I'm currently a chemistry major. However, I am more interested in the life science and want to be a molecular biologist in the future. However it is too late to change my degree to biology so I am wondering how to cross over into biology with my chemistry degree and whether is it possible for me to be a molecular biologist in the future? Will my chemistry degree be useful in helping me to become a biologist? Is there any relations between chemistry and biology?

  • 3
    Guess what all the biochemists are doing? Chemistry! – Bitwise May 23 '14 at 2:31
  • and molecular biology. and sometimes even biophysics. – BPND Jul 11 '17 at 12:21

I am a theoretical physicist reconverted to biology (bioinformatics) in his masters. I am sitting next to computer scientists, mathematicians, chemists... all working on life sciences.

Biology is a very complex subject. Most of the concepts are easy, but there are many devils in the details. Ergo, it is very suitable for multidisciplinary work, where people from different branches can contribute with solutions from their own field.

Focusing on your question, depending on your set of skills, you have several options: biochemistry, wet lab, computational chemistry oriented to biomolecules... You can probably swing by the molecular biology department and ask what kind of problems they would need a chemist for; and perhaps ask if they are willing to take you on board for an undergaduate project.

  • 2
    +1 for "Most of the concepts are easy, but there are many devils in the details." I think that is true for all fields. – xLeitix May 21 '14 at 11:22
  • 1
    @xLeitix: I don't know the other disciplines, but I can guarantee you quantum chemistry has devils already in the easy parts. :) – Stefano Borini May 21 '14 at 13:03
  • @xLeitix Especially in mathematics you need a few years to learn non-specific basics (also true for computer science and theoretical physics). Only after that "Most of the concepts are easy, but there are many devils in the details.". Perhaps for that reason I don't know that many biologists turning into theoretical physicists. – Piotr Migdal May 21 '14 at 13:37

It's not too late. It's never too late. My undergraduate degree was in chemistry. From there, I did a Masters degree in nanoscience between the physics department and chemistry department. My research project found me in a microbiology lab using wet chemical techniques and biological methods to build a working cancer sensor, that we then tested to see if it worked using solid physics. It did work, by the way. As a result of my masters, I got my PhD project where I am doing the biophysics of phytoplankton physiology.

The point is do what interests you. Find people in your department or at other institutions where the kind of thing you like is being done. If you're passionate about learning then there will always be an abundance of people to teach you.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.