Exploring biological processes at the smallest scale

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology are related fields that examine the structure and function of biomolecules – the metabolic "machinery" of the cell and its underlying genetic information.  In recent years technological advances have increased our ability to manipulate and study these biomolecules, which is leading to a more complete understanding of normal metabolic processes in a variety of species, while also providing a clearer understanding of the principal causes of many diseases in plants and animals.

The major in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Franklin & Marshall is directed towards students who have a strong interest in biological processes at the molecular and sub-cellular level. A hallmark of the major is combined course work in both the Biology and Chemistry departments, from introductory courses to upper-level electives.  In addition to the curriculum of lab-intensive courses designed to expose students to the many facets of biochemistry and molecular biology, F&M also offers students the opportunity to develop a long-term research relationship with faculty members, both through independent research during the academic year and full-time over a ten-week period during the summer. This combination of classroom, laboratory, and independent research provides BMB majors with a strong foundation in the fields of biochemistry and molecular biology, and prepares them for graduate work or careers in many biological disciplines, as well as medicine, biotechnology and bioengineering.

A major in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology includes four biology courses (BIO 101, 102, 200 and 334), six chemistry courses (CHM 111, 112, 211, 212, 321 and 451) and two electives from Biology and/or Chemistry. The electives must be chosen from the following list of courses, unless permission is received from the BMB advisor: BFB 490; BIO 240, 306, 313, 322, 326, 331, 341, 346, 352, 353 some topics courses from 370 – 379, 390 and 490; or CHM 221, 222, 322, 351, 390 and 490. Only one semester of an independent study course (390 or 490) may count as an elective and none of the electives may be a course without a laboratory. Required related courses are PHY 111 and MAT 109 and 110. Biochemistry and Molecular Biology majors may not declare a minor in Chemistry.

Honors in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology can be achieved by following the standards set out by the department in which the student conducts independent research (Biology or Chemistry), with the addition that each thesis committee must contain at least two faculty from the Biology department and two faculty from the Chemistry department in addition to one external faculty member not in Biology or Chemistry.  BMB honors theses performed in the Chemistry department and approved by the student’s committee ultimately will be submitted to the Registrar through the BMB chair and the Biology department.