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body or mind



Medical Field

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Math & Science

Maths & Science

Study Length

Prepared to Study for Years




Biochemistry is a purely science-based career that studies the biochemistry of living organisms, their molecular structure and how they interact with other processes.

This career can span many disciplines and industries including agriculture, fuel, veterinary science, food as well as the pharmaceutical and medical sectors.

In the context of the medical industry, biochemists are part of the teams responsible for discovering how medications react to our bodies and they contribute to the development of things like antibiotics and vaccines.

Biochemists can also work in the pathology sector where they analyse samples of patient specimens (like blood or mucous). By using very complex analytical studies and sophisticated equipment they can detect changes and diseases or pathogens in a patient’s body. Biochemistry is related to many other fields and biochemists can also choose to work in the fields of genetics, zoology, botany, physiology, physics, microbiology and chemistry. 

If you’re interested in becoming a biochemist, it means that you’re really passionate about science and physics and have an inquisitive mind.

Required Qualifications

To become a biochemist in South Africa, you will need the following qualifications:

  1. National Senior Certificate or NC(v) Certificate meeting degree requirements for a Bachelor of Science degree majoring in Biochemistry. 
  2. Postgraduate Degree (Post-graduate study is definitely recommended including Honours, Masters and Doctorate).

Required Level of Schooling & School Subjects:

You’ll need an NSC or NC(v) Certificate meeting degree requirements for a Bachelor of Science degree majoring in Biochemistry.

Tertiary institutions will all have their own entry requirements, but in general, compulsory subjects include:

Employment Opportunities

Depending on the specialist field you’ve decided on, biochemists typically work in the following places:

  • Hospitals or clinics
  • Pharmaceutical companies
  • Pathology laboratories 
  • Organisations such as SABS, CSIR, SA Medical Research Council etc
  • Academic careers at universities and universities of technology In the faculties of medicine, science and agriculture)

Further Information:

The South African Council for Natural Scientific Professions

Related University Degrees

University of KwaZulu-Natal:


University of the Western Cape:


University of Cape Town:

Walter Sisulu University:

University of Fort Hare:

University of Stellenbosch:

University of Venda:

University of Pretoria:


University of Zululand:
Nelson Mandela University:

University of Johannesburg:


University of the Free State:

Rhodes University:

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