Montana State University

Department of Cell Biology & Neuroscience

Montana State University
P.O. Box 173148
Bozeman, MT 59717-3148

Tel: (406) 994-5120
Fax: (406) 994-7077
Location: 510 Leon Johnson Hall

Department Chair

Frances Lefcort, Ph.D.


Cell Biology & Neuroscience Facebook Link

Undergraduate Program Overview

CBN student Angie Mitchell exaxmines leaves from
a tree with medicinal properties in Ecuador.

Two different undergraduate degree options are available within the Cell Biology and Neuroscience major: Biomedical Sciences and Cell Biology & Neuroscience.

The Biomedical Sciences Option is designed to fulfill the course requirements for admission to most medical, dental, optometry, and veterinary schools. It may also be used to prepare for other professional programs, or for biomedical research or teaching careers.

The Cell Biology and Neuroscience Option is designed for students planning to attend graduate school or who are preparing for careers in biomedical or neuroscience research. It offers additional preparation in mathematics, physical chemistry and neuroscience. This option can also be used to prepare for professional programs, or for teaching careers, although students preparing for professional (e.g. medical) school admission should note that this curriculum offers only one semester of organic chemistry (most medical schools require a full year of organic chemistry).


In the freshman and sophomore years, students majoring in both options build a broad scientific knowledge base, taking courses in biology, chemistry, physics, and mathematics. As juniors or seniors, students can enroll in a variety of more specialized upper division courses from several different biological science departments at MSU, with programs tailored to the specific interests and career goals of each student. Students can participate in a number of advanced laboratory courses, and are also encouraged to design individual, independent projects guided by a member of the faculty.

Course descriptions

Curriculum guide

Premedicine, Predentistry and Preoptometry

Students may prepare for admission to medical, dental, or optometry school by following the option in Biomedical Sciences in the Department of Cell Biology and Neuroscience. The Department of Cell Biology and Neuroscience provides advising on matters pertaining to the biomedical sciences curriculum; advising on matters pertaining to admission to professional schools is provided by Dr. Sheila Nielsen-Preiss in Health Professions Advising.

Requirements for Admission to Upper Division Courses in Biology

Admission to upper division (numbered 300 and above) courses taught in the Department of Cell Biology and Neuroscience requires completion of at least 30 total university credits with a cumulative GPA of at least 2.5 for all courses.

Grade Requirements for Fulfillment of Degree Options

In order to graduate with a B.S. in the department, students must earn a grade of "C-" or better for every course required for the specific option, including courses taken to fulfill required elective credits.

Graduation in Absentia

Some professional programs accept students before their degree requirements are completed. It is often possible to transfer credits from the first year of professional school to MSU to graduate with the baccalaureate degree in absentia. An official copy of the year one professional school transcript must be sent to the MSU academic advisor; he/she then writes a letter to the MSU Registrar explaining which credits transfer and how they fulfill the degree requirements. The student then registers in absentia at MSU for the semester in which the B.S. degree will be awarded.