Biochemistry explores the cell's molecular components and the chemical changes characteristic of living organisms. A thorough foundation in both biology and chemistry forms the core of biochemistry. Occidental's biochemists seek to use their scientific knowledge and broad education in the liberal arts to advance the public good and improve health care, economic opportunities, environmental stewardship, national security, as well as expanding human understanding through their teaching and research.

The core portion of the Biochemistry major includes BIO 130, the two biochemistry classes BIO 349 and CHEM 350, and the Biochemistry Senior Seminar, BICH 490. Classroom activities are supplemented by extensive laboratory experience involving the design, execution, and interpretation of experimental results. Biochemistry graduates generally elect to pursue graduate training toward a Ph.D. in Biochemistry or areas in Cell and Molecular Biology, a doctorate in the health professions, employment in the biotechnology field, or a career in education. Students planning on pursuing a Ph.D. are advised to take several more courses including the advanced Cell and Molecular offerings in Biology, and advanced Chemistry courses in Chemistry, to broaden their education. Biochemistry students are strongly encouraged to pursue their particular interests through an independent study-research project (BIO 395 or CHEM 395). The Biochemistry program is eager to accommodate the foreign study aspirations of its majors; however, due to the curriculum's sequential nature, careful advance planning is required.

Students wishing to declare the Biochemistry major should have completed two Biology and two Chemistry classes with at least a 2.7 GPA in these classes and arrange for the discussion of their schedule with one of the Program's advisors.