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Academic Planning

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
The Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Major

Biochemistry & Molecular Biology is the study of the molecular basis of life. Biochemistry uses the principles of chemistry and physics to understand biological molecules, structures, and reactions. Molecular biology focuses on how biological molecules interact to form cells, organisms, and behaviors. 

Our department is proud to boast 2 distinct options for students to pursue with the major, the Biochemistry (Biochem) Option and the Molecular and Cell Biology (MCB) Option.


Microbiology is the study of microscopic organisms and how they interact with other organisms and the environment. Topics in microbiology include how microbes benefit and harm human health, the role of microbes in the environment, and how microbes can be used in medicine, agriculture, and engineering.

The Microbiology Major
The Biotechnology Major

Biotechnology is broadly defined as the application of principles of molecular and cell science to the production of biologically important or industrially useful products. Topics in biotechnology include genetic engineering, pharmaceutical development, and bio-manufacturing.  Our department is proud to boast 2 distinct options for students to pursue with the major, the General Option and the Clinical Laboratory Science (CLS) Option.

Forensic Science

Forensic Science is the application of principles of chemistry, molecular biology, and physics to matters of the law. Forensic scientists develop a deep understanding of and hands-on lab experience in serology, biochemistry, and forensic molecular biology, with particular emphasis on forensic DNA analysis. Forensic scientists also use analytical, physical, and inorganic chemistry for the forensic analysis of controlled substances, trace evidence, fire debris, ignitable liquids, and firearms and gunshot residue.

Forensic Science
Image of molecules under a microscope
Available Minors

Penn State offers two separate minors within the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Department, in each Microbiology and Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (BMB).


The integrated B.S. Biotechnology-Master of Biotechnology degree program enables qualified BS Biotechnology students to graduate in five years with the Master of Biotechnology degree.

The Integrated Undergraduate/Graduate Program
Concurrent Majors

A concurrent majors program is one in which the requirements for at least two majors are completed concurrently or simultaneously, before graduation.  However, there are certain combinations of majors that are not allowed due to significant overlap in degree requirements. 

Enti Minor Students working in the lab

Minors allow students to explore an area of interest with fewer required credits than a major.

Related Minors