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Biochemistry and Cell Biology
The Wiess School of Natural Sciences
Undergraduate Programs

The Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology offers a broad range of courses in the biosciences, including advanced courses in biochemistry, biophysics, cancer biology, cell biology, developmental biology, endocrinology, genetics, immunology, microbiology, molecular biology, neurobiology, physical chemistry, plant biology and virology. Students may choose to pursue a BS or BA in Biochemistry and Cell Biology, a BA in Biological Sciences, or a Minor in Biochemistry and Cell Biology. All three major degree paths are designed to prepare students for graduate, medical, or other professional schools and a wide range of careers in the life sciences. Information in addition to the material presented here on departmental programs, courses and advising is available at the Biochemistry and Cell Biology Department Website (http://biochem.rice.edu).

BS and BA in Biochemistry and Cell Biology

These paths are designed to emphasize a broad understanding of cell biology and biochemistry, provide room for exploration anywhere in the Natural Sciences or Engineering, and culminate in one (BA) or two (BS) required 400-level capstone courses incorporating primary scientific literature, presentations, and writing.  Students in Biochemistry and Cell Biology are strongly encouraged to pursue their research interests by including independent research experiences in their coursework. The BS offers greater coverage and depth while the BA offers greater flexibility with two fewer required courses as detailed below.

Requirement checklist for:

BA in Biological Sciences

This degree is jointly managed by the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and the Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology.  For more information, see Biological Sciences.

Requirement checklist for:

Minor in Biochemistry and Cell Biology

The Minor in Biochemistry and Cell Biology is intended for those with an interest in the life sciences but who may be majoring in other areas.  This minor incorporates many of the life science core courses required for the health professions.

Requirement checklist for:

COURSE REQUIREMENTS FOR EACH DEGREE PATH:

For all degrees: MATH 111/112 may be substituted for MATH 101; CHEM 151 and 152 and corresponding labs may be substituted for CHEM 121 and 122 and corresponding labs; CHEM 251 and 252 may be substituted for CHEM 211 and 212; PHYS 101 and 102 or PHYS 111 and 112 may be substituted for PHYS 125 and 126; CHEM 310 or CHEM 311/312 may substitute for BIOC 352.

BS and BA in Biochemistry and Cell Biology

All of the following requirements must be completed for a BS in Biochemistry & Cell Biology. Students pursuing a BA may omit one of the following courses: BIOC 302, BIOC 344 or BIOC 352, and are only required to take one BIOC 400 level course. 

Non-Biology Courses

  • MATH 101/102 Single Variable Calculus I and II
  • MATH 211 Ordinary Differential Equations and Linear Algebra
  • PHYS 125/126 General Physics I and II
  • CHEM 121/122/123/124 General Chemistry I and II and General Chemistry Labs I and II
  • CHEM 211/212/215 Organic Chemistry I and II and Organic Chemistry Lab

Core Lecture Courses

  • BIOC 201 Introductory Biology
  • BIOC 301 Biochemistry I
  • BIOC 302 Biochemistry II
  • BIOC 341 Cell Biology
  • BIOC 344 Molecular Biology and Genetics
  • BIOC 352 Physical Chemistry for the Biosciences  

Laboratory Courses

  • BIOC 211 Introductory Experimental Biosciences
  • BIOC 311 Advanced Experimental Biosciences
  • Two additional advanced labs (300 level or higher), chosen from the following list (1):
    • BIOC 313 Introductory Synthetic Biology
    • BIOC 318 Lab in Applied Microbiology
    • BIOC 320/BIOE 342 Lab in Tissue Culture
    • BIOC 413 Experimental Molecular Biology
    • BIOC 415 Experimental Physiology
    • BIOC 530 NMR Spectroscopy and Molecular Modeling
    • BIOC 535 Practical X-Ray Crystallography

Capstone Course

  • Two BIOC 400 level course (2) (3 credit hours or more per course)

