Undergraduate Program

A primary mission of the Department of Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics is to provide undergraduate students with an education that integrates theoretical concepts with laboratory and research skills, while giving students opportunities to grow and build a knowledge base for productive careers. Our faculty has also been committed to offering a number of courses for non-majors in order to provide those students with opportunities to learn and think about the larger issues in the biological sciences and in biotechnology.


The Undergraduate Curricula

The College of Chemical & Life Sciences administers the Biological Sciences Program.

The Department of Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics contributes to the teaching of this program through

Undergraduates majoring in the Biological Sciences have the option to choose an emphasis area in biology. The Department of Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics Administers and advises students for three emphasis areas: Cell Biology and Genetics, Microbiology and General Biology. The requirements and courses in these emphasis areas can be seen at bsci.umd.edu/major-requirements


Advising is mandatory within the College of Chemical & Life Sciences. Each student will be required to meet with a faculty advisor every semester. The Department of Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics has established a three-phase advising program in which all faculty members serve as advisors.

Research Experience

Students may gain research experience on campus by arranging to work in a laboratory and earn credit toward the Biological Sciences degree.

There are many options for students to work and receive credit for research conducted in

  • Faculty laboratories on campus
  • Research facilities in the region, including the National Institutes of Health, Walter Reed Medical Center, the Uniformed Services University, the Smithsonian Institution, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture

Information pages on research opportunities can be found at bsci.umd.edu/research-internships

Honors and Awards

Students working in CBMG faculty laboratories may apply to participate in the Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics Departmental Honors Program.

This program offers students opportunity to work for an extended period in a faculty laboratory. Students receive academic credit and an honors citation upon graduation for their completion of the program. This experience is highly recommended for students interested in attending graduate school in the sciences.

The Department of Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics recognizes outstanding seniors through an annual award ceremony. Awards given to undergraduates include:

  • The P. Arne Hansen Award: presented to the outstanding Departmental Honors student.
  • High Honors: presented to all students whom the faculty deem exceptional with respect to the completion and presentation of the Departmental Honors Thesis.
  • The Sigma Alpha Omicron Award for outstanding performance in Microbiology.
  • The Appleman-Norton Award for outstanding performance in Plant Biology.
  • Membership within the departmentally-based Microbiology Honors Society: SAO

Student Organizations

The Department houses the University of Maryland student chapter of the American Society for Microbiology, the professional scientific society for microbiologists. This group holds social and academic activities that are of interest to students of microbiology and related disciplines. Information on this organization may be obtained through the department office.

Additional Information

For information on Undergraduate Opportunities in Microbiology, Cell Biology and Genetics and Plant Biology, please contact:

Department of Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics

Office of Undergraduate Programs

1225 H. J. Patterson Hall

Undergraduate Office Secretary: Margaret Jenkins: 301.405.2766

Director of Undergraduate Programs: Dr. David Straney, Phone: 301-405-1622

Further Information:

Department of Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics  

College of Chemical & Life Sciences