Armstrong to Launch New B.S. in Biochemistry in Fall 2014



Starting this fall, Armstrong students will have the opportunity to earn a B.S. in Biochemistry and tap into one of the fastest growing areas of science. The University System of Georgia’s Board of Regents approved Armstrong’s proposal for the new Biochemistry degree on May 20.

“With the introduction of the biochemistry degree, Armstrong will become the only public university south of Atlanta to offer the undergraduate degree,” said Dr. Will Lynch, Armstrong’s Chemistry and Physics department head. “We’re proud to be able to offer our students a multitude of classes within the biochemistry degree to prepare them for jobs in the field.”

Offered through the College of Science and Technology, the new degree program will serve as a bridge between Armstrong’s successful chemistry and biology programs. The B.S. in Biochemistry will allow students to explore the chemical side of biological processes in a way that prepares them for a variety of pre-professional programs.

“Students with a degree in biochemistry can go on to attend medical school, dental school, pharmacy school, optometry school or veterinary school,” said Dr. Mitch Weiland, assistant professor of chemistry and physics at Armstrong. “In addition, a B.S. in Biochemistry can be applied to jobs in fields ranging from medical research to business.”

Armstrong’s Biochemistry degree will provide students with the formal training needed to succeed in a number of high-demand job areas both locally and throughout the country. Savannah is experiencing rapid growth in the field of biomedical sciences and, according to Georgia Department of Labor statistics, medical scientists, an area biochemistry majors could support, is the fifth highest projected growth rate of all jobs in the state.

“Jobs in the field of science are becoming more interdisciplinary,” said Dr. Brent Feske, associate professor of chemistry at Armstrong. “Armstrong’s new degree in Biochemistry certainly supports this growth.”

As a result, various graduate programs have shifted their requirements in a way that makes a background in biochemistry a necessity for pre-professional students. Starting in the fall of 2015, the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) will include a Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems section, which will focus on specific biochemistry topics. Additionally, the Georgia Regents University’s School of Dental Medicine will require biochemistry prerequisites to enter the program starting in the fall of 2015. A number of pharmacy schools are also following the trend.

Armstrong’s biochemistry course offerings include Biochemistry I and II, Bioanalytical Chemistry, Biophysical Chemistry, Introduction to Biochemical Techniques, Advanced Biochemistry Laboratory, Bioinstrumental Laboratory and Biochemistry Seminar. Students can choose from upper-level electives focusing on Genetics, Cancer Biology, Endocrinology and Virology.

Armstrong’s Department of Chemistry and Physics originally introduced the Biochemistry track in 2007. Over the past decade, the number of students enrolled in biochemistry courses has tripled.

Students interested in the Biochemistry program can contact the Department of Chemistry and Physics at 912.344.3219 or visit http://www.armstrong.edu/majors/degree/biochemistry