Biological Sciences (BS): Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology Concentration

To see more about what you will learn in this program, visit the Learning Outcomes website!

There are five different avenues to earning a B.S. in Biological Sciences at NC State. Students studying for a degree in Biological Sciences can opt for a general curriculum (BLS) or can choose to focus in a particular area by selecting one of four areas of concentration: Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology (MCD), Integrative Physiology and Neurobiology (IPN), Human Biology (HB), or Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation Biology (EEC).

The MCD curriculum offers students in-depth studies of the molecular and cellular basis of life and the development of multicellular organisms. Many students in the MCD concentration focus on lab-based courses in biology, genetics and biotechnology (BIT), in preparation for graduate studies or work in industry.

Plan Requirements

Exploring the Life Sciences
LSC 103Exploring Opportunities in the Life Sciences1
Writing
Advanced Writing Requirement Elective3
Biological Sciences
LSC 101Critical and Creative Thinking in the Life Sciences 12
BIO 181Introductory Biology: Ecology, Evolution, and Biodiversity 14
BIO 183Introductory Biology: Cellular and Molecular Biology 14
BIO 414Cell Biology 13
or BIO 416 Cancer Cell Biology
BIO 361Developmental Biology 13
or GN 434 Genes and Development
BIT 410Manipulation of Recombinant DNA 14
BCH 451Principles of Biochemistry4
GN 311Principles of Genetics 14
GN 312Elementary Genetics Laboratory 11
Select one of the following: 14
Principles of Human Anatomy & Physiology (A): Nervous, Skeletal, Muscular, & Digestive Systems
Principles of Human Anatomy & Physiology (B): Endocrine, Cardiovascular, Respiratory & Renal Systems
Animal Anatomy and Physiology
Physical & Mathematical Sciences
MA 131Calculus for Life and Management Sciences A 13
or MA 141 Calculus I
MA 231Calculus for Life and Management Sciences B 13
or MA 241 Calculus II
CH 101Chemistry - A Molecular Science 13
CH 102General Chemistry Laboratory 11
CH 201Chemistry - A Quantitative Science 13
CH 202Quantitative Chemistry Laboratory 11
CH 221Organic Chemistry I 13
CH 222Organic Chemistry I Lab 11
CH 223Organic Chemistry II 13
CH 224Organic Chemistry II Lab 11
Select one of the following: 14
College Physics I
Physics for Engineers and Scientists I
and Physics for Engineers and Scientists I Laboratory
Select one of the following: 14
College Physics II
Physics for Engineers and Scientists II
and Physics for Engineers and Scientists II Laboratory
Major Electives
MCDB Electives 19
Additional Science & Math Electives8
Learning Experience Elective 3
GEP Courses
ENG 101Academic Writing and Research 14
GEP Humanities6
GEP Social Sciences6
GEP Health and Exercise Studies2
GEP Additional Breadth (Humanities/Social Sciences/Visual and Performing Arts)3
GEP Interdisciplinary Perspectives3
GEP U.S. Diversity (verify requirement)
GEP Global Knowledge (verify requirement)
Foreign Language Proficiency (verify requirement)
Free Electives
Free Electives (12 Hr S/U Lmt) 29
These electives cannot be remedial nor can they be taken at an elementary level after you have taken comparable coursework at a more advanced level. ST 311 is recommended as a Free Elective. Students interested in graduate school or professional school should check the courses required for admission to the programs to which they plan to apply.
Total Hours120

Advanced Writing Requirement Electives

BIO 267Research in the Life Sciences I: Research Skills
COM 211Argumentation and Advocacy3
ENG 214Introduction to Editing3
ENG 232Literature and Medicine3
ENG 287Explorations in Creative Writing3
ENG 288Fiction Writing3
ENG 289Poetry Writing3
ENG 292Writing About Film3
ENG 316Introduction to News and Article Writing3
ENG 323Writing in the Rhetorical Tradition3
ENG 331Communication for Engineering and Technology3
ENG 332Communication for Business and Management3
ENG 333Communication for Science and Research3
ENG 381Creative Nonfiction Writing Workshop3
ENG 388Intermediate Fiction Writing Workshop3
ENG 389Intermediate Poetry Writing Workshop3
ENG 416Advanced News and Article Writing3
ENG 417Editorial and Opinion Writing3
ENG 422Writing Theory and the Writing Process3
ENG 425Analysis of Scientific and Technical Writing3
ENG 426Analyzing Style3

