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Is biochemistry a worthless degree ?

I just want you to tell me straight up. No sugar coating. I want YOUR 100% totally honest opinion as to wether biochemistry is a pointless degree in regards to job opportunities. Don’t give me the “do what your passionate about” or “if you enjoy it study it” I would love to hear your honesty over anything else - thanks
Yes

Source: I study biochemistry
Original post by Smeraldettoi
Yes

Source: I study biochemistry


Can you please elaborate please, I’d love to hear as to why you think that and what you’re thinking of doing job wise after your degree
I mean, do you want to be a biochemist after graduating? A lot of people end up in careers unrelated to their degree e.g. I know a biochem grad working as an analyst at a large investment bank at the moment. Is the subject knowledge itself "worthless" in this context? Yeah, probably. Is the degree in general useless? No.
Original post by Anonymous29461
Can you please elaborate please, I’d love to hear as to why you think that and what you’re thinking of doing job wise after your degree

On its own it doesn’t lead to much without further study, like a lot of purely academic degrees. I’m aiming for graduate entry medicine with it
Original post by Blue_Cow
I mean, do you want to be a biochemist after graduating? A lot of people end up in careers unrelated to their degree e.g. I know a biochem grad working as an analyst at a large investment bank at the moment. Is the subject knowledge itself "worthless" in this context? Yeah, probably. Is the degree in general useless? No.

If they went into IB, what uni did they go to?
Original post by Throwaway48
If they went into IB, what uni did they go to?

Edinburgh
Original post by Blue_Cow
Edinburgh

Thank you :smile:
depends on university tbh. A biochemist from oxford is going to have a lot more doors open to them than say Liverpool or something.
biochemistry is a very good choice as an undergrad option if you are able to handle the coursework (it's one of the more difficult). You can find a lot of pretty good paying jobs right after as a tech performing bench work at biotech and medtech companies or gov organizations. And if you continue on into either toxicology, pharmaceutics or medicinal chemistry, all of which would view a biochem undergrad base favorably, your options are only going to grow exponentially. And as you'll read more on below, I was able to get my biochem degree simply by taking 2 more classes because my school had a Tox BS that covered all the rest of the Biochem BA curriculum.

After 2 different universities and dropping out twice across 3+4 changes in major, I finally discovered the field of toxicology (which overlaps biochem so much I was 2 classes shy of my 2nd separate degree) I realized I found the perfect field for me because it is such a niche practice (physiological alterations) but umbrella application (assessing the business processes and products impacts on human and/environmental safety). I currently still only have a BS in Tox and a BA in Biochem and after 4 years of industry experience am a Sr Toxicologist for the largest medtech company in the world. And during my interview the the distinguished and then senior toxicologists all were excited to see the addition of a biochem degree, despite it only being a BA. Medical device biocompatibility regulations have changed recently and the new paradigm requires more biochemical knowledge than ever - don't shy away if you think it might be worthless... it isn't!!!

Based on what you want to do, here's 4 options I'd suggest)

If you want to be doing bench chemistry and generating the data for the studies placed by senior scientists that will be analyzing and writing conclusions on, and you're not concerned in the interpretation, presentation, or direction of the studies you'll be doing a Bachelor's in biochem I'd definitely useful and desired (a company doesn't want to pay for a PhD for production of data, so they need people at this level just as much as their head scientists).

If you want to be involved in doing exploratory research looking for new drugs (drug discovery) or using knowledge of physiological regulation and/or modification (pharmacology) to figure out mechanisms of therapeutic action to modify/fine tune current therapies - I'd go the medical chemistry route. This usually a PhD, professional degree (some schools allow Master programs for working professionals in specific situations).

If you want to work in the pharmacy industry but not dispensing pills all day (trust me I get that - I was interested in being a pharmacists until I realized they're pretty much glorified pharm techs working in the same environment at the rest of these retail store pharmacies like CVS, etc.), you could also look into Pharmaceutics. It is more about the non-API drug ingredients, and controlling the kinetic release and level of bioavailability of drugs into the human body. This is a much more desired degree for many of the jobs in the pharm industry and would be much more involved in the drug development (vs drug discovery) phase of pharm careers. You still learn about and must understand pharmacology, but it is more focused on the physical properties and their (re)action to the intended biological environment. Unfortunately, it is also the most math intensive of the 3 options I listed.

