Cell & Molecular Biology Major Resources

The Cell and Molecular Biology major is an in-depth exploration of the underlying chemistry and molecular biology in living cells. Students in this major are well-prepared for a variety of careers and graduate programs including PhD programs in the life sciences, medical school, and related professional degrees.

Here you will find:

  • Key information about your major
  • How and when to meet with your major advisor
  • Planning tools that will help you track your progress in the major
  • Ways to explore career opportunities related to the CMB major

Take a few moments to look at the information below. It will help you plan effectively and avoid surprises during your studies at John Jay. Please visit the Science Department's website for information, resources, and opportunities!

CMB Requirements

To be admitted to the Cell and Molecular Biology (CMB) major as a freshman, you must meet the following criteria:

Out-of-State Freshmen
High School academic average of 81 or higher AND
3 years of HS Math AND
3 years of HS Science AND
Have taken HS Chemistry course

In-State Freshmen
High School academic average of 81 or higher AND
3.5 units of HS Math AND
4 units of HS Science AND
Have taken HS Chemistry Regents OR HS Chemistry course

1. If you meet the above criteria and select CMB as your desired major on your admissions application, you will be approved for the CMB major. Your first chemistry and biology courses at John Jay will be determined by your math placement.

2. If you do not meet the above criteria, you will be defaulted to a Criminal Justice BS (CJBS) major, which you could change to another non-science major if you wish. If you still have a strong interest in the CMB major, you can try to achieve admission to the major by doing the following:

  • Register for a Life and Physical Science course in your first semester at John Jay (SCI 114, in-person lecture rather than on-line, is the preferred choice, or SCI 110 or 112).
  • Register for your math placement course.
  • Earn at least a 2.5 GPA in your math and science courses
  • ​At the end of the term, after your grades have been posted, consult with the Science Department about whether you can declare the CMB major, or possibly consider a biology or chemistry minor.

3. If you did not apply for the CMB major but are interested in declaring it, at your freshman registration session you must express this interest. An academic advisor will give you a Referral Form to take to the Admissions Office, where they will evaluate your eligibility. If admitted, you will be allowed to register for the appropriate biology and chemistry courses. If not, see the steps above for students who do not currently meet the major's admission criteria.

Continuing Students
If you would like to switch to CMB from another major, consult with Dr. Jason Rauceo (jrauceo@jjay.cuny.edu) to discuss the feasibility of this switch and learn what you can do to put yourself in the strongest position for admission.

Transfer Students
In order to gain admission to CMB as a transfer student, you must have completed core science courses such as biology, chemistry, physics, algebra, or calculus at another college with a GPA of 2.5 or higher in these courses. If you don’t meet these admissions criteria, consult with Dr. Jason Rauceo (jrauceo@jjay.cuny.edu) to discuss your options.

You are responsible for the major requirements that were in effect when you declared the major. To confirm the requirements you should be following, go to the Undergraduate Bulletin for that academic year. For example, if you declared the Cell and Molecular Biology major in Fall 2015 or Spring 2016, you would click on the 2015-2016 Undergraduate Bulletin. If you declared the major and then left the College for more than one full semester, you’re responsible for the major requirements in effect when you return, if they have changed. Not sure when you declared the major? Find out here.

Below, find the Undergraduate Bulletin that was in effect when you declared the major.

Each of the CMB courses below can count toward your major requirements and toward your General Education requirements.
Math & Quantitative Reasoning Life and Physical Science Scientific World
MAT 151 BIO 102 BIO 102
BIO 103 BIO 103
BIO 104 BIO 104
CHE 102 BIO/GEN 255
CHE 103 CHE 102
CHE 104 CHE 103
CHE 201 CHE 104
CHE 202 CHE 201
PHY 101 CHE 202
PHY 102 PHY 101
PHY 203 PHY 102
PHY 204 PHY 203
PHY 204
Note that a single course cannot meet both the Scientific World requirement and the Life and Physical Science requirement. You must meet these requirements with two separate courses.

Major Advising

Advisement is important and should not just be a visit to an office during registration.
Consult with your major advisor at least once per semester. Also, if you are transferring course credits, make sure the correct course equivalencies are issued.

For Fall 2024, Dr. Nathan Lents will be the CMB major advisor. Please email nlents@jjay.cuny.edu or use Dr. Lents's Navigate availability link (https://jjay-cuny.campus.eab.com/pal/F8mXivzm7N) to schedule an appointment with him.

