The BMB Major


Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (BMB) is an interdisciplinary major, which studies life at the molecular level.  Under that guidance of faculty members drawn form the departments of Biology and Chemistry, BMB majors study the structures and functions of cells and biological molecules by using contemporary methods of biochemical analysis, recombinant DNA technology, molecular genetics, functional genomics and bioinformatics.  This rapidly expanding and exciting field is relevant to many professions, and impacts society in ways ranging from forensics to medical diagnosis.

By drawing upon the resources and perspectives of Chemistry and Biology, this major reflects the collaborative nature of current scientific research in this exciting area.  In the collaborative thinking that is the foundation of BMB, the understanding of cells, molecules, and biochemistry are integrated in order to examine the workings of life at its finest levels.  Bioinformatics contributes to this effort by the design of computational tools, which enable researchers to understand the structures of the thousands of different genes and proteins that are present in living systems.  All courses employ investigational approaches as part of the course or laboratory, building on skills form the introductory level through the Senior Seminar.  Faculty members involved in the program have active research programs in cell and molecular biology, often supported by research grants from NIH and NSF.  Students graduating with a BMB major have gone on to prestigious graduate programs in the areas of health professions and scientific research.


Courses required for the BMB major that are appropriate for the fall semester of the first year include Chemistry 120-120L and Biology 130-131L. Students considering taking both Chemistry 120-120L and Biology 130-131L in the fall semester of the first year should consult a BMB advisor.

A total of fifty-three to fifty-six (53-56) credits as follows:

  1. Chemistry 120-120L (Foundations in Chemistry), 211, 212-212L (Organic Chemistry with laboratory), and 240-240L (Analytical Chemistry with laboratory)
  2. Biology 130-131L (Biology I with laboratory)
  3. Biology 325-325L (Molecular Biology with laboratory) and Biology 307(Cell Biology)
  4. Chemistry 414 (Biochemistry)
  5. BMB 310 (Methods in Biochemistry and Cell Biology)
  6. BMB 485 or 486 (Senior Seminar)
  7. Three of the following courses:
    • Biology 204-204L (Mechanisms of Development with laboratory)
    • Biology 301-301L (Microbiology with laboratory)
    • Biology 304-304L (Genetics with laboratory)
    • Biology 330 (Virology/Immunology)
    • Biology 380 (Topics in Biomedical Science)
    • Chemistry 311 (Physical Chemistry)
    • Chemistry 406 (Instrumental Analysis)
    • Chemistry 416 (Mechanism of Drug Action)
    • BMB 451 or 452 (Research with affiliated faculty - 4 credits only may satisfy one elective; must be approved by the BMB committee)
    • Any one of the following: Computer Science 141 (Programming Fundamentals) OR Math 121 (Calculus I) OR one course in probability and statistics. Courses that would be appropriate in the area of probability and statistics include Math111, Psychology 211, Economics 290.

For students seeking admission to graduate school, the following courses are recommended:

  • BMB 451 or 452
  • Biology 140-141L for programs in the biological sciences.
  • Chemistry 312-312L for programs in biochemistry.
  • Mathematics 121, 122
  • Physics 111-111L, 112-112L

For students seeking admission to programs in the health professions, please visit the Health Professions Website:

Of the following courses: Cell Biology, Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Methods in Biochemistry and Cell Biology; no more than one may be transferred into Rhodes from another institution to satisfy the requirements for the BMB major. No more than one of the three required courses listed in item #7 above may be transferred into Rhodes from another institution to satisfy the requirements for the BMB major.

Students seeking a double major must have at least four upper level courses for the BMB major that are not used to satisfy requirements for the other major.


  1. Courses required: those listed for the B. S. degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology as well as the Honors Tutorial (BMB 495 and BMB 496).
  2. Permission of the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Program Committee.
  3. An original investigation of some problem in the area of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. This project is usually related to work being carried out by members of the faculty affiliated with the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Major. The project may also be carried out off campus, with the careful guidance of a BMB faculty member liaison for the project.
  4. A credible thesis must be presented at the end of the project. The honors project and thesis must be approved by the student’s honors committee, which should be comprised of at least three members of the faculty affiliated with the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Major.