Lastly -Toxicology. I might be biased because this is my field of training and career path I went down, but this is what I call the "opposite side of the pharmacology coin". Both fields of study are dedicated to understanding the physiological responses of organisms to an external (vs internal) chemical source. The only difference is whether the end result is therapeutic or harmful to the organism - actually many programs group then together in "Pharm & Tox" degree where you can optionally focus on one. What pharmacology calls a "side effect" toxicology calls an "adverse effect" (in fact there's an entire sub-field in toxicology dedicated to it called drug safety, a more scientific take on pharmacovigilance) and anything you would learn in Pharmacology you have to learn in Toxicology. One of my Tox courses was Principles of Pharmacology (got an A+ in it considering how it's basically tox in a more narrow scope). Not only will you NEVER end up finding yourself counting and passing out pills, you will also not find yourself working in medicine. With a Tox degree, you will be desired by employers in pharm industry, medical device industry, and other multi-national corp., but you will be just in demand for as many industries you can imagine. Essentially every company that makes a product needs scientists to prove that they pass the safety regulations required before they can be marketed. Also, if any lawsuits come their way, they need scientists to back up their claims or recommended how to remediate what went wrong. Being a regulatory toxicologist for one the largest medtech companies on Earth who's spoken with FDA and EU officials, it often feels like I am a "science lawyer" - meaning 2 sides of an argument are laid out, cross-examined, and reiterated between the 2 groups; thankfully, instead of money-motivated lawyers that claim truth is subjective, it's truth-motivates scholars who are using objective facts only.

So IMO and experience, biochemistry is a very useful degree. You can easily get into a PharmD program after biochemistry if you want that path, but also can get into grad/professional tox (+/- pharm) programs for a MS/PhD. Or if you want the more math-heavy path, can continue with Medical Chemistry (sub divs. of chemical engineering) or Pharmaceutic (physiochem heavy) pharmacology entwined practices.

And if you're not interested in the pharma or medtech industry at all, toxicologist is the only option that really has applications all over the place.
That does sound amazing. I was talking to a pharmacist the other day about my degree (biochemistry 2nd year) and he was telling me how much of a waste of time it is. And to switch over to pharmacy. I always viewed pharmacists as glorified shop keepers but now this pharmacist I had spoken to has kind of altered my brain to think my degree is worthless. He didn’t give any specific detail as to why he thinks that. He just said I was wasting my time. I live in the uk and he was also saying how hard it is to get a job with such a degree. I would like to g o into pharmacy if I knew that I could do other things with that degree other than handing out prescriptions. I understand u said something about doing MPharm after a biochemistry degree. Is that possible in uk universities or just abroad?
Not its a STEM degree, I'd do it up to Masters level, try and do a four year Masters undergrad if you can.
Original post by Biochemorpharm
That does sound amazing. I was talking to a pharmacist the other day about my degree (biochemistry 2nd year) and he was telling me how much of a waste of time it is. And to switch over to pharmacy. I always viewed pharmacists as glorified shop keepers but now this pharmacist I had spoken to has kind of altered my brain to think my degree is worthless. He didn’t give any specific detail as to why he thinks that. He just said I was wasting my time. I live in the uk and he was also saying how hard it is to get a job with such a degree. I would like to g o into pharmacy if I knew that I could do other things with that degree other than handing out prescriptions. I understand u said something about doing MPharm after a biochemistry degree. Is that possible in uk universities or just abroad?


good point
Original post by usernamenumber01
Not its a STEM degree, I'd do it up to Masters level, try and do a four year Masters undergrad if you can.


I’m doing a joint honours pharmacology/biochemistry. But I’m being heavily pushed into pharmacy by people telling me those degrees aren’t SECURE. And job prospects are low aswell as pay
Original post by Biochemorpharm
I’m doing a joint honours pharmacology/biochemistry. But I’m being heavily pushed into pharmacy by people telling me those degrees aren’t SECURE. And job prospects are low aswell as pay


Even a pharmacy degree is an MPharm degree which is a useful STEM degree. Both are good long term. My advise to you would be to do a four years masters if doing the pharmacology/biochemistry route, gives you a lot of options then.
Original post by usernamenumber01
Even a pharmacy degree is an MPharm degree which is a useful STEM degree. Both are good long term. My advise to you would be to do a four years masters if doing the pharmacology/biochemistry route, gives you a lot of options then.


Would u recommend switching into pharmacy now? Would you see that as pointless?
Original post by Biochemorpharm
Would u recommend switching into pharmacy now? Would you see that as pointless?


Maybe, it seems like a solid degree! But I'd persist with your current degree and try to push for an integrated masters. Quitting is always easier so don't do that.
(edited 1 year ago)

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