BA in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

The Biochemistry & Molecular Biology (BMB) major provides students with a strong foundation in biology and chemistry followed by the opportunity to focus on particular aspects of these disciplines through electives and independent research. Upper-level courses emphasize state-of-the-art research and experimental techniques used to probe the structures and functions of biologically important molecules from the intracellular to systems levels. The BMB curriculum provides exceptional preparation for pursuing advanced degrees in the biomedical sciences as well as entering the biotechnology workforce.

Requirements

The major in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology includes a strong foundation in biology, chemistry, physics, and calculus, core courses in biochemistry, molecular biology, and physical biochemistry, and advanced electives that may include undergraduate research. Laboratory work is stressed throughout, since biochemistry and molecular biology are experimental sciences that require a broad range of practical skills. A minimum of 18 science and math courses is required for the major, in addition to the college requirements for the BA. A grade of C or higher is required in all courses taken for credit in the major.

Course titles and full descriptions are located in the Courses portion of this Bulletin. Unless otherwise noted, all required courses are 4 credit hours.

Foundation Courses (11 courses):

Biology:

  • CAS BI 108
  • CAS BI 213 recommended (or BI 203) and
  • CAS BI 216 recommended (or BI 206)

Chemistry:

  • CAS CH 109 (or CH 111)
  • CAS CH 110 (or CH 112 or CH 102 & CH 201)
  • CAS CH 203 (or CH 211) and
  • CAS CH 214 (or CH 204 & CH 220, or CH 212 & CH 220)

Physics:

Two courses in physics from one of the following four sequences:

  • CAS PY 105/106 or
  • CAS PY 211/106 or
  • CAS PY 211/212 or
  • CAS PY 241/242

Required Mathematics or Mathematics/Computer Science Courses:

Two courses in mathematics (calculus or statistics) or one course in mathematics and one in computer science, from the list below.

Calculus courses:
  • CAS MA 121
  • CAS MA 122
  • CAS MA 123
  • CAS MA 124
  • CAS MA 196
  • CAS MA 127
  • CAS MA 129

Note: Only one of CAS MA 121 and 123 can be taken for credit; similarly, only one of CAS MA 122, 124, 127, or 129 can be taken for credit. CAS MA 127 or MA 129 satisfies the two-course mathematics or mathematics/computer science requirement for this major.

Statistics courses:
  • CAS MA 115
  • CAS MA 116
  • CAS MA 213
  • CAS MA 214

Note: Only one of CAS MA 113, 115, or 213 can be taken for credit; similarly, only one of CAS MA 116 or 214 can be taken for credit.

Computer Science courses:
  • CAS CS 105
  • CAS CS 108
  • CAS CS 111

Core Courses (4 courses):

  • CAS BI/CH 421
  • CAS BI/CH 422
  • CAS BI 552 and
  • CAS CH 525

Advanced Lab Elective (1 course):

  • CAS BB 522 or
  • CAS BI 513 or
  • CAS BB 401 and BB 402 or
  • CAS BB 491 and BB 492

Advanced Electives (2 courses):

  • *CAS BB 401 (refer to asterisked note under Undergraduate Research Options, below)
  • *CAS BB 491 (refer to asterisked note under Undergraduate Research Options, below)
  • CAS BB 492 (refer to asterisked note under Undergraduate Research Options, below)
  • CAS BB 522
  • CAS BI 311
  • CAS BI 315
  • CAS BI 385
  • CAS BI 410
  • CAS BI 445
  • CAS BI 446
  • CAS BI 455
  • CAS BI 481
  • CAS BI 485
  • CAS BI 502
  • CAS BI 513
  • CAS BI 551
  • CAS BI 553
  • CAS BI 560
  • CAS BI 572
  • CAS BI 576
  • ENG BF 527
  • GRS BI 735
  • GRS CH 625
  • GRS CH 626
  • GRS CH 634
  • GRS MB 722

Of the seven courses required beyond the foundation courses, five must be taken through Boston University. Courses taken outside of Boston University must be approved for the BMB major by petition. Prior approval is recommended.

Undergraduate Research Options

Laboratory research is a central feature of the BMB program. In addition to structured lab courses, many students conduct directed research for academic credit, or work or volunteer in BMB faculty labs.

  • Senior-level undergraduate research (CAS BB 491 & BB 492) can be used to satisfy the advanced lab elective but both semesters of research must be taken. However, only one semester (4 credits) of research can count toward the BMB major. BMB majors must have a 3.0 GPA to participate in junior and/or senior-level research for credit.
  • Seniors eligible for Honors Research in BMB (CAS BB 401/402) must complete both semesters of research to graduate with Honors. Students must also complete both semesters of the Honors Seminar (CAS BB 497/498). BMB majors must have a 3.5 GPA to participate in senior honors research.

Advanced Placement (AP)

A student with an AP examination score of 5 may receive 8 credits and place out of either CAS BI 107 and 108 or CAS BI 105 and 107. Students are nonetheless encouraged to take BI 108 even if they received a 5 on the AP exam. A score of 4 on the AP exam allows a student to place out of 4 credits for CAS BI 105, 107, or 108, depending on the student’s background in biology and area of interest. AP decisions should be made in consultation with a BMB advisor.

Premedical Students

The BMB major satisfies all premedical requirements. Premedical students are strongly urged to take CAS BI 315 (Systems Physiology) as an advanced elective. Premedical students should discuss premedical requirements with their advisors and with the Pre-Professional Advising office (100 Bay State Road, 4th floor) as early as possible.