Molecular Biology & Biochemistry Requirements

Students matriculating Fall 2018 or later must follow these requirements.  Students matriculated prior to Fall 2018 will need to follow the previous requirements, which can be found on the MBBC webpage.

Required for the Major: The requirements for the major in molecular biology and biochemistry provide a multidisciplinary yet integrated approach to examining life at the macromolecular, cellular, and organismal levels. The major is composed of 15 required courses including foundation courses, advanced courses, and four electives selected among three thematic suites. Required foundation courses in mathematics, physics, chemistry, and biology establish a strong, broad understanding of the science necessary for advanced study. Required advanced courses in the core areas of molecular biology and biological chemistry build on this foundation. Finally, elective courses offer advanced opportunities to explore a wide variety of specific topics including neurobiology, developmental biology, computational biology, data science, molecular genetics, and biochemical mechanisms. Students may engage in mentored independent research in these areas.
      Placement Exams and Transfer Credit:
Students may be able to bypass introductory courses in chemistry, mathematics, or physics on the basis of AP credit or proficiency exams. Those who bypass CHEM 0103 may begin with CHEM 0104 (fall or spring) or CHEM 0107 (fall only). AP Statistics will not satisfy the statistics requirement (BIOL 0211 or MATH 0116). Those students with AP Statistics credit will be required to enroll in BIOL 0211. Those students interested in the health professions or graduate study may wish to take a full two semesters of calculus and physics in order to meet professional school entrance requirements. Students considering taking summer courses or courses abroad must get approval in advance from the program director. Students should consult with their adviser for assistance with the process of transferring credit from another institution.

Required Background Courses:
MATH 0121 Calculus I
PHYS 0109 Newtonian Physics
BIOL 0140 Ecology and Evolution
BIOL 0145 Cell Biology and Genetics
BIOL 0211 Experimental Design and Data Analysis or MATH 116 Introduction to Statistical Science
CHEM 0103 or CHEM 0107 General Chemistry I or Adv. General Chemistry
CHEM 0104 or CHEM 0107 General Chemistry II or Adv. General Chemistry
CHEM 0203 Organic Chemistry I: Structure and Reactivity
CHEM 0204 Organic Chemistry II: Synthesis and Spectroscopy

Required Advanced Courses:
BIOL 0314 Molecular Genetics
CHEM 0322 Biochemistry of Macromolecules

Required Elective Suite Courses:

A list of appropriate electives is provided within each suite.  However, not all listed courses are offered every year.  Also, as other appropriate courses may become available on campus, there may be additional course options within each suite.  Majors will be kept informed of currently available courses that fit within each of the three elective suites. 

Students may not count a single course in more than one elective category requirement.

1. Quantitative Suite (students must take 1 class in this suite)
        CHEM 0355 Thermodynamics and Kinetics*
        CSCI 0201 Data Structures*
        CSCI 0321 Bioinformatics Algorithms*
        MATH 0200 Linear Algebra
        MATH 0223 Multivariable Calculus*
        MATH 0216 Introduction to Data Science
        MATH 0217 Elements of Mathematical Biology and Ecology
        MATH 0315 Mathematical Models in the Social and Life Sciences*

2. Advanced Laboratory Suite- Lecture and Independent Research (students must take 1 class in this suite)
        BIOL 0305 Developmental Biology
        BIOL 0310 Microbiology
        BIOL 0324 Genomics
        BIOL 0331 The Genetics of Cancer
        BIOL 0365 Molecular Microbial Ecology

3.  Advanced Non-Laboratory Suite (students must take 2 classes in this suite)
        BIOL 0330 Mechanisms of Microbial Pathogenesis
        BIOL 0380 Immunology (formally BIOL 0280)
        BIOL 0420 Neurogenetics
        BIOL 0425 Human Genetics
        BIOL 0450 Topics in Reproductive Medicine
        BIOL 0475 Neuroplasticity*
        CHEM 0355 Thermodynamics and Kinetics*
        CHEM 0425 Biochemistry of Metabolism
        CSCI 0321 Bioinformatics Algorithms*
        PHYS 0241 Biomedical Imaging*

*Courses with pre-requisites other than courses already required of the MBBC major (or by waiver for some).
 

Note: Independent Study courses (CHEM/BIOL/MBBC 0500/0700/0701) cannot be used to fulfill elective credit.
    
