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Academic Planning
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Molecular and Cell Biology

Biochemistry and 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.

Students in this major apply basic principles of chemistry and physics to the study of living cells and their components to explain biology at molecular, genetic, and cellular levels. Students will develop a strong foundation in quantitative and analytical biological sciences, including molecular biology, biochemistry, enzymology, metabolism, cell biology, and molecular genetics.

Option Overview

The Molecular and Cell Biology Option (MCB) of the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology major is designed for students who have an interest in the study of life at the cellular level.  Some questions that reflect the scientific area of this option are:

  • How does the living cell control its many functions at the genetic and molecular level?
  • How does the living cell sense and respond to its environment?
  • How does the living cell develop from undifferentiated to highly specialized cells?
  • What is the role of cell death in the overall development of an organism?

    The MCB option provides students with the flexibility to study the field using a strong physical science (chemistry/physics) approach or by using the tools of genetics, cellular, and developmental biology.  Either way, students acquire a solid foundation in molecular and cell biology that prepares them especially well for graduate and professional schools or for positions in industry.


    Program Goals

    • Graduates will have and be able to communicate an understanding of molecular and cell biology sufficient to qualify for graduate or professional schools or for entry-level positions as industrial scientists.
    • Graduates will develop basic laboratory skills and be familiar with the standard techniques and equipment used in the modern molecular and cell biology laboratory.
    • Graduates will generate and interpret data with subsequent application to the solution of novel problems in molecular and cell biology.
    • Graduates will identify career opportunities and professional and ethical issues that concern scientists in the molecular and cell biology field.


    Requirements to Enter the Major

    • Students must have a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or better and must complete Chem 110, 111, 112, and Math 140 with a grade of C or better.


    Requirements to Graduate

    To graduate, students must meet all three of the following requirements:

    • 2.0 cumulative GPA.
    • a grade of C or better in two of the following three courses: BMB/Micrb 251, BMB/Micrb 252 & Micrb 201.
    • a grade of C or better in 9 credits of  400-level BMB/Micrb lecture courses (for BMB majors).


    View the most current Suggested Academic Plan for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

    Downloadable Academic Planning Forms

    View the current Recommended Academic Plan for the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Molecular and Cell Biology Option.

    View the current Planning Checksheet for the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Molecular and Cell Biology Option.

    View the current Departmental List for the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Molecular and Cell Biology Option.

    For additional Academic Planning Forms please contact (814) 863 - 5487.

    Course Lists

    Select 2-4 units

    • CMPSC 101 (GQ) Introduction to C++ Programming, 3 units
    • CMPSC 102, Introduction to Visual Programming, 3 units
    • CMPSC 121 (GQ) Introduction to Programming Techniques, 3 units
    • CMPSC 200 (GQ) Programming for Engineers with MATLAB, 3 units
    • CMPSC 201 (GQ) Programming for Engineers with C++, 3 units
    • MATH 220 (GQ) Matrices, 2 units
    • MATH 230 Calculus and Vector Analysis, 4 units
    • MATH 231 Calculus of Several Variables, 2 units
    • MATH 250 Ordinary Differential Equations, 3 units
    • MATH 251 Ordinary and Partial Differential Equations, 4 units
    • STAT 200(GQ) Elementary Statistics, 4 units
    • STAT 240 (GQ) Introduction to Biometry, 3 units
    • STAT 250 (GQ) Introduction to Biostatistics, 3 units
    • STAT 301 (GQ) Statistical Analysis I, 3 units
    • STAT 401 Experimental Methods, 3 units

    Select 5-6 units from the following courses with a total maximum of 4 units in BMB 488 and/or BMB 496 and a total maximum of 3 units in BMB 408.

    • BMB 411 Survey of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Literature, 1 unit
    • BMB/MICRB/VBSC 432 Advanced Immunology: Signaling and the Immune System, 3 units
    • BMB/MICRB/VBSC 433 Molecular and Cellular Toxicology, 3 units
    • BMB/MICRB/VBSC 435 Viral Pathogenesis, 3 units
    • BMB/MICRB 450 Microbial/Molecular Genetics, 2 units
    • BMB 464 Molecular Medicine, 3 units
    • BMB 474 Analytical Biochemistry, 3 units
    • BMB/MICRB 480 Tumor Viruses and Oncogenes, 3 units
    • BMB 484 Functional Genomics, 3 units
    • BMB 497 Bioinformatics, 3 units
    • MICRB 401 Microbial Physiology and Structure, 3 units
    • MICRB 411 Survey of Microbiology Literature, 1 unit
    • MICRB 412 Medical Microbiology, 3 units
    • MICRB 413 Microbial Diversity, 2 units
    • MICRB 415 General Virology: Bacterial and Animal Viruses, 3 units
    • MICRB/BIOTC 416 Microbial Biotechnology, 2 units
    • MICRB 421W Laboratory of General and Applied Microbiology, 3 units
    • MICRB 422 Medical Microbiology Laboratory, 2 units
    • MICRB 447 Laboratory in Molecular Immunology, 1 unit

    In addition to 400-level BMB and MICRB courses, the following courses will also be allowed as 400-level selections for this major.

    • BIOL 405 Molecular Evolution, 3 units
    • BIOL 416 Biology of Cancer, 3 units
    • BIOL 422 Advanced Genetics, 3 units
    • BIOL 426 Developmental Neurobiology, 3 units (Prerequisite: BIOL 141 or BIOL 240)
    • BIOL 431 Biology of Reproduction, 3 units
    • BIOL 432 Developmental Genetics, 3 units
    • BIOL 443 Evo-devo: Evolution of Developmental Mechanisms, 3 units (Prerequisite:BIOL 240)
    • BIOL 451 The Biology of RNA, 3 units
    • BIOL/ANTH 460 Human Genetics, 3 units (Prerequisite: ANTH 021 or BIOL 110 or BIOL 133 or by permission]
    • BIOL/BBH 469 Neurobiology, 3 units (Prerequisite: BIOL 240)
    • BIOL/BBH 470 Functional and Integrative Neurosciences, 3 units (Prerequisite: BIOL 469)
    • BIOL/GEOSC 474 Astrobiology, 3 units (Prerequisites: BIOL 110 and CHEM 110)

    With the EXCEPTION of the courses listed below, ALL courses appearing in the University Bulletin are acceptable as elective courses: 6 units of ROTC may be applied toward graduation requirements

    Students MAY NOT fulfill this requirement with lower level or general education courses in math and science (including but not limited to examples such as any BISC course, any BMB course below the 100 level, MATH 110 and 111, and the like).

    Students MAY NOT fulfill this requirement with courses that significantly repeat material from courses required for the major (including but not limited to examples such as: CHEM 202 or 203 after taking CHEM 210 or 212, or vice- versa: PHYS 250 or 251 after taking PHYS 211, 212, 213, and 214, or vice versa; and so forth).

    Students MAY NOT fulfill this requirement with remedial courses (including but not limited to examples such as LL ED 5 and 10; ENGL 4, 5, and 6; ESL 4 and 5; CHEM courses below CHEM 110; MATH courses below MATH 110; STAT 100; PHYS courses below PHYS 211; and the like).


    Minors to Consider

    Coming Soon!