Molecular Biology Program

Students may also select the molecular biology option within the biology major. A student seeking to complete the molecular biology option must satisfactorily complete the following courses:

Major Requirements

A biology major must successfully complete the following courses:

Biology Core

  • Credit: 1

    Instructors: Ahn, McFadden, Stoebel

    Offered: Spring

    Description: Investigations in physiology, biochemistry, ecology, molecular biol­ogy, and other areas of experimental biology.

    Corequisites: BIOL052 HM 

    Concurrent requisites: BIOL154 HM 

  • Credits: 2

    Instructors: Donaldson-Matasci, Stoebel

    Offered: Spring

    Description: Investigations in physiology, biochemistry, ecology, molecular biology, and other areas of experimental biology.

    Corequisites: BIOL052 HM 

    Concurrent requisites: BIOL054 HM 

  • Credits: 3

    Instructor: Ahn

    Offered: Spring

    Description: Topics in the structural basis underlying general physiological mechanisms of plants and animals.

    Prerequisites: BIOL052 HM 

  • Credits: 3

    Instructors: Adolph, McFadden

    Offered: Spring

    Description: Principles of organization of natural communities and ecosystems, including population dynamics, species interactions, and island biogeography. Modern experimental and mathematical approaches to ecological problems. Application of ecological principles to conservation biology, human demography, and harvesting of natural resources.

    Prerequisites: BIOL052 HM and (MATH030B HM or MATH030G HM)

  • Credits: 3

    Instructors: Adolph, McFadden

    Offered: Fall

    Description: Evolutionary mechanisms, including natural selection, population genetics, speciation, and macroevolutionary processes. Modern methods of phylogenetic reconstruction. History of biological diversity and the fossil record.

    Prerequisites: BIOL052 HM and (MATH030B HM or MATH030G HM)

  • Credits: 3

    Instructors: Hur, Schulz, Stoebel

    Offered: Fall

    Description: Molecular description of gene function in both prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells, including DNA, RNA, and protein structure; DNA replication; transcription and translation; and gene regulation.

    Prerequisites: BIOL052 HM, CHEM023A HM, and CHEM023B HM 

  • Credits: 3

    Instructors: Daub, Haushalter, Vosburg

    Offered: Spring

    Description: A systematic study of the chemistry of carbon-containing compounds, emphasizing synthesis, reaction mechanisms, and the relation of structure to observable physical and chemical properties.

    Prerequisites: CHEM023A HM, CHEM023B HM, and CHEM024 HM 

  • Credit: 1

    Instructors: Daub, Haushalter, Johnson, Vosburg

    Offered: Spring

    Description: Laboratory taken concurrently with CHEM056 HM.

    Prerequisites: CHEM024 HM 

    Corequisites: CHEM056 HM 

  • Credits: 3

    Instructors: Daub, Haushalter, Vosburg

    Offered: Fall

    Description: A continuation of the chemistry of carbon compounds.

    Prerequisites: CHEM056 HM 

    Concurrent requisites: CHEM111 HM is recommended 

Molecular Biology Core

Biology Core from above, plus the following additional courses and modified requirements:

Electives

Six credits of advanced biology electives, selected by the student and advisor. One chemistry course may be substituted for an advanced biology course with the prior approval of the department. Electives must include:

At least one Harvey Mudd laboratory course, selected from: 

  • Credits: 2

    Instructor: Ahn

    Offered: Fall, alternate years

    Description: Experimental techniques and concepts in plant and animal physiology, including the general areas of cellular biology, energetics, ionic regulation, and signaling. The final third of the course will involve independent student research projects culminating with oral and written presentations of experimental investigations.

    Prerequisites: BIOL054 HM and BIOL101 HM 

  • Credits: 3

    Instructor: Donaldson-Matasci

    Offered: Spring, alternate years

    Description: Design and analysis of ecological experiments with an emphasis on hypothesis testing, sampling techniques, and computer-based statistical analysis of data. Most projects are field-based, designed to address aspects of population, community, physiological, and behavioral ecology in animals and plants; work in both terrestrial and aquatic habitats. Includes several all-day field trips to local coastal, desert, and mountain sites.