MCDB Electives

BCH 452Introductory Biochemistry Laboratory2
BCH 453Biochemistry of Gene Expression3
BCH 455Proteins and Molecular Mechanisms3
BCH 553Biochemistry of Gene Expression3
BCH 555Proteins and Molecular Mechanisms3
BEC 463Fermentation of Recombinant Microorganisms2
BEC 563Fermentation of Recombinant Microorganisms2
BIO 269Research in the Life Sciences II: Guided Research3
BIO 370Developmental Anatomy of the Vertebrates3
BIO 375Developmental Anatomy Laboratory2
BIO 405Functional Histology3
BIO 482Capstone Course in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology3
BIT 462Gene Expression Analysis: Microarrays2
BIT 463Fermentation of Recombinant Microorganisms2
BIT 464Protein Purification2
BIT 465Real-time PCR Techniques2
BIT 466Animal Cell Culture Techniques2
BIT 467PCR and DNA Fingerprinting2
BIT 468Genome Mapping2
BIT 471RNA Interference and Model Organisms2
BIT 473Protein Interactions2
BIT 474Plant Genetic Engineering2
BIT 476Applied Bioinformatics2
BIT 477Metagenomics2
BIT 478Mapping the Brain2
BIT 481Plant Tissue Culture and Transformation2
BIT 562Gene Expression Analysis: Microarrays2
BIT 563Fermentation of Recombinant Microorganisms2
BIT 564Protein Purification2
BIT 565Real-time PCR Techniques2
BIT 566Animal Cell Culture Techniques2
BIT 567PCR and DNA Fingerprinting2
BIT 568Genome Mapping2
BIT 571RNA Interference and Model Organisms2
BIT 573Protein Interactions2
BIT 574Plant Genetic Engineering2
BIT 577Metagenomics2
BIT 578Mapping the Brain2
CHE 463Fermentation of Recombinant Microorganisms2
CHE 563Fermentation of Recombinant Microorganisms2
GN 427Introductory Bioinformatics3
GN 441Human and Biomedical Genetics3
GN 451Genome Science3
GN 456Epigenetics, Development, and Disease3
GN 541Human and Biomedical Genetics3
MB 351General Microbiology3
MB 352General Microbiology Laboratory1
MB 354Inquiry-Guided Microbiology Lab1
MB 411Medical Microbiology3
MB 412Medical Microbiology Laboratory1
MB 414Microbial Metabolic Regulation3
MB 420Fundamentals of Microbial Cell Biotransformations2
MB 435Bacterial Pathogenesis3
MB 441Immunology3
MB 455Microbial Biotechnology3
MB 461Molecular Virology3
MB 520Fundamentals of Microbial Cell Biotransformations2
MB 535Bacterial Pathogenesis3
PB 421Plant Physiology3
PB 480Introduction to Plant Biotechnology3
PB 481Plant Tissue Culture and Transformation2
PB 580Introduction to Plant Biotechnology3
PO 466Animal Cell Culture Techniques2
PO 566Animal Cell Culture Techniques2

Additional Science and Math Electives 

AEC/GN 450Conservation Genetics
BEC/BIT 463Fermentation of Recombinant Microorganisms
BIO 230The Science of Studying Dinosaurs
BIO 240Principles of Human Anatomy & Physiology (A): Nervous, Skeletal, Muscular, & Digestive Systems
BIO 245Principles of Human Anatomy & Physiology (B): Endocrine, Cardiovascular, Respiratory & Renal Systems
BIO 310Quantitative Approaches to Biological Problems
BIO 416Cancer Cell Biology
BIO 418Cell Biology Research Lab
BIO 432Evolutionary Medicine
BIT 477Metagenomics
GN 428Introduction to Machine Learning in Biology
GN 453Personal Genomics
MA 331Differential Equations for the Life Sciences
MB 470Emerging and Re-emerging Infectious Diseases
PB 205Our Green World
ZO 334Captive Animal Biology Field Laboratory
ZO 486Capstone Course in Zoology

Learning Experience Electives

Learning experience in an appropriate area (research, teaching, or other professional experience), with prior approval by faculty adviser, prospective supervisor, and departmental undergraduate coordinator. Contact and arrangements with prospective supervisors is the responsibility of the student. Talk to your advisor about this requirement.
BIO 269Research in the Life Sciences II: Guided Research3
BIO 499Honors Project Part 23
BSC 492Professional Experience1-3
BSC 493Research Experience1-3
BSC 498Biological Sciences Honors Project Part 23

Semester Sequence

This is a sample.

