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 undergraduate research. Laboratory work is stressed throughout, since biochemistry and molecular biology are experimental sciences that require a broad range of practical skills. 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 BMB major requires a minimum of 14 biology and chemistry courses. Students must also complete a total of four related courses in math and physics.

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 (7–9 courses)

Biology

  • CAS BI 108
  • CAS BI 213 recommended (or BI 203 or BI 218)
  • CAS BI 216 recommended (or BI 206)

Chemistry

  • Choose one of the following general chemistry sequences:
Sequence I (recommended) Sequence II Sequence III
CAS CH 109 &
CAS CH 110
CAS CH 111 &
CAS CH 112
CAS CH 101 &
CAS CH 102 &

CAS CH 201

AND

  • Choose one of the following organic chemistry sequences:
Sequence I (recommended) Sequence II Sequence III
CAS CH 203 (or CH 218) &
CAS CH 214
CAS CH 211
CAS CH 212
CAS CH 203 (or CH 218) &
CAS CH 204 &
CAS CH 220

Core Courses (4 courses)

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

BMB Electives (2 courses)

Choose two courses from the following list:

  • CAS BB 522
  • CAS BI 311
  • CAS BI 315
  • CAS BI 327
  • CAS BI 385
  • CAS BI 410
  • CAS BI 411
  • CAS BI/NE 445
  • CAS BI 455
  • CAS BI 481
  • CAS BI 502
  • CAS BI 513
  • CAS BI/NE 525
  • CAS BI/NE 535
  • CAS BI 551
  • CAS BI 553
  • CAS BI 560
  • CAS BI 572
  • CAS BI 576
  • ENG BF 527
  • GRS BI 735
  • GRS BI 753
  • GRS CH 625
  • GRS CH 626
  • GRS CH 634
  • GRS CH 724
  • GRS MB 722
  • CAS BB 391 (4 credits)^
  • CAS BB 392 (4 credits)^
  • CAS BB 491^
  • CAS BB 492^

^ Students can use one semester of 4-credit research to fulfill a BMB elective if not using Undergraduate Research or Honors Research to complete the advanced lab elective. Please see Undergraduate Research Options section below.

Advanced Lab Elective (1–2 courses)

Choose one option from the following list:

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

Note: A course cannot fulfill a BMB elective and the Advanced Lab elective requirement simultaneously. Of the Core Courses, Advanced Lab Electives, and BMB Electives, 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.

Related Requirements (4 courses)

Mathematics/Computer Science

Choose two courses from the lists below. At least one course must be calculus or statistics:

Calculus Courses
  • CAS MA 121
  • CAS MA 122
  • CAS MA 123
  • CAS MA 124
  • CAS MA 127
  • CAS MA 129
  • CAS MA 196

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.

Statistics Courses
  • CAS MA 115
  • CAS MA 116
  • CAS MA 213
  • CAS MA 214

Note: MA 113 will not satisfy major requirements. Students cannot take more than one of the following for credit: CAS MA 113, 115, or 213; similarly, students cannot take more than one of the following for credit: CAS MA 116 or 214.

Computer Science Courses
  • CAS CS 105
  • CAS CS 108
  • CAS CS 111

Physics

Choose one of the following sequences:

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

Undergraduate Research Options

Laboratory research is a central feature of the BMB program. In addition to structured lab courses, many students volunteer, work, or receive academic credit for research conducted in BMB faculty or outside labs. Students may receive academic credit for research through the following courses (all require students to submit an application and receive approval from the BMB Research & Honors Chair).

Freshman BB 191/192 2 credits
Sophomore BB 291/292 2 credits
Junior BB 391/392 2 or 4 credits
Senior BB 491/492 4 credits
Senior (Honors) BB 401/402 4 credits

GPA Requirements: BMB majors must have a 3.0 BMB GPA to participate in undergraduate research and a 3.5 overall and BMB GPA for Honors Research.

Notes:

  • Senior-level research (including Honors) can be used to satisfy the advanced lab elective if both semesters of research are taken.
  • Students can use one semester of 4-credit research to fulfill a BMB elective if not using undergraduate research or honors research to complete the advanced lab elective.
  • 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).

Please visit the BMB website for additional information on undergraduate research.

Additional Information

Please see the Biochemistry & Molecular Biology Program portion of this Bulletin for information on the following topics:

  • Advanced Credit (AP & IB Exams)
  • Intercollege Cross-Registration
  • Premedical Students
  • Program Residency Requirements
  • Study Abroad Programs