Frequently Asked Questions
1) How does molecular and cell biology differ from a traditional biology degree?
Traditional biology programs cover the broad spectrum of life sciences, from the very smallest scale of the cell and its constituent parts to the collective organization and behavior of large animal and plant populations. Such programs generally include junior and senior level courses in botany, zoology and ecology. While these topics are not neglected in Lawrence Tech's molecular and cell biology program, the focus remains on the microscopic and submicroscopic: the cell, its machinery and its underlying functionality. The molecular and cell biology program is designed to prepare its graduates to make immediate contributions in various areas of biotechnology.
2) How does chemical biology differ from a degree in molecular biology or in molecular and cell biology?
These disciplines have a lot in common. However, molecular biology is almost always taught as a sub-discipline of biology, often at the graduate level. The chemistry training in Lawrence Tech's chemical biology program is more extensive than in traditional molecular biology programs and prepares a student for graduate work in chemistry. For students with a stronger biology bent, Lawrence Tech has established new Bachelor of Science in Molecular and Cell Biology. In some respects, this new degree is the mirror image of chemical biology: firmly rooted in the biological disciplines but with a heightened focus on the functioning of the cell and a stronger chemistry requirement than in traditional biology programs.
3) Do I have to decide which program is right for me in my freshman year?
No. Lawrence Tech's programs in chemical biology and in molecular and cell biology overlap extensively in the first two years. During this time, students will be exposed to topics in both disciplines which will ensure that they have the background to choose between the two programs. Students can switch majors in either direction as late as the junior year with only a minor reworking of their course schedules. However, the mathematics and physics requirements for chemical biology are somewhat higher than those for molecular and cell biology. Students who are unsure of which major to choose should follow the mathematics and physics sequence for chemical biology until a final decision is made.
4) Are there significant employment opportunities for molecular and cell biology graduates in Michigan?
The industry-education consortium, MichBio, has identified over 542 companies in the State of Michigan with substantial presence in the life sciences and biotechnology areas. Recently, this number has been increasing at a rate of 20 per year. About $2 billion are invested annually in these areas in Michigan. The State of Michigan has recently committed considerable funding to further encourage the growth of biotechnology within its borders. Of course molecular and cell biology graduates will be prepared to enter the health-related professions. With the aging population, these professionals will be in high demand. Thus, the prospects for employment for graduates are high and expected only to get better.