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Biochemistry: Institutes and Courses at a Glance

Courses Available:
If biochemistry is your choice of career, many degrees within this discipline or related fields are widely available, right from the undergraduate level.

Following 12th grade in science, a 3-year Bachelor of Science (B.Sc) program can be obtained in Biochemistry. After this, one’s education can be furthered through a 2-year Master of Science (M.Sc) degree in Biochemistry. Specialisation in a sub-field can be attained through a 5-year Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) after a Master’s program. The engineering aspects related to this field can be understood through a 2-year Master of Technology (M.Tech) or a 2-year Master of Science (research) program. As with other science courses, a switch in one’s career path can be made through a 2-year Master of Business Administration (MBA) program as well.

The Value of Internships:
Biochemistry is a vast field and choosing to work on a specific topic within it is always challenging. An overview of the various sub-fields available can be obtained by going through the topics studied in each semester in the course outline at any reputed institution. Various resources are available to learn more about each dedicated area of work. However, a true working knowledge can only be gained through hands-on experience. This is where internships play a pivotal role by offering ‘experiential learning’. Different institutes take in interns during the summer to provide exposure to the applicants and add value to the work progressing in their laboratories.

One of the well-known summer fellowship programs available to students in India is offered by the Indian Academy of Sciences (IAS). The application process for this program begins around September-November. Selected candidates will have an opportunity to work with eminent scientists in their chosen fields for 2 months, preferably during summer. Similar opportunities are also provided by various other institutes; they need to be approached directly for the opportunity. Availing internships from prominent institutes will require a good theoretical understanding of the area of study and the support of academic mentors for the necessary guidance.

Prominent Institutes in India:
Educational and intership programs are available in various prestigious institutes in India. These include IISc, IITs, IISERs, ICMR Labs, CSIR Labs, TIFR, Ashoka University, ACTREC, Bose Institute etc. Working in these institutes can provide quality exposure to one’s field of interest and availability of the best resources in relation to that field of work. An opportunity to work in these institutescan only be attained by clearing various national level competitive examinations. These include examinations such as JAM, ICMR JRF, CSIR JRF, DBT JRF, JGEEBILS and GATE. The examinations for different degrees vary and are conducted every year at their respective times. The details of the application process and examination are announced on their respective websites.

As scores of students vie for a limited pool of opportunities every year, great commitment and intensive preparation suited to the examination one is attempting are necessary. Based on one’s capacity, one may choose to either prepare using the question papers of the previous years or get enrolled in a coaching centre that will aid the preparation.

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