Molecular & Cellular Biology

What Is It?:

Molecular and Cellular Biology (MCB) encompasses the departments of biochemistry, cell and structural biology, microbiology, and molecular and integrative physiology and is focused on the fundamental structures, functions and mechanisms of living organisms. MCB provides students with a solid foundation in areas that include molecular genetics, microbiology, cell biology, developmental biology, biochemistry, physiology, and structural biology.

How does Molecular and Cellular Biology differ from Integrative Biology?

Molecular & Cellular Biology is focused on the fundamental structures, functions and mechanisms of living organisms. The MCB major provides students with a solid foundation in areas that include molecular genetics, microbiology, cell biology, developmental biology, biochemistry, physiology, and structural biology.

Integrative Biology seeks to discover the complex interrelationships between organisms and the physical and biological environment in which they live. The IB major provides students with a solid foundation in areas that include anatomy, behavior, ecology, evolution, genetics, genomics and physiology.

Those interested in conservation biology or the evolution of disease, for example, will find a good match in Integrative Biology, while those interested in the detailed workings of the human immune system or structure-function relationships in proteins will likely find more relevant courses in Molecular & Cellular Biology. Students should note which aspects of biology interest them as they take the shared introductory courses to distinguish which option will be the best fit.

For more information, please visit the School of Molecular and Cellular Biology.

Courses That Introduce the Major:

  • IB 150—Organismal and Evolutionary Biology
  • MCB 150—Molecular and Cellular Basis of Life

Students should consult with an academic advisor regarding course selection prior to the advanced registration period. 

 

Possible Career Opportunities:

MCB is designed to prepare students for a wide spectrum of career opportunities:  medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, physiology, microbiology and immunology, cell and developmental biology, biotechnology and pharmaceuticals, agricultural biotechnology and food processing, bioinformatics and computational biology, and graduate school training.

Common Career Titles Related to this Major:

(Some careers may require education beyond an undergraduate degree)

  • Biological Consultant
  • Biological Photographer
  • Biological or Medical Illustrator
  • Cell Culture Operator
  • Conservation Warden
  • Crime Lab Technician
  • Dentist
  • Doctor
  • Emergency Medical Technician
  • Extension Agent
  • Field Biologist
  • Food and Drug Inspector
  • Forensic Service Technician
  • Genetic Counselor
  • Industrial Hygienist
  • Laboratory Technician
  • Meat and Poultry Food Inspector
  • Medical Records Administrator
  • Medical Technologist
  • Medical Writer
  • Museum Educational Staff Member
  • Pathologist
  • Pharmacist
  • Physician's Assistant
  • Prosthesis-Maker
  • Public Relations
  • Radiology Technician
  • Sales Representative
  • Science Librarian
  • University Research Assistant
  • Water Quality Controller
  • Veterinarian

Enhancing Your Academic Experience:

  • Participating in undergraduate research
  • Applying for a study abroad experience
  • Utilizing resources of The Career Center
  • Joining a Registered Student Organization (RSO) related to this major, such as:
    • Molecular and Cellular Biology Club (LIGASE): links together students interested in Molecular and Cellular Biology and provides a medium for students to pursue and discover the plethora of fields associated with MCB.

Related Skills:

  • Analytical & quantitative abilities
  • Biology theory & practical knowledge
  • Curiosity and creativity
  • Independent worker
  • Information handling & organization
  • Innovative talents
  • Numerical computation
  • Operate scientific equipment
  • Oral & written communication
  • Problem solving
  • Statistical awareness
  • Teamwork
  • Technical skills

Further Information:

For more information on what you can do with a major in Molecular and Cellular Biology, visit The Career Center’s webpage: What Can I Do With This Major.

There are several professional organizations dedicated to Molecular and Cellular Biology.  Their websites might be able to provide a glimpse in the world of Molecular and Cellular Biology.  These organizations include American Association for the Advancement of ScienceAmerican Institute of Biological Sciences, American Society for Cell Biology, and American Society for Microbiology.

For more information on the classes needed for a degree in Integrative Biology, visit Undergraduate Programs.