    Prerequisites: BIOL054 HM and BIOL154 HM 

    Corequisites: BIOL108 HM 

  • Credit: 1

    Instructors: Haushalter, Vosburg (Chemistry)

    Offered: Spring

    Description: Experiments in biochemistry.

    Corequisites: BIOL182 HM or CHEM182 HM 

and

One Harvey Mudd seminar-style course (requiring student presentations and reading from the primary literature), some examples include: 

  • Credits: 3

    Instructor: McFadden

    Description: Advanced ecology focusing on marine communities. Dispersal, recruitment, competition, disturbance, plant/animal interactions, and other topics. Readings in the primary literature. Counts as a seminar course for Biology majors.

    Prerequisites: BIOL108 HM 

  • Credits: 3

    Instructor: Hur

    Offered: Spring, alternate years

    Description: Cellular and molecular mechanisms of animal development, including cell fate determination, morphogenesis, and pattern formation. Emphasis on modern experimental organisms and approaches. Readings in the primary literature. Counts as a seminar course for Biology majors. 

    Prerequisites: BIOL113 HM 

  • Credits: 3

    Instructor: Stoebel

    Description: Current topics in genetics and developmental genetics. Emphasis on experimental techniques and design with model experimental organisms. Readings from the primary literature. Counts as a seminar course for biology majors.

    Prerequisites: BIOL054 HM and BIOL113 HM 

  • Credits: 3

    Instructor: Ahn

    Description: Readings from the primary literature in animal physiology. Specific topics may vary. Counts as a seminar course for Biology majors.

    Prerequisites: BIOL101 HM 

  • (most offerings)

    Credits: 1.5-3

    Instructor: Staff

    Offered: Fall

    Description: Topics in a particular area of biology, depending on the instructor.

    Prerequisites: BIOL052 HM; additional prerequisites may be required dependent on topic 

  • (most offerings)

    Credits: 1.5-3

    Instructor: Staff

    Offered: Spring

    Description: Topics in a particular area of biology, depending on the instructor.

    Prerequisites: BIOL052 HM; additional prerequisites may be required dependent on topic 

  • (most offerings)

    Credits: 3

    Instructors: Haushalter, Schulz, Stoebel

    Offered: Fall

    Description: Advanced topics at the interface between chemistry and biology. Counts as a seminar course for Biology majors.

    Prerequisites: BIOL113 HM, (BIOL182 HM or CHEM182 HM), and senior standing

Colloquium

Four semesters of Biology Colloquium or Chemistry Seminar:

  • Credit: 0.5

    Instructor: Staff

    Offered: Fall

    Description: Oral presentations and discussions of selected topics including recent developments. Participants include biology majors, faculty members, and visiting speakers. Required for junior and senior biology majors. No more than 2.0 credits can be earned for departmental seminars/col­loquia.

  • Credit: 0.5

    Instructor: Staff

    Offered: Spring

    Description: Oral presentations and discussions of selected topics including recent developments. Participants include biology majors, faculty members, and visiting speakers. Required for junior and senior biology majors. No more than 2.0 credits can be earned for departmental seminars/col­loquia.

  • Credit: 0.5

    Instructor: Staff

    Offered: Fall and Spring

    Description: Presentations of contemporary research by students, faculty, and visiting scientists. Attendance by junior and senior majors is required. No more than 2.0 credits can be earned for departmental seminars/colloquia.

The colloquium requirement is waived for any semester during which a student is away on a study abroad program.

Capstone Project

Two semesters (at least 6 credits total) of Senior Thesis Researc

  • and

    Credits: 3

    Instructor: Staff

    Offered: Fall

    Description: A year-long experimental investigation in biology under the direction of a faculty advisor. Two oral presentations, a written proposal, and a thesis are required. Required of all senior biology majors.

    Prerequisites: Permission of instructor

  • Credits: 3

    Instructor: Staff

    Offered: Spring

    Description: A year-long experimental investigation in biology under the direction of a faculty advisor. Two oral presentations, a written proposal, and a thesis are required. Required of all senior biology majors.

