Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
The three majors in biological and chemical sciences (Biology, Chemistry, and Biochemistry and Molecular Biology) provide a foundation in the fundamental areas of biology, the study of life, and chemistry, the study of matter, and offer electives in a variety of advanced subjects ranging from the interface of biology with psychology to the interface of chemistry with physics.
Students choosing this major will specialize with courses in genetics, ecology, taxonomy, morphology, physiology, molecular and cellular biology and ecological and behavioral biology with related courses in mathematics.
The number of courses required for the major is the equivalent of 15 courses of 3-4 semester hours (58-60 semester hours); at least 6 of these courses are at the 300-level or above. Certain exceptional internships may fulfill up to four semester hours of credit toward the major.
Students choosing this major will take core courses in physical and inorganic chemistry and instrumental analysis, with related courses in calculus and physics. Advanced courses pursue topics like biochemistry, medicinal chemistry and others that allow for focus on areas of individual interest.
The number of courses required for the major is the equivalent of 13 courses of 3-4 semester hours (49-52 semester hours); at least 6 of these courses are at the 300-level or above. Certain exceptional internships may fulfill up to four semester hours of credit toward the major.
Students choosing this major will specialize with courses in genetics, biochemistry, molecular biology, physical chemistry and ecology, with related courses in calculus and physics. Advanced courses pursue topics in biology and chemistry that allow for focus on areas of individual interest.
The number of courses required for the major is the equivalent of 16 courses of 3-4 semester hours (62-63 semester hours); at least 6 of these courses are at the 300-level or above. Certain exceptional internships may fulfill up to four semester hours of credit toward the major.
Internships are a great way for students interested in scientific fields to determine whether or not they would like to pursue careers in medicine, research, or public policy. These opportunities give students additional preparation for career work as well as connections to professionals in a field that matches the student’s interests. Wells alumnae/i who are established leaders in their fields often provide internship opportunities for current students.
Sample of recent Wells internships:
- Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, Suitland, MD
- National Cancer Institute, Genetics Branch, Bethesda, MD
- Oakland Zoo, Oakland, CA
- Mote Marine Laboratory, Sarasota, FL
- Cornell University Large Animal Clinic, Ithaca, NY
- New England Aquarium, Boston, MA
- Syracuse University Department of Chemistry, Syracuse, NY
- Upstate Veterinary Hospital, Saratoga Springs, NY
- Canandaigua Wine Co., Canandaigua, NY
- U.C.L.A. Medical Center (neurosurgery), Los Angeles, CA
- Cayuga Lake Watershed Network, Aurora, NY
In addition to internships, other hands-on learning opportunities such as the Wells College Science Colloquium lecture series, tutoring, or studying abroad for academic credit mean that all students have the chance to do meaningful work with organizations and institutions outside of the College while earning their degree. Students’ active learning doesn’t always happen in a lab, either. Wells has a partnership with the Cayuga Lake Floating Classroom Project, which provides educational tools about Cayuga Lake to local communities. More than once each semester, the U.S.S. Haendel “Floating Classroom” docks at the Wells boathouse so that students in biology, ecology, environmental science, and other classes can spend time on the water, running water quality tests, examining bacterial life, and doing other hands-on work related to marine biology with one of our professors.
Academic conferences provide a place for Wells students to present exceptional, original
student research. These opportunities increase students’ familiarity with current
areas of research and ways of presenting and relating information to multiple audiences.
Wells sends students each year to the National Council on Undergraduate Research (NCUR),
a national interdisciplinary academic conference that recognizes some of the top research
and creative work by undergraduates—Wells biology students are consistently among
those chosen by our own faculty and the NCUR committee for participation. Our faculty
also takes students to the Sigma Xi conference, a student-focused conference for scientific
and medical research.
Some individual student research projects from the last few years that have been presented at NCUR examined:
- the effects of caffeine on embryonic cardiovascular development
- the ability of different strains of yeast to slow the growth of spoilage organisms in beer
- the effects of ethanol on the circadian rhythms of fruit flies
- maps of phosphatases in order to find ways to prevent damaged cell proliferation
What comes next?
Recent graduates of the program are now working as research associates, laboratory technicians, dieticians, pharmacists, veterinarians, marine biologists, genetics counselors, physicians assistants, and in many other professional roles; others are furthering their educations in graduate school programs such as Harvard Medical School, the University of Tennessee, the University of Washington, SUNY Binghamton and Buffalo, the University of Illinois, Texas A&M University, Ross University Medical School, and Strong Memorial Hospital.