Biochemistry, Molecular and Cellular Biology Major (B.S.)

Biochemistry, Molecular and Cellular Biology Major (B.S.)

A lecture in BMCB

What is biochemistry, molecular and cellular biology?

The intertwined disciplines of biochemistry, molecular biology and cell biology are key to understanding the molecular and cellular foundations of life. A BMCB degree prepares you for immediate employment as a research technician or for entry into graduate school or into professional programs in medicine, dentistry or other allied health professions. Areas of faculty specialization include cell signaling pathways, pharmacology, neurobiology, macromolecular interactions, protein structure/function and molecular genetics.

Why study biochemistry, molecular and cellular biology at UNH?

The BMCB degree program provides a rigorous academic curriculum integrated with laboratory experiences to foster inquiry-based learning and to train creative and critical thinkers. Students can gain additional technical skills and exposure to state-of-the-art instrumentation by participating in independent research experiences with highly respected faculty and their collaborators around the world. The BMCB major is designed so students can in four years complete all the prerequisite courses needed for admission to graduate schools or health professional schools. Graduates are well-prepared for employment in biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, hospitals or academic labs. An accelerated five-year program to earn a combined bachelor and master's degree in biochemistry is also available for students who qualify.

Potential careers

  • College professor
  • Dentist
  • Laboratory technician
  • Lawyer
  • Pharmacist
  • Physician
  • Physician assistant
  • Research scientist
  • Science journalist or medical writer

Contact

Feixia Chu

ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR
Phone: (603) 862-2436
Office: Molecular, Cellular, & Biomedical Sciences, Rudman Hall Rm 316, Durham, NH 03824

Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Biomedical Sciences
Rudman Hall
46 College Road
Durham, NH 03824
603-862-4095
mcbs.dept@unh.edu

Connect with us

MM/DD/YYYY
  • Some are harmless, some are not
    Lecturer Davida Margolin's course Germs 101 has taken on a new relevancy this year thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.
    Some are harmless, some are not
    Lecturer Davida Margolin's course Germs 101 has taken on a new relevancy this year thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • From Eager Mentee to Accomplished Mentor
    Randy Hall, a biochemistry major from the class of 1990, discovered his affinity for research almost 30 years ago, as an undergraduate in Professor Rick Cote’s lab.
    From Eager Mentee to Accomplished Mentor
    Randy Hall, a biochemistry major from the class of 1990, discovered his affinity for research almost 30 years ago, as an undergraduate in Professor Rick Cote’s lab.
  • Seeking a Better World Through Science
    Francesca Barucci ’20 is busy. The biochemistry, molecular and cellular biology major from Fairfield, Conn., is also minoring in Italian studies and chemistry and is a member of the UNH Chapter of the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.
    Seeking a Better World Through Science
    Francesca Barucci ’20 is busy. The biochemistry, molecular and cellular biology major from Fairfield, Conn., is also minoring in Italian studies and chemistry and is a member of the UNH Chapter of the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.
  • Fast Forward
    Enzymes are a complex protein that help speed biochemical reactions. Graeme Lambert ’19, biochemistry major and president of the UNH Chapter of the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, knows all about enzymes — and speed.
    Fast Forward
    Enzymes are a complex protein that help speed biochemical reactions. Graeme Lambert ’19, biochemistry major and president of the UNH Chapter of the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, knows all about enzymes — and speed.
  • Once a Wildcat, Always a Wildcat
    DéVaughn Chollette, a biochemistry, molecular and cellular biology major who graduated in 2016, works for Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccine division of the pharmaceutical company Sanofi.
    Once a Wildcat, Always a Wildcat
    DéVaughn Chollette, a biochemistry, molecular and cellular biology major who graduated in 2016, works for Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccine division of the pharmaceutical company Sanofi.

Curriculum & Requirements

The Biochemistry, Molecular & Cellular Biology (BMCB) major provides you with conceptual competence, analytical skills, and laboratory experiences to understand life at the molecular and cellular level. Your BMCB degree will prepare you for immediate employment as a research associate or for entry into graduate or professional programs in medicine, dentistry or other allied health professions, as well as other career tracks.

