Bachelor of Science in Molecular and Cellular Biology

Bachelor of Science in Molecular and Cellular Biology

Offered By: College of Natural Sciences

Research the Building Blocks of Living Organisms

Molecular life science is at the edge of scientific innovation. The Bachelor of Science (BS) in Molecular and Cellular Biology at Grand Canyon University can provide opportunities for you to build a foundation in molecular and cellular biology. Offered by the College of Natural Sciences, this bachelor of science in molecular biology degree blends comprehensive classroom instruction with hands-on, experiential learning opportunities.

Take Molecular and Cellular Biology Courses at GCU

This bachelor of science in molecular biology and cellular biology degree is a multidisciplinary degree program that blends instructional coursework with hands-on learning activities. Using a range of laboratory technologies, you will explore the fundamentals of scientific experiment design, execution and analysis. This bachelor’s in molecular biology and cellular biology may prepare you to apply for enrollment in graduate-level education.

GCU is a private Christian university that integrates the Christian worldview into all curricula. Here, you will be immersed within a supportive, faith-centered environment, exploring the basics of molecular and cellular biology while keeping in mind the central beliefs of the Christian faith.

You can work toward earning your bachelor of science in molecular biology and cellular biology as a member of our vibrant, supportive learning community in Phoenix. Take in-person classes taught by instructors who are knowledgeable in their fields and who prioritize accessibility with the goal of fostering positive student outcomes. As an on-campus student, you will have access to the wide range of amenities, activities and clubs that GCU offers — from our religious worship activities to recreational opportunities. Enjoy campus life and experience the collaborative Lopes community.

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Molecular and Cellular Biology Degree Curriculum

During this BS in molecular biology and cellular biology degree program, you will have opportunities to practice communicating scientific information with a broad range of stakeholders, explore the essentials of data analysis and interpretation and be taught how to conduct yourself as a professional in the lab, all while being prompted to embrace ethical practices.

The degree program is designed to equip you with the following competencies:

  • Microbial cell structure and function, microbial genetics and related pathologies and immunities
  • Properties and reactions of organic compounds, including chemical bonding, chemical structure and acid-base principles
  • Normal function of human cells, tissues and organ systems, and the interconnections and biochemical functions among bodily systems
  • Composition, structure and function of proteins, nucleic acids, lipids and carbohydrates
  • Advanced topics in genetics and genomics, including prokaryotic and eukaryotic DNA replication and repair

You will complete a capstone project with the goal of showcasing your progress made within the program and your understanding of the curriculum taught. Within the project, you will be expected to create original work, discuss and write on current topics in the field and prepare an extensive scientific report that synthesizes field-specific information. GCU encourages you to pursue your passion by exploring timely and relevant topics in your area of interest and by participating in experiential innovation projects.

TOTAL CREDITS & COURSE LENGTH:
Total Credits: 120
Campus: 15 weeks
[More Info]
TRANSFER CREDITS:
Up to 90 credits, only 84 can be lower division
TUITION RATE:
Campus: $8,250 per semester
[Tuition, Fees and Financial Aid]

Cost of Attendance

Career Paths for BS in Molecular Biology and Cellular Biology Graduates

From fighting diseases to improving environmental health, cellular and molecular biologists are working to change the world for the better.1, 2 With a firm foundation of molecular and cellular biology competencies, you may pursue a career that may impact a range of fields, including agriculture, nutrition, healthcare and environmental health.1, 2

Job titles that may be related to this degree can include the following (please note that some jobs may require additional education):

  • Medical scientist
  • Biological lab technician
  • Biological scientist
  • Laboratory technician

In addition, the curriculum at GCU is designed with the goal of teaching transferrable skills, including communication skills, problem-solving and ethical servant leadership. These transferrable skills may align with some career paths that lie outside of scientific fields.

Earn Your Bachelor’s in Molecular and Cellular Biology at an Institutionally Accredited University

At GCU, we are proud to continue our tradition of prioritizing academic excellence and our mission of empowering students to achieve their objectives. GCU is an institutionally accredited university — a reflection of our commitment to quality instruction and a comprehensive curriculum. The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) has continually accredited GCU since 1968. The College of Natural Sciences shares the university’s commitment to upholding the principles and standards established by our accrediting bodies.

Bachelor of Science in Molecular and Cellular Biology FAQs

Before deciding to earn a BS in Molecular and Cellular Biology, you may have some questions about the field and the degree program. Use the following frequently asked questions and answers as you reflect upon your education and career choices.

Molecular and cellular biology classes will provide opportunities for you to develop critical thinking and analytical reasoning skills, as well as other fundamental scientific competencies. You may find certain assignments or areas of study more difficult than others. However, working through the curriculum that may be challenging at times can offer the chance for personal growth. Furthermore, if you’re passionate about making the world a better place through the development of innovative scientific breakthroughs in areas such as medicine, agriculture or beyond, then you may find that your passion for the subject area can override any challenge.

Molecular and cellular biologists seek to develop a greater understanding of the functioning and structure of biological systems at the molecular level using a variety of laboratory technologies. Their day-to-day tasks depend on their area of specialization, employer and the specific project they’re working on at any given time. You can find molecular and cellular biologists working in areas like medicine, biotechnology, environmental science and agriculture, among others. Some work in academic settings, while others work for government agencies or private corporations.3

If you’re passionate about advancing science and contributing to breakthroughs that can improve human society, then molecular and cellular biology could be a good choice for you. Consider the following areas that molecular biologists may work on:2

  • Developing new diagnostic methods and treatment options for cancer patients
  • Detecting and identifying pollutants that affect environmental health
  • Unraveling the mysteries of DNA and genetics
  • Serving as scientific consultants for corporate and governmental decision-makers

As an aspiring molecular and cellular biologist, you may one day contribute to a scientific breakthrough that changes someone else’s life for the better, which you may find rewarding.

Deciding whether to pursue a bachelor’s in molecular biology and cellular biology depends on your personal aspirations and interests. Only you can evaluate if this academic path aligns with your goals and passions. Take some time to reflect upon where your interests lie and what sort of career would be meaningful to you. Discuss your career aspirations with a career advisor, a university counselor or an expert in the field. Inquire about how your previous academic achievements may align with pursuing higher education in STEM fields. Additionally, it could be beneficial to explore various undergraduate biology degree options to help navigate this decision.

Earn your BS in Molecular and Cellular Biology degree from GCU and become part of the scientific revolution working on various breakthrough ideas, such as curing life-threatening diseases, finding an answer to the energy crisis or solving world hunger through scientific innovations. Fill out the form on this page to learn more about our biology degree programs.

1 Aliouche, H. (2022, May 11). Biochemistry in everyday life. News-Medical.Net. Retrieved Nov. 13, 2023.

2 Tognetti, L., MSC. (2022, May 25). Molecular biology: what is it and how is it used? Labroots. Retrieved Nov. 13, 2023.

3 CareerExplorer. (n.d.). What does a molecular biologist do? Retrieved on Nov. 13, 2023.

Course List

General Education Requirements:
34-40 credits
Major:
76 credits
Open Elective Credits:
4-10 credits
Degree Requirements:
120 credits

General Education Requirements

General Education coursework prepares Grand Canyon University graduates to think critically, communicate clearly, live responsibly in a diverse world, and thoughtfully integrate their faith and ethical convictions into all dimensions of life. These competencies, essential to an effective and satisfying life, are outlined in the General Education Learner Outcomes. General Education courses embody the breadth of human understanding and creativity contained in the liberal arts and sciences tradition. Students take an array of foundational knowledge courses that promote expanded knowledge, insight, and the outcomes identified in the University's General Education Competencies. The knowledge and skills students acquire through these courses serve as a foundation for successful careers and lifelong journeys of growing understanding and wisdom.

