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Indiana University Bloomington

Department of Biology

Undergraduate Studies

Biology Major (B.S.) Area of Concentration Option

As an alternative to the upper-level requirements for a Biology B.S. degree (see Major Requirements 5-8), students may choose an Area of Concentration (AoC).  AoCs help students develop additional expertise in specific areas of Biology and may require additional coursework.

Biology of Disease | Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics | Integrative and Organismal Biology

Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics

The biological world is filled with a spectacular array of morphological forms. From towering redwoods down to the microscopic single cell, from the vast diversity of neurons in the human brain to the shape of phagocytes engulfing harmful foreign particles, form facilitates function. How do these different cellular forms arise? How is the responsible information encoded within animal and plant genomes? How can billions of cells with the same genetic information become specialized to fulfill functions in different tissues of the same organism? And, how does disruption of these processes result in disease states?

In this area of concentration, students have the opportunity to explore the biochemical and molecular pathways that underlie cellular function. They study the genetic controls that can change cellular function in reversible and irreversible ways leading normally to not only tissue and organismal development but also to disease. This course of study requires students to integrate an understanding of biochemistry, molecular biology, genetics, and cell biology resulting in a holistic view of cellular and tissue function and organismal development.

Graduates of the Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics concentration are well situated to pursue a wide range of careers in health related professions, biological and medical research, laboratory quality control and diagnostics, public and global health, science policy, law and intellectual property, business, education, and science writing.

In order to complete a Bachelor of Science in Biology with a concentration in Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics, students must complete 18 upper division credits in Biology or Biology-approved classes in addition to all other degree requirements (Gen Ed, CASE, Biology core, etc.).

The 18 credits are to be fulfilled from the courses below and in the manner described:

Required Lecture Courses

BIOL-L 312 Cell Biology (3 cr)

Biochemistry—choose one of the following options:

  • BIOT-T 440 Structure, Function & Regulation of Biomolecules (3 cr)
  • CHEM-C 383 Chemistry of Living Systems (3 cr)
  • CHEM-C 483 Biological Chemistry (3 cr)
  • CHEM-C 484 Biomolecules and Catabolism (3 cr)

Elective Lecture Courses

Two of the following lectures, at least one from Advanced Skills list:

BIOL-L 331 Introduction to Human Genetics (3 cr)
BIOL-L 321 Principles of Immunology (3 cr)
BIOL-B 373 Mechanisms of Plant Development (4 cr)
BIOL-M 430 Virology Lecture (3 cr)
MSCI-M 480/M 580 Molecular Biology of Cancer: Cell Signaling & Fate (3 cr)

Advanced Skills (classes that include analysis of primary scientific literature):

BIOL-L 317 Developmental Biology (3 cr)
BIOL-B 371 Ecological Plant Physiology (3 cr)
BIOL-L 412 Analysis of Cancer Research (3 cr)
BIOL-L 411 Epigenetics, Chromosomes, and Disease (3 cr)
BIOL-M 416 Biology of AIDS (3 cr)
BIOL-Z 466 Endocrinology (3 cr)

Laboratory Courses

Choose at least one from the first list:

BIOL-L 313 Cell Biology Laboratory (3 cr)
BIOL-L 319 Genetics Laboratory (3 cr)

If only one laboratory course is taken from the list above, choose another course from the following options:

BIOL-L 323 Molecular Biology Laboratory (3 cr)
BIOT-T 315 Biotechnology Laboratory (3 cr)
BIOT-T 425 Laboratory in Macromolecular Production, Purification, and Characterization (3 cr)
BIOL-L 324 Human Molecular Biology Laboratory (3 cr)
BIOL-M 435 Viral Tissue Culture Laboratory (3 cr)
BIOL-Z 469 Endocrinology Laboratory (2 cr)
ANAT A 464 Human Tissue Biology (4 cr)


BIOL-L 410 Topical Issues in Biology (2 or 3 cr) may be used towards the area of concentration depending on the topic covered and with approval of the Director of Undergraduate Studies.

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