Upcoming seminars:

April 29, 2011

"Evolutionary conserved transcriptional response toward BMP signaling in developing mouse and xenopus embryos"

Ken Cho, Ph.D.

Professor and Chair
Department of Developmental and Cell Biology
University of California Irvine

102 Jones Hall

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Bachelor of Science in Cell and Molecular Biology


The major in Cell and Molecular Biology is designed for students interested in exploring the features and activities ofmousetooth cells, genes, and biomolecules which are the most fundamental constituents of all living things. Some are attracted by a desire to elucidate new biological principles, whereas others are more interested in applying molecular principles and methods to solve practical problems facing medicine and biotechnology.  Either way, the major attracts those who are curious about the mechanisms by which living systems function, develop, and interact with their environment.  A love of and fascination with living systems is essential.  Biology is especially appealing to those who derive pleasure from elucidating general principles that apply to all living systems through experimentation with relatively simple model systems.  This requires a creative mind, the fortitude to conduct repetitive work and the ability to analyze, distill, and interpret data.


Students majoring in cell and molecular biology must complete a minimum of ten courses in the biology components, totaling at least 22 credits; 16 credits in chemistry (one year of both general chemistry with laboratories 1070/1170; 1080/1180; or H1090/H1110; H1100/H1120 and organic chemistry with laboratories 2410/2430; 2420/2440; or H2450/H2470; H2460/H2480); and eight credits of physics with laboratories (1210, 1220 or 1310, 1320). Students are required to take Calculus I (MATH 1210) or Consolidated Calculus (MATH 1310) and Probability and Statistics for Scientists (MATH 1230) to satisfy the math requirement for the B.S. Students are encouraged to take additional calculus and statistics.

To fulfill the biology core component, students must complete CELL 1010, CELL 2050, CELL 3030, and CELL 3750.  Students must take one biochemistry course, either CELL 4010 or CENG 4450 +CENG 4460 or CHEM 3830 + 3840.  Students must also take either CELL 3020 or CELL 3120, and one additional 3 or 4 credit CELL lecture or lecture/lab course.   Note:  Students with an AP score of 5 will have the choice between receiving credit for CELL 1030/1035 or receiving credit for CELL 1010.  (Students with an AP score of 5 who opt to receive credit for CELL 1030/11035 will be allowed to take CELL 2115 concurrently with CELL 1010.)  Students with an AP score of 4 will receive credit for CELL 1030/1035.  

An additional three elective courses are required, and at least two of the three must be laboratory courses.  Students may use approved courses from other departments to fulfill the elective component.  One course involving independent laboratory research (4910, 4920, 4950, 4960, H4990 or H5000) may be used as a laboratory course. 

Students must complete one approved capstone course within the biology components.  The capstone requirement can be fulfilled by CELL 4250, Principles of Immunology; CELL 4260, Biomedical Writing; CELL 4910/4920, Independent Studies or CELL 4990/5000, Honors Thesis.  Click for a list of Cell & Molecular Biology Electives.


Our Major Requirements Checklist is a tool that helps students monitor their progress towards completion of the major, and determine what courses will satisfy a particular requirement. 

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Students wishing to minor in cell and molecular biology must complete CELL 1010, CELL 2050, CELL 3750, and CELL 3030; two additional electives in biology; and 16 credits in chemistry (one year of both general and organic chemistry and their respective laboratories).  Because of the interdisciplinary nature of the biological chemistry major, students in this program may not minor in cell and molecular biology.  In accordance with Tulane's undergraduate catalog, students completing a minor must complete at least 24 credits in the major which do not overlap with the minor.

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Summer School Preapproval of Courses for CELL Credit

 All summer school courses that are taken at other institutions must be preapproved for credit.    In order to have a course approved you must submit "Transfer Credit Approval Form", the course description, and the course syllabus to the Academic Advising Office as outlined online at  After obtaining approval from the Academic Advising Office, bring the materials to the CMB office, Stern 2000.  We encourage you to contact the school you wish to attend and obtain the summer school syllabus or information as to whether the material covered in the summer is the same as that indicated in the syllabus you have.  This should be done early to assure that approval can be made prior to your enrolling in the class.  Please include the name, edition and authors of the textbook(s) if this is not on the syllabus.    

Many of our courses are unique and are not offered at other institutions.  Please carefully compare the course description and the syllabus of the course you wish to take and those found on our website.  Courses must cover substantially the same material as covered in our courses to be considered.  Courses which have numbers above the 2000 level must be taken at a four year institution.  Courses that do not correspond directly to the core courses in the CELL major may qualify for elective credit but may not be used to fulfill core requirements in the major.  We strongly advise you to take the core courses for the CELL major at Tulane.


Career Opportunities

The major in Cell and Molecular Biology prepares the student for a variety of careers which require a working knowledge of biological principles and the molecular and cellular approaches to solving basic problems or to improving the quality of human life. Students who wish no further formal training after their B.S. degree find positions in education, government and industry, especially in the expanding health-services, biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries.  The B.S. in Cell and Molecular Biology is also ideal preparation for careers requiring additional study, such as medicine, dentistry, physical therapy, nursing and other health-related professions, environmental policy and law, and professions requiring a graduate degree in biology or the other biomedical sciences.  Students interested in education might wish to visit the Teach for America website.

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The Cell and Molecular Biology Major as Preparation for Medical and Other Allied Health Programs

The major overwhelmingly attracts students who have interests in the health professions, but the philosophy in this department is similar to that which prevails in most departments within the Liberal Arts and Sciences: that our purpose is to educate students with respect to the discipline and not to serve as a premedical program. This is also consistent with medical school publications which palmsemphasize the importance of majoring in any discipline which interests the student; the medical schools will assume responsibility for teaching medical science courses. The nature of our discipline is, however, such that there is nevertheless considerable overlap in our courses and those in the medical school curriculum. Such overlap will do nothing but increase in the future as medicine itself becomes increasingly dependent on an understanding of physiology, molecular biology, development, and genetics to explain and diagnose human diseases and syndromes and to implement new methods of therapy. 


Cell and Molecular Biology majors have an excellent rate of acceptance into medical programs.  In 2004, 52 majors applied and 33 were accepted (64%).   In addition to medical school, CMB majors also apply to veterinary, dental and optometry programs.  The PreHealth Advisor can provide guidance to students regarding the requirements for medical school and other health professions, and can assist the student with interviewing skills and other aspects of the application process.

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Cell and Molecular Biology, 2000 Percival Stern Hall, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5546