Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, B.S. (Berks)

Program Code: BMBBK_BS

Entrance to Major

In order to be eligible for entrance to the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology major, a student must have:

  1. attained at least a 2.00 cumulative grade-point average, and
  2. completed CHEM 110, CHEM 111, CHEM 112, and MATH 140; and
  3. earned a grade of C or better in each of these courses.

Degree Requirements

For the Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, a minimum of 125 credits is required:

Requirement Credits
General Education 45
Requirements for the Major 95

15 of the 45 credits for General Education are included in the Requirements for the Major. This: 9 credits of GN courses; 6 credits of GQ courses.

General Education

Connecting career and curiosity, the General Education curriculum provides the opportunity for students to acquire transferable skills necessary to be successful in the future and to thrive while living in interconnected contexts. General Education aids students in developing intellectual curiosity, a strengthened ability to think, and a deeper sense of aesthetic appreciation. These are requirements for all baccalaureate students and are often partially incorporated into the requirements of a program. For additional information, see the General Education Requirements section of the Bulletin and consult your academic adviser.

The keystone symbol Keystone/General Education Course appears next to the title of any course that is designated as a General Education course. Program requirements may also satisfy General Education requirements and vary for each program.

Foundations (grade of C or better is required.)

  • Quantification (GQ): 6 credits
  • Writing and Speaking (GWS): 9 credits

Knowledge Domains

  • Arts (GA): 6 credits
  • Health and Wellness (GHW): 3 credits
  • Humanities (GH): 6 credits
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences (GS): 6 credits
  • Natural Sciences (GN): 9 credits

Integrative Studies (may also complete a Knowledge Domain requirement)

  • Inter-Domain or Approved Linked Courses: 6 credits

University Degree Requirements

First Year Engagement

All students enrolled in a college or the Division of Undergraduate Studies at University Park, and the World Campus are required to take 1 to 3 credits of the First-Year Seminar, as specified by their college First-Year Engagement Plan.

Other Penn State colleges and campuses may require the First-Year Seminar; colleges and campuses that do not require a First-Year Seminar provide students with a first-year engagement experience.

First-year baccalaureate students entering Penn State should consult their academic adviser for these requirements.

Cultures Requirement    

6 credits are required and may satisfy other requirements

  • United States Cultures: 3 credits
  • International Cultures: 3 credits

Writing Across the Curriculum

3 credits required from the college of graduation and likely prescribed as part of major requirements.

Total Minimum Credits

A minimum of 120 degree credits must be earned for a baccalaureate degree. The requirements for some programs may exceed 120 credits. Students should consult with their college or department adviser for information on specific credit requirements.

Quality of Work

Candidates must complete the degree requirements for their major and earn at least a 2.00 grade-point average for all courses completed within their degree program.

Limitations on Source and Time for Credit Acquisition

The college dean or campus chancellor and program faculty may require up to 24 credits of course work in the major to be taken at the location or in the college or program where the degree is earned. Credit used toward degree programs may need to be earned from a particular source or within time constraints (see Senate Policy 83-80). For more information, check the Suggested Academic Plan for your intended program.

Requirements for the Major

To graduate, a grade of C or better is required in 9 credits of any BMB or MICRB 400-level course except: BMB 408, BMB 442, BMB 443W, BMB 445W, BMB 448, BMB 488, BMB 496 MICRB 408, MICRB 421W, MICRB 422, MICRB 447.

To graduate, a student enrolled in the major must earn a grade of C or better in each course designated by the major as a C-required course, as specified by Senate Policy 82-44.

Common Requirements for the Major (All Options)

Prescribed Courses
BIOL 322Genetic Analysis3
BMB 251Molecular and Cell Biology I 13
BMB 252Molecular and Cell Biology II 13
BMB 400Molecular Biology of the Gene2
BMB 401General Biochemistry3
BMB 402General Biochemistry3
BMB 442Laboratory in Proteins, Nucleic Acids, and Molecular Cloning3
BMB 443WLaboratory in Protein Purification and Enzymology3
CHEM 113Experimental Chemistry II Keystone/General Education Course1
CHEM 210Organic Chemistry I3
CHEM 212Organic Chemistry II3
CHEM 213Laboratory in Organic Chemistry2
MATH 141Calculus with Analytic Geometry II Keystone/General Education Course4
MICRB 201Introductory Microbiology 13
MICRB 202Introductory Microbiology Laboratory2
PSU 16First-Year Seminar Science1
Prescribed Courses: Require a grade of C or better
CHEM 110Chemical Principles I Keystone/General Education Course3
CHEM 111Experimental Chemistry I Keystone/General Education Course1
CHEM 112Chemical Principles II Keystone/General Education Course3
MATH 140Calculus With Analytic Geometry I Keystone/General Education Course4
Additional Courses
BMB 445WLaboratory in Molecular Genetics I2
or BMB 448 Model Systems and Approaches in Cell Biology Inquiry
Requirements for the Option
Select an option40

