BA in Biology—Cell Biology, Molecular Biology & Genetics Specialization

Many of the greatest advances in the biomedical sciences in recent years have come from the areas of Cell Biology, Molecular Biology & Genetics (CMG). These related disciplines have provided a deeper understanding of the molecular basis for the functioning of all living organisms. The Biology major with a CMG specialization is designed for students who wish to focus on these aspects of biology. The specialized knowledge and experience that CMG students gain in one or more CMG disciplines prepares them well for graduate or professional study in the biomedical sciences.

Requirements

The CMG specialization requires a total of 11 biology courses (introductory, foundation, breadth, and elective courses). Students must also complete a total of eight related courses in chemistry, mathematics/computer science, and physics.

Beyond Introductory Biology, at least three major courses must be at the 300+ level and three major courses must be lab courses taken in the BU Biology Department (the 300+ and lab requirements can overlap).

A grade of C or higher is required for major credit in all courses except corequisite chemistry courses. A grade of C– or higher is required for major credit in corequisite chemistry courses.

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

Introductory Biology (2 courses)

  • CAS BI 107 (or CGS NS 201)
  • CAS BI 108 (or BI 116)

Foundation Courses (3 courses)

  • CAS BI 213 recommended (or BI 203 or BI 218*)
  • CAS BI 216 recommended (or BI 206)
  • CAS BI 552

*Course will also count toward the three-lab requirement.

Breadth Requirement (2 courses)

Choose one course in each of the following two areas:

Physiology and Neurobiology (PN):

  • CAS BI 315* or
  • CAS BI 325 (or CAS NE 203*)

Ecology, Behavior, Evolution (EBE):

  • CAS BI 225 or
  • CAS BI 260 or
  • CAS BI 303* or
  • CAS BI 306* or
  • CAS BI 309 or
  • CAS BI 407*

* Course will also count toward the three-lab requirement.

CMG Electives (4 courses)

Choose four courses from the following list and/or from the eligible courses under the Optional Programs section of this Bulletin page.

  • CAS BB 522*
  • CAS BI 309
  • CAS BI 311*
  • CAS BI 315*
  • CAS BI 325 (or CAS NE 203*)
  • CAS BI 327
  • CAS BI 385
  • CAS BI 410
  • CAS BI 411
  • CAS BI 421*
  • CAS BI 422*
  • CAS BI/NE 445*
  • CAS BI 455
  • CAS BI 481
  • CAS BI 502
  • CAS BI 504
  • CAS BI 513*
  • CAS BI 515
  • CAS BI/NE 525
  • CAS BI/NE 535
  • CAS BI 550*
  • CAS BI 551
  • CAS BI 553
  • CAS BI 560
  • CAS BI 572
  • CAS BI 576
  • CAS BI 594

* Course will also count toward the three-lab requirement.

Note: After introductory biology, a minimum of five courses must be taken in the BU Biology Department (i.e., have a CAS or MET BI or BI cross-listed course designation). A maximum of 4 MET courses may be counted as credit toward the BA degree. In addition, at least three courses must be at the 300+ level and three must have a laboratory component. Some of these requirements can overlap (e.g., BI 315 simultaneously counts as a breadth requirement, a 300+ level course, and as a lab toward the three-lab requirement). Nonetheless, it is counted only as a single course toward fulfillment of the major.

Related Requirements (8 courses)

Chemistry

Four courses in chemistry are required. Choose one general chemistry sequence and one organic chemistry sequence.

General Chemistry
Sequence I Sequence II Sequence III
CAS CH 101 &
CAS CH 102 (or CH 116)
CAS CH 109 &
CAS CH 110
CAS CH 111 &
CAS CH 112
Organic Chemistry
Sequence I Sequence II Sequence III
CAS CH 203 (or CH 218) &
CAS CH 204
CAS CH 203 (or CH 218) &
CAS CH 214
CAS CH 211 &
CAS CH 212

For medical and other professional school admission, some students elect to take biochemistry (BI 421 or CH 373)­­­­­ in addition to the above chemistry 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: Students cannot take more than one of the following for credit: CAS MA 121 or 123; similarly, students cannot take more than one of the following for credit: CAS MA 122, 124, 127, or 129.

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

Optional Programs

Non-Departmental Courses

A maximum of two of the following courses can be used as CMG electives:

  • CAS CH 373
  • CAS CH 525
  • ENG BF 527
  • ENG BF 571
  • GMS BT 432

Undergraduate Research in Biology

While research is not required by the major, undergrads are encouraged to participate in research during their time at Boston University. Undergraduate research courses are available at all levels and require students to submit an application and receive approval by the Director of Undergraduate Studies.

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

Notes: Up to two 4-credit semesters can be used to fulfill major electives (these semesters do not need to be taken consecutively). One of these two semesters can be used toward the three-lab requirement. Both 2- and 4-credit research count toward graduation credits.

Honors Research in Biology (CAS BI 401 & 402) requires an overall GPA of 3.5. Students must complete two semesters of 4-credit research and one semester of the Honors Seminar (CAS BI 497/498). Honors students must complete and defend a written senior thesis.

Please visit the Biology Department website for additional information regarding undergraduate research in Biology.

Additional Information

Please see the Department of Biology portion of this Bulletin for information on the following topics:

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