Guide to Academic Planning 2017-2018

Biochemistry Molecular Biology

Successful completion of the Biochemistry/Molecular Biology (BCMB) major will require careful planning and adherence to a relatively tight schedule of courses. BCMB majors may need to take 3 science/mathematics courses in a semester. Furthermore, 100- and 200-level courses offered by a given department are sequenced and must be taken in numerical order. For example, CHEM 110 General Chemistry I must be taken before CHEM 120 General Chemistry II, but students may take BIOL 150 Cell Biology prior to taking CHEM 120 General Chemistry II.

Students planning a BCMB major should take the General Chemistry sequence (CHEM 110 and 120) their first year. They should also take BIOL 150 Cell Biology and/ or the appropriate mathematics course during the first year.

Other students who wish to explore the BCMB major but who also want or need more time to check out other majors should take CHEM 110 and 120, and either BIOL 150 Cell Biology or the appropriate mathematics course their first year. Although it would be possible to complete the major if CHEM 110 and 120 are not taken until the second year, this would require students to take an uncomfortably heavy load of science courses during subsequent years.

Major

  • Fourteen courses distributed as follows:
  • BIOL 150 Cell Biology (introductory-level course)
  • BIOL 250 Genetics
  • BIOL 355 Advanced Cell Biology
  • CHEM 110 General Chemistry I and CHEM 120 General Chemistry II or CHEM 150 Accelerated General Chemistry
  • CHEM 240 Organic Chemistry I
  • CHEM 250 Organic Chemistry II
  • CHEM 320 Physical Chemistry: Thermodynamics and Chemical Kinetics
  • CHEM 330 Biological Chemistry
  • CHEM 335 Advanced Biological Chemistry
  • MATH 120 Calculus I
  • MATH 140 Calculus II
  • PHYS 210 General Physics I or PHYS 230 General Physics I (Calculus-based) or PHYS 235 General Physics I (Workshop)
  • one elective from
    • BIOL 310 Developmental Biology
    • BIOL 320 Animal Physiology
    • BIOL 325 Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
    • BIOL 340 Microbiology 
    • BIOL 370 Plant Physiology
    • BIOL 430 Immunology
    • BIOL 460 Evolution
    • BIOL 465 Molecular Evolution and Bioinformatics
    • BIOL 470 Advanced Genetics

BCMB majors are required to complete an independent research project and may not earn a minor or second major in either chemistry or biology.

SENIOR CAPSTONE EXPERIENCE

The Senior Capstone Experience will consist of a comprehensive examination (the Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology Graduate Record Examination), the submission of a research paper based on the student’s research, and participation in the BCMB Senior Seminar course which includes an oral presentation of the student’s research. The research paper and oral presentation will be assessed by members of the BCMB faculty.

Minor

There are currently no plans for a BCMB minor. Students wishing to emphasize this material, but not as a major, should select their minor from either Chemistry or Biology.

COURSE PLANNING

First-year planning Successful completion of the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (BCMB) major will require careful planning and adherence to a relatively tight schedule of courses. BCMB majors may need to take 3 science/mathematics courses in a semester. Furthermore, 100- and 200-level courses offered by a given department are sequenced and must be taken in numerical order. For example, CHEM 110 General Chemistry I must be taken before CHEM 120 General Chemistry II, but students may take BIOL 150 Cell Biology prior to taking CHEM 120 General Chemistry II.

  1. Students planning a BCMB major should take the General Chemistry sequence (CHEM 110 and 120) their first year. They should also take BIOL 150 Cell Biology and/or the appropriate Mathematics course during the first year.
  2. Other students who wish to explore the BCMB major but who also want or need more time to check out other majors should take CHEM 110 and 120, and either Cell Biology or the appropriate Mathematics course their first year. Although it would be possible to complete the major if CHEM 110 and 120 are not taken until the second year, this would require students to take an uncomfortably heavy load of science courses during subsequent years.

Upper-level planning Second year students should take CHEM 240 Organic Chemistry I and CHEM 250 Organic Chemistry II, finish the Mathematics requirement if not completed the first year and take the next sequential Biology course (BIOL 250 Genetics). Whether to take more biology or chemistry first will depend on the interests of the student and the type of research they hope to undertake in the future. Third year students should take CHEM 330 Biological Chemistry and CHEM 335 Advanced Biological Chemistry. The BCMB faculty recommends taking BIOL 355 Advanced Cell Biology in the third year in preparation for taking the BCMB GRE that is part of the Senior Capstone Experience.

  1. Undergraduate Research is a key component of the BCMB major. All students must earn research credit for work done during one summer in a full time research project, or for work done part-time during two semesters during the academic year. Students should plan on being involved in research as early and as often as possible. Second-year students will generally not be ready to earn research credit, but they can volunteer to help in projects and start preparing for undertaking their own projects. Ideally, by the end of their junior year, students will have been involved in research in some way. All research for credit must be approved by the BCMB core faculty prior to the start of the research project.
  2. Students should also begin planning as early as possible for the type of graduate or professional programs they wish to enter after graduating from Hendrix because some programs will have prerequisites beyond those courses which make up the major. Early planning is also crucial for students who plan to study abroad. Due to the highly structured nature of the major, and the time required to complete the research requirement, students will need to be well ahead of schedule prior to the study abroad experience, or attend a foreign school which allows them to take courses that will count towards the major.
  3. BCMB Journal Club All BCMB majors are strongly encouraged to attend the BCMB Journal Club. This group meets on a weekly basis to discuss current research in the field. We feel that attendance and participation demonstrates genuine interest in the field, provides important insight into how modern research is done, and helps keep faculty and students abreast of the rapid developments in this dynamic discipline.

Sample four-year course sequence

Fall Spring
First Year TEC and Explorations BIOL 150 Cell Biology
CHEM 110 or 150 Gen Chemistry I CHEM 120 General Chemistry II*
Math 130 Calculus I       MATH 140 Calculus II
Second Year CHEM 240 Organic Chemistry I CHEM 250 Organic Chemistry II
PHYS 210, 230, or 235 Gen Physics I (PHYS 220, 240, or 245) Optional
BIOL 250 Genetics
Third Year CHEM 330 Biological Chemistry   CHEM 335 Advanced Biological Chemistry
BIOL 355 Advanced Cell Biology     
Summer Research
Fourth Year BCMB Elective CHEM 320 Physical Chemistry
Take BCMB GRE BIOL 497 BCMB Senior Seminar


Sample three-year course sequence

Fall Spring
First Year TEC and Explorations
Second Year CHEM 110 or 150 Gen Chemistry I CHEM 120 General Chemistry I
PHYS 210 or 230 General Physics I PHYS 220 or 240: Gen Physics
BIOL 150 Cell Biology Optional
BIOL 250 Genetics
Third Year CHEM 240 Organic Chemistry CHEM 120 General Chemistry II
MATH 130 Calculus I MATH 140 Calculus II
BIOL 355 Advanced Cell Biology
Summer Research
Fourth Year CHEM 330 Biological Chemistry CHEM 335 Advanced Biological Chemistry
BCMB Elective CHEM 320 Physical Chemistry
Take BCMB GRE BIOL 497 BCMB Senior Seminar