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IU Northwest to add biochemistry degrees


Beginning in Spring 2017, students can choose between B.A. or B.S.; addition will enhance offerings for pre-professional students

Friday Oct 28, 2016


The Indiana University Northwest College of Arts and Sciences announces the addition of both a bachelor of science (B.S.) and bachelor of arts (B.A.) degree in biochemistry.

Approved by the Indiana Commission of Higher Education in October 2016, the Department of Chemistry/Physics and Astronomy will begin offering the two degrees in Spring 2017.

According to Department Chair Nelson De Leon, the new degrees help fulfill the university’s promise to offer degrees for everyone and a high-quality educational experience that prepares students to succeed, no matter their chosen profession. He sees the new biochemistry degrees as a natural fit for students interested in pursuing any pre-health professional academic track, especially pre-medicine.

“We expect that many students will major in biochemistry for the purpose of either joining the workforce or seeking a higher degree in the field,” De Leon said. “The Bureau of Labor statistics indicate that students earning a biochemistry degree have excellent opportunities to find good-paying jobs in the field. This is a national and not just Indiana statistic.”

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for biochemists and biophysicists was $82,150 in May 2015. Employment of biochemists and biophysicists is projected to grow 8 percent from 2014 to 2024, about as fast as the average for all occupations.

De Leon said IU Northwest is now the only public institution in Northwest Indiana that offers degrees in biochemistry. Therefore, students who previously would transfer to other schools to complete their bachelor’s degree can now stay and complete them at IU Northwest.

An undergraduate degree in biochemistry prepares students not only for admission into a professional school in a health or science discipline, but also for careers in a wide range of laboratories and healthcare settings.

Both degrees will require courses in biology, mathematics and physics, besides those in chemistry and biochemistry, as well as the general education B.A. and B.S. course requirements. The difference in the requirements for both degrees is primarily in the area of research. The B.S. degree will require two credits of research.

A new lab course in biochemistry will also make its debut in Spring 2017. This lab course will serve as the introductory biochemistry class for the new program.

Cynthia O’Dell, associate vice chancellor for academic affairs, said the additional offerings are an exciting development that enhances IU Northwest’s already strong science curriculum.

“In recent years, biochemists have been responsible for a significant number of important scientific breakthroughs that have helped us understand more about living organisms,” O’Dell said. “We are pleased to expand our undergraduate degree offerings to include these two new degrees with significant career potential for our students here at IU Northwest,” O’Dell said.

For more information about degree offerings under the Department of Chemistry, Physics and Astronomy, contact De Leon at (219) 980-6742 or ndeleon@iun.edu.

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