What is Biological Sciences?

The study of living things has undergone a revolution, with unprecedented technological advances in disciplines like biochemistry, cell biology, genetics, molecular biology, developmental biology, neuroscience and computational biology.

Biological sciences majors at CMU-Q make observations and ask questions that help to solve real-world problems. In-depth exposure to multiple disciplines prepares students to be at the forefront of new fields, markets and policy decisions.

The Biological Sciences Program sits within Carnegie Mellon University’s Mellon College of Science (MCS), which has a distinguished record of educating leaders in science and technology. Science education in the 21st century demands educational experiences that are much broader than the traditional preparation of a scholar in a chosen field of science.

Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences

The Bachelor of Science degree in Biological Sciences has a distinctive core curriculum that provides a foundation in biology, chemistry, computer science, mathematics, and physics. Students also choose electives in biology, humanities, social science and fine arts, shaping their degree programs according to their unique interests and goals.

Biological sciences students who wish to have a specialized focus can tailor their education to include a minor in disciplines such as computational biology or neuroscience. Many students broaden their education by pursuing minors in disciplines outside of the Mellon College of Science in areas such as psychology and business.

Our program offers the best of both worlds: the small size of a liberal arts program, and the educational opportunities of a large research institution.

Areas of study

The Biological Sciences Program provides students with rigorous training in biology, while building a strong foundation in all of the natural sciences.

Our students study biology at the macro and micro scales, focusing on five core areas:

  • genetics and molecular biology
  • biochemistry
  • cell and developmental biology
  • neuroscience
  • computational biology

One of the most important features of the Biological Sciences Program is the opportunity for undergraduate students to interact with faculty. Providing a solid foundation to scientific practice is critical; therefore, the department offers students a variety of inquiry-based, hands-on courses that incorporate a wide range of topics and interests within biological sciences. These courses kick-start the transformation of science students to scientists.

Laboratory courses

Honors Modern Biology

This combination lecture and lab course provides students with a foundation in cellular and molecular biology. The laboratory component reinforces experimental concepts and encourages the analysis of experimental data. Experiments include enzyme kinetics, diffusion, polymerase chain reaction, electrophoresis, bacterial transformation, and the expression of recombinant proteins.

Phage Genomics Research

Students are introduced to biological investigation through research in bacteriophage genomics. The enormous diversity of bacteriophages—viruses that infect bacteria—make them important models for the study of gene structure, function and regulation, population genetics and evolution. Students will use the techniques of DNA isolation, next generation sequencing and computational analysis to identify bacteriophage species and conduct a comparative genomic study.

Experimental Techniques in Molecular Biology

This course teaches experimental methods of modern biology. Students conduct experiments in microbial genetics, molecular biology and eukaryotic genetics, with an emphasis on understanding and applying the biological principles of each experiment. Experimentation using living organisms and/or their tissues, cells or molecules is an essential component of this course.

Experimental Biochemistry

Students learn methods for investigating the structure and function of biological molecules, including enzyme kinetics, spectroscopy, and techniques associated with mammalian cell technology such as tissue culture and flow cytometry. During several experiments, students design their own projects. Experimentation using living organisms and/or their tissues, cells or molecules is an essential component of this course.

Sample plan

What will I do with my degree?

Many biological sciences graduates pursue careers in research science in academic, government, biotechnology or pharmaceutical industry laboratories. Others work in the fields of health, forensics, law and education.

Students may choose to pursue graduate studies in a variety of areas such as science, public health, law or business. A degree in biological sciences provides excellent preparation for medical school.

Careers for biological sciences graduates

  • Medical professional
  • law consultant
  • Educational consultant
  • Pharmaceutical researcher
  • Government scientist
  • Health consultant
  • Patent law
  • Biotechnology researcher
  • Genetic counselor
  • Forensic consultant

Where do graduates work?

  • Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry
  • National Institutes of Health
  • Qatar Biomedical Research Institute
  • Sidra Medical and Research Center

Where do CMU-Q biological sciences alumni pursue graduate studies?

  • Carnegie Mellon University
  • Cornell University
  • Georgetown University
  • Imperial College London
  • University of Cincinnati
  • Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar
  • Yale University
Abdulaziz Al-Haddad

“When I joined Carnegie Mellon, I knew little about the tremendous opportunities in biological sciences. During my studies I became deeply involved in cancer research, presented my findings in the US and Qatar and found a field that I love.”

Ettaib El Marabti, Class of 2017

Program at a Glance


Standard completion time

4 Years


Minimum units required for degree:

360 units

Major/Concentration: 130, Mathematics, Physics and Computer Science: 56, Chemistry: 62, Electives: 111


Admission requirements
All applicants are required to meet the following academic and subject prerequisites.


Application deadline
Fall Semester: March 1


Research opportunities

Research opportunities

Students at CMU-Q have many opportunities to engage in research: they have the option of a senior thesis project, independent study guided by a faculty mentor, and summer research opportunities in a variety of laboratories within Carnegie Mellon University and Education City.

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Academic Enrichment

Academic Enrichment

Biological sciences students at CMU-Q can choose from an extensive slate of academic enrichment opportunities that enhance their work in the classroom.

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General Education

General Education

General Education includes mandatory and elective classes in a wide range of academic areas, including Arabic, architecture, chemistry, design, English, history, math and physics.

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What will your day look like?

What will your day look like?

Take a look at a day in the life of a student at Carnegie Mellon Qatar.

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Meet the Faculty

Nesrine Affara

Nesrine Affara

Assistant Teaching Professor, Biological Sciences

Mohamed Bouaouina

Mohamed Bouaouina

Assistant Teaching Professor, Biological Sciences

Gordon Rule

Gordon Rule

Area Head, Biological Sciences; Professor, Biological Sciences

Annette Vincent

Annette Vincent

Program Director, Biological Sciences; Assistant Teaching Professor, Biological Sciences

Ihab Younis

Ihab Younis

Assistant Teaching Professor, Biological Sciences

Upcoming Events

New Student Orientation

12:00AM - 11:59PM

Internship Showcase

12:00PM - 1:30PM

Tartan Talks

12:00PM - 1:30PM

Biotechnology Explorer Program

8:00AM - 3:00PM