at UBC's

Vancouver Campus

Biochemistry is the study of the chemical processes occurring in living matter, a discipline which encompasses an incredibly diverse field of research that touches nearly all aspects of our lives. Biochemists are working in areas as diverse environmental degradation, forensics, disease research, and archaeology.

This program is also offered at UBC's Okanagan Campus
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Why this program?

  • Attend lectures and labs in UBC’s state-of-the-art Life Sciences Institute.
  • Prepare for graduate study in biochemistry, molecular biology, biophysics, or professional schools.
  • Gain hands-on research experience through upper-year laboratory courses.
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Program information

  • Campus: Vancouver
  • Faculty: Faculty of Science
  • Degree: Bachelor of Science
  • Length 4 yrs
  • Co-op Yes
    You can combine your studies with full-time, paid work at top local and international organizations.
  • Honours Yes
    You can study intense specialization in a single field.

Biochemistry is concerned with the chemical compounds and processes that occur in plants, animals, and microorganisms. Specifically, it involves the analysis of proteins, carbohydrates, and lipids, which comprise the basic constituents of cells.

This specialization equips you with a strong foundation in biochemistry while also providing the flexibility to cultivate your interests in allied fields (e.g., microbiology, food science, and chemistry). An undergraduate degree in biochemistry is particularly appropriate for students who anticipate a professional career in the health sciences or research.

Biochemistry is available at the undergraduate level as a major or honours. It can also be paired with chemistry for a combined major or combined honours degree.

Housed in the Faculty of Medicine, the program’s primary focus is on the biochemistry of the human body. Biochemistry can also be studied as an elective in biology, chemistry, microbiology and immunology, and cellular, anatomical and physiological sciences.

Campus features

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology is located in the Life Sciences Centre, a multi-disciplinary research space where more than 80 faculty investigators and approximately 600 trainees and research staff conduct innovative research in many areas of the life and biomedical sciences. The Laboratory for Molecular Biophysics has state-of-the-art instrumentation and facilities.

Experiential learning and research

The Biochemistry program champions and supports the participation of undergraduates in research and provides students the opportunity gain hands-on research experience through several upper-year laboratory courses.

Life at UBC's Vancouver campus

The Biochemistry program is housed in the Life Sciences Centre. Constructed in 2005, the Life Sciences Centre is part of the Life Sciences Institute, which is the largest research centre on UBC’s Vancouver campus.

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Your future

A BSc in Biochemistry is a perfect stepping stool for entry into graduate programs, as well as medical, law, dental, or pharmacy school.

Students graduate with strong critical thinking, communication, and research abilities. These skills are highly sought after and are transferable to many workplaces.

Program graduates

  • PhD candidate in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of British Columbia
  • Associate attorney, Sullivan & Cromwell LLP
  • Dentist, Baker Hill Dental Clinic
  • Medical student, University of British Columbia
  • PhD candidate in Membrane Biology, University of Alberta
  • Graduate student in Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Biophysics, University of Minnesota

Program requirements

English-language requirements

English is the language of instruction at UBC. All prospective students must demonstrate English-language competency prior to admission. There are numerous ways to meet the English Language Admission Standard.

General admission requirements

IB Diploma Programme

  • Completed IB Diploma, including at least three Higher Level courses.

IB Certificate Courses

  • IB Certificate courses (Standard and Higher Level) may be used in an admissions average if you are graduating from a recognized high school curriculum that can be used as your basis of admission.
  • IB Math Applications and Interpretations SL, or IB Math Studies, do not satisfy the math requirement for admission to UBC’s science-based programs, the Faculty of Management, the UBC Sauder School of Business, or the Vancouver School of Economics.

Degree-specific requirements: Science

  • IB Math Analysis and Approaches SL or HL, or IB Math Applications and Interpretations HL (IB Math Applications and Interpretations SL, or IB Math Studies, are not acceptable)
  • One of IB Biology, IB Chemistry, or IB Physics
  • Grade 11 or equivalent Chemistry, and
  • Grade 11 or equivalent Physics (may be waived with grades of 5 in IB Chemistry and in your IB Mathematics course)

Note: Grade 11 Chemistry and Physics requirements listed are only relevant to students who are not completing the equivalent IB Diploma Chemistry and/or Physics courses.

For students studying outside of Canada, some examples of courses that may be accepted as Grade 11 equivalents are junior-level courses for American students, and IGCSE and O Level for those following British-patterned curricula.

Related courses

The following subject categories are particularly relevant for this degree. Consider taking courses in these areas in your junior year and senior year.

  • Language Arts
  • Mathematics and Computation
  • Sciences
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