Cell and Molecular Biology (BS)

Cell and Molecular Biology (BS)

DNA and Chromosomes

The Cell and Molecular Biology major is an in-depth exploration of the underlying chemistry and molecular biology in living cells. The cell is the basic unit of living things and so it is impossible to understand life without understanding cells. The major begins with the foundational science courses common to any degree in the chemical or life sciences: chemistry, biology, organic chemistry, calculus, and physics, with required laboratory work throughout. Then, students take a required core of more advanced courses: cell biology, genetics, biochemistry, and molecular biology. While completing the biology core, students select five elective courses that suit their interests and future career goals such as microbiology, human physiology, forensic anthropology, and the list continues to grow each year. Finally, the major includes an advanced capstone experience which brings all of these courses together in the study of a specific research area in the biomedical sciences. Students in this major are well-prepared for a variety of careers and graduate programs including PhD programs in the life sciences, medical school, and related professional degrees. 

Learning Outcomes. Students who successfully complete the Cell and Molecular Biology major will be able to:

  • Understand the mathematical, chemical, and physical components of living systems
  • Describe the basic cellular and molecular processes that underlie living organisms
  • Engage the scientific methodology, experimentation, and theory unique to cellular and molecular biology
  • Communicate scientific knowledge, experimentation, and ideas effectively in oral and written forms
  • Demonstrate advanced and thorough knowledge of at least one specialized sub-discipline of Biology

Admission Requirements. To be admitted to the Cell and Molecular Biology major, students must have at least an 81 CAA (high school academic average) and one of the following:

  1. Took New York State Chemistry Regents Exam; OR
  2. Took the AP Chemistry Exam; OR
  3. Earned at least 3.5 units of High School Mathematics; OR
  4. Earned at least a score of 50 on the CLEP Chemistry exam.

Students who do not meet above criteria can attend John Jay with an undeclared major and take introductory science and mathematics courses to achieve admission to the major by performing very well in these courses. Students who wish to transfer into the Cell and Molecular Biology major must have earned a Mathematics/Science GPA of 2.5 or higher in science major courses to be admitted. Transfer students from a non-science major will need to meet the criteria stated above.

Credits required. 69-71  (or more depending on math placement)

Credits Required.

Cell and Molecular Biology Major


General Education




Total Credits Required for B.S. Degree


Prerequisite information: To be placed into BIO 103, students must take a Biology placement exam AND must be majoring in Cell and Molecular Biology. In addition,  MAT 105, OR MAT 141 OR MAT 241 or higher is a pre or co-requisite for BIO 103.

To be placed into CHE 103,  students must take a Chemistry placement exam AND must be majoring in Cell and Molecular Biology.

Note. At least two science courses count as STEM variants to satisfy the Common Core general education requirements. If students are exempt from the foreign language requirement, they can use three credits of science towards Common Core. Depending on mathematics placement, students may need to take MAT 105 and MAT 141 as prerequisites for the required calculus course, MAT 241. Either prerequisite course can satisfy the Required Core: Math and Quantitative Reasoning category of the Gen Ed program.

Coordinator. Professor Jason Rauceo, Department of Sciences (646-557-4893jrauceo@jjay.cuny.edu)

Advising resources. Cell and Molecular Biology Advising Resources.

Honors Option. To earn honors in the major, students must have completed BIO 488 Cell and Molecular Biology Capstone Seminar and/or FOS 402 Undergraduate Research Internship with a grade of B+ or higher, completed all requirements for the major and have earned at least a 3.5 cumulative GPA in courses above the 100-level in the major.  Credit for courses required as prerequisites for major courses and transfer credits applied to the major will not be calculated into the major cumulative GPA.  Students must have also earned at least a 3.2 overall cumulative GPA.  This honor will be noted on the student’s transcript.

Additional information. Students who enrolled for the first time at the College or changed to this major in Fall 2017 or thereafter must complete the major in the form presented here.  Students who enrolled prior to that date may choose either the form shown here or the earlier version of the major.  A copy of the earlier version may be found in the 2016-17 Undergraduate Bulletin.

PART ONE. GENERAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION                                                       Subtotal: 40 credits

BIO 103 Modern Biology I                                             
BIO 104 Modern Biology II                                          
CHE 103 General Chemistry I                                    
CHE 104 General Chemistry II                                    
CHE 201 Organic Chemistry I                                   
CHE 202 Organic Chemistry II
MAT 241 Calculus I                                                     
MAT 301 Probability & Mathematical Statistics                                                       
PHY 101 College Physics I (Liberal Arts Physics)                                   
PHY 102 College Physics II (Liberal Arts Physics)

BIO 101 + BIO 102 may be taken in place of BIO 103
CHE 101 + CHE 102 may be taken in place of CHE 103
PHY 203 + PHY 204 can substitute for PHY 101 + PHY 102

PART TWO. BIOLOGY CORE                                                                                                  Subtotal: 14 credits

BIO 205 Eukaryotic Cell Biology                          
BIO 315 Genetics                                                       
BIO 412 Molecular Biology            
CHE 315 Biochemistry          

PART THREE. BIOLOGY ELECTIVES                                                                          Subtotal: 12-14 credits

Choose 12-14 credits including at least 1 course with a lab component.
BIO 211 Microbiology
BIO 212 Microbiology Lab
BIO 255 Biology of Gender & Sexuality      
BIO 355 Human Physiology  
BIO 356 Human Anatomy and Physiology Laboratory      
BIO 360 Human Pathology
BIO 364 Forensic Pathology       
BIO 380 Selected Topics in Biology
BIO 382 Selected Topics in Biology with Laboratory   
BIO 413 Forensic DNA Analysis and Interpretation            
BIO 488 Cell and Molecular Biology Capstone Course 
TOX 313 Toxicology of Environmental and Industrial Agents

BIO 212 and BIO 356 are lab-only options that may be taken concurrently with or subsequent to their corresponding lecture courses, BIO 211 and BIO 355.
BIO 360, BIO 364, and BIO 413 include laboratory components.
BIO 488 may be taken as an elective only if FOS 402 is taken as the capstone. Consult the major coordinator.                    

PART FOUR. CAPSTONE COURSE                                                                                     Subtotal: 3 credits

Choose one
BIO 488 Cell and Molecular Biology Capstone Course
FOS 402 Undergraduate Research Internship

Note: If FOS 402 is completed for the capstone, students can take BIO 488 as an elective. Consult the major coordinator.

                                                                                                                                                  Total Credit Hours: 69-71

                                                                                                                                                            Last Updated: 4/18/18