Natural Sciences/Engineering Electives

  • Two Natural Sciences or Engineering (3) 300-level or higher courses (3 credit hours or more)

(1) All Biochemistry and Cell Biology (BCB) majors must take at least one of the listed additional advanced laboratory courses. If desired, the second additional advanced laboratory requirement may be satisfied by taking any of the following independent research courses: (i) BIOC 310 if taken for at least 3 credits; or (ii) HONS 470/471, if the research supervisor is from one of the biosciences departments or if the research is biological in nature and preapproved by the student’s major advisor; or (iii) honors research (BIOC 401/402/412). This substitution may be used only once regardless of the number of semesters of independent research taken.

(2) The combined courses BIOC 401/402/412 are considered a single BIOC 400 level course and, provided the independent research substitution has not been used previously, a single lab at 300 level or higher. To count toward the major all three courses must be completed.

(3) Courses in Natural Sciences/Engineering include any 300-level or greater course of at least 3 credit hours from any department in the Wiess School of Natural Sciences (including Biochemistry and Cell Biology), or George R. Brown School of Engineering except independent research courses such as BIOC 310 or BIOE 400/401, which cannot be used to fulfill this requirement. A maximum of 3 credits of BIOC 390 (transfer credit in Biochemistry and Cell Biology) may be applied to this requirement. 

Minor in Biochemistry and Cell Biology

  • MATH 101/102 Single Variable Calculus I and II
  • PHYS 125/126 General Physics I and II 
  • CHEM 121/122/123/124 General Chemistry I and II and General Chemistry Labs I and II
  • CHEM 211/212/215 Organic Chemistry I and II and Organic Chemistry Lab
  • BIOC 201 Introductory Biology
  • BIOC 211 Introductory Experimental Biosciences
  • BIOC 301 Biochemistry
  • BIOC 341 Cell Biology
  • 1 BIOC ≥ 300-level course (≥ 3 credit hours)

BA in Biological Sciences

Non-Biology Courses

  • MATH 101/102  Single Variable Calculus I and II
  • MATH 211, STAT 305, or EBIO 338 Differential Equations, Biological Statistics, or Design and Analysis of Biological Experiments
  • CHEM 121/122/123/124 General Chemistry I and II and General Chemistry Labs I and II
  • CHEM 211/212/215 Organic Chemistry I and II and Organic Chemistry Lab
  • PHYS 125/126 General Physics I and II

Introductory Biology

  • BIOC 201 Introductory Biology I
  • EBIO 202 Introductory Biology II

Introductory Biology Labs

  • BIOC 211 Introductory Experimental Biosciences
  • EBIO 213 Introductory Lab in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Advanced Biology Labs Three biology labs from the following list (4):

  • BIOC 311 Advanced Experimental Biosciences
  • BIOC 313 Introductory Synthetic Biology
  • BIOC 318 Lab in Applied Microbiology
  • BIOC 320/BIOE 342 Lab in Tissue Culture
  • BIOC 413 Experimental Molecular Biology
  • BIOC 415 Experimental Physiology
  • BIOC 530 NMR Spectroscopy and Molecular Modeling
  • BIOC 532 Lab in Optical Spectroscopy and Kinetics
  • BIOC 533 Bioinformatics and Computational Biology
  • BIOC 535 Practical X-Ray Crystallography
  • EBIO 316 Lab in Ecology
  • EBIO 317 Lab in Behavior
  • EBIO 327 Biological Diversity Lab
  • EBIO 330 Insect Biology Lab
  • EBIO 337 Field Bird Biology Lab

Upper level Biology courses

  • BIOC 301 Biochemistry
  • Three EBIO 300 or 400 level lecture courses (each ≥ 3 cr hrs)
  • One BIOC 300 or 400 level lecture course ( ≥ 3 cr hrs)
  • BIOC 302, 341, 344, or 352
  • One BIOC or EBIO 300 or 400 level lecture course ( ≥ 3 cr hrs)

(4) One of the advanced laboratory course requirements can be satisfied by taking any of the following: (i) BIOC 310 or EBIO 306 if taken for at least 2 credits; or (ii) HONS 470/471, if the research supervisor is from one of the biosciences departments or if the research is biological in nature and preapproved by the student’s major advisor; (iii) honors research (BIOC 401/402/412) (iv) BIOC/EBIO 393 (laboratory transfer credit). This substitution may be used only once regardless of the number of semesters of independent research or transfer credit. 