There is no minor in molecular biology and biochemistry.

The recommended progression through the required courses of the MBBC major is shown below. While there can be some deviation to this schedule, it is highly recommended that the students complete their introductory chemistry requirements (CHEM0103 and CHEM 0104 or, with advanced placement, CHEM 0107/CHEM 0104) by the end of the first year and their introductory biology requirements (BIOL 0140 and BIOL 0145) by the end of their third semester. The decision to start the introductory biology sequence in the first semester along with introductory chemistry and calculus should be made with consultation with the students FYSE advisor and/or the MBBC Program Director. CHEM 0204 may be taken either concurrently with CHEM 0322, or afterwards. All mathematics, physics, introductory chemistry and biology, and organic chemistry courses should be completed by the end of the second year. A college writing (CW) course should be completed by the end of the third year. BIOL 0331 or BIOL 0310 are appropriate courses which have sections that fulfill the CW requirement.

First Year Fall
CHEM 0103 General Chemistry I OR (if satisfied) CHEM 0104 General Chemistry II OR (if satisfied) CHEM 0107 Advanced General Chemistry
MATH 0121 Calculus I
BIOL 0140 Ecology and Evolution OR BIOL 0145 Cell Biology and Genetics (for students who have taken or placed out of CHEM 0103)

First Year Spring
CHEM 104 General Chemistry II (if not taken previously)
BIOL 0140 Ecology and Evolution OR BIOL 0145 Cell Biology and Genetics (for students who have taken or placed out of CHEM 0103)

Second Year Fall
CHEM 0203 Organic Structure and Reactivity
PHYS 0109 Newtonian Physics OR BIOL 0211 Experimental Design and Data Analysis OR MATH 0116 Introduction to Statistical Science
BIOL 0140 Ecology and Evolution OR BIOL 0145 Cell Biology and Genetics (for students who have taken or placed out of CHEM 0103)- (if not taken previously)

Second Year Winter Term
BIOL 0211 Experimental Design and Data Analysis (if BIOL 0211 or MATH 0116 not taken previously) OR Elective

Second Year Spring
CHEM 0204 Organic Synthesis and Spectroscopy or CHEM 0322 Biochemistry of Macromolecules
BIOL 0211 Experimental Design and Data Analysis OR MATH 0116 Introduction to Statistical Science (if not taken previously)
BIOL 0314 Molecular Genetics

Third Year
CHEM 0322 Biochemistry of Macromolecules or CHEM 0204 Organic Synthesis and Spectroscopy (if not taken previoulsy)
BIOL 0314 Molecular Genetics (if not taken previously)
Electives

Fourth Year
Electives
BIOL 0314 Molecular Genetics (if not taken previously)
Senior Thesis Research

Molecular Biology & Biochemistry Research: Research is an important component of a well-rounded academic pursuit; it contributes to the development of independence and creativity, as well as to the depth of knowledge needed to become an active contributor to the scientific community. Majors may undertake independent research with a faculty mentor in MBBC or in other Departments and Programs, provided the research falls within the mission of the major. Any major is eligible to perform an independent study research project (BIOL 0500, CHEM 0400, NSCI 0500, or BIOL/CHEM/NSCI/MBBC 0700) with the consent of a mentor.
     Requirements for HonorsSenior thesis research may be initiated by any junior with the consent of a mentor. Students considering senior thesis research are urged to begin conversations with faculty early in their junior year (certainly by winter term) because many thesis projects begin during the summer preceding the senior year. Those eligible for high honors or honors in molecular biology and biochemistry will: (1) complete at least two semesters of research, which may include winter term; (2) enroll in MBBC 0701 for their final semester of research; (3) graduate with a minimum GPA of 3.3 for all courses counting towards the major; (4) present a public seminar describing the significance, methodology, results, and conclusions of their research; (5) successfully defend their thesis before a committee of three faculty, two of whom must be affiliated with the MBBC program; and (6) earn a grade of at least B+ for MBBC 0701, as determined by the members of the MBBC program, with the grade based on their research performance, their written thesis, their thesis presentation and their thesis defense.


Program in Molecular Biology & Biochemistry

McCardell Bicentennial Hall
276 Bicentennial Way
Middlebury College
Middlebury, VT 05753