Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology courses
Director of undergraduate studies: Douglas Kankel, 1220B KBT, 432-3839, email@example.com
FACULTY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF MOLECULAR, CELLULAR, AND DEVELOPMENTAL BIOLOGY
Professors Sidney Altman, Ronald Breaker, John Carlson, †Lynn Cooley, Craig Crews, Stephen Dellaporta, Xing-Wang Deng, Paul Forscher, Jo Handelsman, Vivian Irish, Christine Jacobs-Wagner, Douglas Kankel, †Paula Kavathas, Haig Keshishian, Mark Mooseker, Timothy Nelson, Thomas Pollard, Anna Pyle, Shirleen Roeder, Joel Rosenbaum, Frank Slack, Robert Wyman
Associate Professors Martín García-Castro, Scott Holley, †Akiko Iwasaki, Elke Stein, Weimin Zhong
Assistant Professors Murat Acar, †Sreeganga Chandra, Nicole Clay, Thierry Emonet, Valerie Horsley, Farren Isaacs, Kathryn Miller-Jensen, †Matthew Rodeheffer
Lecturers Carol Bascom-Slack, Alexia Belperron, Brett Berke, Emile Boulpaep, Iain Dawson, Mary Klein, Mitchell Kundel, Maria Moreno, Kenneth Nelson, Barry Piekos, Mark Saltzman, William Segraves, David Wells, Joseph Wolenski
†A joint appointment with primary affiliation in another department or school.
The science of biology is extremely broad, ranging across the domains of molecules, cells, tissues and organs, organisms, and ecosystems. Moreover, biology explores questions of evolutionary history and the processes of evolutionary change as well as the mechanisms by which cells, organisms, and ecosystems function. Students majoring in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology receive a thorough yet varied liberal education and preparation for professional careers in a diverse array of fields. Practical applications of biology include the development of biologicals and pharmaceuticals, the practice of medicine, and pursuit of the scientific bases for understanding the development and function of biological systems.
Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology (MCDB) offers programs for students wishing to concentrate on molecular biology, cell biology, genetics, and their applications to problems in cell and developmental biology, neurobiology, and various aspects of computational biology. Interdisciplinary opportunities are available within the major in the biotechnology and neurobiology tracks.
The MCDB major offers many opportunities for independent laboratory research. With approval, research can be conducted under the supervision of faculty members in any Yale department. Some programs for study abroad are available to MCDB majors; approved programs can fulfill some of the requirements for the major. Interested students should consult the director of undergraduate studies and the Center for International and Professional Experience.
Prerequisites The basic science courses required of all MCDB majors are BIOL 101, 102, 103, 104; CHEM 112, 113, or 114, 115, or 118, taken with their associated laboratories, as well as one term of organic chemistry with laboratory (CHEM 124, 125 with 222L, 223L satisfies both chemistry requirements); two terms of PHYS 170, 171 or higher; and one term of MATH 115 or above (excluding MATH 190). The second term of organic chemistry, CHEM 230, may be used as an elective in the major. Note that these prerequisites fulfill most of the usual premedical science requirements.
Acceleration credit awarded in chemistry, mathematics, and physics, or completion of advanced courses in those departments, is accepted instead of the corresponding prerequisites for the MCDB major. Students who have mathematics preparation equivalent to MATH 115 or higher are encouraged to take additional mathematics courses, such as MATH 120, 121, 222, or 225.
Placement For students in the Class of 2016 and subsequent classes, placement in MCDB is determined by an examination administered at Yale. Based on the results of the examination, a student may place out of one or more courses in the BIOL 101–104 sequence. However, one or more of these introductory Biology courses may be explicitly required as prerequisites for upper-level MCDB courses.
Students in the Class of 2015 and previous classes who have scored 710 or higher on the SAT subject matter Biology M test, or who have scored 5 on the Advanced Placement test in Biology, may be exempt from taking BIOL 101, 102, 103, and 104. Students with equivalent scores on one of the corresponding chemistry tests, or who have scored 7 on an International Baccalaureate higher-level examination in an appropriate subject, may also be exempt from taking BIOL 101, 102, 103, and 104.
Placement in chemistry courses is arranged by the Chemistry department. Because the required chemistry courses are prerequisite to several MCDB courses, students are strongly urged to take general and organic chemistry in the freshman and sophomore years. Students who place out of general chemistry should take organic chemistry during their freshman year. Finishing the prerequisites early allows for a more flexible program in later years.
Requirements of the major Beyond the prerequisites, the B.A. degree requires at least eight course credits, including seven lecture courses or seminars and two laboratories, as follows:
- Three core courses: either MCDB 200 or 202; either MCDB 205 or 210; either MCDB 300 or MB&B 300
- Three electives, for three course credits, from MCDB courses numbered 200 or above
- One elective, for one course credit, from MCDB courses numbered 350 or above
- Two MCDB laboratories (MCDB 121L may be applied toward this requirement)
- The senior requirement, described below
Residential college seminars do not count toward the requirements of the major. The MCDB major should not be taken as one of two majors with Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry or with Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.
