Introduction to the Undergraduate Program

What is Molecular Biophysics & Biochemistry?

The term "Biochemistry" in our name refers to the discipline that identifies and studies the molecules and chemical reactions in biological organisms. "Molecular Biophysics" uses the methods of physics to determine how the molecules identified by biochemists actually work by determining their three-dimensional structures and mechanisms of action. For example, biochemistry was used to discover DNA and the fact that it carries genetic information, while biophysics was used to discover its double-helix structure.

Molecular Biophysics & Biochemistry Program Brochure

The undergraduate programs offered by the department of Molecular Biophysics & Biochemistry (MB&B) are for students interested in not only what life is, but also in how it works. We seek to understand life at a mechanistic level by studying how the extraordinarily complex molecules found in living organisms create structures, carry out chemistry, and store and utilize information to generate the remarkable properties of living organisms. Biochemistry and biophysics are rapidly advancing areas of science that underlie the current dramatic progress in medicine.  

Our undergraduate degree programs are well suited for students planning to attend medical school or graduate studies in biochemistry, molecular biology, genetics, genomics, or biophysics. The MB&B major differs from the programs offered by the Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology (MCDB) department in that MB&B places its central focus on studying biology using the tools of chemistry, physics, and biochemistry. MB&B students thus carry out more in-depth coursework in these areas, and typically take less coursework in other areas such as organismal biology, cell biology, and genetics.

First Year Majors:

  • acquire a broad foundation in chemistry, mathematics, physics, and biology

Second Year & Junior Year Majors:

  • focus on molecular biology and biophysics

Fourth Year Majors:

  • choose among a wide range of opportunities
  • conduct independent research projects
  • take courses at the Graduate School or the Medical School or advanced elective classes at Yale College 

Of the seniors majoring in MB&B each year, about two-thirds go to medical school. Of the other third, some enter graduate school, and others seek employment in university labs or in the biotechnology industry. Our alumni include many distinguished leaders in science and medicine. 

Professor Karla Neugebauer
Director of Undergraduate Studies

Undergraduate Registrar

Elizabeth Vellali
Yale University
Department of Molecular Biophysics & Biochemistry
333 Cedar Street, SHM CE-26A
P.O. Box 208024

New Haven, CT 06520-8024
phone: (203) 737-2060

Sigler Prize for Undergraduates

Paul Sigler
Learn about the Sigler Prize.

Bachelor of Arts Degree (B.A.)

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The B.A. provides the intellectual discipline of biophysics & biochemistry for students who wish to have sufficient time for studies outside the major.

Bachelor of Science Degree (B.S.)


The B.S. is designed for students with a strong commitment to research and includes an intensive introduction to modern laboratory procedures.

Combined Bachelor of Science & Master of Science (B.S./M.S.)


The combined B.S. and M.S. program provides exceptionally able undergraduates an opportunity to accelerate their professional education. The four-year B.S./M.S. involves graduate-level coursework and intensive research similar to that carried out in the first year of a Ph.D. program.