Plan of Study Grid
First Year
Fall SemesterHours
LSC 101 Critical and Creative Thinking in the Life Sciences 1 2
BIO 181 Introductory Biology: Ecology, Evolution, and Biodiversity 1 4
CH 101 Chemistry - A Molecular Science 1 3
CH 102 General Chemistry Laboratory 1 1
MA 131 Calculus for Life and Management Sciences A 1 3
LSC 103 Exploring Opportunities in the Life Sciences 1
GEP Health and Exercise Studies 1
 Hours15
Spring Semester
BIO 183 Introductory Biology: Cellular and Molecular Biology 1 4
CH 221 Organic Chemistry I 1 3
CH 222 Organic Chemistry I Lab 1 1
ENG 101 Academic Writing and Research 1 4
MA 231 Calculus for Life and Management Sciences B 1 3
 Hours15
Second Year
Fall Semester
ZO 250 Animal Anatomy and Physiology  
CH 223 Organic Chemistry II 1 3
CH 224 Organic Chemistry II Lab 1 1
Free Elective 3
GEP Social Sciences 3
GEP Health and Exercise Studies 1
 Hours11
Spring Semester
GN 311 Principles of Genetics 1 4
GN 312 Elementary Genetics Laboratory 1 1
CH 201 Chemistry - A Quantitative Science 1 3
CH 202 Quantitative Chemistry Laboratory 1 1
GEP Interdisciplinary Perspectives 3
Learning Experience Elective 3
 Hours15
Third Year
Fall Semester
PY 211 College Physics I 1 4
BIO 361
Developmental Biology 1
or Genes and Development
3
BCH 351
General Biochemistry 1
or Principles of Biochemistry
4
Advanced Writing Requirement 3
GEP Humanities 3
 Hours17
Spring Semester
PY 212 College Physics II 1 4
Cell Biology Requirment 3
BIT 410 Manipulation of Recombinant DNA 1 4
GEP Humanities 3
 Hours14
Fourth Year
Fall Semester
MCD Elective 3
MCD Elective 3
Science and Math Elective 4
GEP Additional Breadth (Humanities/Social Sciences/Visual and Performing Arts) 3
Free Elective 3
 Hours16
Spring Semester
MCD Elective 3
Science and Math Elective 4
GEP Social Sciences 3
Free Elective 3
 Hours13
 Total Hours116

Career Opportunities

Many students majoring in the Department of Biological Sciences take advantage of scholarship and honors programs available at NC State, including the University Honors Program and the University Scholars Program.  In addition, we offer a discipline-based Undergraduate Honors Program in Biological Sciences (DBS Honors Program).  The DBS Honors Program requires students to design a challenging program of advanced study, including eight credits of honors coursework in biology and at least two semesters of research or teaching scholarship.  Participants write an honors thesis and are required to present their scholarly work at a local, regional, or national meeting.  Invitations to join the DBS Honors Program are sent in the first three weeks of the Fall and Spring semesters.  Students in any major in the Department of Biological Sciences who have earned an overall GPA of 3.60 after completing 30-65 credit hours at NC State will receive an invitation to join the DBS Honors Program; transfer students in any of our majors who have earned an overall GPA of 3.60 in 15 credit hours at NC State also will receive an invitation.  

Students who graduate from the Department of Biological Sciences are well prepared for employment in various government agencies and private industries. Graduates may continue their education with studies leading to advanced degrees in many areas of the biological sciences, including cell biology, ecology, microbiology, genetics, zoology, neurobiology, and biomedical disciplines. Many choose to seek advanced degrees in medicine, dentistry, optometry, veterinary medicine, public health, and other health-related fields. Students who plan to seek certification for pre-college teaching may want to pursue a second major in the Department of Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics Education.