The BMCB program offers advanced coursework and laboratories in diverse research areas of modern biology

  • Cancer biology
  • Cell biology
  • Cell culture & tissue engineering
  • Endocrinology
  • Molecular biology techniques
  • Pharmacology
  • Physical biochemistry
  • Protein structure, function & proteomics

BMCB majors participate in experiential learning activities

  • Many courses have integrated laboratory experiences to foster inquiry-based learning and to train creative and critical thinkers
  • Independent research experiences are available in faculty research laboratories
  • Many courses provide exposure to cutting-edge techniques and instrumentation
  • Job preparation can be enhanced by internships with regional biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies
  • Summer undergraduate research fellowships at U.S. or international academic institutions combine travel with research opportunities outside UNH

BMCB graduates have been successful in many careers

  • Research associates and laboratory technicians
    • Biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies
    • Government agencies
    • Forensics laboratories
    • Academic research laboratories
    • Hospitals
  • Science journalists and technical writers
  • Healthcare
  • Scientific supply companies
  • Sales and marketing
  • Regulatory agencies
  • Primary and secondary school education (with additional coursework in education)

BMCB graduates are well prepared for post-baccalaureate education

  • Masters and doctoral programs in a wide variety of disciplines
  • Professional health programs
    • Medical
    • Dental
    • Pharmacy
    • Physician’s Assistant and other allied health programs

Note: The BMCB major is designed so you can complete all of the prerequisite courses needed to seek admission to graduate schools or health professional schools in four years.

SAMPLE Course Sequence for Biochemistry, Molecular, and Cellular Biology

Plan of Study Grid
First Year
FallCredits
BMCB 401 Professional Perspectives in Biochemistry, Molecular and Cellular Biology 1
ENGL 401 First-Year Writing 4
CHEM 403 General Chemistry I 4
BIOL 411 Introductory Biology: Molecular and Cellular 4
Discovery Course 4
 Credits17
Spring
CHEM 404 General Chemistry II 4
BIOL 412 Introductory Biology: Evolution, Biodiversity and Ecology 4
MATH 424B Calculus for Life Sciences 4
Discovery Course 4
 Credits16
Second Year
Fall
CHEM 547
CHEM 549
Organic Chemistry I
and Organic Chemistry Laboratory
5
BMS 503
BMS 504
General Microbiology
and General Microbiology Laboratory
5
BIOL 528 Applied Biostatistics I 4
PHYS 401 Introduction to Physics I 4
 Credits18
Spring
CHEM 548
CHEM 550
Organic Chemistry II
and Organic Chemistry Laboratory
5
GEN 604 Principles of Genetics 4
PHYS 402 Introduction to Physics II 4
Discovery Course 4
 Credits17
Third Year
Fall
BMCB 605 Principles of Cell Biology 4
BMCB 751 Principles of Biochemistry 4
BMCB Core or Lab Techniques course 4-5
Discovery Course 4
 Credits16-17
Spring
BMCB 752 Principles of Biochemistry 4
BMCB Core or Lab Techniques course 4-5
Discovery Course 4
Elective (any course) 4
 Credits16-17
Fourth Year
Fall
BMCB Major Elective (possible Capstone) 4
Discovery Course 4
BMCB Major Elective (any course) 4
Elective (any course) 4
 Credits16
Spring
Elective (any course) 4-5
BMCB Major Elective 4
Elective (any course) 4
 Credits12-13
 Total Credits128-131

Students in the Biochemistry, Molecular and Cellular Biology (BMCB) major take eight Foundation courses, four Bioscience Core courses, five BMCB Core courses, one Laboratory Techniques course, and three Major Elective courses. One capstone experience, supervised and approved within the major, is required of all seniors. In addition, all other University academic requirements must be completed, including those for the Discovery Program and the University Writing Requirement.

A grade of C-minus or better is required in Statistics and in all Bioscience Core, BMCB Core, Laboratory Techniques, and Major Elective courses.

Foundation Core Courses

CHEM 403General Chemistry I 14
CHEM 404General Chemistry II4
CHEM 547
CHEM 549
Organic Chemistry I
and Organic Chemistry Laboratory
5
CHEM 548
CHEM 550
Organic Chemistry II
and Organic Chemistry Laboratory
5
MATH 424BCalculus for Life Sciences 2, 34
BIOL 528Applied Biostatistics I 34
PHYS 401Introduction to Physics I 44
PHYS 402Introduction to Physics II 44

Bioscience Core Courses

BIOL 411Introductory Biology: Molecular and Cellular 54
BIOL 412Introductory Biology: Evolution, Biodiversity and Ecology4
BMS 503
BMS 504
General Microbiology
and General Microbiology Laboratory
5
GEN 604Principles of Genetics4

BMCB Core Courses

BMCB 401Professional Perspectives in Biochemistry, Molecular and Cellular Biology1
BMCB 605Principles of Cell Biology4
BMCB 751Principles of Biochemistry4
BMCB 752Principles of Biochemistry4
GEN 704Genetics of Prokaryotic Microbes4-5
or GEN 771 Molecular Genetics

 Laboratory Techniques Courses (Pick one)

BMCB 753Cell Culture5
BMCB 754Molecular Biology Research Methods5
BMCB 755Laboratory in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology5
BMS 725Cell Phenotyping and Tissue Engineering Laboratory4

BMCB Major Electives (Pick three)

A total of three unique major electives is required.