Requirements for the Option

Biochemistry Option (40 credits)

Available at the following campuses: Berks, University Park

Prescribed Courses
BMB 474Analytical Biochemistry3
CHEM 450Physical Chemistry - Thermodynamics3
CHEM 452Physical Chemistry - Quantum Chemistry3
PHYS 211General Physics: Mechanics Keystone/General Education Course4
PHYS 212General Physics: Electricity and Magnetism Keystone/General Education Course4
PHYS 213General Physics: Fluids and Thermal Physics Keystone/General Education Course2
PHYS 214General Physics: Wave Motion and Quantum Physics Keystone/General Education Course2
Supporting Courses and Related Areas
Select 7-9 credits from any 400-level BMB/CHEM/MICRB course or from department list D (additional 400-level courses) 17-9
Select 2-3 credits in the mathematical sciences from department list B2-3
Select 7-10 credits from department list C7-10
Molecular and Cell Biology Option (40 credits)

Available at the following campuses: Berks, University Park

Prescribed Courses
BMB 430Developmental Biology3
BMB 460Cell Growth and Differentiation3
MICRB 410Principles of Immunology3
Additional Courses
Select 8 credits of the following:8
General Physics: Mechanics Keystone/General Education Course
and General Physics: Electricity and Magnetism Keystone/General Education Course
Introductory Physics I Keystone/General Education Course
and Introductory Physics II Keystone/General Education Course
Select 3-6 credits of the following:3-6
Physical Chemistry with Biological Applications
Physical Chemistry - Thermodynamics
and Physical Chemistry - Quantum Chemistry
Supporting Courses and Related Areas
Select 5-6 credits from any 400-level BMB/MICRB course or from department list D (additional 400-level courses) 15-6
Select 2-3 credits in the mathematical sciences from department list B2-3
Select 8-13 credits from department list C8-13

Program Learning Objectives

  1. Students will be able to explain the following core concepts as recommended by the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB):
    1. Energy:
      1. Students will explain how energy is utilized and transformed in biological systems.
      2. Students will explain their knowledge of basic chemical thermodynamics to biological systems
    2. Structure and Function:
      1. Students will explain the importance of macromolecular structure in biological systems.
      2. Students will be able to discuss the diversity and complexity of various biologically relevant macromolecules and macromolecular assemblies in terms of the basic repeating units of the polymer and the types of linkages between them.
    3. Information Storage:
      1. Students will be define what a genome and explain how the information in the various genes and other sequence classes within each genome are used to store and express genetic information.
      2. Students should be able to explain the central dogma of biology and relate the commonality of the process to all of life.
      3. Students should be able to illustrate how DNA is replicated and genes are transmitted from one generation to the next in multiple types of organisms including bacteria, eukaryotes, viruses, and retroviruses.
  2. Students will demonstrate competence in the following skills related to experimental design:
    1. Students will be able to develop a hypothesis, design and conduct appropriate experiments.  
    2. Students will analyze and interpret data using appropriate quantitative modeling and simulation tools.
    3. Students will keep an accurate laboratory notebook.
  3. Students will demonstrate competency in the following skills related to information technology:
    1. Students will be able to assess and use available information.
      1. Find and use the primary literature.
      2. Use databases and bioinformatics tools.
  4. Students will be able to present scientific data in both written and oral formats
    1. Students will use visual and verbal tools to explain concepts and data.
    2. Students will translate science into everyday examples.
  5. Students will be able to read, interpret and critically analyze primary literature.
  6. Students will be able to recognize and apply ethical principles to basic and applies practice and seek opportunities for interdisciplinary
  7. Students will be able to work effectively as a member of a team.

Academic Advising

The objectives of the university’s academic advising program are to help advisees identify and achieve their academic goals, to promote their intellectual discovery, and to encourage students to take advantage of both in-and out-of class educational opportunities in order that they become self-directed learners and decision makers.