CMB students who need major advising during Summer session (June 3 -August 27) 2024 can email Professor Nathan Lents at nlents@jjay.cuny.edu or use Dr. Lents's Navigate availability link (https://jjay-cuny.campus.eab.com/pal/F8mXivzm7N) to schedule an appointment with him.

Sophomores with 45-59 credits may have a major hold placed on their registration. The hold will be removed when they have a major advising appointment with the CMB major coordinator. This discussion will encourage wise planning and allow students to ask any questions they may have about the major. How do you know if you have a major hold? Go to CUNYfirst and complete the following steps:

  1. Check the Holds box of your CUNYfirst Student Center. If "Advisement Required" appears, click on “details.”
  1. Click on “Advisement Required.”
  1. See which type of advisement you need. If you must see a major advisor, then make a major advising appointment following the steps preferred by this department.

Plan Ahead: Graduate on Time

Planning ahead is vital to your success in the major. The following tips will ensure that you avoid issues during registration and graduation:
• Take your prerequisite 100-level Math courses as early as possible (no later than your second semester in the major).
• Be aware of major courses that are offered only in the fall or spring semesters (see chart below). Please note that course availability can change depending on student enrollment.
Course Name and Number Available Fall Semester Available Spring Semester
BIO 101 Paced General Biology I Yes Yes
BIO 102 Paced General Biology II Yes Yes
BIO 103 General Biology I Yes Yes
BIO 104 General Biology II Yes Yes
BIO 205 Cell Biology Yes Yes
BIO 211 Microbiology Yes Yes
BIO 212 Microbiology Lab Yes Yes
BIO 255 Gender and Sexuality Yes Yes
BIO 315 Genetics Yes Yes
BIO 355 Human Physiology Yes No
BIO 356 Human Anatomy/Physiology Lab Yes No
BIO 360 Human Pathology Yes No
BIO 364 Forensic Pathology No Yes
BIO 380 Selected Topics in Biology TBD TBD
BIO 412 Molecular Biology Yes Yes
BIO 413 DNA Fingerprinting and Analysis No Yes
BIO 402 Research Internship Yes Yes
BIO 488 CMB Capstone Course No Yes
TOX 313 Toxicology of Environmental and Industrial Agents Yes Yes

Don’t fall behind in your coursework! If you need tutoring in Math and Science, help in writing lab reports, peer-study sessions, or other academic assistance, visit our Math and Science Resource Center (MSRC) at o1.94 NB or our Writing Center at 1.68 NB.

  • DegreeWorks degree audit - Use this online planning tool to track your overall progress toward graduation. You will see which of your general education and major requirements are completed, in progress, or still needed.  Refer to the DegreeWorks FAQs to better understand how to use this helpful tool. Note: be sure to confirm the accuracy of your degree audit with a general advisor and major advisor.
  • CMB Major Checklist - Fill out this printable worksheet to keep track of which major requirements you have completed and which ones you still need.
  • Sample Four Year Plan - See our Sample Four Year Plan for students who placed into MAT 105 or our Sample Four Year Plan for students who placed into MAT 141 for an example of how you could complete all your degree requirements (major, general education, electives) and graduate in four years! Remember that each sample plan shows just one possible way to combine your requirements. Transfer students in particular should work with advisors to determine a plan that works best for them.

A General Academic Advisor will confirm what general academic requirements you still need, make suggestions about smart course planning that will help you graduate without delays, discuss your interest in adding a minor or second major, inform you about opportunities such as study abroad, discuss general questions and concerns, and make helpful referrals. Visit the Academic Advisement Center's webpage for more information.

CMB and Careers

Undergraduate research is critical for acceptance into graduate programs and preparation for the job market. We encourage students to seek research opportunities as early as the second year in the major. For information on getting involved in student research, explore our Program for Research Initiatives in Science and Math (PRISM) homepage.

Listen to Professor Nathan Lents talk about the CMB major, how it gives you cutting edge skills for an exciting range of careers, and how the world of science can actually impact the world of justice.


Visit our Pre-Health/Medical Careers Office for resources and tips concerning graduate school programs, summer research internships, and careers in science.


The Center for Career and Professional Development is another great resource for all questions related to job searches, internships, and career preparation. CCPD staff are available to meet individually with students and alumni in L72.00 New Building. To request a 45-minute counseling appointment, log on to John Jay Careers Online. 15-minute drop-in sessions are also available all day Mon-Fri. (Stop by in person earlier the same day to schedule a drop-in session.)