NORTH ADAMS, MASS. — Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) announces a new concentration – biochemistry – has been added to its chemistry major. The program will prepare students for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) careers in growing fields such as biotechnology and medicine.

“We are very pleased to add the biochemistry concentration to the chemistry major,” said Dr. Cynthia Brown, vice president of academic affairs. “This is a strong addition to our STEM program offerings, and we expect a robust response to the program as it rolls out this fall.”

According to Dr. Carolyn Dehner, assistant professor of chemistry at MCLA, biochemistry gets to the heart of how living things work, and is an important pedagogical tool for students to use as they discover new things about the natural world.

“A biochemistry degree is perfect for students interested in the medical field, including pharmacy, and those who are interested in researching subjects such as: the molecular basis for disease, environmental toxicology, or the bioengineering of microbes to produce drugs or biofuels,” Dehner said.

In biochemistry, Dehner explained, one uses chemical concepts to explain and study biological processes. For example, a chemist may research a more efficient and greener method to synthesize polymers used in plastic, while a biochemist may study how the structure of an amino acid – or a protein – is linked to its function.

According to Dr. Monica Joslin, MCLA’s dean of academic affairs, the course portfolio is comprised of both theoretical and applied courses, such as “Biotechniques.”

“We are fortunate to have faculty with the expertise to develop programs that create value for our students,” Joslin said. “The program provides an outstanding foundation for students who plan on graduate school.”

Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) is the Commonwealth's public liberal arts college and a campus of the Massachusetts state university system. MCLA promotes excellence in learning and teaching, innovative scholarship, intellectual creativity, public service, applied knowledge, and active and responsible citizenship. MCLA graduates are prepared to be practical problem solvers and engaged, resilient global citizens.

For more information, go to