What is Biology – Biochemistry and Cellular and Molecular Biology
Biochemistry and Cellular and Molecular Biology (BCMB) is the study of the molecular nature of living organisms leading to an understanding of the biochemical control of life processes. This includes a wide range of topics from the structure and function of single molecules to the integrated molecular control of entire cells and organisms. The molecules investigated include, among others, enzymes, structural molecules, signaling molecules, RNA and DNA. These studies address the fundamental questions of how we, and other organisms on earth, live, grow, reproduce, age and die. An understanding of these life processes helps us to learn how to heal the sick, aid the environment, grow better food and make more informed social decisions about such things as biotechnology, cloning and stem cell research. People who excel in the field of biochemistry and cellular and molecular biology tend to be people who have a great curiosity about life and enjoy problem solving.
Career Opportunities in Biology – Biochemistry and Cellular and Molecular Biology
Graduates in biochemistry and cellular and molecular biology may go into the workforce directly or go on to receive a master’s or Ph.D. degree. Career opportunities exist in a wide variety of fields, including: laboratory research in genetics, bioinformatics, medical fields, molecular biology, cell biology, biochemistry or biotechnology, teaching, health professions, biological writing or illustration, or the sale of biological or pharmaceutical products. These careers tend to be technology-laden and rewarding.
Salary Trends in Biology – Biochemistry and Cellular and Molecular Biology
The salaries for majors in biochemistry and cellular and molecular biology are commensurate with education and experience and are generally on par with other high-tech fields in the sciences. Salaries for graduates with a B.S. degree are variable but average around $30,000 per year. People with higher degrees get higher salaries. In academic positions, assistant professors earn around $65,000, associate professors around $75,000, and full professors around $90,000 per year.
High School Preparation
High school students planning to major in biochemistry and cellular and molecular biology should take college preparatory courses and take as many courses as possible in mathematics, physics, chemistry and biology. Honors courses, advanced placement or international baccalaureate courses are encouraged.
How to Major in Biology – Biochemistry and Cellular and Molecular Biology
Students who want to major in biochemistry and cellular and molecular biology should declare their major as early as possible in their academic career so they will be assigned an advisor in the major. Until then, they can be advised in the Arts and Sciences Advising Center in 313 Ayres Hall.
It is recommended that students begin by taking the introductory chemistry and biology courses in the freshman year, especially if a student is planning on graduate school, medical school, or another health profession school. In addition, one will want to begin taking courses to fulfill the requirements for the College of Arts and Sciences. In the junior and senior years a student will be taking upper-division courses in the major and finishing other college or university requirements.
Requirements for Biology – Biochemistry and Cellular and Molecular Biology
The concentration consists of Chemistry 350, 360, 369, Biochemistry and Cellular and Molecular Biology 311, 401 and either 402 or 412, and at least 13 additional credit hours selected from Biochemistry and Cellular and Molecular Biology courses numbered 300 or above (except Biochemistry and Cellular and Molecular Biology 310 or 410), or from the following courses in other departments: Microbiology 330, 410, 411, 420–429, 440; EEB 460. At least two of the 13 credit hours must be selected from the following laboratory courses: Biochemistry and Cellular and Molecular Biology 322, 403, 416, 419, or 452. At least three of the 13 credit hours must be selected from the following physiology courses: Biochemistry and Cellular and Molecular Biology 321, 415, or 440. No more than 9 of the 13 credit hours may be in non-Biochemistry and Cellular and Molecular Biology courses.
Special Programs, Co-ops, and Internships
An honors track in Biochemistry and Cellular and Molecular Biology for motivated students includes a research component done during your junior and senior year and a total of 13 hours of courses in the major to be taken as honors by contract. In addition, many students in Biochemistry and Cellular and Molecular Biology take advantage of the College Scholars program in the College of Arts and Sciences.
Highlights of Biology – Biochemistry and Cellular and Molecular Biology
Students are encouraged to join the BCMB honors club, Chi Omega Lambda. This club brings together students with an interest in BCMB to encourage academic and social interaction between students and between faculty members and students.
“Ready for the World” is part of a long-range plan to transform the UTK campus into a culture of diversity that best prepares students for working and competing in the 21st century. Thus students are encouraged to actively participate in the diverse cultural programs offered on campus. Some of these events include the guest lecture series, cultural nights at the International House, and international film screenings. Visit the Center for International Education web site (http://cie.utk.edu/) or the Ready for the World web site (http://rftw.utk.edu/) for more information on upcoming cultural programs and activities. Learn more about UT’s Ready for the World initiative to help students gain the international and intercultural knowledge they need to succeed in today’s world.
Students are also encouraged to develop a global perspective within their academic program through study abroad. Studying abroad options do exist for science majors! Possibilities include (but are not limited to) studying parasitology in Botswana, environmental chemistry in Fiji, igneous petrology in Iceland, or particle accelerator physics in London. In addition to taking science courses abroad, many science majors have elected to fulfill their language requirement and/or general education courses overseas.
Consult an academic advisor early in your academic career about the best time for you to study abroad as well as what courses you may need to take. For more information about program options, the application process, and how to finance study abroad, please visit the Programs Abroad Office website.
Academic Plan and Milestones
Following an academic plan will help students stay on track to graduate in four years. For first-year, full-time, degree-seeking students, UT has implemented Universal Tracking (uTrack), an academic monitoring system designed to help students stay on track for timely graduation. In order to remain on track, students must complete the minimum requirements for each tracking semester, known as milestones. Milestones may include successful completion of specified courses and/or attainment of a minimum GPA.
To see a sample academic plan and milestones for this major, please visit the undergraduate catalog.
For More Information
M407 Walters Life Science Building
Knoxville, TN 37996-0840
The information on this page should be considered general information only. For more specific information on this and other programs refer to the UT catalog or contact the department and/or college directly.