The BMB Major

Emphasizing independent research and one-on-one collaboration with faculty members, Gettysburg’s interdisciplinary biochemistry-molecular biology (BMB) major requires study in the biology, chemistry, mathematics, and physics departments, consistent with recommendations of the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

Students gain hands-on experience with state-of-the-art biochemical analysis and recombinant DNA technology as they examine the structures and chemical reactions within living cells. A capstone research project frequently results in professional publications co-authored by students and professors or presentations at scientific meetings.

Students receive excellent preparation for graduate study, medical school, or careers in a broad range of fields.


Students may earn a B.S. degree in biochemistry and molecular biology by completing the following requirements:

  • Biology 111 Introduction to Ecology and Evolution (or Biology 113)
  • Biology 112 Form and Function of Living Organisms
  • Biology 211 Genetics
  • Biology 212 Cell Biology
  • BMB (or Biology) 351* Molecular Genetics
  • Chemistry 107 Chemical Structure and Bonding
  • Chemistry 108 Chemical Reactivity
  • Chemistry 203 Organic Chemistry
  • Chemistry 204 Organic Chemistry
  • BMB (or Chemistry) 307 Biophysical Chemistry or 305 Physical Chemistry
  • BMB (or Chemistry) 333 Biochemistry I
  • BIO/BMB/CHEM 334* Biochemistry II
  • Mathematics 111 Calculus I
  • Mathematics 112 Calculus II
  • Physics 109 Introductory Physics I
  • Physics 110 Introductory Physics II

In addition, students must complete any two of the following courses (at least one must be at the 300 level and at least one must contain a laboratory component). Only one of these courses may be a research course.:

  • Biology 250 Introduction to Bioinformatics
  • Biology 315 Molecular and Genome Evolution
  • Biology 320* Developmental Biology
  • Biology 332 Immunobiology
  • Biology 335 Neurobiology
  • Biology (or Chemistry) 359 X-Lab: Drugs and Cells
  • Chemistry (or Physics) 246 Physics of Life
  • Chemistry 317 Instrumental Analysis
  • Chemistry 320 Materials Science
  • Chemistry 358 X-Lab: Salty and Fatty
  • Chemistry 375 Advanced Inorganic Chemistry
  • Research* (Biology 460 or 461 or Chemistry 460 or 465)

*Biology 320, BIO/BMB 351, BIO/BMB/CHEM 334, Biology 460, Biology 461, Chemistry 460, and Chemistry 465 have components that fulfill the capstone experience for the biochemistry and molecular biology major.

In addition, first-year students interested in developing research skills in molecular biology may take either Bio 114 Phage Genomics (as part of a year-long sequence beginning with Bio 113) or Bio 115 Molecular Responses to DNA Damage. These courses provide first-year students an opportunity to engage in original research leading to public presentation and possible publication. Bio 114 and Bio 115 count toward the college graduation requirement but do not count toward the BMB major.

The program is directed by a Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Committee (BMBC), consisting of biology and chemistry faculty members.

Individualized Study projects (Biology 460, Biology 461, Chemistry 460, or Chemistry 465) may be directed by any BMBC member. Otherwise, the project requires the approval of the BMBC.