Undergraduate Catalog 2015-2016


Cell and Molecular Biology (CAM)

Bachelor of Science (B.S.)

8 Semester Plan

120 Credit Hours

CIP Code: 26.0101 (Track 1 of 2)

College of Arts & Sciences


Major Description

This degree provides a strong foundation in general biology, with an emphasis on biomedical related areas, but focuses on the cellular and molecular processes that occur within cells. Many of the breakthroughs in the field of biology over the past several decades have shed light on how cells function in the context of the whole organism. The fields of genomics and computational biology have begun to solve the mystery of how networks of genes are regulated and how cells interact with each other and the how complex organisms react to their environment. Advances in cell and molecular biology continually lead to new treatments for age-related diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer’s. This degree prepares students for application to medical school, dental school, graduate school and careers in biotechnology, science policy, biomedical research, teaching, science writing and illustration. Many of our students continue their studies by attending graduate school in biology and other related disciplines.

State Mandated Common Course Prerequisites

Students should complete the following prerequisite courses listed below at the lower level prior to entering the university. If these courses are not taken at the community college, they must be completed before the degree is granted. Unless stated otherwise, a grade of C- is the minimum acceptable grade.

  • BSC X010/X010L Biology I with Lab or BSC X010C or BSC X040/X040L
  • BSC X011/X011L Biology II with Lab or BSC X011C or BSC X041/X041L or ZOO X010/010L or BOT X010/X010L or BOT X013/X013L
  • CHM X045/X045L General Chemistry I with Lab or CHM X045C or CHM X040 and CHM X041
  • CHM X046/X046L General Chemistry II with Lab or CHM X046C
  • CHM X210/X210L Organic Chemistry I with Lab and CHM X211/X211L or (CHM X210C and CHM X211C) or (PHY X053/X053L and PHY X054/X054L) or (PHY X048/X048L and PHY X049/X049L)
  • MAC X311 Calculus I or MAC X233 or MAC X253 or MAC X281 or MAC X241
  • MAC X312 Calculus II or MAC X282 or MAC X234 or STA X023 or STA X024 or STA X321

Total Major Hours: 74 Hours

Major Core

Minimum 40 credit hours.

Major Core Courses - 25 Hours

Major Elective Courses - 49 Hours

Elective courses (minimum of 15 credit hours):

*Selected topics approved for the major by the Department of Cell Biology, Microbiology and Molecular Biology

Supporting Courses in the Natural Sciences (minimum 34 credits hours):

Optional Accelerated Program

Non-Thesis B.S./M.S. Biology

Accelerated Non-Thesis B.S./M.S. Program in Biology

This program allows B.S. majors to take graduate courses for the elective part of the Biology degree and apply them to a non-thesis M.S. degree in Biology. Successful students will be able to earn the M.S. degree in two additional semesters beyond the completion of the B.S. degree. This accelerated program shares 12 credits between already existing degrees/concentrations:

  • B.S. in Biology, Concentration in Cell and Molecular Biology (submitted)
  • M.S in Biology, Concentration in Cell and Molecular Biology (non‐thesis option)

Target students and expected outcomes

This program will appeal to the more competitive Biology majors who would benefit professionally from having the M.S. when they enter the job market but do not want to commit to the longer time a thesis M.S. or a Ph.D. program takes to complete. Professions that do not require bench laboratory experience but desire the broadened knowledge base are targeted. Graduates from this program would be ideally suited for health professions, technology based industry, education and government. We also expect that some students will be interested in doctoral education in the biological or biomedical areas.

Description and Requirements

Biology majors who have completed the following courses may apply to this program:

  • PCB 3023 Cell Biology
  • PCB 3063 General Genetics
  • MCB 3410 Cell Metabolism
  • PCB 4024 Molecular Biology of the Cell or PCB 4026 Molecular Biology of the Gene

Students who have been admitted to the program but subsequently fail to achieve a 3.0 GPA in the last 60 hours of their B.S. degree, or who do not complete at least 30 of their last 60 hours at USF, will be dismissed from the program.

Once accepted, students must meet with BioAdvise (the advising office for biological sciences within the College of Arts and Sciences) to prepare an action plan to complete the B.S./M.S. accelerated program. This requires them to take all the courses required for the B.S. in Biology: Concentration in Cell and Molecular Biology. Students may take up to 12 credits of graduate courses as electives in Cell, Molecular and Microbiology and apply those courses to both the B.S. and M.S. degrees. They will not be admitted as graduate students until they have completed their B.S. degree and met all the requirements for admission to Cell, Molecular and Microbiologas graduate students.

