Molecular Biology - Major - Course Catalogue Skip Navigation

Molecular Biology 

(For 2016–2017 academic year)

Director B. Hoopes

This program is intended for students who are interested in biology at the molecular level and who wish to take several courses in both biology and chemistry. Interested students should see biology professors Ay, Belanger, Hagos, Holm, Hoopes, Meyers, Taye, or Van Wynsberghe; or chemistry professor Rowlett.

Major Program

The major's course requirements are described below. 

  1. Biology
    BIOL 181, Ecology, Evolution, and Diversity (formerly BIOL 211)
    BIOL 182, Molecules, Cells, and Genes (formerly BIOL 212)
    One “process of biology” course from BIOL 202, Genetics; BIOL 204, Molecular Biology; or BIOL 205, Cell Biology.
    One biology research course numbered 470 or higher
    Students must complete BIOL 181 and BIOL 182 and their credit-bearing laboratory components with a minimum grade of C–.
  2. Chemistry
    CHEM 101 and 102, General Chemistry (I, II) or CHEM 111, Chemical Principles
    CHEM 263, Organic Chemistry I
    CHEM 264, Organic Chemistry II
    CHEM 353, Proteins and Nucleic Acids
  3. Three elective courses chosen from the following list. One of these electives must have a laboratory and be numbered 300 or higher. One course must be numbered 330 or higher. The third elective can be any level from the list below. Only one research-based course numbered 470 or higher can count toward the major. The possible electives include:
    • Any biology course (excluding BIOL 291, BIOL 391, BIOL 491, and biology research courses numbered 470 and above).
    • CHEM 333, Physical Chemistry I
    • CHEM 334, Physical Chemistry II
    • CHEM 336, Physical Chemistry for the Life Sciences
    • NEUR/PSYC 379, Fundamentals of Neurochemistry/Neuropharmacology
    • BIOL/PHYS 350, Biophysics
    • Other chemistry or physics courses may be accepted as electives on a case-by-case basis.
  4. Required cognate courses include PHYS 111-112 or 232-233, and one course in mathematics or computer science (except COSC 100 or 150). The math course requirement may be met by taking BIOL 320, Biostatistics (formerly BIOL 220).

Honors and High Honors  

Following consultation with his or her instructor in a course numbered BIOL 470 or higher, a student may be allowed to stand for honors or high honors in the department. Honors requires an overall GPA of 3.30 in courses counted toward the major, an oral presentation to the department, a review paper, and a research paper submitted to the research adviser based on at least one term of research in a course numbered BIOL 470 or higher. High honors requires an overall 3.60 GPA in courses counted toward the major, an oral presentation to the department on the student’s research work, and a two-chapter thesis submitted to the biology department based on at least two terms of research in biology courses numbered BIOL 470 or higher or their equivalent. The awarding of high honors will be decided by the faculty in consultation with the adviser and will be based on the quality of the research project and the oral presentation. Research projects submitted for Honors or High Honors must have been carried out on campus or through the NIH Study Group (see below). 

NIH Study Group   

This semester for juniors and seniors at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, involves research in the laboratory of an established investigator as well as two undergraduate courses. For more information, see “Off-Campus Study” in Chapter VI.