CMB Majors, Information for Students & Advisors, March 2015

CMB Majors, Information for Students & Advisors, March 2015

The following information addresses some common questions regarding scheduling of courses, as well as some updated information regarding changes in course prefixes (now CMB, was BIO) & newer course offerings.  

In general, you will have no problem accounting for prerequisites & completing your degree in a timely manner if you:

  1. take BIO 120 (General Biology I) & CHM 115 & 116 (Principles of Chemistry I & II) in your freshman year.
  2. take CMB 250 (Introduction to Biotechnology) your sophomore year.
  3. take BIO 375 & 376 (Genetics lecture & lab) & CHM 241 & 242 (Organic Chemistry series) in your sophomore year.
  4.  take BIO 405 & 406 (Cell & Molecular Biology lecture & lab; now called CMB 405 & 406 – see below) in your junior or first semester senior year.
  5. begin independent research prior to your final Fall semester; we encourage you to begin research early in your undergraduate career & strongly encourage you to at least begin your research during the spring/summer periods. You will ultimately be presenting your research in the Capstone course (CMB 495) which is offered Winter semesters only & is typically taken during your final semester. You will hear about research options in the CMB 250 course, but please also talk with your advisor. Information regarding research & internship opportunities is also posted on the CMB website. 
  6. meet with your advisor regularly. Do not panic(!) if you did not take the courses in the above order.

Remember the CMB Combined BS/MS Degree Program is now an option. As a junior, you would apply for entrance to this program. Upon finishing the program (planned to take 5 years), you will have both a BS and an MS degree from the CMB Department. Please take a look at the CMB website for more information & talk to your advisor if you are interested.

GVSU policy

  1. Courses can be repeated once without additional permissions.
  2. Prerequisites are enforced through Banner.

CMB specifics

Even though the Admission to Major Standing application process was not in effect when you declared CMB as your major, you still must meet the minimal grade requirement (C+) for the 8 courses listed in the catalog (BIO 120, 375, 376, CHM 115, 116, 241, 242 & CMB 250) in order to graduate as a CMB major. If your grade is lower in any of these courses, please talk with your advisor. There is an appeal process. Please talk to your advisor earlier rather than later.

Information regarding required courses

Math requirement

Either MTH 125 OR 201 is acceptable for the CMB major.  

ŸPhysics requirement

PHY 230/231 is a calculus-based physics series; take this series if you have a strong interest. Otherwise, take the PHY 220/221 series. 

* Note that PHY 221 can conflict scheduling-wise with CHM 461, so it is best to take this PHY series early (before you are ready for CHM 461). Both PHY 221 & CHM 461 are offered Fall & Winter semesters & there are multiple sections of each.

* Note that PHY 221 requires some knowledge of trigonometry (covered in MTH 123). If you took the math placement exam & were placed in MTH 201, you should be fine. If you have not had trigonometry before, you will want to take MTH 123 prior to taking PHY 221.

Microbiology requirement

Either BIO 357 OR BMS 212/213 will fulfill this requirement. BIO 357 is a general microbiology course while BMS 212/213 is more of a medical microbiology course.            

ŸCMB 250 – Introduction to Biotechnology

One section is offered each semester. This class fills so do not delay in registering for this class. If you can’t register for this because it is full, please keep in close contact with the listed instructor so we can get you in as seats become available.

CHM 241, 242 – Organic Chemistry

You can substitute CHM 245 through 248 for the CHM 241/242 Organic Chemistry series. This option is listed on the Advising Worksheet for CMB Majors.

BIO 405 – Cell & Molecular Biology lecturelecture – THIS IS NOW LISTED AS CMB 405

CMB 405 is offered Fall, Winter, & Spring sessions. You must complete the organic chemistry requirement (& BIO 375 Genetics) before taking CMB 405. The pace in this course is very fast if you take the Spring section, so do not plan on taking any other courses at the same time.

BIO 406 – Cell & Molecular Biology Laboratory  THIS IS NOW LISTED AS CMB 406

This course can be taken concurrently with CMB 405. Note that CMB 406 is the prerequisite for CMB 426; these two courses cannot be taken concurrently. Also, note that 2 sections of CMB 406 are offered at CHS downtown, so you do not want to schedule this course back-to-back with anything on the Allendale campus because you will need to allow for travel time. CMB 406 is being offered again this summer (12 week session on Wednesday afternoons).

Note that this is an SWS course – as such, you must get a grade of C or better to get SWS credit.                                                                                                     

CMB 426 – Nucleic Acids LaboratoryTHIS COURSE IS NOW LISTED ONLY AS CMB 426 (no longer cross-listed as BIO 426)

This course is offered both Fall & Winter semesters (Tues/Thurs afternoons). BIO/CMB 406 is the prerequisite. If you are planning on submitting applications in the Fall for graduate       school, you may well be interviewing for graduate programs during the Winter semester. Therefore, we recommend you take BIO/CMB 426 in the Fall. This course often fills, so do not delay in registering for this class. If you cannot register because the course is full, please keep in close contact with the listed instructor.

CHM 461 – Biochemistry I

This course is offered Fall, Winter, & Spring semesters. The pace is very fast if you take the Spring section, so do not plan on taking any other courses at the same time. Pay close attention to the section locations as some sections are downtown & some are on the Allendale campus.

