Biochemistry, by textbook definition, is an effort to understand biology through the context of chemistry. Biochemistry lectures at Wartburg College topically include macromolecules, enzymes, and human metabolism. Techniques taught in biochemistry laboratory are utilized in many fields, including microbiology, forensics, neurobiology, and cancer research.

Through a dynamic curriculum that includes flexibility of course choice to match your interests and a research component anchored by a state-of-the-art science facility, a Wartburg biochemistry degree will uniquely prepare you for a career in health, research, biotechnology, or education.

The Wartburg biochemistry program has grown steadily since its inception fifteen years ago, with over fifty students having graduated with degrees in biochemistry within the last seven years. Half of these recent graduates were accepted into medical school within a year of graduation (93 percent acceptance rate), while others joined the biotech industry or matriculated into professional programs of their choosing, such as Ph.D., dental, and pharmacy.

Program Fast Facts

The chemistry major can be used to pursue professional study in:
• Medicine 
• Laboratory Chemistry (clinical, environmental, pharmaceutical, food science, etc.) 
• Clinical Chemistry 
• Veterinary Medicine 
• Optometry
• Dentistry 
• Pharmacy

Excellent Placement in Graduate and Professional Schools
You may also pursue graduate study in such areas as analytical chemistry, biochemistry, organic or inorganic chemistry, physical chemistry, environmental chemistry, patent law, or forensic law. A number of Wartburg chemistry majors have gone on to careers in medicine.

Excellent Placement in Graduate and Professional Schools
Students majoring in chemistry or biochemistry are encouraged have the opportunity to complete internships in industrial or university laboratories. Or, students may choose to conduct undergraduate research with Wartburg faculty members. Students have been selected for research projects at various universities funded by the National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates (NSF-REU) program, as well as industrial internships in chemical safety and environmental testing laboratories.

Numerous Career Options
A chemistry or biochemistry degree can lead to a variety of occupations. You may find a position teaching chemistry in high school or middle school. You can qualify for positions in technical sales or management. You may work as a technician in industrial, state, national, and university laboratories. You may also find a career in clinical, environmental, pharmaceutical, food science, materials science, or forensic science.


The Science Center is designed to encourage student interaction with faculty members and other students.

Research with a faculty mentor. WORTH IT.


Alumni Outcomes

Wartburg graduates find satisfying jobs and are admitted into top graduate and professional schools. Wartburg alumni can be found in all 50 U.S. states and over 70 foreign countries. Below is only a sample of the types of positions Wartburg graduates from the Biochemistry program have had in the past.

Sample of Alumni Positions from the Past Five Years:

  • Graduate Student – Pharmacy
  • Graduate Student – Medicine
  • Microbiologist, Tyson Foods – Testing Lab, Waterloo
  • Clinical Lab Scientist, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn.
  • Production Scientist, Integrated DNA Technologies, Coralville
  • Clinical Research Coordinator, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, Mass.

Sample of Alumni Positions from the Past 15 Years:

  • Family/Resident Physician, Northwest Iowa Family Practice Center, Waterloo
  • Research Scientist, R&D Systems, Inc., Minneapolis, Minn.
  • Nuclear Pharmacist, Cardinal Health, Hudson, Wis.
  • Pharmacy Resident, University of Iowa Pharmacy, Shepley Pharmacy, Mt. Vernon
  • Dentist, Lt., U.S. Navy, Houston, Texas
  • Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine, Gradview Hospital, Dayton, Ohio

From Our Graduates

“Through Wartburg’s Biochemistry major, I have been fascinated by learning about the delicate balance of life and how it works on the chemical level. I’ve reached a level of understanding essential life processes beyond simply knowing about them. This approach has given me a strong foundation to pursue further studies in medical school.”

Stephanie Egts (2006)
Medical Student
University of Iowa

“You will no doubt be looking for a school that offers academic excellence, high placement ratings into your field of choice, and superior facilities. Wartburg offers all this; however, I really believe that the people here in the chemistry department at Wartburg set it apart from most other liberal arts colleges. From my first day on campus I felt completely welcomed by both my professors and peers. The biochemistry major is rigorous, but professors here intuitively know when to challenge and when to nurture. They truly want you to succeed. While many schools have a spirit of competition among students, I have only ever seen cooperation. With such excellent placement ratings among biochemistry majors, the need for students to out-perform each other is quelled. My four years at Wartburg helped me grow tremendously both as a person and as a student, and I feel that the majority of that growth occurred thanks to the professors.”

Mara Groom (2009)
Medical Student
Des Moines College of Osteopathic Medicine

“Wartburg strives to prepare its students for life after college. In my case, life after college has been graduate school. Preparation in the biochemistry program enabled me to participate in three undergraduate research experiences outside of Wartburg, so I could really be certain that research was my “thing.” Once here, I was able to breeze through first-year classes because of the education I received in both chemistry and biology at Wartburg. Looking back, I wouldn’t change a thing about my decision to attend Wartburg, and I feel that it prepared me quite well for what I am doing now.”

Dr. Kasandra Riley (2002)
Postdoctoral Fellow
Department of Biophysics and Biochemistry
Yale University

“These days it is nearly impossible to escape the need for a solid biochemical understanding. Whether students are looking to pursue a career as a medical professional or they are called to do more general research they will discover that fundamental biochemistry can be ubiquitously associated with any of the biomedical sciences. Biochemistry has been instrumental in uncovering the underlying mechanisms to diseases as well as developing novel drugs treat them. A good understanding of biochemistry is a great start to any scientific or medical career a student wishes to pursue.”

Derek Pavelec (2004)
Ph.D. candidate in Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology 
University of Wisconsin-Madison


Christine DeVries

Associate Professor of Chemistry

Denis Drolet

Associate Professor of Chemistry

Shawn Ellerbroek

Associate Professor of Chemistry/Biochemistry

Leilani Zart

Associate Professor of Chemistry

Matthew Zart

Assistant Professor of Chemistry

Faculty Emeriti
Dr. David Hampton
Dr. Warren Zemke