Undergraduate Studies

What are the Molecular Biosciences?

Biochemistry is the study of life on the molecular level. It is the central discipline of the molecular biosciences and their biomedical applications. Biochemistry developed as biologists turned their interests to the molecules that are crucial for life and as chemists begin to focus on the reactions that occur in living cells. This field is an early and prominent example of the productivity and excitement that occurs at the interface between previously established disciplines. As biochemistry itself developed, its integration with genetics produced the vibrant field of molecular biology. Use the links to the left for a class schedule.

Genetics and Cell Biology are often combined since most phenomena observed at the level of cells and organisms have a genetic basis. Cell biology deals with the structure and function of the various constituents of the living cells, such as the cell membrane, the flagella responsible for cell movements, cell differentiation in the developing organism, abnormal cell division as in cancer, and metabolic interactions between cell compartments. Genetics is the science of heredity studied at the level of whole organisms (classical or transmission genetics), the DNA gene (molecular genetics) or whole populations (population and evolutionary genetics).

The science of genetics is thus not restricted to any particular type of organism; geneticists can apply their skills equally well to the study of simple viruses and that of human genes. Geneticists often combine classical genetics with molecular approaches to investigate how genes determine physical traits, including diseases such as cancer and inherited disorders. Genetics engineering of plants, animals, and microbes is a direct spin-off of the basic science of genetics. Use the links to the left for a class schedule.

Microbiology has often been defined as the study of organisms too small to be seen by the unaided eye. It is both a basic and an applied science. The science of microbiology is the study of microorganisms and their activities. It is concerned with their form, structure, reproduction, physiology, and identification. It includes the study of their distribution in nature, their relationship to each other and to other living things, their beneficial and detrimental effects on human beings, and the physical and chemical changes they make in their environment. Use the links to the left for a class schedule.

What careers are available in molecular biosciences?

The School of Molecular Biosciences offers many exciting opportunities for students who want to explore the possibilities of a wide range of future career paths in the life sciences. With 38 active research and teaching faculty members, and 15 research associated faculty members who have earned national and international reputations as experts in their respective areas of research, the School can provide unlimited opportunities for a rich and varied undergraduate experience.

The School offers programs leading to B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in Biochemistry, Biotechnology, Genetics and Cell Biology, and Microbiology. Options within these degrees offer flexibility to add emphasis in chemistry, molecular biology, biophysics, biotechnology, etc.

Stories and testimonies from graduates and students

Students graduating from the School have numerous career opportunities available to them including technical positions in food, pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, private or government laboratories and departments, and nonprofit institutions such as clinical and hospital laboratories and institutes whose main activity is research. Graduates are also well prepared for advanced degree work in medicine, dentistry, veterinary science, and other fields. With the advent of the "biological revolution" which will continue well into the 21st century, new opportunities with links to the worlds of business, law and government are ever expanding.

What kind of background is needed?

A solid background in biology, chemistry, physics and mathematics is necessary for the student interested in training in the School. Good communication skills, with emphasis on writing skills, along with basic reading skills that enable students to read and understand the large quantity of material required to succeed in college-level courses are strongly recommended. Computer literacy is also highly recommended.

Special Features of the School of Molecular Biosciences

The School is well-equipped for state-of-the-art teaching and research in many fields. Equipment for ultracentrifugation, recombinant DNA techniques, HPLC, protein analysis and purification, DNA sequencing and synthesizing, etc. is available. In addition, many excellent support facilities are available on campus including the Electron Microscopy Center, Bioanalytical Laboratory, Nuclear Radiation Center, NMR Center, X-ray Crystallography Laboratory, Science Instruction Learning Center and the adjoining seven-story Owen Science and Engineering Library.



Students Targeted toward Advanced Research Studies

The fast-track from undergraduate to doctorate

For information, follow the menu link at left, or contact:

Carolyn Emerson-Farr, STARS Coordinator, at emersonc@wsu.edu, 509-335-2473

Minors offered by School of Molecular Biosciences

The School of Molecular Biosciences offers five minors to students at Washington State University. All of them require students to have previously completed Biology 106&107 and Chemistry 105&106 even though these courses do not explicitly count towards the minor. Provided below are checksheets that give an overview of the requirements for each minor. Please note that the semester/campus that the courses required for our minors are offered may change in the future—see the current semester’s schedule of studies (link to the page schedules.wsu.edu) or email the SMB undergraduate program. More information on undergraduate minors, majors, and certificates in the Molecular Biosciences can be found in the current WSU Academic Catalog.

Biochemistry Minor (pdf)
Genetics and Cellular Biology Minor (pdf)
Microbiology Minor (pdf)
Molecular Biology Minor (pdf)
Pre-Genetic Counseling Minor (pdf)

Combined BS and PSM Degree

Bachelors of Science in Genetics and Cell Biology and Professional Science Masters Degree in 5 years. Read more here.
Course Schedule (doc)

Distance Degree Program

Washington State University’s School of Molecular Biosciences in partnership with the Center for Distance and Professional Education, offer several courses in a convenient online format. Courses are taught by the same internationally recognized faculty who work on the Washington State University Pullman campus and are accessible 24/7 from any computer with Internet access.

For more information on currently offered classes

Molecular Biosciences Student Organization

A student-centered interest group that serves the School of Molecular Biosciences at WSU with meetings, service events, field trips and other activities. Any student interested in the areas of Biochemistry, Cell Biology, Genetics, or Microbiology can join.

Molecular Biosciences Club @ WSU on Facebook

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