undergraduate Programs

B.Sc. Liberal Program - 47 credits

This is the most flexible of the B.Sc. programs offered, providing students with a useful concentration in Biochemistry while allowing them to pursue a minor in another speciality or to broaden their education in the sciences.

Major Program - 64 credits

The Major program becomes more specialized in Biochemistry during the final two years, with a total of 67 science credits. This program requires skills and insight from all areas of chemistry, and from other areas such as biology, physiology, microbiology and immunology, statistics, and pharmacology.

For students aiming for a professional career in the biological sciences or in medicine, these programs can lead to post-graduate studies and research careers in hospital, university or industrial laboratories.

Honours Program - 73 credits

The Honours program in Biochemistry combines the substantial background given by the Major program with a challenging opportunity to carry out laboratory research projects in the U3 year. These courses provide students with research experience under the supervision of a professor in the Department.

Honours students intending to pursue an MSc in Biochemistry may be interested in the BSc/MSc Track, which offers a streamlined path to a graduate degree.

BSc/MSc Track

The Biochemistry BSc/MSc Track offers a direct path to a graduate degree for strong undergraduate students interested in research. The track provides an opportunity for continuous laboratory research under the same supervisor, starting in the summer after U2, throughout U3, to early enrollment in the MSc program. Completion of the MSc after one academic year will be possible, faster than the two years expected for a typical MSc.

 

Applying to Undergraduate Programs in Biochemistry

The Department of Biochemistry is part of the Faculty of Science and offers programs leading to the degree of BSc.

  • Complete descriptions of our programs are found on our Undergraduate Programs page.
  • To apply to our undergraduate programs and for information about the application procedure, visit the Applying to Undergraduate Studies site.
  • Undergraduate admission requirements and deadlines will be determined by 1) Your education background and 2) The program you apply to.
  • For information about application deadlines, click the Requirements and Deadlines tab (https://mcgill.ca/applying/requirements) on the ‘Applying to Undergraduate Studies’ site.