Biochemistry is an interdisciplinary program established by Western's Biology and Chemistry Departments. The program is specifically designed for students who seek graduate study or employment in biochemistry or molecular biology. Western's Biochemistry major provides significant lab training, and is designed to meet diverse career goals. There is close student-faculty contact, upper division class sizes are relatively small, and students have direct access to state of the art laboratory equipment and instrumentation.

The B.S. degree in Biochemistry (with greater emphasis on the physical chemical theory behind biological chemistry) is offered through Western's Chemistry Department, whereas a B.S. degree in Cellular and Molecular Biology (with a different emphasis) is offered through the Biology Department.

Portrait of Anne d'Aquino

“I decided that I wanted to conduct undergraduate research, and the professors in the Chemistry Department were encouraging and supportive. Several professors spoke to me, showed me around their lab, and even suggested that I speak with their colleagues to investigate other research that I might be interested in.” 

Anne d'Aquino
Biochemistry Student (NSF GRFP Fellowship awardee)

The Chemistry program at Western is consistently among the top 50 largest producers of American Chemical Society approved B.S. degrees in the nation.

Beyond the Classroom


Undergraduate students are encouraged to pursue faculty mentored research projects and to present the results of their research at national conferences or during Western’s annual Scholars Week. Many undergraduate students coauthor papers published in scientific literature. 

Campus Groups

The WEsTeRn Chem Club is a Student Chapter of the American Chemical Society (ACS), which has garnered seven consecutive "Outstanding Chapter" awards from the ACS. The chapter gives students at Western an opportunity to gain information on educational and professional opportunities and activities. Most importantly, the chapter provides Western students with opportunities to have fun by participating in social and community service activities that help to strengthen bonds among students, faculty, and the Bellingham community.


The Department of Chemistry is recognized as having one of the strongest undergraduate-based research programs in the nation, supported by an average of $1 million in annual external grant funding. 

Careers and Graduate Studies

Graduates have gone on to careers in medicine, aerospace, microelectronics, biotechnology, community college teaching, the energy sector, and many other fields. 

Employers of Recent Western Graduates:

  • Seattle Genetics: Research Associate
  • Center for Infectious Disease Research: Research Associate
  • University of Washington: Research Associate

Western graduates who pursue graduate studies are doing so at such schools as: 

  • Boston College: MD
  • Colorado State University: Chemistry PhD
  • Meharry Medical College: MD
  • New York Medical College: MD
  • St. Louis University School of Medicine: MD
  • University of California, Berkeley: Chemistry PhD
  • University of California, Riverside: Chemistry PhD
  • University of California, Santa Cruz: Chemistry PhD
  • University of Colorado, Boulder: (Bio)Chemistry PhD
  • University of Washington: (Bio)Chemistry PhD University of Washington: MD
  • Western University of Health Sciences: MD
  • Western Washington University: Chemistry MS



Sample Jobs

  • Chemical/Pharmaceutical Sales
  • Physician
  • Crime Lab Analyst
  • High School Teacher
  • Industrial Chemist
  • Technical Writing
  • Dentist
  • Forensic Scientist
  • Quality Assurance Specialist
  • Research Scientist
  • Occupational Safety Specialist
  • Veterinarian
  • Science Lab Technician
  • Biochemist
  • Biotechnology Scientist
  • College Professor
  • Environmental Scientist/Consultant

Requirements and Course Details

To learn more about this program, including grade requirements, a course listing, how to declare the major, and more, see the Program of Study Details.