Biology Major, Molecular Biology and Biochemistry Specialization

Program Requirements

  • Total units required: 58

Required Courses

Biol 2960Principles of Biology I4
Biol 2970Principles of Biology II4
Chem 111AGeneral Chemistry I3
or Chem 105 Principles of General Chemistry I
Chem 112AGeneral Chemistry II3
or Chem 106 Principles of General Chemistry II
Chem 151General Chemistry Laboratory I2
Chem 152General Chemistry Laboratory II2
Chem 261Organic Chemistry I with Lab4
Chem 262Organic Chemistry II with Lab4
Math 132Calculus II3
SDS 2200Elementary Probability and Statistics3
or Math 233 Calculus III
or SDS 3200 Elementary to Intermediate Statistics and Data Analysis
Physics 191Physics I3
or Physics 193 Focused Physics I
Physics 191LPhysics I Laboratory1
or Physics 193L Focused Physics I Laboratory
Physics 192Physics II3
or Physics 194 Focused Physics II
Physics 192LPhysics II Laboratory1
or Physics 194L Physics II Laboratory
Total Units40

Students may substitute Chem 401 Physical Chemistry I for Chem 262 Organic Chemistry II with Lab. Students who plan to take physical chemistry must take Math 233 Calculus III. SDS 2200 Elementary Probability and Statistics (required for the tracks in ecology and evolution and in genomics and computational biology) and Math 233 Calculus III are valuable, particularly for students interested in research. Students who have taken Math 233 may take SDS 3200 Elementary to Intermediate Statistics and Data Analysis rather than SDS 2200 Elementary Probability and Statistics for a more advanced treatment of statistics.

At least 18 units in advanced biology courses (numbered 300 or above) are required. These 18 units may not include Biol 303A, Biol 307A, Biol 3160, Biol 3180, Biol 343A, Biol 363, Biol 387, Biol 388, Biol 3900, Biol 4202, Biol 4582, Biol 487, or Biol 488; cross-listed courses originating in other departments (except Biol 354Biol 360, Biol 4540Biol 4580Biol 4810, Biol 4820, and Biol 4833, which count as biology major credit despite external origins); courses in the School of Continuing & Professional Studies; or more than 3 units of history-of-science courses. Up to 6 units of Biol 500 may be counted toward the 18 advanced biology units, and up to 3 units of Biol 49XX seminar courses may be counted toward the 18 advanced biology units. 

Majors are required to take at least one course from each of the following three areas:

Area A: Cellular and Molecular Biology

Biol 324Human Genetics3
Biol 334Cell Biology3
Biol 3371Eukaryotic Genomes4
Biol 3481Parasitology3
Biol 349Microbiology4
Biol 424Immunology4
Biol 4344Epigenetics3
Biol 4492Infectious Diseases: History, Pathology, and Prevention3
Biol 451General Biochemistry4
Biol 4810General Biochemistry I3
Biol 4820General Biochemistry II3

Area B: Organismal Biology 

Biol 3057Physiological Control Systems3
Biol 3151Endocrinology3
Biol 328Principles in Human Physiology4
Biol 3411Principles of the Nervous System3
Biol 3421Introduction to Neuroethology3
Biol 3422Genes, Brains, and Behavior3
Biol 3424Great Discoveries in Neuroscience3
Biol 4023How Plants Work: Physiology, Growth, and Metabolism3
Biol 4030Biological Clocks3
Biol 4071Developmental Biology3
Biol 4072Regenerative and Stem Cell Biology3
Biol 4381Cell-Based Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine3
Biol 4580Principles of Human Anatomy and Development3

Area C: Evolution, Ecology and Population Biology

Biol 3220Woody Plants of Missouri3
Biol 3221Research and Public Education in the Arboretum3
Biol 347Darwin and Evolutionary Controversies3
Biol 3494Microbes and the Environment4
Biol 3501Evolution4
Biol 370Animal Behavior3
Biol 381Introduction to Ecology3
Biol 4181Population Genetics (and Microevolution)3
Biol 4182Macroevolution3
Biol 4183Molecular Evolution3
Biol 419Community Ecology3
Biol 4195Disease Ecology4
Biol 472Behavioral Ecology4

Majors also must take an advanced laboratory course from the following list:

Biol 3110Vertebrate Structure Laboratory4
Biol 3423Behavioral Genetics Laboratory3
Biol 3491Microbiology Laboratory3
Biol 3492Laboratory Experiments with Eukaryotic Microbes3
Biol 3493Bacterial Bioprospecting and Biotechnology3
Biol 360Biophysics Laboratory3
Biol 404Laboratory of Neurophysiology4
Biol 4193Experimental Ecology Laboratory4
Biol 4220Practical Bioinformatics4
Biol 4342Research Explorations in Genomics4
Biol 434WResearch Explorations in Genomics (Writing-Intensive)4
Biol 4522Laboratory in Protein Analysis, Proteomics, and Protein Structure3
Biol 4523Molecular Methods in Enzyme Analysis4
Biol 4525Structural Bioinformatics of Proteins (Writing Intensive)4

All courses to be counted toward a major in biology must be taken for a letter grade if a letter grade is offered. A grade of C- or better must be earned in all of these courses.

In special cases, students may earn credit for graduate courses offered by the Division of Biology & Biomedical Sciences.

Specialization Requirements

  • Total units required (including the biology major requirements): 58

Additional requirements include both Biol 4810 and Biol 4820 as well as either Biol 334 or Biol 349. The advanced laboratory course used to fulfill major requirements must be one of the following: Biol 3423, Biol 3491, Biol 3492, Biol 3493, Biol 4342/Biol 434W, Biol 4522, Biol 4523, or Biol 4525. Additional biology courses recommended for students in this track include Biol 4023, Biol 4071, Biol 4183Biol 4344, Biol 4833, and Biol 5312.

Additional Information


Research opportunities are available during the student's first and second years through Biol 200; such opportunities are available during the third and fourth years through Biol 500. A research emphasis in the major requires at least 6 credits (two semesters) of Biol 500 research and an approved senior thesis on this research, which is presented at the undergraduate symposium. The research emphasis is acknowledged on the degree as a research milestone.

Senior Honors

Biology majors are encouraged to work for senior honors, which require a 3.30 grade point average in biology, a 3.30 GPA in nonbiological sciences (mathematics, chemistry and physics courses), and a 3.65 overall GPA at the time of graduation. Also required are 6 units of Biol 500 research and an approved thesis from this work, equivalent to the research emphasis described in the preceding paragraph. Students interested in senior honors should begin Biol 500 no later than the spring of their junior year.

The Department of Biology awards the Marian Smith Spector Prize to an undergraduate who has an excellent academic record and who submits an outstanding honors thesis; it also awards the Ralph S. Quatrano Prize to the student whose thesis shows the greatest evidence of creativity in design, research methodology and/or broader scientific implications. The Harrison D. Stalker Prize is awarded to a graduating senior whose college career is distinguished by scholarship, service and breadth of interest.

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