The Johns Hopkins Department of Biology offers a rigorous undergraduate program leading to either a BA or a BS degree, as well as a five-year program leading to a combined bachelor’s/master’s degree. The program guides students as they develop a detailed, nuanced view of biology, integrating knowledge at the molecular, cellular, and organismal levels.

Learning Goals

Students receiving BS or BA degrees in biology should:

  • Have acquired the knowledge and skills necessary for success in graduate programs in biological sciences or in professional (medical, dental, veterinary, nursing) school
  • Understand scientific techniques used to define biological principles, distinguish among these techniques to select one appropriate to answer the question posed, and be able to design an experiment including selecting controls, recording observations, and drawing conclusions based on experimental results
  • Be able to analyze and answer biologically relevant problems through the successful application of quantitative and analytical methods
  • Know the basic building blocks of biological macromolecules; be familiar with cellular processes and understand the subcellular and cellular organization of eukaryotic cells, including cytoskeleton and organelles; and possess knowledge of the anatomy and physiology of living organisms
  • Be able to distinguish between the genetic organization and gene expression of viruses, prokaryotes, and eukaryotes, and describe the mechanisms of inheritance and evolution
  • Be capable of describing the organization and development of major organ systems in mammals and other organisms, and outlining the roles of gene expression and cell-cell communication in development.

In addition, students earning a BS degree should:

  • Integrate themes and principles learned in the classroom through conducting original research.


Each Biology and Molecular and Cellular Biology major is assigned an advisor when they declare the major. These faculty members are available to answer questions related to academic or even personal issues. The advising process is an integral part of the educational experience at Hopkins and it is important that students take advantage of the opportunity to directly interact with a faculty member on a regular basis. Advisors can help students on issues ranging from course requirements and course content to choosing a research lab or making career decisions for after graduation.

Pre-Med Track

Johns Hopkins offers an undergraduate pre-med program, but it is not a major. It is an advising track program through the Office of Pre-Professional Advising. Any Johns Hopkins undergraduate student pursuing any major may also pursue the pre-med advising track.

The pre-professional advisers work with the students, providing them with academic advising, assistance in selecting the proper courses, and help with the medical school application process.

Master’s Program

The mission of the JHU Molecular and Cellular Biology Master’s Program is to provide Johns Hopkins Biology or Molecular and Cellular Biology majors with advanced training to expand their preparation for professional school and/or a career in science or medicine.