MS in Molecular Biology


Program Description

The goal of this program is for students to develop an advanced and up-to-date understanding of cell and molecular biology and biochemistry. The core curriculum is built around lecture format and discussion-based courses focusing on cell biology, molecular genetics, and biochemistry. Advanced elective courses cover topics such as the cellular basis of human disease, immunology, developmental biology, signal transduction, and neuroscience. 

The master’s degree program in Molecular Biology can be completed online; however, some distance education courses do require live participation through our classroom LIVE (CL) platform. Students must demonstrate technical expertise in cell/molecular biology either through the completion of a course or by work experience. More details about this program can be found on the Office of Distance Education’s website.

The 30 credit master’s degree program in Molecular Biology is a highly focused, research-oriented online program designed specifically for part-time students who have an interest in the biotechnology industry. This online degree program is ideally suited for individuals seeking biomedical research careers in academia, industry, and government.

Undergrad Course Requirements

  • 2 semesters: General Chemistry
  • 2 semesters: Organic Chemistry
  • 2 semesters: Physics
  • 1 semester: Intro to Genetics
  • 1 semester: Intro to Cell & Molecular Biology
  • 2 semesters: Math courses

Please note: Students admitted must complete 9 consecutive credit hours of coursework of 300-level or higher, with no grade lower than a B-, in order to continue taking courses.

With the approval of the Department Graduate Committee and the Lehigh University Registrar, a maximum of six credits of molecular biology–relevant courses may be transferred in toward completion of the master's degree. A course grade of B or better is required for transfer credits.


Depending on the student’s undergraduate education, core courses in cellular and molecular biology are first taken, followed by advanced seminar-style courses, including departmental research, and journal articles that are read and discussed. 

Core Courses

Required courses
BIOS 345 Molecular Genetics (3) BIOS 411 Advanced Cell Biology (3)
BIOS 371 Elements of Biochemistry I (3) BIOS 421 Molecular Cell Biology I** (3)
BIOS 372 Elements of Biochemistry II (3) BIOS 422 Molecular Cell Biology II** (3)
BIOS 407 Research (6 credits required) BIOS 427 Techniques in Cell and Molecular Biology* (3)

* This course may be completed by arrangement at Lehigh or at the distance site in consultation with a staff research advisor and Lehigh faculty. However, this course may not be required (and another one may be substituted in its place) if the student has demonstrated proficiency in molecular biology and biochemical techniques. In this case, a description of the research or technical experience in the field should be summarized and submitted with the student’s admission application.

** These courses require live participation through our Classroom LIVE platform.

A non-thesis research option is available upon approval by the student’s departmental committee.


Elective courses offered through the student’s program will include various specialization courses such as:

BIOS 327 Development and Disease (3) BIOS 464 Molecular Biology of Eukaryotic Organisms (3)
BIOS 328 Immunology (3) BIOS 466 Structure and Function of RNAs and Ribonucleoprotein Complexes (3)
BIOS 376 Developmental Biology (3) BIOS 471 Eukaryotic Signal Transduction (3)
BIOS 442 Cellular Basis of Human Disease (3)

This elective list is preliminary and is shown for information only. There is no relationship to the order in which they appear above and when they will be scheduled. Other elective courses in Biological Sciences may be available in some semesters.

Please note: Elective courses in other departments may be appropriate for the M.S. degree but require the approval of the Molecular Biology program.

Admission Requirements

  • This program is offered through Distance Education.
  • Admissions Open: Summer/Fall/Spring
  • Fall Deadline for Application Review: July 1
  • Spring Deadline for Application Review: November 1
  • Summer Deadline for Application Review: April 15

Contact Information

Erin Curtolo, Academic Coordinator
Phone Number: 610-758-3681

Admission Requirements

2 Letters of Recommendation Required

A bachelor’s degree from an approved institution with an overall grade point average of at least 3.0. Applicants with undergraduate GPAs below 3.0 may be admitted with the approval of the department in which they wish to take courses. 

Last updated Jun 2020

About the School

As Lehigh’s largest and most diverse college, we are home to the social sciences, arts, humanities, and natural sciences. With 1,894 undergraduate students, 342 graduate students, 270 full-time facult ... Read More

As Lehigh’s largest and most diverse college, we are home to the social sciences, arts, humanities, and natural sciences. With 1,894 undergraduate students, 342 graduate students, 270 full-time faculty and 90 professional staff, we are comparable in size and offer the intimacy of a liberal arts college, yet benefit from the resources of a research university. Our faculty are accomplished scholars, artists, and writers, recognized nationally and internationally as leaders in their fields, who share a commitment to the integration of teaching and scholarship into innovative, dynamic curricula set in an intellectually stimulating environment. Read less