Undergraduate Catalog 2021-2022

Biological Sciences B.S. – Cell and Molecular Biology Emphasis

College of Natural and Health Sciences

Contact: Mitchell E. McGlaughlin, Ph.D., School Director

Location: Ross Hall 2480

Telephone: 970.351.2921

Website: www.unco.edu/nhs/biology

Advising Information:

Students must consult with their assigned major advisor each semester prior to registering.

To find your advisor, log into ursa.unco.edu; go to 'Student' tab and click 'View Student Information' link. If no advisor is listed, contact the major program for advisor information.

In accordance with University Policies, coursework earned more than 10 years prior to the date of matriculation to UNC may not be used to satisfy any major or minor requirements. Any exception to this policy is at the discretion of the academic program. The school's transfer advisor can be reached at 970.351.2921.

The program consists of three parts:

  1. Liberal Arts Curriculum (LAC) Credits
  2. Required Major Credits
  3. University-Wide Credits

Program Description:

This program places emphasis on a thorough understanding of the biological principles underlying all living systems through study of the basic unit of life, the cell. Undergraduates entering this program should have a strong interest in Biological Sciences and have completed general high school science and mathematics requirements. Given the technical nature of some required courses, additional preparatory coursework may be required for students with limited previous STEM experience.

Students successfully completing this program will be prepared to choose from a widely varied range of careers in the basic or applied biological sciences such as public health, the pharmaceutical industry, cancer research, biodiversity research, forensic biology, animal and plant agricultural sciences, and many others.

Students will also be prepared to continue their education in graduate biological sciences programs (microbiology, genetics, molecular biology, cell biology, physiology, endocrinology, immunology, developmental biology, etc.) and in most professional schools (medical, veterinary, etc.). This program encompasses a minor in chemistry.

Program Admission Requirements:

Academic Good Standing

Program Requirements:

  • The State of Colorado has mandated that institutions of higher education assess student outcomes resulting from their college education. The School of Biological Sciences requires that all undergraduate students entering under this Catalog meet the following conditions in addition to meeting the graduation requirements of the University:
  • In the senior year of study all undergraduates will take a standardized assessment administered by the School of Biological Sciences to assess the effectiveness of the curriculum.”
  • Junior and seniors with a cumulative GPA of 3.00 or higher are permitted take 500-level courses. Any 500 level BIO prefix courses will be applied to Biological Science Advanced Study requirements. Consult with faculty advisor to ensure courses are appropriate. 
  • NOTE: Students completing a major in Biological Sciences and a minor in Chemistry are exempt from the university policy that a maximum of 12 credit hours can be shared between a major and minor. A student must still complete a minimum of 6 upper-division UNC credits (300-400) or UNC approved Study Abroad credits in the minor. 

Degree Requirements — 120 Credits

1. Liberal Arts Curriculum — 31 credits

To complete the degree in 120 credits as outlined, the program recommends the below LAC courses that also count toward the 95 required major credits.

Any additional coursework completed outside of the recommended list below may extend the length of the program of study.

Written Communication — 6 credits

SCI 291 (3) is recommended to fulfill Intermediate Written Communication requirement and will fulfill both LAC and major requirements. 

See Written Communication courses

Mathematics — 3 credits

MATH 171 (4) is recommended to fulfill Mathematics requirement and will fulfill both LAC and major requirements. 

See Mathematics courses

Arts & Humanities, History, Social & Behavioral Sciences, U.S. Multicultural Studies, and International Studies — 15 credits

To complete the LAC in the minimum number of credits, be sure to choose at least one course with an IS designation and one course with an MS designation. 

Select any courses to fulfill this requirement from the currently approved LAC course list. 

See Arts & Humanities, History, and Social & Behavioral Sciences courses

Natural & Physical Sciences — 7 credits

BIO 110 (4), BIO 111 (4), CHEM 111 (4), CHEM 111L (1) and PHYS 220 (5) are recommended to fulfill Natural & Physical Sciences requirement and will fulfill both LAC and major requirements. 

See Natural & Physical Sciences courses

See Liberal Arts Curriculum

2. Required Major — 95 credits

Take all of the following courses (74 credits):

BIO 110Biology: Atoms to CellsLAS1LASL


BIO 111Biology: Organisms to EcosystemsLAS1LASL


BIO 210Cell Biology


BIO 220Genetics


BIO 351Microbiology


BIO 360Ecology


BIO 425Molecular Genetics


BIO 442Molecular and Cellular Laboratory


BIO 450Cell Physiology


BIO 465Evolution


CHEM 111Principles of Chemistry ILAS1


CHEM 111LPrinciples of Chemistry I LaboratoryLAS1LASL


CHEM 112Principles of Chemistry II


CHEM 112LPrinciples of Chemistry II Laboratory


CHEM 331Organic Chemistry I


CHEM 331LOrganic Chemistry I Laboratory


CHEM 332Organic Chemistry II


CHEM 332LOrganic Chemistry II Laboratory


MATH 171Calculus I for Life SciencesLAX1


PHYS 220Introductory Physics ILAS1LASL


PHYS 221Introductory Physics II


SCI 291Scientific WritingLAW2


STAT 250Statistics for Life Sciences


Biochemistry (4-6 credits)

Choose one of the following options:

CHEM 381Principles of Biochemistry


CHEM 381LPrinciples of Biochemistry Lab


Or, complete both:

CHEM 481General Biochemistry I


CHEM 482General Biochemistry II


Capstone Professional Experience (1 credit)

Take one credit (chosen in consultation with faculty advisor to help match career goals) from:

BIO 422Directed Studies

1- 3

BIO 492Internship in Biological Sciences

1- 3

BIO 493Clinical Internship in Biological Sciences

1- 3

BIO 494Practicum in College Biological Science Instruction

1- 2

Biological Science Advanced Study

Choose from BIO-prefix courses at the 300 level or higher to bring your Required Major Credits to  95 total.

Please see course listings in the graduate catalog for additional course options (must be a junior or senior  with a minimum 3.0 GPA to take graduate level courses). Consult with faculty advisor to match career goals. 

NOTE: A maximum of 5 credits total of BIO 422, BIO 492, BIO 493, BIO 494 can count towards the fulfillment of this category. Up to five of those credits may be from BIO 422. Not more than three of those credits may be from BIO 492, BIO 493, and/or BIO 494 combined

3. University-Wide Credits — 0 credits*

*Note: Students must apply the recommended courses to both the liberal arts curriculum requirements and the major requirements to complete this degree program in 120 credit hours. Students may have an increased number of university wide electives to apply to this degree depending on the number of credits applied to both the LAC and the major. See your advisor for details.