Requirements

Upon completion of the Grand Canyon University's University Foundation experience, students will be able to demonstrate competency in the areas of academic skills and self-leadership. They will be able to articulate the range of resources available to assist them, explore career options related to their area of study, and have knowledge of Grand Canyon's community. Students will be able to demonstrate foundational academic success skills, explore GCU resources (CLA, Library, Career Center, ADA office, etc), articulate strategies of self-leadership and management and recognize opportunities to engage in the GCU community.

Course Options

  • UNV-103, University Success: 4
  • UNV-303, University Success: 4
  • UNV-108, University Success in the College of Education: 4

Requirements

Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to construct rhetorically effective communications appropriate to diverse audiences, purposes, and occasions (English composition, communication, critical reading, foreign language, sign language, etc.). Students are required to take 3 credits of English grammar or composition.

Course Options

  • UNV-104, 21st Century Skills: Communication and Information Literacy: 4
  • ENG-105, English Composition I: 4
  • ENG-106, English Composition II: 4

Requirements

Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to express aspects of Christian heritage and worldview. Students are required to take CWV-101/CWV-301.

Course Options

  • CWV-101, Christian Worldview: 4
  • CWV-301, Christian Worldview: 4

Requirements

Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to use various analytic and problem-solving skills to examine, evaluate, and/or challenge ideas and arguments (mathematics, biology, chemistry, physics, geology, astronomy, physical geography, ecology, economics, theology, logic, philosophy, technology, statistics, accounting, etc.). Students are required to take 3 credits of intermediate algebra or higher.

Course Options

  • MAT-154, Applications of College Algebra: 4
  • MAT-144, College Mathematics: 4
  • PHI-105, 21st Century Skills: Critical Thinking and Problem Solving: 4
  • BIO-220, Environmental Science: 4

Requirements

Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to demonstrate awareness and appreciation of and empathy for differences in arts and culture, values, experiences, historical perspectives, and other aspects of life (psychology, sociology, government, Christian studies, Bible, geography, anthropology, economics, political science, child and family studies, law, ethics, cross-cultural studies, history, art, music, dance, theater, applied arts, literature, health, etc.). If the predefined course is a part of the major, students need to take an additional course.

Course Options

  • HIS-144, U.S. History Themes: 4
  • PSY-102, General Psychology: 4
  • SOC-100, Everyday Sociology: 4

Core Courses

Course Description

This is the first course of a two-semester introduction to chemistry intended for undergraduates pursuing careers in the health professions and others desiring a firm foundation in chemistry. The course assumes no prior knowledge of chemistry and begins with basic concepts. Topics include an introduction to the scientific method, dimensional analysis, atomic structure, nomenclature, stoichiometry and chemical reactions, the gas laws, thermodynamics, chemical bonding, and properties of solutions. Co-Requisite: CHM-113L.

Course Description

The laboratory section of CHM-113 reinforces and expands learning of principles introduced in the lecture course. Experiments include determination of density, classification of chemical reactions, the gas laws, determination of enthalpy change using calorimetry, and determination of empirical formula. Co-Requisite: CHM-113.

Course Description

This course is a study of biological concepts emphasizing the interplay of structure and function, particularly at the molecular and cellular levels of organization. Cell components and their duties are investigated, as well as the locations of cellular functions within the cell. The importance of the membrane is studied, particularly its roles in controlling movement of ions and molecules and in energy production. The effect of genetic information on the cell is followed through the pathway from DNA to RNA to protein. Co-requisite: BIO-181L.

Course Description

This lab course is designed to reinforce principles learned in BIO-181 through experiments and activities which complement and enhance understanding of macromolecules, cell membrane properties, cellular components, and their contribution to cell structure and function. Assignments are designed to relate cellular processes such as metabolism, cell division, and the flow of genetic information to cell structure. Co-requisite: BIO-181.

Course Description

This is the second course of a two-semester introduction to chemistry intended for undergraduates pursuing careers in the health professions and others desiring a firm foundation in chemistry. Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to demonstrate knowledge and/or skill in solving problems involving the principles of chemical kinetics, chemical equilibrium, and thermodynamics; understanding chemical reactions using kinetics, equilibrium, and thermodynamics; comparing and contrasting the principal theories of acids and bases; solving equilibrium involving acids, bases, and buffers; describing solubility equilibrium; describing terms associated with electrochemistry and solving problems associated with electrochemistry; and describing the fundamentals of nuclear chemistry. Prerequisites: CHM-113 and MAT-154 or higher. Co-Requisite: CHM-115L.