BMCB 750Physical Biochemistry3
BMCB 753Cell Culture 65
BMCB 754Molecular Biology Research Methods 65
BMCB 755Laboratory in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 65
BMCB 760Pharmacology4
BMCB 763Biochemistry of Cancer4
BMCB 794Protein Structure and Function4
BMCB 795Investigations in Molecular and Cellular Biology (4-credit minimum)1-4
BMCB 795WInvestigations in Molecular and Cellular Biology (4-credit minimum)1-4
BMCB 799Senior Thesis (4-credit minimum)1-4
BMCB 799HHonors Senior Thesis (4-credit minimum)1-4
ANSC 701Physiology of Reproduction4
ANSC 715Physiology of Lactation4
BMS 507
BMS 508
Human Anatomy and Physiology I
and Human Anatomy and Physiology II
8
BMS 702Endocrinology4
BMS 704Pathologic Basis of Disease4
BMS 705
BMS 715
Immunology
and Immunology Laboratory
5
BMS 706
BMS 708
Virology
and Virology Laboratory
5
BMS 718Mammalian Physiology4
BMS 725Cell Phenotyping and Tissue Engineering Laboratory 64
CHEM 755Advanced Organic Chemistry3
GEN 704Genetics of Prokaryotic Microbes 65
GEN 705Population Genetics 73
GEN 706Human Genetics4
GEN 711Genomics and Bioinformatics4
GEN 713Microbial Ecology and Evolution4
GEN 715Molecular Evolution4
GEN 717Molecular Microbiology5
GEN 721Comparative Genomics4
GEN 771Molecular Genetics 64
NUTR 750Nutritional Biochemistry4
PSYC 731Brain and Behavior4
ZOOL 777Neuroethology4

Approved BMCB Capstone Courses

The capstone explores areas of interest based on the integration of prior learning.  The capstone requirement may be satisfied through a course, created work or product, or some form of experiential learning (e.g., honors thesis, mentored research project, or other special student activity).  Students may take more than one capstone course.  Capstone completion is never displayed on Degree Works; your advisor will certify capstone completion at the time of graduation. Students must have 90 credits or more when completing their capstone requirement.  See your advisor for questions about capstones.

BMCB 750Physical Biochemistry3
BMCB 760Pharmacology4
BMCB 763Biochemistry of Cancer4
BMCB 794Protein Structure and Function4
BMCB 795Investigations in Molecular and Cellular Biology (4-credit minimum)1-4
BMCB 795WInvestigations in Molecular and Cellular Biology (4-credit minimum)1-4
BMCB 799Senior Thesis (4-credit minimum)1-4
BMCB 799HHonors Senior Thesis (4-credit minimum)1-4
INCO 790Advanced Research Experience (4-credit minimum)1-4

 For a Capstone experience not listed above, such as an internship, submit a Capstone Approval form prior to beginning the experience.

Explore Program Details

What kind of educational preparation does the BMCB program provide?

The BMCB provides students with conceptual competence, analytical and laboratory skills to understand life at the molecular and cellular level, through advanced coursework and laboratories in diverse research areas of modern biology.

The BMCB degree will prepare students for immediate employment as research associates, for entry into graduate or professional programs in medicine, dentistry or other allied health professionals, as well as other career tracks.

What types of jobs or careers do most BMCB majors go into?

About one-third of our majors are interested in research-oriented career track, and many got into top graduate programs in research institutions such as Chicago, Dartmouth, Duke, U Mass Medical School, U Maryland, U Wisconsin-Madison etc. in recent years.

About one-third are interested in health professional career, and attend professional health programs in medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, physician assistant, etc. About one-third of our majors join the workforce right away and work as research associates in the R&D sector of biotech or pharmaceutical companies, or biomedical research institutions. Some students work in pharmaceutical sales or in science-related non-profits, to give just a few examples.

What types of career development advice do most BMCB majors go into?

Our students receive career advice through a variety of channels. Each BMCB major has an academic advisor, who oversees their academic progress and points to appropriate resources on campus. For students who are interested in health professions, the college has a full-time pre-professional health advisor who provides detailed suggestions and supports our students’ application to health professional schools. Some BMCB faculty members have extensive experience in major medical schools and help prepare students in advising.

For students who want to join the work force right after graduation, the college has an endowed St. Martin Career Exploration Office who organizes career fairs, campus interviews, internship opportunities. The career center also provides resume review sessions, LinkedIn workshops and practice interviews. For students who feel passionate about research, faculty members BMCB, Genetics, Biomedical Sciences and Chemistry provide a plethora of research opportunities.