Credit/D/Fail No course taken Credit/D/Fail may be counted toward the MCDB major, including prerequisites.
Neurobiology track In addition to the core courses for the major, the neurobiology track requires MCDB 320, one MCDB course numbered 350 or above, and two courses chosen from BENG 410, CPSC 475, MCDB 240, 310, 315, 415, 430, 440, 460, PSYC 270, and either STAT 101 or PSYC 200. Other courses may be substituted with the approval of the student's track adviser. (Students should note that PSYC 110 is a prerequisite for many psychology courses but does not substitute as an elective in the neurobiology track.) Two laboratories chosen from MCDB courses are also required as electives. Students interested in the neurobiology track should consult an adviser for the track. Advisers whose names are listed followed by "[F]" may be consulted during the fall term.
Neurobiology track advisers:
P. Forscher [F], 222 KBT (432-6344)
H. Keshishian [F], 640A KBT (432-3478)
E. Stein, 232 KBT (432-8402)
D. Wells, 338A KBT (432-3481)
R. Wyman [F], 610A KBT (432-3475)
W. Zhong, 616 KBT (432-9233)
Biotechnology track In addition to the core requirements for the major, the biotechnology track requires MCDB 370 and three courses chosen from any MCDB course numbered 150 or above, MB&B 420, 421, 443, BENG 351, 352, 410, 435, 457, 464, CENG 210, 411, 412, CPSC 437, 445, 470, or 475. Two laboratories are required: either two from MCDB (including at least one from MCDB 341L to MCDB 345L), or BENG 355L, 356L or CENG 412. Students interested in the biotechnology track should consult an adviser for the track. Advisers whose names are listed followed by "[F]" may be consulted during the fall term.
Biotechnology track advisers:
R. Breaker [F], 506 KBT (432-9389)
X. W. Deng, 352B OML (432-8908)
K. Nelson, 710A KBT (432-5013)
J. Wolenski, 330 KBT (432-6912)
Electives in all tracks If both MCDB 205 and 210 are taken, one counts as a core course and the other as an elective. Two laboratory courses from MCDB 342L, 343L, 344L, and 345L can be used together as one elective credit. If used as an elective, these laboratories cannot also fulfill the laboratory requirement. A relevant intermediate or advanced course from another department in science, engineering, mathematics, or statistics may be accepted as an elective with permission of the director of undergraduate studies. Residential college seminars cannot be substituted for electives.
Many of the courses in other departments listed above have prerequisites; such prerequisites can be substituted for an upper-level elective with permission of the director of undergraduate studies.
Senior requirement In addition to the course requirements described above, all students must satisfy a senior requirement undertaken during the senior year. A booklet listing the requirements of each track and degree is available in the office of the director of undergraduate studies (1220B KBT). All students must fill out a checklist of requirements and go over it with the undergraduate registrar, Crystal Adamchek, by the spring term of the junior year. For the B.A. degree the senior requirement can be met in any one of three ways: by submitting a senior essay of fifteen to twenty pages evaluating current research in a field of biology; by successful completion of one term of tutorial work (MCDB 470); or by successful completion of one term of individual research (MCDB 475).
A senior choosing to fulfill the requirement with a senior essay must consult with a faculty adviser on the scope and literature of the topic and submit the adviser's written approval to the director of undergraduate studies no later than the course selection period of the term in which the paper is due. The senior essay may be related to the subject matter of a course, but the essay is a separate departmental requirement in addition to any work done in a course and does not count toward the grade in any course. The senior essay must be completed and submitted to the office of the director of undergraduate studies by the last day of classes. Students electing this option should obtain an approval form from the office of the director of undergraduate studies.
B.S. degree The requirements for the B.S. degree are the same as for the B.A. degree except for the senior requirement, which differs in its greater emphasis on individual research. The senior requirement for the B.S. is usually fulfilled by completing a yearlong research course, MCDB 485, 486. Alternatively, two consecutive terms of MCDB 475 can be taken during the senior year. In the case of a two-term project in MCDB 475, it is possible for a student to begin the project during the spring term of the junior year, continue it over the summer, and complete it during the fall term of the senior year. In all other cases, the senior requirement must be completed during the senior year. Yale College does not grant academic credit for summer research unless the student is enrolled in an independent research course in Yale Summer Session. Seniors working toward the B.S. degree are expected to spend ten hours per week conducting individual research.
B.S. degree, intensive major Requirements for the B.S. degree with an intensive major are the same as those for the B.A. degree except that students take an additional seminar numbered MCDB 350 or higher and fulfill the senior requirement by taking MCDB 495, 496, Intensive Research, for four course credits. The additional seminar does not need to be taken during the senior year. Seniors in the intensive major are expected to spend twenty hours per week conducting individual research.
Research courses before senior year The research courses MCDB 475, 485, 486, and 495, 496 exist primarily to fulfill the senior requirement. Some students may wish to take MCDB 475 earlier in their course of study. This contributes to the thirty-six course credits required for graduation, but does not substitute for any of the other requirements for the major, including the senior requirement. Students may take up to three credits in MCDB 475 (MCDB 485, 486 counts as two terms of MCDB 475 in this calculation) during their undergraduate career.
Laboratory preparation for research Students with an interest in particular problems in cellular and molecular biology and who are planning to undertake independent research are advised to take one or more of the following laboratories first: MCDB 303L, 341L, 342L, 343L, 344L, or 345L.
Combined B.S./M.S. degree program Exceptionally able and well-prepared students may accelerate their professional education by completing a course of study leading to the simultaneous award of the B.S. and M.S. degrees after eight terms of enrollment. Completion in fewer than eight terms is not allowed. The requirements are as follows:
- Candidates must satisfy the Yale College requirements for the B.S. degree. In addition to the three or four core requirements (depending on track) specified for the standard major, the three or four electives must be graduate-level courses. One of these is a graduate seminar selected with the approval of the director of undergraduate studies. Students must earn a grade of A or A– in two graduate-level courses and a grade of B– or higher in the rest.
- Six credits outside the major must be taken in the last two years, and at least two undergraduate courses in the last two terms.
- In addition to the courses specified above, students must complete two graduate research courses for six course credits: (a) MCDB 585, a two-credit course typically taken in the second term of the junior year. At the start of the course, each student forms a committee comprised of the adviser and two faculty members that meets to discuss the research project. Two of the members of this committee must be members of the MCDB faculty. At the end of the course, the student completes a detailed prospectus describing the thesis project and the work completed to date. The committee evaluates an oral and written presentation of the prospectus and determines whether the student may continue in the combined program; (b) MCDB 595, a four-credit, yearlong course that is similar to MCDB 495, 496 and is taken during the senior year. During the course, the student gives an oral presentation describing the work. At the end of the course, the student is expected to present his or her work to the department in the form of a poster presentation. In addition, the student is expected to give an oral thesis defense, followed by a comprehensive examination of the thesis conducted by the thesis committee. Upon successful completion of this examination, as well as all other requirements, the student is awarded the combined B.S./M.S. degree.
Students must also satisfy the requirements of Yale College for the simultaneous award of the bachelor's and master's degrees, including the following:
- Students must apply in writing to the director of undergraduate studies and obtain departmental approval no later than the beginning of the second term of their junior year. Applications must be submitted by November 1 in the preceding term. Students must have the approval of both the director of undergraduate studies and the director of graduate studies to receive graduate credit for the graduate courses they select.
- Students must have two-thirds A or A– grades in all of their courses and two-thirds A or A– grades in MCDB courses, including prerequisites, in order to be admitted to the program.
Advising Freshmen considering a major in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology are invited to consult with the director of undergraduate studies and/or a faculty member in MCDB who is a fellow of their residential college. For assistance in identifying a suitable adviser, students should contact the departmental undergraduate registrar, Crystal Adamchek. Students in the neurobiology or biotechnology track should consult an adviser for their track (listed above). The course schedules of all MCDB majors (including sophomores intending to major in MCDB) must be signed by a faculty member in the department; the signature of the director of undergraduate studies is not required. Students whose regular adviser is on leave can consult the office of the director of undergraduate studies to arrange for an alternate.
Any member of the MCDB department can serve as a faculty adviser to majors. College faculty advisers available to freshmen:
||X. W. Deng, H. Keshishian, K. Nelson, T. Pollard, F. Slack
||J. Carlson, C. Crews
||M. Mooseker, R. Wyman
||C. Jacobs-Wagner, S. Roeder
||P. Forscher, V. Irish, W. Zhong [Sp]
||S. Dellaporta [Sp], D. Kankel, J. Rosenbaum
||E. Stein, D. Wells
||R. Breaker, T. Nelson [F]
REQUIREMENTS OF THE MAJOR
Prerequisites BIOL 101, 102, 103, 104; CHEM 112, 113, or 114, 115, or 118, with labs, and 1 term of organic chem with lab (CHEM 124, 125 with 222L, 223L satisfies both reqs); PHYS 170, 171 or higher; MATH 115 or above (except MATH 190); all courses taken for letter grades
Number of courses B.A.—at least 7 courses and 2 labs beyond prereqs taken for letter grades, totaling at least 8 course credits (incl senior req); B.S.—9 courses and 2 labs beyond prereqs taken for letter grades, totaling at least 10 course credits (incl senior req); B.S., intensive major—10 courses and 2 labs beyond prereqs taken for letter grades, totaling at least 13 course credits (incl senior req)
Specific courses required All tracks—MCDB 200 or 202; MCDB 205 or 210; MCDB 300 or MB&B 300; Neurobiology track—MCDB 320; Biotechnology track—MCDB 370
Distribution of courses Standard track—3 electives from MCDB numbered 200 or above; 1 addtl MCDB course numbered 350 or above; 2 labs in MCDB; Neurobiology and biotechnology tracks—3 electives and two labs as specified
Senior requirement B.A.—MCDB 470 or 475 taken in senior year, or senior essay; B.S.—2 consecutive terms of MCDB 475, at least 1 in senior year, or MCDB 485, 486
Intensive major 1 addtl sem numbered MCDB 350 or higher; MCDB 495, 496 in senior year