Faculty and student at microscope

What does a cancer cell look like? What causes it to divide out of control, and more importantly, how can we stop it from growing? How do cells know when to divide or when to die? How can manipulating cells help us improve crops or decrease pollution in our environment? How did you catch that virus, and why does it make you feel so lousy?

You will learn the answers to these questions as a cellular and molecular biology student.

The cellular and molecular biology concentration allows you to explore basic molecular interactions that both drive and regulate cellular processes by studying model systems in animal, plant, fungal, and bacterial cells. It also prepares you for advanced graduate studies, attaining professional degrees, or working in the industry.

In addition to rigorous coursework, you will get hands-on learning through laboratory courses and research opportunities. Recent advances in cell and molecular biology have led to excellent employment opportunities for our well-prepared graduates.

What It’s Like to Study Cellular and Molecular Biology at Ball State

Some of the research projects our students have assisted with include:

  • studying which genes and proteins are changed in cancer cells and how this leads to unregulated cell growth
  • studying vault function in cancer multidrug resistance
  • identifying nonpoint pollution contamination in rivers
  • examining drinking water for potential bacterial pathogens on the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Contaminant Candidate List (CCL)
  • developing DNA- and RNA-based methods (DNA fingerprinting, SYBR green-based melt curve analyses, and real-time RNA amplification) for pathogen detection in foods
  • integrating pest management of fruit, vegetable, and ornamental diseases

In a laboratory-focused field, it is important to have access to authentic labs and equipment that you will use in your career or in graduate school. At Ball State, you will be able to conduct research and apply your knowledge using tools such as microscopes, laser technology, incubators, piping equipment, autoclaves and more.

The Department of Biology is home to several academic clubs that provide an opportunity to connect with other students in your concentration for support, professional development opportunities and academic discussion.

A few student organizations you may be interested in joining as a cellular and molecular biology student include:

Our low student-to-professor ratio and small class sizes give you daily contact with professors in lecture, laboratory and out in the field, plus the individualized attention you need to excel.

Program Requirements

The concentration in cellular and molecular biology fulfills part of the requirements that lead to a bachelor of arts or bachelor of science degree with a major in biology. All biology majors must also complete the biology core curriculum and the University Core Curriculum.

Credits Required

Total to Graduate: 120

  • Biology Core Curriculum: 44-45
  • Cellular and Molecular Biology Concentration: 25
  • University Core Curriculum: 66-70


Biology Core

All biology majors in every concentration are required to complete a core curriculum in biology that is separate from your concentration requirements and from the University Core Curriculum.

These foundational courses provide you with an overview of the principles in biology and develop a necessary competency in chemistry, physics and math.

Biology Core Courses: 25 credits

  • BIO 111 – Principles of Biology 1
  • BIO 112 – Principles of Biology 2
  • BIO 210 – Intro to Botany
  • BIO 214 – Genetics
  • BIO 215 – Cell Biology
  • BIO 216 – Ecology
  • BIO 315 – Cell Methods or Bio 316 – Ecology Methods
  • BIO 499 – Senior Symposium

Other Required Courses: 19-20 credits

  • CHEM 111 – General Chemistry 1
  • CHEM 112 – General Chemistry 2
  • CHEM 231 – Organic Chemistry
  • PHYCS 110 – General Physics 1
  • one course in mathematics:
    • MATH 112 – Pre-calculus Trigonometry
    • MATH 161 – Applied Calculus
    • MATH 165 – Calculus 1

Note: All aquatic biology and fisheries concentration students are required to take Math 161.

View Catalog

The courses you will take to complete the cellular and molecular biology concentration are:

  • BIO 313 – Microbiology
  • BIO 444 – Immunology and Virology
  • BIO 457 – Molecular Biology
  • BIO 470 – Developmental Biology
  • CHEM 360 – Essential Biochemistry
    • Or CHEM 463 – Principles of Biochemistry 1 and Chem 465 – Biochemistry Lab
  • five credits from electives in biology or biotechnology

For a complete list of all the courses you will take for your degree and their descriptions, please see our Course Catalog.

View Catalog

What Can You Do with a Degree in Biology with a Concentration in Cellular and Molecular Biology?

Our program will prepare you for a career in a laboratory or other research-based settings with many different types of organizations, such as universities or other academic institutions, state or national science-based agencies, and pharmaceutical or industrial companies.

While employment in the area of cell and molecular biology at the bachelor's degree level is possible, you may want to continue your education through at least the master's level to attain research positions with advanced responsibilities and opportunities.

And no matter where you are in your education or career, our faculty and the Ball State Career Center will help guide you every step of the way.

Paying for Your Education

Apply to Ball State

Admission to Ball State is selective, and we carefully evaluate all applications on an individual basis. Applying is easy. Use our convenient, comprehensive, and secure online application.

Apply Now

Want to Learn More?

The best way to get a true feel for Ball State is to spend some time here, so we encourage you and your family to schedule a campus visit. Take a tour, attend an information session, meet with a professor in our area, and ask plenty of questions. Or if you’d rather speak to someone directly by phone or email, please feel free to contact us.

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