Biochemistry & Molecular Biology (BSc Program)

Kathy Lewis, Professor and Co-Chair
Todd Whitcombe, Associate Professor and Co-Chair
Keith Egger, Professor
Dezene Huber, Professor
Chow Lee, Professor
Geoffrey Payne, Professor
Stephen Rader, Professor
Kerry Reimer, Professor
Mark Shrimpton, Professor
Andrea Gorrell, Associate Professor
Brent Murray, Associate Professor
Daniel Erasmus, Senior Lab Instructor


Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (BCMB) investigates how molecules work in living systems. There is no clear line dividing living from non-living systems; rather, there is a gradual increase in complexity from clearly inanimate molecules up to obviously complex organisms.  The goal of biochemistry and molecular biology is to understand how simple, inanimate molecular interactions support life. 

The BCMB major has two main components: learning about molecules and learning about the scientific method. The former involves acquiring expertise in the foundations of biochemistry, such as organic and physical chemistry, and then exploring biological molecules and how they operate in living systems.  The latter involves exploring how science asks questions to understand the workings of nature, while developing competence in laboratory skills and analysis. These two aspects are linked because an understanding of how information is acquired is as important as the information itself, since different experimental systems can yield different insights into complex biological problems. 

BCMB majors continue on to successful careers in a diverse range of fields, notably medicine, teaching, pharmacy, the biotechnology industry, science policy, and law.  BCMB majors acquire strong skills in laboratory techniques, and are therefore qualified for many kinds of research positions, including graduate programs such as immunology, molecular genetics, and developmental biology. BCMB majors are encouraged to pursue their interests by combining BCMB with minors in other fields, such as computer science, physics, business, or education.

Major in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

The major in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology requires students to take at least 74 credit hours of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology-oriented courses, of which 33 credit hours must be upper division (i.e. 300 or 400 level).

The minimum requirement for completion of a Bachelor of Science with a major in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology is 127 credit hours.

Program Requirements

Lower-Division Requirement

100 Level

BIOL 103-3Introductory Biology I
BIOL 104-3Introductory Biology II
BIOL 123-1Introductory Biology I Laboratory
BIOL 124-1Introductory Biology II Laboratory
CHEM 100-3General Chemistry I
CHEM 101-3General Chemistry II
CHEM 120-1General Chemistry Lab I
CHEM 121-1General Chemistry Lab II
PHYS 100-4Introduction to Physics I
    or PHYS 110-4
Introductory Physics I:  Mechanics
Introduction to Physics II 
    or PHYS 111-4
Introductory Physics II:  Waves & Electricity 
One of the following three options:
Calculus I
Calculus II
Enriched Calculus
Calculus II
Finite Mathematics for Business and Economics
Calculus for Non-majors

Students are strongly encouraged to take MATH 100-3 or MATH 105-3, and MATH 101-3 for the first year Mathematics requirement.

200 Level

Biochemistry Lab I
BIOL 203-3Microbiology
BIOL 210-3Genetics
CHEM 201-3Organic Chemistry I
CHEM 203-3Organic Chemistry II
CHEM 204-3Introductory Biochemistry
CHEM 250-1Organic Chemistry Lab I
CHEM 251-1Organic Chemistry Lab II
Basic Statistics
     or STAT 371-3
Probability and Statistics for Scientists and Engineers

Upper-Division Requirement

300 Level

BCMB 306-3Intermediary Metabolism
BCMB 308-3Biochemistry Lab II
Physical Biochemistry 
Cell and Molecular Biology

400 Level

Proteins and Enzymology
Four of: 
Basic Science of Oncology 
Macromolecular Structure 
Advanced Nucleic Acids 
Special Topics in Biochemistry
BIOL 312-3Molecular Cell Physiology
Evolutionary Biology
BIOL 423-3Molecular Evolution and Ecology
BIOL 425-3Applied Genetics and Biotechnology

Subject Requirements

Twelve additional credit hours chosen from the following, of which at least 6 credit hours must be at the 300 or 400 level.  Note:  NRES 430-6 can count towards this requirement with permission of the Biology Program Chair.

Any 200-level or above BCMB, BIOL or CHEM courses
Human Physiology I
HHSC 306-3Human Physiology II
PSYC 317-3Psychobiology
Sensation and Perception
PSYC 419-3Neuropsychology

Elective and Academic Breadth Requirements

Elective credit hours as necessary to ensure completion of 127 credit hours, including any additional credit hours necessary to meet the Academic Breadth requirement of the University (see Academic Regulation 15).

Note:  No more than 3 credit hours of continuing education courses may be used towards the BCMB major.

BSc Honours - Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

The BSc Honours - Biochemistry and Molecular Biology provides a higher level of specialization and research experience, especially for students planning to pursue postgraduate work.
Honours students are required to complete the degree requirements for the BSc - Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Major. In addition to the total number of credit hours required for the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Major, each student must complete 6 credit hours of undergraduate thesis course work, normally of BCMB 430-6, under the supervision of a faculty member. Another undergraduate thesis course can be substituted with approval of the BCMB Curriculum Chair.
Students may apply to the BCMB Honours Program after completion of 60 credit hours in the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology major with a Cumulative GPA of not less than 3.33. Meeting these minimum requirements does not guarantee entry to the Honours Program. Entrance to the Honours Program in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology is at the discretion of the BCMB Program, and is contingent on the availability of a faculty member willing to supervise the undergraduate research thesis. Maintenance of a Cumulative GPA of 3.33 is required to remain in the Honours Program.
The minimum requirement for completion of a BSc Honours - Biochemistry and Molecular Biology is 133 credit hours.

Minor in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

The minor in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology is designed to provide students with a core of study in the field of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. The program of study includes a grounding in chemistry and biology since these are the disciplines from which modern biochemistry and molecular biology arose.

The minimum requirement for completion of the minor in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology is 42 credit hours, of which at least 12 credit hours must be at the upper-division level.

100 Level

Introductory Biology I 
Introductory Biology II
Introductory Biology II 
Introductory Biology II Laboratory
General Chemistry I 
General Chemistry II 
General Chemistry Lab I 
General Chemistry Lab II 
 200 Level
Biochemistry Lab I 
BIOL 210-3Genetics
CHEM 201-3Organic Chemistry I
CHEM 203-3Organic Chemistry II
CHEM 204-3Introductory Biochemistry

Note:  Students are allowed to double-count all applicable first- and second-year courses; however, they must take upper-division courses for the minor that are not included in their major requirements or upper-division subject requirements to ensure completion of 12 upper-division credit hours outside of their major.

Students must ensure that all prerequisites are fulfilled prior to taking a course.

300 and 400  Level

12 credit hours must be chosen from the following: 

BCMB 306-3Intermediary Metabolism
BCMB 308-3Biochemistry Lab II
Physical Biochemistry
Basic Science of Oncology
Macromolecular Structure
Advanced Nucleic Acids
BCMB 404-3Proteins and Enzymology
Topics in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
BIOL 311-3Cell and Molecular Biology
Molecular Cell Physiology 
Evolutionary Biology 
Molecular Evolution and Ecology 
Applied Genetics and Biotechnology 
Topics in Biochemistry