Course Planning

Biochemistry-Molecular Biology - Where to Start?

Course planning advice here is limited to majors. For a full description of degree requirements, please see this overview of the Academic Program and refer to the Catalog for details and official rules. Any discrepancy between the Course Planning Pages and the Catalog will be resolved in favor of the Catalog.

Where should I start if I am just sampling this subject as a non-major?

  • Any biology course at the 100-level, particularly courses with a molecular biology focus, up to and including Cell Biology (BIOL 150) depending on interests.  See Online Course Schedule for this year’s options.
  • Cell Biology (BIOL 150) is the Department’s first majors’ course and is appropriate for students deeply interested in biology.
  • Concepts of Chemistry (CHEM 100)
  • General Chemistry I (CHEM 110) is the Department’s first majors’ course and appropriate for students deeply interested in chemistry.

Where should I start if I might use this as part of a major or as a potential major?

    In the first year, student planning to major in Biochemistry/Molecular Biology (BCMB) should complete:

  • Cell Biology (BIOL 150)
  • General Chemistry I (CHEM 110) and General Chemistry II (CHEM 120)
  • At least one Mathematics course based on your Placement Records (found on your Campus Web), up through Calculus I (MATH 130)
  • Note: First-year students are strongly encouraged to limit themselves to 2- science / mathematics courses per semester (3-4 science/mathematics courses during the first year).

    Success in the General Chemistry I (CHEM 110) and General Chemistry II (CHEM 120) sequence is highly correlated with algebra skills.  If your MATH ACT is 23 or below, strongly consider delaying  General Chemistry I (CHEM 110) for a year.  Data show that some additional math experience and experience in college greatly improves the likelihood of a positive outcome.  Please consult your Academic Advisor or a member of the Chemistry Department.

Where should I start if I have some experience in this discipline before college?

    Students with previous experience in biology are strongly encouraged to start in Cell Biology (BIOL 150) since course pacing and laboratory experience vary greatly.

  • For concurrent high school / college credits – please consult with the Department
  • For advanced placement credits – please refer to Advanced Placement Credits or International Baccalaureate Credits in the College Catalog.
  • Regardless of previous experience, Genetics (BIOL 250) is not typically available to first-year students. First-year students with an unusually strong background in biology wishing to consider genetics must consult with the course instructor or the Biochemistry/Molecular Biology department chair.

When should I declare a major?

  • All students must declare a major by March 1st of their sophomore year.