May 30, 2024  
2014-2015 Catalog 
2014-2015 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Biology — Molecular and Cell Biology Emphasis, BS

Department of Biology, College of Science and Engineering

99-105 credits


Biology, as the study of living things, is an academic endeavor with a basic research focus on seeking answers to questions rather than on applying biological knowledge to solve problems. As scientists, Biologists have two prime motivations: (1) intellectual curiosity about biological systems, and (2) the philosophy that creating and disseminating reliable knowledge has intrinsic worth. Thus, we intend for our intensive academic program in Biology to stimulate our students’ curiosity and appetite for life-long learning about biology.

This major is part of an interdisciplinary program between the Biology and Chemistry Departments. The B.S. degree in Molecular and Cell Biology places a greater emphasis on the molecular biology and biochemistry that control cell functions. The curriculum provides an effective combination of knowledge in areas that students can apply to many careers. Supporting courses in math, physics, and chemistry, along with the core biology curriculum at the 200-level and 300-levels fulfill the goals of a liberal arts education. In 400-level biochemistry and molecular biology courses students not only pursue interests more specifically, but begin to integrate and apply knowledge, and develop the skills and abilities to pursue careers of their choosing.

The integrated conceptual foundation in biology, the critical thinking skills, quantitative problem-solving abilities, leadership with team-building skills, and scientific research skills students obtain from lecture and laboratory courses in the Molecular and Cell Biology B.S. curriculum ultimately are critical for post-baccalaureate studies and for future job performance.).

Why Consider a Molecular and Cell Emphasis in the Biology Major?

Cell biology is the study of the structure of cells, the organelles they contain, physiological functions, life cycle, division and death, often studied at the biochemical or molecular level. Molecular biology investigates the interactions among DNA, RNA and protein synthesis within cells as well as understanding how these interactions are regulated using the tools and principles of genetics and bioinformatics gained from prokaryotic and eukaryotic model organisms. Molecular Biology is among the most rapidly growing fields within Biology with recent accomplishments such as the sequencing of the entire human genome.

 Contact Information

Department Chair
Joann Otto
Biology 315

Program Coordinators for Advising
Maren Brinson and Keeley Mathews
Biology 315

 Sample Careers

Biomedical Research | Pharmaceutical Research | Bioinformatics | Cell Physiology | Forensic Scientist | Genetic Counseling | Geneticist | Medical Doctor | Educator

 Major/Career Resources

How to Declare (Admission and Declaration Process):

The Biology Department has a two-step process for admission into our degree programs. Phase I students are students who have declared their intent to major in biology, and are in the process of completing the introductory biology (BIOL 204, 205, 206) and general chemistry (CHEM 121, 122, 123) series. Admission to Phase II is based on academic performance in the introductory courses. Students must achieve an average grade of 2.9 or higher in their introductory biology and general chemistry courses before they can advance to Phase II and begin taking upper-division coursework.

Major requirements include 75-77 credits of foundational courses in biology, chemistry, physics and math, and 24-28 upper division biology depth and elective credits. Biology Phase II status required for admission into 300- and 400-level biology courses for biology majors.

Grade Requirements

A grade of C- or better is required for a student’s major courses.


Depth Requirements:


3 credits to make 99-105 total (75-77 credits of basic requirements plus 24-28 upper-division biology depth and elective credits). Additional biology elective credits can be taken to fulfill University graduation requirements: