Molecular Cell Biology Bachelor Degrees

The School of Life Sciences at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa teaches students an appreciation for and understanding of living systems, using the unique environment of Hawai‘i as a natural laboratory for study. The curricula are designed to provide students with a strong background in the principles of molecular cell biology with rigorous upper-division instruction in a number of areas. This combination of breadth and in-depth instruction allows students to develop the intellectual foundations and skills necessary to deal with the specific biological concerns of today and the flexibility to meet the needs of the various professions. From this base, our graduates can pursue future specialization with confidence. Undergraduate students pursuing the molecular cell biology major have a broad selection of courses and unique opportunities to gain experience in field and laboratory work.  Students are encouraged to participate in the active research with faculty both on and off campus. The baccalaureate curricula are designed to prepare students for graduate work in biological sciences, admission to professional schools, or advanced specialized training.

2023-2024 Molecular Cell Biology Degree Requirements

Introduction to Biology I + Lab
 (BIOL 171+171L)
Introduction to Biology II + Lab 
(BIOL 172+172L)
Cell and Molecular Biology + Lab 
(BIOL 275+275L)
Genetics + Lab 
(BIOL 375+375L)
Molecular Cell Biology I
(BIOL 407)
Molecular Cell Biology II
(BIOL 408)
Principles of Biochemistry
(BIOL 402/MBBE 402) or Basic Biochemistry (BIOC 441)
The Biology of Cancer
(BIOL 472)
Research Ethics
(MICR 314)
(MICR 461)
Molecular Cell Biology Electives
(12 credits total from Group 1 & 2); (2 courses from Group 2)
Related Requirements
General Chemistry I + Lab 
(CHEM 161+161L)
General Chemistry II + Lab
 (CHEM 162+162L)
Organic Chemistry I + Lab
(CHEM 272+272L)
Organic Chemistry II 
(CHEM 273 [CHEM 273L recommended])
Physics I + Lab 
(PHYS 151+151L or 170+170L)
Physics II + Lab 
(PHYS 152+152L or 272+272L)
Calculus I 
(MATH 215, 241, or 251A)
Calculus II 
(MATH 216, 242, or 252A)

Participating in Undergraduate Research

All Molecular Cell Biology majors, regardless of what their desired career path, are encouraged to participate in undergraduate research. Engaging in research is a great way to experience science first-hand and develop a better appreciation for the field of Molecular Cell Biology.

Individual research opportunities: Students interested in participating in undergraduate research, known as Directed Research (BIOL 499), can count those credits towards their biology elective requirements. All students are encouraged to participate in research, even if they do not plan to pursue a Masters or PhD. The College of Natural Sciences Student Academic Success Center created a great resource to teach you all about what you need to do to find a research lab and enroll in Directed Research credits. More information about how to register for BIOL 499 can be found here.

Honors Project: For students participating in the UH Mānoa Honors Program, their honors project credits (HON 496) can be used to fulfill Biology Elective credit requirements. Find more information about the Biology Honors Track here.

Course-based undergraduate research opportunities:

SEA-PHAGES: Through the UHM Science Education Alliance – Phage Hunters Advancing Genomics and Evolutionary Sciences  program, students complete Introductory Biology lab requirements while learning to conduct research. This experience is perfect for any students requiring a full year of Introductory Biology Lab and desiring to engage in their first research project.

OPiHI: Students participating in Our Project in Hawai‘i’s Intertidal (OPiHI) complete a research project in small collaborative groups—collecting data related to coastal marine ecosystem management and conservation.

Course Information and Program Requirements 

UH Online Class Availability 

School of Life Sciences Catalog

Listing by Programs: Biology (BIOL), Botany (BOT), Microbiology (MICR), Molecular Cell Biology (MCB), Zoology (ZOOL)

Program Sheets and 4 Year plans

Student Learning Outcomes

For a BA or BS in Molecular Cell Biology, student will be able to:
Biological Knowledge: Synthesis and Application1. Explain biological processes from molecules to ecosystems in an evolutionary context, including being able to use examples from Hawai‘i.
Critical Thinking and Reasoning Skills2. Demonstrate scientific literacy by critically evaluating scientific evidence, identifying gaps in knowledge, and applying strong evidence-based biological arguments to real-world problems.3. Apply the scientific method to generate new hypotheses, formulate experimental approaches and outline potential outcomes, applying appropriate logical and quantitative methods.
Values4. Work individually and in teams in an ethical manner, and demonstrate respect for diversity of viewpoints
Communication skills5. In oral and written forms, be able to communicate biological information clearly and professionally.