The Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Program is designed to provide students with an opportunity to explore living systems in molecular terms. Biochemistry and molecular biology are at the interface between the chemical and biological methods of looking at nature; therefore, the program draws heavily from these disciplines. While chemistry is concerned with the relationship between molecular structure and reactions, and biology focuses on cells and organisms, biochemistry and molecular biology probe the details of the structures and interactions of molecules in living systems in order to provide the foundation for a better understanding of biological molecules both individually and as members of more complex structures.
To complete the concentration in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, a student must:
- complete all of the required courses
- take at least one elective in biology and one elective in chemistry from the elective courses list
- attend at least eight Biology and/or Chemistry Department colloquia
Since the Chemistry Department counts two biology courses and the Biology Department counts two chemistry courses toward the majors (each of which can be completed with only eight other courses), a student majoring in either chemistry or biology would have to take only two or three additional courses to complete the program.
BIMO Program Learning Objectives
The interdisciplinary course content comprising the BIMO Program includes introductory and upper level courses in both the biology and chemistry departments. Learning outcomes for the students completing the concentration include the following:
- Students will learn foundational/fundamental content in introductory courses and more advanced and specialized content in upper level classes of their choosing.
- Students will learn how to develop experimental hypotheses and design appropriate experiments in classes and laboratories.
- Students will develop skills in collaborating effectively while conducting laboratory projects.
- Students will gain proficiency in reading, understanding and critically evaluating research literature while developing oral and written communication skills.
- Students will gain an appreciation for the ways that molecular, biological and chemical approaches complement each other in exploring fundamental processes in biological systems.
Planning Your Studies
While aspects of biochemistry and molecular biology can be very diverse, a common set of chemical and biological principles underlie the more advanced topics.With this in mind, the program has been structured to provide the necessary background in chemistry and biology and the opportunity to study the many facets of the modern areas of the biochemical sciences.
Students interested in the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Program should plan their course selection carefully. Since it is expected that Biochemistry 321 and 322 would be taken in the junior year, students are advised to take the prerequisites for those courses in both chemistry and biology during their first two years at Williams. While the program is open to all students, it is expected that it will appeal primarily to majors in biology and chemistry because of the number of courses required in those fields. In addition to taking the required courses, students planning to complete the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Program are strongly encouraged to elect courses in mathematics and physics.