The action plan should include a schedule of coursework to complete their B.S. degrees and a date in their last year in the B.S. program to take the GRE.

Application materials are the same as the M.S. in Biology:

  1. Two official transcripts of undergraduate work from other institutions. Applicants need not supply USF transcripts.
  2. Three letters of recommendation
  3. A brief essay stating your professional goals
  4. GRE scores must be sent to USF directly from the testing agency (USF institution code is 5828)

Graduate Degree Requirements

Students admitted into the M.S. portion of the program must complete all the requirements for the M.S. degree (non-thesis) within three semesters of admission. The requirement is 30 hours of graduate work with at least 16 of these hours completed at the 6000 level; 26 hours must be formally structured courses; and at least 15 hours must be in Cell, Molecular and Microbiology courses. Students will be required to take 3 core courses from the list below as part of these 26 hours. Of the required 26 hours, 9 hours will be derived from the core‐Cell, Molecular and Microbiology graduate courses listed below (see associated curriculum). These requirements can be partially met by up to 12 hours of graduate courses taken as undergraduates. Any graduate class taken outside of Cell, Molecular and Microbiology must be approved by the Cell, Molecular and Microbiology Graduate Director. Students should be aware that a B grade or better is required for every graduate class applied to the MS portion of their degree. In addition, students will be required to pass an oral qualifying exam based on a review paper submitted in their final semester. Students must form a committee as part of their action plan to complete their graduate work. This committee will be comprised of at least 3 Cell, Molecular and Microbiology faculty, and will serve as the examination committee for the review paper required as part of the MS portion of their degree. Upon approval of that paper, students must successfully complete a comprehensive oral exam by their committee.

Timeline and benchmarks:

  1. Completion of prerequisite upper division courses and application to the accelerated program. Typically students will be in their junior year.
  2. Acceptance into the program and an action plan within a semester of application.
  3. Students will take up to 12 credits of graduate credit in Cell, Molecular and Microbiology courses following acceptance into the program. Typically these courses will be taken in the latter half of the junior year and in the senior year. BioAdvise will monitor the progress of the students and ensure they follow their action plan. Students who do not complete at least 9 hours of graduate work by graduation will be dropped from the accelerated M.S. program.
  4. GRE exams will be taken in a timely manner so scores will be available for admission to the M.S. portion of the program. Students who do not complete the GRE in time will not be admitted to the accelerated M.S. program.
  5. Students admitted to the accelerated program must form a committee prior to the beginning of their first semester in the M.S. portion of the program and must continue to follow the action plan which will be monitored by Bioadvise.
  6. Students admitted to the accelerated M.S. program must complete the requirements within three semesters or will be dismissed from the program.

Year 1

  • BSC 2010 Cellular Processes
  • BSC 2010L Cellular Processes Laboratory
  • BSC 2011 Biodiversity
  • BSC 2011L Biodiversity Laboratory

Year 2

  • MCB 3410 Cell Metabolism
  • PCB 3063 General Genetics
  • PCB 3063L General Genetics Laboratory
  • PCB 3023 Cell Biology
  • PCB 3023L Cell Biology Laboratory
  • MCB 3020 General Microbiology
  • MCB 3020L General Microbiology Laboratory

Year 3

  • PCB 4024 Molecular Biology of the Cell
  • PCB 4026 Molecular Biology of the Gene
  • Three (3) credit hours of 5000-level elective structured course

Year 4

  • Nine (9) credit hours of 5000- or 6000-level elective courses

Year 5

  • Eighteen (18) hours of graduate coursework - 9 hours of which must be derived from the list below:
  • BSC 6932 Selected Topics in Biology
  • PCB 6525 Molecular Genetics
  • PCB 6236 Advanced Immunology
  • Four (4) credit hours of non-structured courses (seminar, independent study, laboratory research)
  • Oral exam and review paper done at the end of Year 5

Comprehensive Oral Qualifying Examination.

A final comprehensive oral examination is required for all master's students. This examination is open to all departmental faculty. Students must take their comprehensive exam within two years of matriculation and the exam is normally taken after the completion of all formal course work. Thesis students must take the examination at least one semester before the thesis is presented. Any graduate work counted toward the requirement for the M.S. degree must be completed within five (5) years after matriculation.

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  Accelerated Program

This major has an accelerated track that confers an undergraduate and graduate degree upon completion.


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  Additional Requirements

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  Additional Information

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