Biochemistry (Undergraduate Certificate)

The Biochemistry Certificate provides students with a theoretical background in the biochemical sciences, and also with laboratory experiences that will equip them for research positions in academia or the private sector. Our biochemistry lab track of two courses exposes students to all aspects of classical and modern biochemical techniques. This includes the development of quantitative skills, an aspect often overlooked. In addition to having students experience a wide variety of laboratory techniques, we also expose students to (a) techniques that are on the “cutting edge” and just being implemented in private industry (e.g., green chemistry) and, (b) use of specialized equipment (HPLC, MS, NMR, etc.). Combined with the theoretical background provided in the lecture courses, students receive training that prepares them for post-baccalaureate careers in academia or industry.

The Biochemistry Certificate offered by the University of Massachusetts Boston is the only biochemistry certificate program offered in the United States which does not require that students be Biochemistry majors, Biology majors, or Chemistry majors. Individuals who obtained a college degree, either within a science or a non-science discipline, are eligible to apply to the Biochemistry Certificate Program. Typically, such an individual is working in a biochemistry related job, or thinking of obtaining a job in a biochemistry related area, and they may want documentation to show that they have studied biochemistry.

Some individuals may be seeking a career change or a position advancement within a biomedical, biotechnology, pharmaceutical, or other related company. This would also include those have been in the business part of the industry and wish to acquire practical knowledge of the science. The certificate provides them with a more tangible result than simply enrolling in a group of courses and having only a transcript.

Those seeking a career change may be in a non-biochemistry position at a company, but have a science background. They would wish to obtain a position in a biochemistry group at their company, or to pursue employment with a company that is conducting biochemical research. Individuals seeking to upgrade their position may view the Biochemistry Certificate as a means to acquire the necessary background and laboratory expertise to pursue a more intellectually stimulating and financially favorable position. It is not unusual for individuals in the business aspect of the industry to need knowledge of the science they are representing.

The Biochemistry Certificate offers individuals an opportunity to enroll in five courses over a one year period, and receive documentation of their successful completion of a core group of courses in the biochemistry discipline. If they have fulfilled the prerequisite requirements, consisting of the courses Introductory Biology, General Chemistry, Cell Biology, Genetics, and Organic Chemistry, they could then complete the 300-level required courses, and obtain the Biochemistry Certificate, in 1 year. Students needing to complete the above listed prerequisite courses could complete the program in two years, although a realistic plan would be three years.

To receive the Biochemistry Certificate a student must complete, at the University of Massachusetts-Boston, the following courses:

Biochemistry 383 - Biochemistry I lecture

3 credits / 3 hours
Biochemistry 385 - Biochemistry I lab

3 credits / 7 hours
Biochemistry 384 - Biochemistry II lecture

3 credits / 3 hours
Biochemistry 386 - Biochemistry II lab

3 credits / 5 hours
Biology 372 - Molecular Biology

3 credits / 3 hours

Successful completion of a course requires a minimum grade of C. The Grade Point Average (GPA) for all completed required courses must be 2.5 or higher.

It is expected that students enrolling to complete this Biochemistry Certificate will have completed the pre-requisites for the above courses. The pre-requisites are listed in the University of Massachusetts Course Description catalog. Evidence of successful completion of these pre-requisites elsewhere should be presented, prior to enrolling in Biochemistry 383 and Biochemistry 385, to the Biochemistry Director, in the form of an official University transcript. A grade of C or better is required, and the decision on whether to accept a course from another institution resides with the Biochemistry Director, in consultation with appropriate colleagues in Biology and Chemistry.

For students lacking the appropriate pre-requisite courses, any or all of the following courses may be completed at the University of Massachusetts-Boston or elsewhere:

Biology 111 - General Biology I

Chemistry 115+117 - Chemical Principles I
Biology 112 - General Biology II

Chemistry 116+118 - Chemical Principles II
Biology 212 - Cell Biology (lecture)

Chemistry 251+255 - Organic Chemistry I
Biology 254 - Genetics (lecture)

Chemistry 252+256 - Organic Chemistry II