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Best Online Master’s Degrees in: Biochemistry

Editor’s Picks: Online Schools for Biochemistry

Value

The University of Saint Joseph was awarded the title of best online master’s degree in biochemistry in terms of value. This private not-for-profit institution based in West Hartford, Conn., was ranked 82nd on U.S. News & World Report‘s list of the best regional universities in the North. Experienced faculty, small class sizes, and expertly designed online curriculums all lend value to a University of Saint Joseph education. The school prides itself in providing engaging course work that above all provides graduates with relevant career skills. For this reason, the University of Saint Joseph was selected as the top school in this category.

Flexibility

The best online master’s degree in biochemistry is also the University of Saint Joseph. The school’s Master of Science in Biochemistry program is designed to fit the educational needs of working adults and members of the military. Students will work closely with an assigned faculty member to design their specific course of study according to their interests and academic goals. This gives students the ability to mold their degree track to their personal and professional schedules. The curriculum is centered on regular discussion threads and frequent assessments via tests and quizzes. At the master’s level, distance learners will also conduct their own research projects as guided by a faculty advisor.

Financial Support

The University of Saint Joseph was also recognized as the best online master’s degree in biochemistry for financial support. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 100% of new students received financial aid for the 2010-2011 school year. The school also awarded some scholarship or grant money to all students as part of their aid packages. Approximately 87% of students received assistance through federal loan programs as well. In 2009, the student loan default rate remained low at 4.3%, demonstrating manageable debts levels for the majority of graduates.

Student Engagement

The award for best online master’s degree in biochemistry for student engagement was given to the University of Saint Joseph. Students will work closely with a faculty advisor to plan their degree track and complete their research work throughout their time at the university. This personalized mentorship and guidance is a key in the school’s reputation for strong student engagement. Additionally, students can connect with their peers through the virtual learning environment, social media platforms, or locally organized study groups and meetings. Online students who can commute to campus are also welcome to attend club meetings, athletics events, and guest lectures. These factors all contribute to the university’s placement at the top of our list.

Library and Research Support

The University of Saint Joseph was also recognized as the top online master’s degree in biochemistry for library and research support. The school’s Pope Pius XII Library offers a number of electronic resources such as information databases, research guides, e-journals, and tutorials. Distance learners can also take advantage of interlibrary loans to access research material not available at Pope Pius XII Library. Librarians are available to assist online students via e-mail or telephone. In addition, students who are able to travel to campus can set up research appointments and take advantage of full circulation privileges. For these reasons, the University of Saint Joseph was chosen as the top school in this category.

Faculty Credentials

The best online master’s degree in biochemistry for faculty credentials is the University of Saint Joseph. Ranked among the top 100 regional universities in the North by U.S. News & World Report in 2012, the school’s strong faculty is the foundation of their academic reputation. All professors in the biochemistry master’s program have their doctorate and are specifically trained to work with distance learners. The school also values selecting instructors who have experience working in both a professional and academic setting. This ensures students receive a balanced education that includes both theoretical and practical instruction. With all this, the University of Saint Joseph was awarded the top position in this category.

Alumni Engagement

Graduates of the University of Saint Joseph join a community of more than 13,000 alumni. After graduating, students can take advantage of benefits such as continued career development services, complementary access to the athletic center, library services, and discounted insurance rates. Graduates also have the option to mentor current students, attend on campus events and networking mixers, and volunteer around campus, helping to create a strong and supportive community. All of these factors contributed to the University of Saint Joseph’s selection as the best online master’s degree in biochemistry for alumni engagement.

Explore a Master’s Degree in Biochemistry

Integrating biology and chemistry, a graduate program in biochemistry allows you to take a deeper look at this particular area of science that focuses on the study of the chemistry of living systems. While enrolled in this type of master’s degree program, you will obtain a solid understanding of biochemistry and how to apply its principles in the laboratory, while sharpening your critical thinking and research skills. Some programs may offer students the option to specialize in an area of biochemistry such as biotechnology, cellular/molecular biology, cancer and immunology, proteomics, and molecular structure.

A master’s program in biochemistry typically consists of around 30-36 credit hours, which can typically be completed in about two years of study. However, it can take more or less time to complete, depending on factors like individual school, previously earned credit, and enrollment status.

Class Curriculum

Those working toward their master’s degree will take courses that help them gain an understanding of biochemical principles. Course work covers a range of topics in biochemistry including, but not limited to, bio-organic chemistry, protein chemistry, bioanalytical chemistry, regulatory biochemistry, enzymology, hormonal chemistry. Courses you will likely find in a graduate program include:

  • Cell Biology. In this course, students learn about cell structure and function and the basic concepts and issues surrounding it. Topics like cell cycle, signal transduction, protein sorting and trafficking, and membrane transport and excitability are also discussed.
  • Gene Expression. Students learn about eukaryotic gene expression, the molecular mechanisms involved in RNA polymerase II transcription, and the structure and function of RNAPII. In addition, this course also covers processes involved in transcriptional activation, repression, and elongation.
  • Biophysical Chemistry. This course examines biological macromolecules and their shape, conformation, structure, dynamics, and interactions. Students also learn about the physical techniques for studying properties of biological macromolecules.

Along with courses, students will likely engage in independent research in areas like structural biology, gene expression, bioinformatics, molecular evolution, metabolic diseases, and more. Therefore, students can expect to spend a lot of time in research laboratories conducting experiments, analyzing data, and interpreting results. In addition, the majority of graduate biochemistry programs have a thesis option, which requires students to complete a major paper based on independent research.

Building a Career

After completing a master’s degree program in biochemistry, students are qualified to pursue careers in research, biochemistry, or academics. In addition, they are also prepared to enroll in a doctoral program in biochemistry or biomedical science. Possible job titles include biochemistry technicians, biochemistry professors, or biochemists. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of biochemistry technicians is expected to increase 14% by 2020. These types of technicians earned a median annual salary of $39,020 in May 2010. As far as academic careers, a master’s degree in biochemistry may qualify one to teach at some community colleges. In May 2010, post-secondary teachers earned a median annual salary of $62,050. By 2020, employment in this occupation is projected to increase by 17%.

Even though you must have a Ph.D. to conduct independent research, those with master’s degrees in biochemistry can qualify for entry-level positions in research. The BLS reported that employment for biochemists and biophysicists is expected to increase by 30% by 2020. In May 2010, these types of scientists earned a median annual salary of $79,390. It is important to keep in mind that these types of job projections and salaries are not guarantees of employment as job availability and salary varies depending on your experience, location, education level, and the economy.

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