Frequently Asked Questions
1) How does chemical biology differ from a degree in biochemistry?
While training in biochemistry is an essential component to the chemical biology degree, traditional biochemistry focuses more on the molecules themselves. Some biochemistry programs include no biology whatsoever. Lawrence Tech's chemical biology degree places a much larger emphasis on the molecules' biological functions and their roles in sustaining a living organism.
2) How does chemical biology differ from a traditional biology degree?
Traditional biology covers a wide range of topics, including the structures of plant and animal kingdoms, botany, zoology, ecology, animal behavior. Many of these are indeed covered in our introductory biology courses. However, the thrust of Lawrence Tech's advanced training in chemical biology program is the fundamental processes that allow vertebrate animals-especially human beings-to function and thrive. One essential element is the role of molecules in the function of individual cells. Another is their role in the physiology of the larger organism. In a traditional biology program these topics would be considered in a more superficial fashion.
3) How does chemical biology differ from a degree in molecular biology or in molecular and cell biology?
These disciplines have a lot in common. However, molecular biology is almost always taught as a sub-discipline of biology, often at the graduate level. The chemistry training in Lawrence Tech’s chemical biology program is more extensive than in traditional molecular biology programs and prepares a student for graduate work in chemistry and biochemistry as well as in chemical biology. For students with a stronger biology bent, Lawrence Tech has established new Bachelor of Science in Molecular and Cell Biology. In some respects, this new degree is the mirror image of chemical biology: firmly rooted in the biological disciplines but with a heightened focus on the functioning of the cell and a stronger chemistry requirement than in traditional biology programs.
4) Do I have to decide which program is right for me in my freshman year?
No. Lawrence Tech's programs in chemical biology and in molecular and cell biology overlap extensively in the first two years. Students can switch majors in either direction as late as the junior year with only a minor reworking of their course schedules. However, the mathematics and physics requirements for chemical biology are somewhat higher than those for molecular and cell biology. Students who are unsure of which major to choose should follow the mathematics and physics sequence for chemical biology until a final decision is made.
5) Are there significant employment opportunities in the biotechnology industry in Michigan?
The industry-education consortium, MichBio, has identified over 542 companies in the State of Michigan with substantial presence in the life sciences and biotechnology areas. Recently, this number has been increasing at a rate of 20 per year. About $2 billion are invested annually in these areas in Michigan. The State of Michigan has recently committed considerable funding to further encourage the growth of biotechnology within its borders. Thus, the prospects for employment upon graduation are high and expected only to get better.