Program Requirements and Opportunities

Published annually, the Course Catalog sets out the requirements of the academic programs--the majors, minors, and concentrations. Each Bryn Mawr student must declare a major before the end of the sophomore year. Students may also declare a minor or a concentration, but neither is required for the A.B. degree. Students must comply with the requirements published in the Course Catalog at the time when they declare the major, minor and/or concentration.

The Course Catalog also sets out the College requirements. Students must comply with the College requirements published at the time they enter Bryn Mawr College.

For more information, visit the Catalog Homepage to view the current content. To view Catalogs from previous academic years, visit the Catalog Archives page.

Students may complete a major in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology. Required courses are drawn principally from the Biology and Chemistry Departments and those interested in the Biochemistry & Molecular Biology major should consult both Biology and Chemistry web pages. Students may double major in Biology and Chemistry, but are not permitted to double major in Biology and Biochemistry & Molecular Biology or Chemistry and Biochemistry & Molecular Biology. There is no minor in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology. Students majoring in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology are not permitted to minor in Biology or Chemistry. No more than two non-Tri-Co courses may be counted towards the major.

The Biochemistry & Molecular Biology major allows the student to progress through a series of courses that emphasize understanding life at the molecular level and utilize experimental approaches. Research can be a valuable experience for students considering graduate or professional studies or for those planning research or teaching careers. Any Biology or Chemistry professor may be selected as a research adviser, and students are encouraged to consult departmental advisers for information on how to join research groups. Students may begin conducting research at any point in their undergraduate experience with the approval of a faculty member. 

With careful advanced planning a student may enroll in Study Abroad. Typically a Biochemistry & Molecular Biology major will select a one-semester program in an English-speaking country such as England, Wales or Australia; other programs are possible.

Biochemistry & Molecular Biology Requirements and Opportunities

A student may qualify for an A. B. in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology (BCMB) by completing courses in Biology and Chemistry with the following distribution. Students should be mindful that some courses have pre-requisites. Students interested in the BCMB major should complete CHEM 103/104 in their freshman year. Students should see the BCMB major adviser if they believe they qualify for advanced placement.

Fundamental Courses

  • Biology 110: Biological Exploration I
  • Chemistry 103 and 104: General Chemistry
  • Chemistry 211/216 and 212/217 (lecture/lab): Organic Chemistry

Major Writing Requirement

Students will complete two writing-attentive laboratory courses before the end of their junior year.  To satisfy  this requirement, students typically select two courses from the following list: Biology 375, Biology 376, Chemistry 251 or Chemistry 252.

Core Biochemistry Courses

  • Biology 375 OR Chemistry 242 and Chemistry 251
  • Chemistry 377

Advanced Biology and Chemistry Courses

  • Biology 201
  • Biology 376
  • Chemistry 221 OR Chemistry 222

Advanced Electives on Biochemically Related Topics

Two courses that provide depth and breadth are required and at least one must be at the 300 or 500 level OR have a laboratory component. 

Suggested courses include, but are not limited to:

  • Biology 215
  • Biology 216
  • Biology 255
  • Biology 271
  • Biology 317
  • Biology 352
  • Chemistry 221 or 222 (if not used as a Core course)
  • Chemistry 231
  • Chemistry 311
  • Chemistry 332
  • Chemistry 345
  • Chemistry 515

Students are encouraged to consider suitable course offerings at Haverford and Swarthmore. All advanced elective choices must be approved by the major adviser.

Senior Experience

Option 1 or Option 2 are required for Honors.

Option 1 – 2 semesters of Biology 400 or Chemistry 398/399, plus all requirements associated with the senior thesis.

Option 2 – Independent Study or Praxis on a biochemical topic arranged by the student, plus all requirements associated with the senior thesis.

Option 3 – An additional biochemically-related advanced elective at the 300-level or with a laboratory component.

Courses in Allied Fields

  • Mathematics 101, 102
  • Mathematics 201

In consultation with the major adviser, two courses must be selected from the courses listed below. Students who plan to undertake graduate or medical studies should consider taking Physics.

  • Physics 101, 102 or 121, 122
  • Computer Science 109 or 113, 151

Timetable for Meeting Requirements

There are a variety of ways to meet the major requirements provided that 100 level courses in Chemistry are completed by the end of the freshman year. Fundamental courses in Biology and Chemistry must be completed before the junior year. Either Biology 375 OR Chemistry 242 and 251 must be completed before the senior year. Note that Mathematics 201 is required as a pre-requisite for Chemistry 221 or 222. Two sample programs are shown here; other curricular configurations are possible.

Sample Major Workplan 1

  • First year: Chemistry 103, 104; Mathematics 101, 102
  • Sophomore year: Biology 110; Chemistry 211 & 216, 212 & 217; Mathematics 201
  • Junior year: Biology 201, 255; Chemistry 222, 242, 251; Physics 101, 102
  • Senior year: Biology 352, 376; Chemistry 377; Senior Experience

Sample Major Workplan 2

  • First year: Biology 110, 111; Chemistry 103, 104; Mathematics 101, 102
  • Sophomore year: Biology 201; Chemistry 211 & 216, 212 & 217; Mathematics 201 
  • Junior year: Biology 216, 375; Chemistry 222, 377; CMSC 109, 151
  • Senior year: Biology 317, 376; Senior Experience


Students seeking to complete the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Major must complete two semesters of research (Option 1) or an approved independent study or praxis (Option 2) and have a GPA of 3.7 in all major and allied courses.

Advanced Placement

Students are instructed to follow the policies described by individual departments.



Contact Us

Department of Biology/Department of Chemistry

Park Science Building
Bryn Mawr College
101 N. Merion Avenue
Bryn Mawr, PA 19010
Phone: 610-526-7374
Fax: 610-526-5086