The Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (BMB) major helps prepare students
for understanding the molecular basis of life.

A Bachelors of Science program in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology involves life science, quantitative work, and modern techniques. So graduates of our program are well-prepared for admission to graduate and professional schools. These include, but are not limited to, medicine, forensics, pharmacy/pharmacology, physiology, neurosciences, microbiology, immunology, dentistry, genetics, cell biology, marine biology, numerous fields in agriculture and biological oceanography. The success rate of students in our department getting into professional schools (medical, dental, pharmacy, and even law school) is the highest on the campus. We encourage our majors to enhance their education by taking advantage of opportunities for undergraduate research.

Molecular biologists study life processes at a molecular level and carry out both basic and applied research. They answer questions such as: How is information transmitted to direct cellular functions? What controls the expression of genes, to account for cellular differentiation? How do cells convert chemical energy, in the form of nutrients, to mechanical energy (as in muscle contraction), or electrical energy (as in nerve conduction)? How do organisms protect themselves, against environmental toxins and pollutants, or against infectious agents? How do hormones act, to control cell growth and differentiation? What are the molecular events in the processes of aging and cancer formation?

The three options of the BMB major allow students to custom-design their major by picking from advanced classes in microbiology, zoology, botany/plant pathology, psychology and the humanities. Options for BMB students include 1) Advanced Molecular Biology, 2) Pre-Medicine, and 3) Computational Molecular Biology.

Information produced by the Human Genome Project, identifying and mapping every gene in human cells, is creating multiple challenges for biochemists and biophysicists, in learning the biological function of every human protein. Biochemists and biophysicists want to see the fruits of their research put to good use for improvement of the human condition. Therefore, many biochemists and biophysicists do applied research in medical science, agriculture, nutrition, clinical chemistry, food science, toxicology, environmental science, biotechnology, and drug development.

Programmatic Learning Outcomes

Through completion of the BMB program of study, students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate a core knowledge base in the theory and practice of modern Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (BMB).
  2. Function successfully in the laboratory and use safe laboratory practices.
  3. Critically evaluate data and design experiments to test hypotheses relevant to the practice of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.
  4. Read and evaluate primary literature in the discipline.
  5. Effectively communicate scientific data and ideas, using various formats appropriate for different target audiences.
  6. Use databases, computational tools and other online resources effectively.
  7. Demonstrate awareness of ethical issues in the practice of science.

Mailing Address:

Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics
2011 Ag Life Sciences Bldg
Oregon State University
Corvallis, OR 97331-7305 USA

Department Phone and FAX:

Phone: 541-737-4511
FAX: 541-737-0481

Department email address:

Department Head (Andy Karplus) email address:

Lead Undergraduate Advisor (Kari van Zee) email address: