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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 131 (GQ) Programming and Computation I: Fundamentals, 3 units
  • CMPSC 132 (GQ) Programming and Computation II: Data Structures, 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 240 Mathematical Methods for Biology and the Life Sciences, 4 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
    • Prerequisites include BMB 401 and (BMB 400 or BMB 402)
  • BMB/MICRB/VBSC 432 Advanced Immunology: Signaling and the Immune System, 3 units
    • Prerequisites include (BMB/MICRB 251 or BIOL 230W) and MICRB 410
  • BMB/VBSC 433 Molecular and Cellular Toxicology, 3 units
    • Prerequisites include BMB 401 or BMB 211
  • BMB/MICRB/VBSC 435 Viral Pathogenesis, 3 units
  • BMB/MICRB 450 Microbial/Molecular Genetics, 3 units
  • BMB 464 Molecular Medicine, 3 units
  • BMB 474 Analytical Biochemistry, 3 units
    • Prerequisites include BMB 428 of CHEM 450
  • BMB/MICRB 480 Cancer Development and Progression, 3 units
    • Prerequisites include (BMB/MICRB 252 of BIOL 230W) and (BIOL 222 or BIOL 322)
    • Recommended Preparations include: MICRB 410 and BMB 460 and MICRB 415
  • BMB 484 Functional Genomics, 3 units
  • BMB/VBSC 485 Human Genomics and Biomedical Informatics, 3 units
    • Prerequisites include BIOL 322 and (STAT 200, 250, and 301)
  • BMB 490 Undergraduate Research in Cellular Dynamics I, 3 units
  • BMB 491 Undergraduate Research in Cellular Dynamics II: Communicating Scientific Findings, 3 units
  • BMB 497 Principles of Tissue Culture, 1.5 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, 3 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.

  • ANSC 456 Animal Microbiomes, 3 units
    • Prerequisites include MICRB 106 or MICRB 201
    • Recommended Preparation: STAT 200 or STAT 240 or STAT 250
  • BIOL 405 Molecular Evolution, 3 units
    • Prerequisites include BIOL 220W and (BIOL 230 W or BMB/MICRB 251 or BIOL 222 or BIOL 322)
    • Recommended Preparations include: completion of a course in statistics is strongly recommended.
  • BIOL 416 Biology of Cancer, 3 units
  • BIOL 422 Advanced Genetics, 3 units
  • BIOL 426 Developmental Neurobiology, 3 units 
  • BIOL 431 Biology of Reproduction, 3 units
  • BIOL 432 Developmental Genetics, 3 units
  • BIOL 443 Evo-devo: Evolution of Developmental Mechanisms, 3 units
    • Prerequisites include BIOL 240
  • BIOL 451 The Biology of RNA, 3 units
  • BIOL/ANTH 460 Human Genetics, 3 units 
  • BIOL/BBH 469 Neurobiology, 3 units 
  • BIOL/BBH 470 Functional and Integrative Neurosciences, 3 units
    • Prerequisites include BIOL 469
  • BIOL/GEOSC 474 Astrobiology, 3 units
    • Prerequisites include BIOL 110 and CHEM 110
  • NUTR 446 Micronutrient Metabolism, 3 units (Prerequisite: NUTR 445)

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).  MATH courses below MATH 140 that were taken prior to MATH 140 as prerequisites (e.g. MATH 22 and 26) WILL be allowed to count towards graduation requirements.

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; STAT 100; PHYS courses below PHYS 211; and the like).


Disallowed Concurrent Majors

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