    Prerequisites: BIOL193 HM or BIOL195 HM, and permission of instructor

or

Or an approved biology-related Clinic:

  • Credits: 2-3

    Instructor: Staff

    Offered: Fall

    Description: A yearlong experimental or computational investigation in chemistry under the direction of a faculty advisor. Two oral reports and a written thesis are required. Two or three credit hours per semester (2 credit hours equals a minimum of 6 hours of laboratory per week, 3 credit hours equals a minimum of 10 hours of laboratory per week: additional library time is required).

    Prerequisites: Senior standing

  • Credits: 2-3

    Instructor: Staff

    Offered: Spring

    Description: A yearlong experimental or computational investigation in chemistry under the direction of a faculty advisor. Two oral reports and a written thesis are required. Two or three credit hours per semester (2 credit hours equals a minimum of 6 hours of laboratory per week, 3 credit hours equals a minimum of 10 hours of laboratory per week: additional library time is required).

    Prerequisites: Senior standing

or

  • and

    Credits: 3

    Instructor: Staff

    Offered: Fall

    Description: The Clinic Program brings together teams of students to work on a research problem sponsored by business, industry, or government. Teams work closely with a faculty advisor and a liaison provided by the sponsoring organization to solve complex real-world problems. Students are expected to present their work orally and to produce a final report conforming to professional publication standards. CSCI183  HM and CSCI184 HM must be taken consecutively to count toward the major.

    Prerequisites: CSCI121 HM and senior standing; or permission of the Computer Science Clinic director

  • Credits: 3

    Instructor: Staff

    Offered: Spring

    Description: The Clinic Program brings together teams of students to work on a research problem sponsored by business, industry, or government. Teams work closely with a faculty advisor and a liaison provided by the sponsoring organization to solve complex real-world problems. Students are expected to present their work orally and to produce a final report conforming to professional publication standards. CSCI183 HM and CSCI184  HM must be taken consecutively to count toward the major.

    Prerequisites: CSCI121 HMCSCI183 HM, and senior standing; or permission of the Computer Science Clinic director

or

Two from:

  • Credits: 3

    Instructors: Gokli, staff

    Offered: Fall and Spring

    Description: Participation in engineering projects through the Engineering Clinic. Emphasis is on design of solutions for real problems, involving problem definition, synthesis of concepts, analysis, and evaluation.

    Prerequisites: Junior standing in engineering or permission of Clinic director

    Concurrent requisites: ENGR122 HM 

  • Credits: 3

    Instructors: Gokli, staff

    Offered: Fall

    Description: Participation in engineering projects through the Engineering Clinic. Emphasis is on design of solutions for real problems, involving problem definition, synthesis of concepts, analysis, and evaluation.

    Prerequisites: ENGR004 HM, ENGR080 HM, and ENGR111 HM or permission of Clinic director

  • Credits: 3

    Instructors: Gokli, staff

    Offered: Spring

    Description: Participation in engineering projects through the Engineering Clinic. Emphasis is on design of solutions for real problems, involving problem definition, synthesis of concepts, analysis, and evaluation.

    Prerequisites: ENGR004 HM, ENGR080 HM, and ENGR111 HM or permission of Clinic director

or

  • (taken twice)

    Credits: 3

    Instructors: Bernoff, Castro, de Pillis, Gu, Martonosi, Williams

    Offered: Fall and Spring

    Description: The Clinic Program brings together teams of students to work on a research problem sponsored by business, industry, or government. Teams work closely with a faculty advisor and a liaison provided by the sponsoring organization to solve complex, real-world problems using mathematical and computational methods. Students are expected to present their work orally and to produce a final report conforming to the publication standards of a professional mathematician. Students are expected to take the two semesters of Clinic within a single academic year.

or

  • and

    Credits: 3

    Instructor: Staff

    Offered: Fall

    Description: Team projects in applied physics, with corporate affiliation.

    Prerequisites: Seniors only

  • Credits: 3

    Instructor: Staff

    Offered: Spring

    Description: Team projects in applied physics, with corporate affiliation.

    Prerequisites: Seniors only