Course Description

The laboratory section of CHM-115 reinforces and expands learning of principles introduced in the lecture course. Experiments include determination of rate law, examples of Le Châtelier’s principle, the use of pH indicators, buffer preparation, experimental determination of thermodynamic quantities, the use of electrochemical cells, and qualitative and quantitative analysis. Prerequisites: CHM-113L and MAT-154 or higher. Co-Requisite: CHM-115.

Course Description

This course provides an introduction to the study of basic probability, descriptive and inferential statistics, and decision making. Emphasis is placed on measures of central tendency and dispersion, correlation, regression, discrete and continuous probability distributions, quality control population parameter estimation, and hypothesis testing. Prerequisite: Grade of C or better in MAT-134, MAT-144 or MAT-154.

Course Description

This course is a study of basic concepts of physics, including motion; forces; energy; the properties of solids, liquids, and gases; and heat and thermodynamics. The mathematics used includes algebra, trigonometry, and vector analysis. A primary course goal is to build a functional knowledge that allows students to more fully understand the physical world and to apply that understanding to other areas of the natural and mathematical sciences. Conceptual, visual, graphical, and mathematical models of physical phenomena are stressed. Students build critical thinking skills by engaging in individual and group problem-solving sessions. Prerequisite: MAT-154, MAT-250, MAT-261 or College Algebra. Co-Requisite: PHY-111L.

Course Description

This course utilizes lab experimentation to practice concepts of physical principles introduced in the PHY-111 lecture course. Learners are able to perform the proper analysis and calculations to arrive at the correct quantifiable result when confronted with equations involving gravity, sound, energy, and motion. Prerequisite: MAT-154, MAT-250, MAT-261 or College Algebra. Co-Requisite: PHY-111.

Course Description

This course is the first of two organic chemistry courses. The first half of this course develops the vocabulary and concepts of chemical bonding, chemical structure, acid-base principles, and nomenclature needed to understand properties and reactions of organic compounds. The second half of this course discusses chemical reactions, including radical reactions, substitution and elimination reactions, and synthesis and reactions of alkenes. Students learn how to predict reaction products and draw reaction mechanisms. Organic synthesis and structural determination are also covered. Instruction includes lecture and in-class problem solving. Prerequisites: CHM-115 and CHM-115L. Co-requisite: CHM-231L.

Course Description

The laboratory section of CHM-231 reinforces principles learned in the lecture course through various techniques that organic chemists use to synthesize compounds. Students use these techniques throughout the semester. These techniques include determination of melting point, determination of solubility, thin layer chromatography, recrystallization, and distillation. Structural determination using theories discussed in CHM-231 is applied to unknown compounds. Prerequisites: CHM-115 and CHM-115L. Co-requisite: CHM-231.

Course Description

This course, designed for Science majors, introduces the principles of microbiology and the study of the general characteristics, growth, and diversity of microorganisms. Topics include microbial cell structure and function, bacterial genetics, immune response and immunization, physical and chemical control of microorganisms, specific characteristics and mechanisms of antimicrobial medications, and microbial diseases with emphasis on pathogenesis, epidemiology and treatment. Prerequisites: BIO-181 and BIO-181L. Co-Requisite: BIO-215L.

Course Description

The General Microbiology laboratory supports further learning surrounding principles gained in the lecture. Students develop fundamental skills in microbiological laboratory techniques, microscopy methodologies, molecular methods of detection, and the isolation and identification of pathogenic microorganisms. Prerequisites: BIO-181 and BIO-181L. Co-Requisite: BIO-215.

