A biochemistry degree opens up a range of highly-skilled careers that incorporate aspects of both biology and medicine
Jobs directly related to your degree include:
- Analytical chemist
- Biomedical scientist
- Healthcare scientist, clinical biochemistry
- Clinical research associate
- Forensic scientist
- Physician associate
- Research scientist (life sciences)
- Scientific laboratory technician
Jobs where your degree would be useful include:
Remember that many employers accept applications from graduates with any degree subject, so don't restrict your thinking to the jobs listed here. If you haven't already done so, take a few minutes to answer the Job Match questions to find out what careers would suit you.
The practical and technical skills you develop during your biochemistry degree - through laboratory-based work and your final year research project - prepare you well for a research or technical position. Obtaining some work experience, for example a summer internship in a research laboratory or company, will help to boost your chances of finding a job.
Some universities provide a four-year undergraduate course that includes an industry/research placement year. This is usually undertaken in the pharmaceutical or biotechnical industries or a research institute. Opportunities also exist to take a placement abroad, expanding your career prospects. Work placements help develop key skills further and provide opportunities for building contacts and networking.
Whatever your career plans it is important to enhance your degree with extra skills and experiences, which show that you are a proactive person engaging with the world around you.
The main employers of biochemistry graduates in the public sector are:
- Environment Agency;
- forensic science services;research institutes;
- government departments;
- the National Health Service;
Opportunities exist in government laboratories such as the Food & Environment Research Agency (FERA) and public health laboratories such as Public Health England.
Biochemistry graduates are also employed in industry. Typical employers include pharmaceutical, biotechnology, food, water and agricultural companies. Small companies employ biochemists to provide specialist services, such as toxicological studies.
Other employers include scientific and medical publishers and the Intellectual Property Office (as patent examiners).
Skills for your CV
During your degree you develop specific skills associated with biochemistry, such as:
- the ability to understand complex biological processes;
- a full and critical understanding of relevant texts;
- the ability to assemble an argument and engage in debate;
- critical and analytical skills;
- independent thinking and problem-solving.
Other general skills include:
- practical skills;
- communication, presentation and IT skills;
- self-management and the capacity to lead your own professional development.
You can demonstrate your experience in these areas by giving examples from the practical work and group projects included in your degree course.
It is common for biochemists to continue their higher education if they are intending to develop a career in the biosciences. A PhD is essential for academic research or to secure a career as an academic lecturer. Even for those entering research in industry or associated careers such as publishing, science communication or clinical careers, further qualifications are an asset and increasingly essential.
If you are aiming for a career path away from science, for example in teaching, law, finance or other non-scientific careers, consider what kind of professional qualifications may stand you in good stead for getting into your chosen career. With a biochemistry degree you can also apply for graduate entry to medicine, dentistry and veterinary science.
What do biochemistry graduates do?
A fifth of graduates are working in the UK either as biochemists, medical scientists or laboratory technicians.
More than a third of graduates go on to further study, a tenth of whom are studying towards clinical medicine.
|Working and studying||4.6|
|Type of work||Percentage|
|Technicians and other professionals||19.2|
|Retail, catering and bar work||12.6|
|Business, HR and financial||11.8|
Find out what other science graduates are doing six months after finishing their degrees in What Do Graduates Do?
Graduate destinations data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency.