Bachelor of Science in
Molecular Cell Biology

Bachelors of Science in Molecular Biology

The primary objective of the BS degree program in Molecular Cell Biology is to prepare students for careers in fields that require advanced knowledge of molecular biology, in particular those that relate to human health and welfare. Examples of such fields include, but are not limited to, medicine, pharmacology, pathology, genetic testing and counseling, biotechnology, nanotechnology, teaching, and basic research. The proposed program will focus on the molecular biology of eukaryotic organisms, which sets it apart from the current program in Microbiology, which focuses on prokaryotic organisms. It will emphasize our understanding of the molecular biology of human health, disease and treatment, differentiating it from the existing Biology program. The second objective and natural consequence of a program in Molecular Cell Biology is human resource support for the medical school, UH graduate programs, and biotechnology businesses that provide services and economic opportunities to communities throughout the state of Hawaiʻi.

Student Learning Objectives

The seven learning objectives for the MCB program can be grouped into three broad categories: cognitive, skills-based and values-based.

Cognitive outcomes:

SLO 1 – Graduates of the MCB program will be able to explain and discuss how processes are integrated at the molecular level to create a functional eukryotic cell.

SLO 2 – Graduates of the MCB program will be able to describe the structures and various cellular functions associated with the macromolecules found in cells.

SLO 3 – Graduates of the MCB program will be able to explain the techniques and logic of methods employed in molecular biology research.

SLO 4 - Graduates of the MCB program will be able to explain the molecular basis of human diseases and research on prospective treatments.

Skills outcomes:

SLO 5 - Graduates of the MCB program will have experience in and be able to perform techniques employed in molecular biology research:

SLO 6 – Graduates of the MCB program will be able to critically evaluate scientific studies:

Values outcomes:

SLO 7 Graduates of the MCB program will be able to evaluate the ethical implications of research methods and outcomes.

BS Degree Course Requirements

To earn a BS degree in Molecular Cell Biology, all candidates will be required to complete the college program requirements for the BS degree, which includes fulfilling any Arts and Sciences requirement and UHM General Education requirements. Consult with a life sciences advisor.

The course requirements for the BS degree in MCB can be divided into three categories: basic science, MCB core, and MCB elective courses, details of which are listed below. Basic science courses are intended to prepare students for upper-level coursework. MCB core courses form the foundation of the degree. And, MCB elective courses allow students to tailor their degree to suit their needs and interests. The number of program credits is intended to allow students to graduate with a competitive BS degree in MCB in four years.

The MCB core courses were chosen for the following reasons. Genetics and Biochemistry traditionally serve as basis of any program in molecular cell biology. They describe the basic concepts of molecular interactions required for understanding how the constituents of a cell carry out basic cellular functions. Cellular Biology and Molecular Biology form the heart of the program, integrating the basic concepts of biochemistry and genetics with organelle and sub-cellular functions to describe a living cell. In addition to focusing the program on human health and disease processes, Immunology and the Biology of Cancer challenge students to apply their basic knowledge of molecular cell biology in more specialized fields, two of the most heavily researched fields in all of biology and healthcare. Finally, Research Ethics equips students with the tools necessary to identify and evaluate the ethics of research in molecular cell biology and its potential outcomes for research subjects, researchers, and society.

Elective courses allow students to apply their basic knowledge of molecular cell biology in more specialized fields of their choice.

Basic Science Course Requirements
4BIOL172+172L, Introduction to Biology II
4BIOL275+275L, Cell and Molecular Biology
8CHEM161+161L & CHEM162+162L, General Chemistry I & II
8CHEM272+272L & CHEM273, Organic Chemistry I & II
7 or 8Either MATH215 & MATH216, Applied Calculus I & II or MATH241 & MATH242, Calculus I & II
8 or 9Either PHYS151-151L & PHYS152-152L, College Physics I & II or PHYS170-170L & PHYS272-272L, General Physics I & II
36-41Sub Total

MCB Core Course Requirements

4BIOL375+375L, Concepts of Genetics
4MBBE/BIOL402 or BIOC441, Biochemistry
3MCB461, Immunology
3BIOL407, Molecular Biology (Molecular Cell Biology I)
3MBBE/BIOL408 Molecular Cell Biology II (formerly BIOL406)
2BIOL408L Cell Biology Lab (currently not available)
3MCB472, Biology of Cancer (Capstone course)
1MCB314, Research Ethics
23Sub Total

MCB Elective Courses

Minimum 11 credits, to include 2 laboratory classes

1-3BIOL/BOT/ZOOL/MICR499, Directed Research
3ICS475, Intro to Bioinformatics Sequences and Genomes Analysis
4MATH304, Mathematical Modeling I Deterministic Models
4MATH305, Mathematical Modeling II Probabilistic Models
5MICR351/351L, Biology of Microorganisms
3 or 5MICR431+ optional 431L, Microbial Physiology
2MICR461L, Immunology
3MICR470, Microbial Pathogenesis
3 or 5MICR475 + optional 475L, Bacterial Genetics
3 or 5MICR490 + optional 490L, Animal Virology
3MBBE405, Microbial Biotechnology
4 or 5PHYL301 + optional 301L, Human Anatomy and Physiology
3 or 5ZOOL420 + optional 420L, Developmental Biology
3ZOOL442, Introduction to Neuroscience
Select graduate-level courses by permission