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What do I have to major in, in college in order to become a Biochemical Engineer if the college doesn’t have a specific Biochemical Engineering major?

I’m a senior in highschool, looking at colleges to apply to and I’m really interested in biochemical engineering
biochemical biochemical-engineering college college-major engineer engineering biochem

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Dan’s Answer

I was a college advisor for five years and this is how I would have created your plan:

1) Identify a college that does offer a Biomedical Engineering degree and request or download the list of required courses.

2) Use the above list to select classes at your local college. Some classes (like calculus, chemistry and physics) are frequently offered in different versions (like Technical Physics, General Physics, and Calc-based Physics) so ask your college advisor to assist you. For any class not offered by the local college college, you will have to decide if it is critical to the industry. If so then you will have to decide a work-around.

3) You can also contact the college with the Biomedical Engineering degree, tell them you are considering attending, and ask them for a list of classes at your local college that they will accept. Depending on the college, they will accept few to many. All Biomedical Engineering degrees do not require (or accept) the same classes.

4) You will need to select a specific graduation degree from your local college and, as per your question, it will not be Biomedical Engineering. This COULD make a difference when job hunting as the staff at some companies (or automated resume scanners) may reject your application if they feel your degree does not match their requirements. However many companies are more open-minded and are looking for "the best qualified individual" rather than simply matching a degree title.

5) I suspect every college has an advisement office. Explain your intentions and ask for their guidance. Ask for a different advisor if necessary.
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Francisco’s Answer

Hi Pedro!

This is a great question! Biochemical engineering is such an interesting field to go into, yet I always recommend students to think about exactly what they are looking for in their engineering degree, and to be careful about specializing too soon. Some engineering degrees are more generic than others, or have more flexibility than others, therefore is important to give yourself the best shot to get a job in the field that you want, not just have a degree with the major you thought you wanted.

Example, some people go to undergrad for Petroleum engineering. This means their job seeking is going to be very limited to one industry, or they will have to argue they still know the same as other more general fields, in order to be consider for jobs outside the oil & gas industry, yet a Mechanical Engineering major might be able to take the job of a Petroleum Engineer since companies often have programs to certify all their engineers as petroleum engineers within their first year working, while also applying for manufacturing, aerospace, and other kinds of jobs.

My advice would be to think about why you want to do biochemical engineering. Are you interested in developing new drugs to help treat or prevent desease? Develop new kinds of fuels to replace gas and diesel? Do research in a lab with animals and plants? Depending on your answer you might find more general degrees like manufacturing engineering, chemical engineering, or even chemistry, biology, or other fields that might be a better match or be more widely available than biochemical engineering, but that would still land you the kind of work you seek. Finally, you might also want to look into masters degrees in biochemical engineering, I think you'll find more variety there are this would be a great field for specialization.

Hope this helps! Best of luck!

Thanks so much! I personally would love to work in a lab and do research on animals and plants and cells and all that kind of stuff. But i wanted to also make a good living out of it. Biochem engineering makes pretty good wages and they also do that kind of stuff so that’s why i wanted to go into it. I was thinking of majoring in chemical engineering and than minor in biology. pedro G.

I understand what you mean about specializing too early, i was thinking of that. And I was looking into biochemistry because they do that kind of stuff, i’m just scared of getting a Bachelors in biochemistry and than not finding the job i want. pedro G.

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Paige’s Answer

If it were me, I would do chemical engineering and possibly minor in biology. Typically, if you have a degree similar to the position you can still apply for it. I would also say to think about what you want to do as a biochemical engineer. Is there a specific company you want to possibly work for? Go to their website and look at job listings to see what degrees they require for that job.

Good luck!
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Phillip’s Answer

There are great pieces of advice here already. I'll add one more. Go to job posting of positions you would like to pursue when you get out of school and look at the degree/education requirements on those postings. That will tell you exactly what degrees employers are considering.
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Gabrielle’s Answer

Engineering, biochemistry, chemistry, or biology but your best choice would probably be a combination of engineering and one of the others listed.
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