B.S. in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

B.S. in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

The B.S. in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology (BMB) applies the basic principles of chemistry and physics to the study of living cells and their components to explain biology at molecular, genetic, and cellular levels. Students will develop a strong foundation in biochemistry and molecular biology. Students can choose a more mathematics intense option (Biochemistry option) or an option that surveys more of the molecular biology field (Molecular Biology option). Both options explore quantitative and analytical biological sciences, including molecular biology, biochemistry, enzymology, metabolism, cell biology, and molecular genetics. Penn State Berks is the only campus outside University Park to offer the BMB degree.

Degree Overview

The objectives of the BMB Major involve learning to think like a scientist. Specific educational objectives of the program are to ensure that graduates:

  • Read, understand, and critically interpret primary scientific literature
  • Communicate results of biological research
  • Apply ethical principles to basic and applied practice and understand the role of science and scientists in society
  • Demonstrate appropriate laboratory skills including scientific technique, maintenance of a laboratory notebook, writing laboratory reports, and adhering to all safety procedures
  • Specific content areas include studying:
    • Energy transformations in biological systems
    • Macromolecular structure and the importance of structure to function
    • Information storage and retrieval through DNA, RNA, and proteins

Complementary Minors and Certificates

The following academic minors are suggested to complement the Biology degree:

  • Applied Psychology
  • Business
  • Communication

After Graduation

The BMB major prepares students for work in a technical fields such as laboratory work, clinical research, and quality assurance in the food industry. The degree provides the pre-requisite coursework for a variety of professional schools including medical and veterinary. The degree also prepares students for graduate study in either biochemistry, chemistry, or molecular biology.


Comparison of BMB, Biology, and Science Degrees

Penn State Berks offers three degrees related to the life sciences. All three degrees lead to similar outcomes but the focus of the degrees vary slightly. The BMB degree focuses more on laboratory work and has a more chemical focus; Biology fosters a broad understanding of biology without as intense a focus on chemistry; Science provides a flexible major to allow students to tailor their own 400-level coursework. Medical students usually choose BMB, veterinary students usually choose Biology, and Physician Assistant students choose Science. Students who want to work in Pharmaceuticals and Bioctech often choose BMB; students who want to work as park rangers and environmental specialists usually choose Biology; students who transfer to Penn State or who do not know exactly where they want to work choose Science. You will work closely with your advisor to choose the most appropriate degree for your long-term goals.