CHM 462 – Techniques in Biochemistry

Two sections are offered in both the Fall semester & Winter semesters (Tues/Thurs morning &Tues/Thurs afternoon sections). All four sections are held in Room 543 CHS downtown, so don’t schedule this back-to-back with an Allendale course as you need to allow for travel time. If you are planning on submitting applications in the Fall for graduate school, you may well be interviewing for graduate programs during the Winter semester. Therefore, if you want to take CHM 462 in the Winter, you will want to register for the morning section as it will interfere less with the typical grad school interview schedule. RE taking CMB 426 & CHM 462 the same semester – it is do-able, but you will be very busy. If you can, take them separate semesters.

CMB 495 – Perspectives in Cell & Molecular Biology (Capstone)

One section of the Capstone is offered in the Winter semester only (1:30 - 2:45 on Mon/Wed). Remember, you must have previously been registered for CMB/BIO/BMS/CHM 499 (Independent Research) or 490 (internship) before registering for CMB 495. If you are registering for CMB 499 for the first time & 495 concurrently (which is not a good idea), you will need permission from Dr. Staves. 

  1. Do not delay in registering for this course.
  2. You are very strongly encouraged to have initiated your research well before the semester you take the Capstone course as you will be doing an oral presentation of your research in this course.
  3. If you cannot register because the course is full, please contact the instructor as soon as possible.  

CMB 499 – Independent Research

You are required to do at least 3 credits of research as a CMB major; you can do more than 3 (& most majors do).  To register for these credits, you will fill out a short form in the CMB/BIO office (212 Henry Hall) which will then go to Dr. Staves. With his approval, you will be able to register for CMB 499 through Banner. If you will be doing research with a GVSU faculty member, he/she may ask you to fill out a second short form at the same time for funding for supplies for your research.

As mentioned above, there will be several opportunities to learn about research options, & there are many options as to where you do the research. That said, it never hurts to start asking about it early. You can do research here with a GVSU faculty member (from a variety of departments), with a mentor at the Van Andel Research Institute or with MSU faculty housed at the Institute, elsewhere in the country (or world) through an established program (see the CMB website for suggestions), or via an internship situation you identify & which is approved by GVSU. To get started thinking about research, please talk with your advisor.

Information regarding possible electives which are newer or for which there are changes for the upcoming year

• CMB 351 – Bioinformatics for Life Sciences

Offered Fall semesters on Tues 6-8:50 on the Pew Campus (DEV). The course explores online biological databases & includes discussion of their content, applicability, & methods of searching & retrieving the desired information. Methods employed by bioinformatics are discussed: to compare the sequences of proteins & nucleic acids, to build phylogenetic trees, to predict protein structure & function, to find & annotate genes, & to compare & analyze whole genomes. The class includes an extensive hands-on but no programming experience is necessary. Prerequisites: BIO 120, CMB 250 or BIO 375, or permission of instructor, junior status.

• CMB 440 – Drosophila Genomics

Offered Winter semesters. This course provides experiential learning in the field of genomics, focusing on two areas common in determining a genome’s sequence: sequence finishing & annotation. Finishing utilizes Consed & phrep/phrap to analyze sequence data from a Drosophila genome database, which is then used to make changes to improve sequence quality. The annotation uses many online resources from a variety of publicly available servers to identify genetic elements. The course utilizes the resources of the Genomics Education Partnership (GEP). Prerequisites: CMB 250, BIO 355 or BIO 375/376.

• CMB 452 – Computational Biology

Offered Winter semesters on Tues 6-8:50 on the Pew Campus (DEV). The course covers the computational methods of: predicting protein 3D structure (emphasis on homology modeling); predicting & simulating biomolecular function (enzymatic reactions, functional motions, molecular recognition); discovering new drugs & engineering new biomolecules. The class includes an extensive hands-on work, but no programming experience is necessary. Prerequisites: BIO 120, CHM116, PHY 221 or PHY 231, CMB 250 or CHM 461, or permission of instructor.

• CMB 480 01 – Techniques for Modeling Biological Systems

Offered Fall only T/Th 4:00-5:15. Theories based on mathematical models have long been of fundamental importance in various subdisciplines of the biological sciences. The main purpose of this course is to provide biology students with  a set of basic mathematical, computational, and computer graphics skills that will allow them to understand and critically evaluate several of the most common types of models in the biological literature and to develop new models of their own. The main types of models covered are difference equations, matrix models, and ordinary differential equations. No prior knowledge of any of these topics is assumed. This is not a mathematics or computer-programming   course. Emphasis is placed on how to apply the various techniques to biological problems rather than on mathematics or programming per se. See this site for more detail:

• CMB 480 01 – Responsible Conduct of Research – 1 credit – new course

Offered Winter only, 9:00-9:50 T in 425 CHS. This is a highly recommended “best practices” course for those desiring to deepen their knowledge of ethical research and responsible conduct. It is also an excellent professional opportunity for anyone interested in furthering a career in research or compliance. A certificate (good for 3 years) will be issued to all participants upon successful course completion. This course fulfills NSF and NIH requirements for formal        Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) instruction. The plan is to offer this course each semester (9-9:50, 425 CHS).

• These two courses are now listed with the CMB prefix, rather than the BIO prefix. The only change is the prefix:

CMB 414 – Molecular Biology of the Gene, Fall only

CMB 411 – Genetics of Cancer & Development, Winter only

While we believe the information in this document is correct, be sure to confirm details in Banner.

Page last modified March 15, 2015