Course Description

This course is the second in a one-year introductory physics sequence. In this course, the basics of three areas in physics are covered, including electricity and magnetism, optics, and modern physics. Course topics include an introduction to electric and magnetic fields, the nature of light as an electromagnetic wave, geometric optics, quantum mechanics, and nuclear reactions. Prerequisites: PHY-111 and PHY-111L. Co-Requisite: PHY-112L.

Course Description

This course utilizes lab experimentation to practice concepts of physical principles introduced in the PHY-112 lecture course. Some of the topics learners understand and analyze involve the relationship between electric charges and insulators/conductors, magnetism in physics, energy transformations in electric circuits, the relationship between magnetism and electricity, and how they relate to the medical industry. Prerequisites: PHY-111 and PHY-111L. Co-Requisite: PHY-112.

Course Description

This course is the second of two organic chemistry courses. The course is organized by common organic functional groups, including alkynes, alcohols, ether, aromatic compounds, ketones and aldehydes, amines, carboxylic acid, and carboxylic acid derivatives. The reactions and properties of each functional group are discussed. Students learn how to predict reaction products, draw reaction mechanisms, and predict physical properties. Instruction includes lecture and in-class problem solving. Prerequisites: CHM-231 and CHM-231L. Co-Requisite: CHM-232L.

Course Description

The laboratory section of CHM-232 supports and extends principles learned in the lecture course. Students carry out various organic syntheses using techniques taught in CHM-231. The experiments include preparation of an alkene from an alcohol, a Grignard reaction, preparation of cinnamaldehyde, nitration of methyl benzoate, synthesis of N-Methyl Prozac, an Aldol reaction, Benzimidazole synthesis, and a Diazonium coupling reaction. Prerequisites: CHM-231 and CHM-231L. Co-requisite: CHM-232.

Course Description

This course is a comprehensive study of the composition, structure, energetics, regulation, and growth of eukaryotic cells. Other topics include the essential processes of cells including the correlation of structure and function at the organelle and cellular levels. As well as, principles of molecular biology including recombinant DNA technology and other approaches and method used to investigate cell structure, development, chromosome organization, gene expression, and gene regulation. Prerequisites: BIO-181 and BIO-181L.

Course Description

This course introduces advanced principles and theory of quantitative analysis, including stoichiometry, equilibria, photometric methods, electrochemistry, separation processes, statistical data analysis, and applications to advanced topics in analytical chemistry. Sampling strategies and sample preparation for analysis will also be discussed. Prerequisite: CHM-235, CHM-235L or CHM-231, CHM-231L. Co-Requisite: CHM-315L.

Course Description

This course will discuss the fundamental principles of analytical chemistry. Topics will include sampling strategies, sample preparations and analysis, instrument operation, data collection and statistical analysis, and presentation of results. Prerequisites: CHM-235 and CHM-235L or CHM-231 and CHM-231L. Co-Requisite: CHM-315.

Course Description

The course objective is to survey basic biochemical principles, including the composition, structure, and function of proteins, nucleic acids, lipids, and carbohydrates. Important biochemical principles include structure-function correlation, chemical reactivity, kinetics and equilibrium, thermodynamics, membrane structure and function, and metabolic energy pathways. The application of biochemical concepts in the medical field is emphasized. Prerequisite: BIO-181, BIO-181L, CHM-231, CHM-231L. Co-Requisite: CHM-360L.

Course Description

This laboratory course covers modern biochemical laboratory techniques and their theoretical foundations. Topics include methods for protein, nucleic acid, and lipid isolation and characterization; enzyme assays; chromatography; electrophoresis; and representing and manipulating proteins and nucleic acids. Experiments are designed for hands-on experimentation and students acquire practical techniques currently used in biochemistry laboratories. Prerequisite: BIO-181, BIO-181L, CHM-231, CHM-231L. Co-Requisite: CHM-360.

Course Description

This course reviews and reinforces the fundamental components of the scientific method. Emphasis will be placed on analysis of scientific literature, with discussion of hypotheses, experimental design, results, and possible alternative explanations and experiments. Students will learn to critically review current scientific literature and apply these examples to the proper design of novel experiments. Prerequisites: BIO-181 and BIO-181L.