Do students have difficulty finding time to declare a minor or get involved in research, clubs, or other activities that they enjoy?

Not at all. While being rigorous, our curriculum is designed with great flexibility for students to explore and grow not only for a variety of career paths passions, but also as future citizens with social responsibility. In the 1-credit Freshman Orientation seminar (Professional Perspectives in BMCB), we provide additional resources to help students know campus resources, set academic goals and become engaged in campus life.

Is it possible to Study Abroad when you are a BMCB major?

Absolutely, but it requires planning! Our BMCB majors take a full year of Chemistry, Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry in their first three years. So, they often study abroad in the summer or J-term to stay on track. It is a good idea to discuss with your advisor early on, so that you reserve appropriate Discovery Courses for study abroad. For instance, you get the World Cultures Discovery automatically if you do a semester abroad, so hold off on taking one of those courses at UNH. Plus, Discovery courses taken abroad give you an opportunity to learn more about the history, literature, and culture of the country you are visiting.

Are courses taught by professors and do they hold office hours?

Almost all our courses are taught by professors. They have scheduled office hours every week but are usually also available for meetings by appointment. In addition, many courses have teaching assistants (graduate students) who also hold weekly office hours.

What is a typical class size?

Class sizes vary quite a lot - there is no typical size. Usually, introductory courses taken in freshman year tend to be large (~200 students); while major required or elective courses are small (20-40 students). For example, in ENGL 401 Freshman English, the class size is 24 but in BIOL 411 Introductory Biology: Molecular & Cellular, the lecture is about 200 students. However, large classes almost always have a lab or recitation each week which has only 25-30 students.

Are there opportunities for students to do research?

Yes, lots of opportunities. Faculty members in the BMCB program are highly accomplished, well-funded researchers with undergraduate researchers in their group all the time. UNH has a long-standing tradition in undergraduate research and has a large Undergraduate Research Conference every spring semester where students present their work and mingle with other researchers. In addition, the endowed Hamel Center for Undergraduate Research sponsors a variety a research programs (REAP, UROP, SURF, IROP) to financially support undergraduate research activities.

Can students get credit for doing research?

Yes. Students can enroll in BMCB 795, BMCB 799, INCO 590, or INCO 790 to earn credit for the research they are conducting with a faculty member.

Can first year students do research?

Yes, some BMCB freshmen carry out research with a faculty member. However, we usually advise students to focus on exceling in coursework, engaging in campus life and finding research areas they feel passionate about in their freshman year. Students in the honors program can consider the Research Experience and Apprentice Program (REAP) in freshman summer.

Can students get paid for the time that they spend doing research?

Yes, but not if you are taking research for credit. There are several ways to get paid. First, a faculty member may have funding to pay you from grant funds. Second, if you have work-study as financial aid, a faculty member may have funds to pay the matching portion of your aid. Third, the Hamel Center for Undergraduate Research at UNH administers several competitive research programs (REAP, UROP, SURF, IROP) that students can apply for once they’ve identified a faculty mentor.

What are some good clubs to get involved in if you want to meet people?

There is a club for almost anything you can think of. Anything that interests you can help you meet new people on campus. There are several clubs relating to science and biology that are popular among COLSA students such as: Women in Science, Lab Science Society, American Red Cross, and the UNH chapter of American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

As part of the University of New Hampshire’s Discovery Program requirements, all students must complete a Capstone experience. 

Capstone Experiences 

This accelerated five-year program leading to a combined bachelor and master's degree in biochemistry is designed for highly motivated and qualified students seeking additional training to further their career goals as a researcher in the life sciences.

Admission to the combined degree program is highly competitive. Students wishing to pursue this option must have a grade point average greater than 3.2 at the time of application. A thesis advisor must be identified during the junior year, and the approval of the advisor must be obtained. Prior to the first semester of the senior year, the student must formally apply to the department through the Graduate School and receive early admission. The requirement for the Graduate Record Examinations is waived for combined degree applicants.

Thirty credits of graduate level (800-999) course work (including dual credit courses) must be completed. Six to eight credits must be taken during the senior year, and are applied to both the B.S. and M.S. requirements. All other requirements for the M.S. degree must be followed.

Limited financial support for the M.S. component of this combined degree program may be available through University Financial Aid or from the student's project advisor.

Advising is available for UNH students, alumni, and post baccalaureates pursuing health professional careers.

The Pre-Health Advising Office provides support throughout the process of preparing for health professions school from advising on the courses they should take to helping navigate through the complex steps of the application process.

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