Biochemistry is the study of reactions that underpin the living system. These include the vital metabolic reactions that provide cells with energy to perform myriad activities and functions, and the biosynthetic reactions that enable cells to renew, repair, grow, and divide. The linkage of biochemistry with molecular biology for the past 30 years has brought revolutionary advances in our understanding of the living world, the human organism, disease etiology, and medicine.
The interdisciplinary major in biochemistry offers a rigorous course of study that builds on two years of fundamental course work in biology and chemistry. With this broad preparation, students engage with biochemistry and molecular biology at a very high level, allowing them to integrate their knowledge in molecular and cellular biology, and to think and address issues occurring at the forefront of the biochemical/biomedical sciences. Majors are also encouraged to participate in academic-year or summer research and majors usually have more than one research internship experience before graduation.
The graduation outcomes of biochemistry majors have contributed to the very distinguished record of the Mount Holyoke science departments in general. Of the 15 graduates biochemistry has averaged each year, typically one-third goes to medical school and one-third to graduate school directly after graduation. The remaining one-third has opted to work in biotechnology or pharmaceutical industries, or do research in a university lab before returning to school for higher degree training, or go into allied professions such as patent law, science education, health care consulting, and investment banking.
Mount Holyoke College ranks first among all liberal arts colleges in producing women who went on to receive U.S. doctorates in the life sciences (356) and in the physical sciences (109) from 1966 to 2004. This places Mount Holyoke in the top 2 percent of all colleges and universities--even major research universities with at least double the enrollment and faculty.
And, Mount Holyoke is a leader in educating international and minority students in the sciences. From 2000 to 2004, Mount Holyoke produced more international female graduates who went on to receive U.S. doctorates in the physical and life sciences than any other college or university in the nation. Among elite liberal arts colleges, Mount Holyoke ranks first in graduating minority women who went on to receive U.S. doctorates (22 total) in life and physical sciences from 2000 to 2004.