Major Requirements


photo Dr. Dos Santos and Student
Dr. Dos Santos (right) and student in the laboratory.

This interdisciplinary major, jointly offered by the Departments of Biology and Chemistry, provides a strong foundation in biological chemistry and molecular biology, and related topics at the interface of these two disciplines. The major is designed to build conceptual understanding and practical and critical thinking skills to address current biological, biochemical, and biomedical challenges. A required research experience, culminating in a senior project, will give students strong experimental skills and provide insight into the experimental approaches and results that demonstrate the function of biological molecules.

Students will select a major concentration either in biochemistry or in molecular biology, which differ only in elective courses. The requirements for completion of the major are those in effect at the time of the declaration, as requirements may change slightly during the student’s time at Wake Forest University.

Visit the official college bulletin for BMB — Wake Forest College Bulletin

There are 49 credits required for this major fulfilled by Biology, Chemistry, and BMB courses: Students will need to take at least two courses from these requirements each semester for adequate progress in the major.  The major requirements are:

Foundation Courses: Biology and Chemistry: (Each course 4 credits; 16 credits each department)
  • CHM111+111L: College Chemistry 1
  • CHM223+223L: Organic Chemistry 2
  • CHM122 and 122L: Organic Chemistry 1
  • CHM280+280L: College Chemistry 2
    or CHM 123 and 123L: Honors Organic Chemistry

For students graduating in 2020 and 2021

  • BIO113 +113L: Ecology and Evolution
  • BIO114 +114L: Comparative Physiology
  • BIO213 +213L: Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • BIO214 +214L: Cell Biology

For students graduating after 2021

  • BIO150 +150L: Biology 1
  • BIO160 +160L: Biology 2
  • BIO265: Cellular and Molecular Biology

These 7 or 8 courses should be completed by the end of the sophomore year.  CHM111 is only offered in the fall, so students should enroll in this course during the fall of their first year or plan to take some chemistry in summer school.  All four biology courses are offered each semester during the academic year, but are infrequently taught in the summer. Please note that BIO112, BIO214, CHM223, and CHM280 are prerequisite for all upper level courses listed below, and BIO213 is required for BMB372.

Upper-level Biochemistry and Molecular Biology requirements: (10 credits)

— Two semesters of Biochemistry/ Molecular Biology lecture courses fulfilled by:

  1. BMB/BIO/CHM370: Biochemistry I: Macromolecules and Metabolism – 3 credits
  2. BMB372/BIO370 AND/OR BMB373/CHM373 (depending on year of declaration)
    • BMB372/BIO372: Molecular Biology – 3 credits
    • BMB373/CHM373: Biochemistry II: Protein & Nucleic Acid Structure and Function  – 3 credits
  3. — Two laboratory courses fulfilled by —
    1. BMB/BIO/CHM371L: Advanced Biochemistry Laboratory-1.5 credit and
    2. BMB372L/BIO372L: Molecular Biology Laboratory-1.5 credit OR BIO376: Methods in Molecular Genetics – 4 credits

— BMB388: Seminar in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology – 1 credit

Research Experiences:

— Two semesters or summers of research fulfilled with either:

BMB391/BIO391/CHM390/CHM391 + BMB392/BIO392/CHM390/CHM392, 0.5-2 credits each)
OR BMB501, BMB502 (Off campus research experience), 0 hours
BMB395: Senior Research Project – 1 credit course that helps in preparation of written senior research project


MST112: Calculus with Analytical Geometry II and PHY113 and PHY114: General Physics I and II

Two elective courses (some of which are taught infrequently)

Concentration in Molecular Biology: Choose any two courses from among the following electives:
Concentration in Biochemistry: Choose EITHER BMB376 OR CHM341 and one additional elective course:

Elective courses:

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology courses (BMB)

301: Special Topics in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (3h)
376: Biophysical Chemistry (3h)
381: Epigenetics (3h) (also listed as BIO381)
382: Molecular Signaling (3h) (also listed as BIO382)

Biology courses (BIO)

317/318: Plant Physiology and Development (3h/4h)
326: Microbiology (4h)
336/337: Development (3h/4h)
351: Vertebrate Physiology (4h)
362: Immunology (3h)
365: Biology of the Cell (3h)
367: Virology (3h)
368/369: Cell Biological Basis of Disease (3h/4h)
373: Cancer Biology (3h)
383: Genomics (3h)

Chemistry courses (CHM)

324: Medicinal Chemistry (3h)
334: Chemical Analysis (4h)
341: Physical Chemistry (3h)

Computer Science courses (CSC)

385/BIO 385: Bioinformatics (3h)
387/BIO 387: Computational Systems Biology (3h)

Physics courses (PHY)

307/BIO 307: Biophysics (3h)
320: Physics of Biological Macromolecules (3h)

Honors. Highly qualified majors may be eligible to graduate with honors in biochemistry and molecular biology if their research project is of sufficient quality. To be awarded the distinction “Honors in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology,” a graduating student must have a minimum GPA of 3.0 in all courses and a 3.3 in required and elective BIO, BMB, and CHM courses. Honors students will likely have begun research before their senior year.  Students interested in pursuing an honors degree must obtain pre-approval from the program coordinator during the fall of the senior year and enroll in BIO 395 during their senior year. The student must prepare an honors paper describing his or her independent research project, written in the form of a scientific paper, which must be submitted to, and approved by, an advisory committee. Honors students are also required to make a short oral presentation at the end of their senior year. For additional information, please consult the program coordinator or BMB faculty advisors.