Both advisers and advisees share responsibility for making the advising relationship succeed. By encouraging their advisees to become engaged in their education, to meet their educational goals, and to develop the habit of learning, advisers assume a significant educational role. The advisee’s unit of enrollment will provide each advisee with a primary academic adviser, the information needed to plan the chosen program of study, and referrals to other specialized resources.

READ SENATE POLICY 32-00: ADVISING POLICY

University Park

Jennifer Keefer
Academic Adviser
239 Ritenour Building
University Park, PA
814-863-5487
jls227@psu.edu

Berks

Maureen Dunbar
Program Coordinator, Associate Professor
Luerssen 101H
Reading, PA 19610
640-396-6328
med18@psu.edu

Suggested Academic Plan

The suggested academic plan(s) listed on this page are the plan(s) that are in effect during the 2020-21 academic year. To access previous years' suggested academic plans, please visit the archive to view the appropriate Undergraduate Bulletin edition (Note: the archive only contain suggested academic plans beginning with the 2018-19 edition of the Undergraduate Bulletin).

Biochemistry Option: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, B.S. at Berks Campus

The course series listed below provides only one of the many possible ways to move through this curriculum. The University may make changes in policies, procedures, educational offerings, and requirements at any time. This plan should be used in conjunction with your degree audit (accessible in LionPATH as either an Academic Requirements or What If report). Please consult with a Penn State academic adviser on a regular basis to develop and refine an academic plan that is appropriate for you.

First Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
ENGL 15 or 30H (GWS)3CAS 100A or 100B (GWS)3
MATH 140 or 140B (GQ)*‡#4MATH 141 or 141B (GQ)4
CHEM 110 (GN)*#†3CHEM 112 (GN)*#†3
CHEM 111 (GN)*#†1CHEM 113 (GN)1
General Education Course (GA or GH or GS)3PHYS 211 (GN)4
First-Year Seminar1General Education Course (GHW)1.5
 15 16.5
Second Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
BMB 251*3ENGL 202C (GWS)3
CHEM 2103BMB 252*3
PHYS 2124CHEM 2123
MICRB 201*3CHEM 2132
MICRB 2022PHYS 2132
 PHYS 2142
 General Education Course (GHW)1.5
 15 16.5
Third Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
BMB 4013BMB 4023
BMB 4423BMB 443W3
BIOL 3223CHEM 4523
CHEM 4503STAT 2503
General Education Course (GA or GH or GS)3General Education Course (GA or GH or GS)3
 15 15
Fourth Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
BMB 448 (Students must complete either BMB 445W or BMB 448. BMB 445W is offered Spring Semester only and BMB 448 is offered Fall Semester only.)2BMB 445W (Students must complete either BMB 445W or BMB 448. BMB 445W is offered Spring Semester only and BMB 448 is offered Fall Semester only.)2
400 Level BIOL or BMB or CHEM or MICRB Selection3BMB 4003
400 Level BIOL or BMB or CHEM or MICRB Selection3BMB 4743
Department List Selection3400 Level BIOL or BMB or CHEM or MICRB Selection3
General Education Course (GA or GH or GS)3Department List Selection3
General Education Course (GA or GH or GS)3General Education Course (GA or GH or GS)3
 17 17
Total Credits 127

University Requirements and General Education Notes:

US and IL are abbreviations used to designate courses that satisfy University Requirements (United States and International Cultures).

W, M, X, and Y are the suffixes at the end of a course number used to designate courses that satisfy University Writing Across the Curriculum requirement.

GWS, GQ, GHW, GN, GA, GH, and GS are abbreviations used to identify General Education program courses. General Education includes Foundations (GWS and GQ) and Knowledge Domains (GHW, GN, GA, GH, GS, and Integrative Studies). Foundations courses (GWS and GQ) require a grade of ‘C’ or better.

Integrative Studies courses are required for the General Education program. N is the suffix at the end of a course number used to designate an Inter-Domain course and Z is the suffix at the end of a course number used to designate a Linked course.

Molecular Biology Option: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, B.S. Berks Campus

The course series listed below provides only one of the many possible ways to move through this curriculum. The University may make changes in policies, procedures, educational offerings, and requirements at any time. This plan should be used in conjunction with your degree audit (accessible in LionPATH as either an Academic Requirements or What If report). Please consult with a Penn State academic adviser on a regular basis to develop and refine an academic plan that is appropriate for you.

First Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
ENGL 15 or 30H (GWS)3CAS 100A or 100B (GWS)3
MATH 140 or 140B (GQ)*‡#4MATH 141 or 141B (GQ)4
CHEM 110 (GN)*#†3CHEM 112 (GN)*#†3
CHEM 111 (GN)*#†1CHEM 113 (GN)1
General Education Course (GA or GH or GS)3General Education Course (GA or GH or GS)3
First-Year Seminar1General Education Course (GA or GH or GS)3
 15 17
Second Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
BMB 251*3ENGL 202C (GWS)3
CHEM 2103BMB 252*3
PHYS 250 (GN)4CHEM 2123
MICRB 201*3CHEM 2132
MICRB 2022PHYS 2514
General Education Course (GHW)1.5General Education Course (GHW)1.5
 16.5 16.5
Third Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
BMB 4013BMB 4023
BMB 4303BMB 443W3
BMB 4423MICRB 4103
BIOL 3223STAT 2503
General Education Course (GA or GH or GS)3General Education Course (GA or GH or GS)3
 15 15
Fourth Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
BMB 448 (Students must complete either BMB 445W or BMB 448. BMB 445W is offered Spring Semester only and BMB 448 is offered Fall Semester only.)2BMB 445W (Students must complete either BMB 445W or BMB 448. BMB 445W is offered Spring Semester only and BMB 448 is offered Fall Semester only.)2
BMB 4283BMB 4003
BMB 4603400 Level BIOL or BMB or CHEM or MICRB Selection3
400 Level BIOL or BMB or CHEM or MICRB Selection3Department List Selection3
Department List Selection3General Education Course (GA or GH or GS)3
Department List Selection3 
 17 14
Total Credits 126

University Requirements and General Education Notes:

US and IL are abbreviations used to designate courses that satisfy University Requirements (United States and International Cultures).

W, M, X, and Y are the suffixes at the end of a course number used to designate courses that satisfy University Writing Across the Curriculum requirement.

GWS, GQ, GHW, GN, GA, GH, and GS are abbreviations used to identify General Education program courses. General Education includes Foundations (GWS and GQ) and Knowledge Domains (GHW, GN, GA, GH, GS, and Integrative Studies). Foundations courses (GWS and GQ) require a grade of ‘C’ or better.

Integrative Studies courses are required for the General Education program. N is the suffix at the end of a course number used to designate an Inter-Domain course and Z is the suffix at the end of a course number used to designate a Linked course.

Career Paths

Penn State students with a B.S. in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology are prepared for jobs in industry as well as government, medical, and university research laboratories. Many students also decide to continue their studies by attending graduate programs or professional schools including medical, dental, business, and law school.

Careers

A B.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology prepares students for a wide variety of careers, including health related professions, professions in academia, government, and industry. Examples of biochemistry related careers are:

  • Agricultural Scientist
  • Biological / Media Illustrator
  • Biomedical Researcher
  • Drug Development
  • Genetic Counselor
  • Genetic Engineer
  • Health Professions – e.g. Dentist, Optometrist, Pharmacist, Physician, Physician Assistant
  • Industry Scientist
  • Pharmaceutical Sales
  • Pharmaceutical Sciences
  • Professor
  • Science Policy Expert
  • Optometrist
  • Science Writer / Editor
  • Patent Attorney
  • Research Technician

MORE INFORMATION ABOUT POTENTIAL CAREER OPTIONS FOR GRADUATES OF THE BIOCHEMISTRY AND MOLECULAR BIOLOGY PROGRAM

Opportunities for Graduate Study

Many Penn State students with a BS in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology will pursue graduate education in biochemistry or other related disciplines (biology, bioinformatics, chemistry, genomics, immunology, neurobiology, toxicology, pharmacology, and others). A B.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology also prepares students to pursue higher degrees in the health professions. Opportunities for graduate studies include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Graduate Studies (M.S. or Ph.D.)
  • Dental School Medical School (MD or DO)
  • Optometry School, Pharmacy School
  • Physical Therapy School
  • Veterinary School.

In addition, graduates with a BMB degree may decide to pursue further education in law or business.

Professional Resources

Contact

Berks

DIVISION OF SCIENCE
Luerssen Science Building
Reading, PA 19610
610-396-6328
med18@psu.edu

http://berks.psu.edu/bs-biochemistry-molecular-biology

University Park

DEPARTMENT OF BIOCHEMISTRY AND MOLECULAR BIOLOGY
108 Althouse Laboratory
University Park, PA 16802
814-863-5487
bmbundergrad@psu.edu

http://bmb.psu.edu/about/copy_of_contact