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Can I get into a molecular biology graduate program without a biology bachelors

  1. Jun 1, 2005 #1
    I'm doing my bachelors of science in chemistry, but I may want to do graduate work in molecular biology instead of chemistry. Would a BS in chemistry and maybe 15-20 hours of undergrad biology be good enough to qualify me for graduate programs in biology? I will have a biology minor when I graduate, but not a full BA or BS. I 'may' be able to pull off a BS in biology, but it'll be hard to do and I doubt it'll happen.

    Do they offer remedial biology classes for individuals like me who do not have all the pre-reqs for a graduate program?

    The BS in biology at IU requires 33 hours of biology, the BA requires 28. The BS in microbiology requires 42 and the BA requires 31. I think the BS in biology would be my best bet if I wanted to go full ass and do another bachelors as the BA degrees also require about 15 hours of art & social electives that I wouldn't ahve to take for a science degree. At the end of fall semester I will have completed 12 hours of biology and I have 3 semesters (and maybe summer of 2007) to go before I graduate so I can get up to 25-30ish hours of biology w/o problem.

    Also, would a degree in biology (not microbiology) allow a person into molecular biology graduate programs? What if I just take molecular biology classes (virology, fungi, cellular biology, immunology) as part of my minor is that the best idea?

    I keep researching PhD programs in biology and they usually don't say 'requires a BA or BS in biology to apply' like it does for chemistry doctoral programs. What they usually say is 'proficiency in chemistry, biology, calculus and physics'. I will have all of these things if I do a BS in chemistry and do 20 hours of biology, so maybe just a minor in biology will be enough to qualify me.
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2005
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 1, 2005 #2
    A lot of graduate programs do not require you to hold a BS in the same field as what you go to grad school for. It all depends on the school, look at the school's website. I wouldn't see a reason why you wouldn't be allowed to study bio. How extensive is your biochem background? you could add that in there too to your list of "bio" courses.
  4. Jun 2, 2005 #3
    Well with Chem programs they usually say 'require a BA or BS in chemistry, or a strong background in chemistry'. For biology programs they say you need a background in biology, chemistry, calculus & physics. I have not (so far) seen a program that requires an actual BA or BS in biology to get in. When I graduate I should have 12 hours of calculus, 13 of physics, 56 of chemistry, 20ish of biology so I should be fine.

    But i'm worried about not having an in depth enough biology background. If all I take is things like intro biology, molecular biology, microbiology, virology and genetics (which was my plan) at IU will that prepare me for a molecular biology program that will have classes that may delve into fungi, prokaryotes, microbial physiology etc.
  5. Jun 8, 2005 #4


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    Most biology majors don't get that in-depth of an education in all those fields either. Schools have various fields of biology they emphasize. You should try to fit in a biochemistry and another advanced molecular biology class (biochemistry might fulfill your chem major requirements anyway). Even without a biology major, they'll look at your transcript and see you have a lot of biology classes. Plus, your chemistry background will be helpful in a molecular biology program, and is something a lot of the students entering it won't have. Expect to have to take a biology GRE to demonstrate you have sufficient biology background.
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