We encourage all of our graduates to pursue education beyond the B.A.
Ph.D. programs in science at most universities require completed applications in December of the senior year, Graduate Record Examinations should be taken by October of the same year. The majority of Ph. D. programs suitable for our graduates include full tuition and stipend, without regard for financial need.
As part of the application to graduate school, you will need three or more faculty recommendations. Your best letters will come from faculty in lower enrollment (<30) courses. In the Biochemistry Major program, the laboratory in which you do BCHE 404 is another source for a recommendation letter; however, for those who take BCHE 404 as a senior, the faculty supervisor may have only limited acquaintance with you. You will be assigned one of the Major Committee Faculty Members as a Biochemistry advisor. If you made an effort to get to know your advisor, you will have another person to write on your behalf. For graduate school applications, ask for individual confidential letters on the form supplied, rather than Career Planning and Placement letter package.
Students interested in entering health-related professional schools immediately after graduation should note that the majority of medical schools recommend the equivalent of 14 Penn credit units of Mathematics and Science: at Penn these are usually the first two semesters of Calculus (2 c. u.), Freshman and Organic Chemistry (6 c. u. including labs), two semesters of Biology (3 c. u. including lab) as well as two semesters of Physics (3 c. u. including lab). All of these courses should be taken for a grade. If you intend to major in a natural science such as Biochemistry, it would be a good idea to complete all of these courses by the end of your sophomore year. (A science major is not absolutely required for health-related professional schools). In addition, two semesters of English or Comparative Literature are also usually required. Beginning in Spring 2015, the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) will include Behavioral and Social Science. The Biochemistry Program with the College General and Distributional requirements covers all but 1 c. u. of these recommended courses. You are also referred to the book Medical School Admissions Requirementspublished by the Association of American Medical Colleges which issues a new edition every April. Students planning to enter health professional schools must register their intentions with the Career Planning and Placement Service (215/898-7531).
A 2010 survey of faculty involved in medical education conducted as part of an ongoing review of testing at both the MCAT and National Board levels, Biochemistry was rated the "most important" among natural and behavioral sciences topics for mastery of future medical school curricula. It was rated more important than Biology, Cell and Molecular Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Statistics and Behavioral sciences.
Education Graduate School: It is possible to obtain Chemistry certification for secondary school teaching with the Biochemistry Major Program if the student completes Biology 101 and 102. Submatriculation for an M.S.in Education at Penn is also possible.