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Learn biochemistry with online courses and programs

Biochemistry is the study of organisms at the molecular level. It aims to explain why biological events occur within cells, and how they impact an organism’s functions. Build your knowledge of biochemistry with courses delivered through edX.

What is biochemistry?

Biochemistry explores how organisms function from a cellular perspective. It combines the sciences of biology and chemistry to examine the processes that both enable and hinder survival. Biochemists study topics such as the breakdown of food during digestion, the effects of bacteria on various biological processes, and the efficacy of pharmaceuticals on the immune system.

By studying the individual processes that occur within different organisms, biochemists can uncover cause and effect relationships, leading to important developments within the fields of pharmacology, immunology, nutrition, genetics, agriculture, and more. One of the most famous discoveries within the field was the double-helix structure of DNA by James Watson and Francis Crick, which led to breakthroughs in genetic testing and engineering, including the completion of the Human Genome Project.

From understanding caffeine’s effects on the nervous system to examining bacterial reactions to antibiotics, the applications of this field are vast, and can even be life-changing.Footnote 1 Start learning biochemistry today.

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Biochemistry course curriculum

If you are interested in studying this field, you can start by learning the fundamentals of biochemistry. Topics that can be covered in introductory or intermediate-level biochemistry classes include: 

  • The structure and function of the chemical building blocks of life

  • The navigation of protein structures using PyMOL

  • The central role of enzymes in catalyzing the reactions of life

  • The primary metabolic pathways that power cells

  • The intricate mechanisms that regulate cellular metabolism

  • The integration of biochemical processes in the context of cells, tissues, and whole organisms

Depending on your subfield of interest, you can also take specialized courses that can teach everything from the science of brewing beer to the engineering of biomaterials.

Explore the range of learning opportunities offered through edX. Learners can build professional skills through accelerated boot camps. Or they can enroll in full degree programs ranging from bachelor’s in social work programs to higher level master’s in nursing programs. Find the right learning pathway for you.

Explore biochemistry jobs

There are many career paths available within the field of biochemistry. Professional roles in which biochemistry knowledge is needed include:

  • Forensic scientist: These professionals assist law enforcement in determining a variety of biological factors associated with a specific crime. They might specialize in blood spatter analysis, drug tracing, preserving crime scenes, and other important duties involved in solving crimes.Footnote 2

  • Chemical engineer: These professionals apply their biochemical knowledge to solving problems in the development of various products. Some of their responsibilities include conducting research to enhance processes for their organization, developing chemical processes, and troubleshooting manufacturing methods.Footnote 3

  • Biochemist: These professionals conduct scientific research and analytics to better understand molecular mechanisms. This might involve identifying alternative fuels, engineering crops, or studying the evolution of plants and animals.Footnote 4

  • Agricultural scientist: These professionals work to improve the quality and safety of agricultural food sources. Individuals within this subfield may further specialize in animal science, food technology, plant science, or soil science.Footnote 5

Set yourself up for a successful career in biochemistry with the right education and preparation. Each of these roles will have different educational and skills requirements. For example, some employers may accept candidates with a bachelor’s degree, while others will require a master’s degree. Before you decide on an educational pathway, research the roles you are interested in and align your learning with your professional aspirations.