Course Description

This course surveys accepted safety principles in classroom laboratories and their impact on the learning environment. Students design a capstone lab learning unit in a science discipline that incorporates proper lab safety protocols. Prerequisites: CHM-115 and CHM-115L.

Course Description

Students participate in discipline-specific service-learning opportunities designed to promote critical reflection. By engaging in their chosen field through 10 hours of volunteer service, students develop leadership skills and a practical connection to their field of study.

Course Description

This course introduces students to the quantitative, qualitative, and instrumental analysis of various sample types. Methods for selecting proper techniques to answer various questions are discussed. Analytical methods for the qualitative and quantitative analyses of sample by gas chromatography, mass spectroscopy, infrared spectroscopy, fluorescence spectroscopy, capillary and gel electrophoresis, and ultraviolet and visible spectroscopy are also covered. Other techniques, such as high-pressure liquid chromatography and thin layer chromatography, are discussed as well. Prerequisites: 1) CHM-231 and CHM-231L, or 2) CHM-235 and CHM-235L. Co-Requisite: CHM-365L.

Course Description

The laboratory section of CHM-365 reinforces and expands learning of principles introduced in the lecture course. This course allows students to apply quantitative, qualitative, and instrumental analysis of various sample types. Focus is on the validity of results. Analytical methods for the qualitative and quantitative analyses of sample by gas chromatography, mass spectroscopy, infrared spectroscopy, fluorescence spectroscopy, capillary and gel are also covered. Prerequisites: 1) CHM-231 and CHM-231L, or 2) CHM-235 and CHM-235L. Co-Requisite: CHM-365.

Course Description

This writing intensive course provides a comprehensive examination of the principles of heredity and variation, including Mendelian, molecular, and population genetics. Students explore topics such as gene mapping, DNA structure and replication, population genetics, and molecular change. Prerequisites: BIO-181 and BIO-181L.

Course Description

This hands-on, experience-based course provides an interdisciplinary investigation of molecular, biochemical, and organic chemistry applications and techniques. This course prepares students in the design, performance, and analysis of a research-based project. Prerequisite: CHM-360, CHM-360L.

Course Description

This course introduces the fundamental concepts and syntax of the Java programming language. The course focuses on object-oriented techniques in Java with an emphasis on problem solving and fundamental algorithms.

Course Description

This course presents advanced topics in genetics and genomics, including prokaryotic and eukaryotic DNA replication and repair, regulation of transcription in prokaryotes and eukaryotes, reverse transcription, mutagenesis, carcinogenesis, cancer and personalized medicine, epigenetics, genomic analyses, genomic libraries and databases, phylogenetics and bioinformatics. Prerequisite: BIO-457, BIO-205; Co-Requisite: BIO-475L.

Course Description

This hands-on laboratory course is designed to provide a project-based experience utilizing DNA, RNA, and molecular analysis techniques. These include isolation of DNA, action and laboratory use of restriction and modification enzymes, DNA amplification, DNA sequencing, mutagenesis and cloning, gene inactivation and complementation analysis, RT-PCR, DNA and RNA gel electrophoresis, Southern and Northern blot, and expression analyses (including Western blot and DNA microarrays). Co-requisite: BIO-475.

Course Description

This writing intensive capstone course requires students to integrate and apply what they have learned in their program. To do this, students will engage in projects and assignments that will demonstrate the knowledge and research skills gained in the program, including literature review, developing a research project, data collection and analysis, and written and oral communication of findings. Prerequisite: BIO-328 or BIO-415 or BIO-457 or CHM-420.

Locations

GCU Campus Student


Join Grand Canyon University’s vibrant and growing campus community, with daytime classes designed for traditional students. Immerse yourself in a full undergraduate experience, complete with curriculum designed within the context of our Christian worldview.

* Please note that this list may contain programs and courses not presently offered, as availability may vary depending on class size, enrollment and other contributing factors. If you are interested in a program or course listed herein please first contact your University Counselor for the most current information regarding availability.

* Please refer to the Academic Catalog for more information. Programs or courses subject to change.