Research in the Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology

Research is highly encouraged for all interested majors, and there are many opportunities for independent research in the Biochemistry and Cell Biology Department and in related laboratories elsewhere in the Texas Medical Center. Students may receive credit for on-campus or off-campus research through BIOC 310 or the honors research series BIOC 401/402/412.

BIOC 310—Bioc 310 is an independent research experience for students at any level. Most Bioc 310 research is conducted within Rice University BCB faculty laboratories (Sections 3 upwards). Sections 1 and 2 feature research in other Texas Medical Center laboratories. Students are required to spend at least three hours per week in the laboratory for each semester hour of credit. BIOC 310 requires a research proposal, weekly reports, and a final project (either a research paper in the fall semester or a poster presentation in the spring semester). The prerequisite is either BIOC 111 or BIOC 211, and instructor permission is required. To receive credit, a student must be participating in a laboratory-based biosciences research project. Credit cannot be received for physician shadowing or other clinical or hospital activities. Students will not receive course credit if they are being paid for their work. It is strongly recommended that all students register for 3 credit hours their first semester of BIOC 310. Fewer hours will leave insufficient time for meaningful research, and more might be unsustainable with a busy academic schedule. Students intending to work off-campus must register for at least 3 credit hours and must submit an application to the course coordinator at least two weeks prior to the start of classes (www.bioc.rice.edu/bios310/).

Honors Research

The Biochemistry and Cell Biology Honors Research Program is a suite of courses (BIOC 401/402/412) offering our seniors and advanced juniors the opportunity to perform a two-semester individual research project in Biochemistry and Cell Biology. This immersive program is intended to give students a first-hand experience of what a career in research would entail. Students interested in graduate school are strongly encouraged to apply for consideration for honors research. Students having performed BIOC 310 research in an off-campus laboratory in the Texas Medical Center will be eligible to apply to perform honors research in that laboratory. These courses (BIOC 401/402/412) function as a set and must all be taken in the same academic year. Registration for any of the courses requires a commitment to register for all three.

Criteria for participation in honors research:

  • Strong performance in BIOC 211 and either BIOC 301 or BIOC 341 and other BIOC degree courses taken to date
  • A grade of A in independent research (BIOC 310, HONS 470/471, or other approved research course)
  • Research professor recommendation
  • Research proposal (previous accomplishments in research area, abstract, specific aims, timeline)

Requirements for individual honors research course components:

  • BIOC 401—Fall semester, 5 credit hours
    Requires at least 15 hours of laboratory research per week, a proposal (revised from application), monthly reports, and a formal progress report (abstract, aims, progress toward aims, discussion of results, plans for the spring semester). Coordinating instructor: Janet Braam
  • BIOC 402—Spring semester, 5 credit hours
    Requires at least 15 hours of laboratory research per week, monthly reports, a thesis (substantial research paper) and a poster presentation at the Rice Undergraduate Research Symposium. Coordinating instructor: Janet Braam
  • BIOC 412—Spring semester, 1 credit hour
    This companion seminar requires attendance at course meetings and a formal scientific presentation of research performed while enrolled in the Honors Research Program. Instructors: [TBA] 
Applications accepted February 1–August 1. Students are encouraged to apply early. Applications received by April 1 will be reviewed by the committee in time for spring registration. Applications may be obtained from the BCB Honors Research Program website.

 

August 5, 2012