Guide to Academic Planning 2018-2019

Biochemistry Molecular Biology

COURSE PLANNING

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (BCMB) is a research-intensive major that is particularly recommended for students interested in pursuing graduate studies in biochemistry and molecular biology, as well as in other related fields such as genetics, cell biology, and developmental biology.

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(s) 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 BIOL 250 Genetics. General Physics I should be taken after Calculus I (normally during the first semester of the Sophomore year).  It is highly recommended that students sign up for PHYS 235 (workshop).  Although optional, Gen Physics II should be taken by students on the premed track – PHYS 245 (workshop) is recommended in this case.  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 as this course serves as a strong foundation for other upper level biology courses.  Fourth year students normally take a BCMB elective course and CHEM 320 Physical Chemistry: Thermo & Chem Kin , and need to sign up for BIOL 497 BCMB Senior Seminar in the Spring semester.

Undergraduate Research Requirement.  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.. 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.

Other Considerations.  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.

BCMB Journal Club. All BCMB majors are strongly encouraged to attend the BCMB Journal Club. This group meets on a regular 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
CHEM 110 Gen Chem I or
CHEM 150 Accelerated Gen Chem)
MATH 130 Calculus I
BIOL 150 Cell Biology
CHEM 120 Gen Chem II
MATH 140 Calculus II
Second Year CHEM 240 Organic Chemistry I
PHYS 210, 230, or 235 Gen Physics I*
BIOL 250 Genetics
CHEM 250 Organic Chemistry II
PHYS 220, 240, or 245 Gen Physics II (optional)*
Third Year CHEM 330 Biological Chemistry
BIOL 355 Advanced Cell Biology
CHEM 335 Advanced Biological Chemistry

Summer Research

Fourth Year BCMB Elective

CHEM 320 Physical Chem: Thermo & Chem Kin
BIOL 497 BCMB Senior Seminar

* it is recommended that students sign up for PHYS 235 (workshop).  Although optional, Gen Physics II should be taken by students on the premed track – PHYS 245 (workshop) is recommended in this case.

Sample three-year course sequence

Fall Spring
First Year TEC and Explorations
Second Year

CHEM 110 Gen Chemistry I (or
CHEM 150 Accelerated Gen Chem)
MATH 130 Calculus I
BIOL 150 Cell Biology

CHEM 120 General Chemistry II 
(if student has not taken CHEM 150)
MATH 140 Calculus II
BIOL 250 Genetics

Third Year CHEM 240 Organic Chemistry
PHYS 210, 230, or 235 Gen Physics I
BIOL 355 Advanced Cell Biology
CHEM 250 Organic Chemistry II
PHYS 220, 240, or 245 Gen Physics II (optional)
Summer Research
Fourth Year CHEM 330 Biological Chemistry
BCMB Elective
CHEM 335 Advanced Bio Chem
CHEM 320 Physical Chem: Thermo & Chem Kin
BIOL 497 BCMB Senior Seminar

* it is recommended that students sign up for PHYS 235 (workshop).  Although optional, Gen Physics II should be taken by students on the premed track – PHYS 245 (workshop) is recommended in this case.