Biochemistry is the study of molecules and chemical processes in living organisms, while Cell Biology is concerned with the structure and physiology of cells, their components, and interactions with the environment. The two fields are combined in one comprehensive degree program, which will give you a broad understanding of the molecular and cellular mechanisms that form the basis of life, including the principles of inheritance and gene expression. This allows BCCB graduates to address in their careers important problems in today's society, be it by basic or by applied research, for example in the areas of biomedicine, biotechnology, or molecular biology. For this, the BCCB program at Jacobs University provides not only the theoretical background, but also substantial practical training. Students are, furthermore, involved in hands-on research during their studies.
The program is regularly highly ranked in the CHE Rankings and U-Multirank.
Job description and job opportunities
Most BCCB graduates move on to graduate education, and past graduates of this program have enrolled at prestigious universities world-wide. To these belong MSc and PhD programs at Imperial College London, LMU Munich, University of Heidelberg, University of Göttingen, ETH Zurich, EPF Lausanne, European Molecular Biology Laboratories (EMBL), various International Max Planck Research Schools (IMPRS), University of Oxford, University of Cambridge, Cornell University, Duke University, New York University, Yale, MIT, and Harvard University.
The applied curriculum of the BCCB program with many laboratory courses also enables graduates to find work as lab researchers, in other research-related positions, in product development, technical support, marketing or sales in biotech, food, or pharmaceutical companies as well as government agencies. Some graduates have also found non-traditional careers such as management, science policy, or science writing. Outside academia, past graduates of this program work for Arthrex, Catenion, Roche, Leroy Merlin, Boston Consulting Group, and the non-profit partnership Medicines for Malaria Venture.
Today’s business world requires disciplinary knowledge from graduates as well as the ability to apply this knowledge. Career-related services at Jacobs University provide information, counseling and training, networks, and events. Jacobs University’s students participate in trainings on project management, business communication, job interview skills, and more. Digital job and internship portfolios help students to prepare for their career.
The ?rst study year is characterized by a broad offer in disciplinary education that builds on and extends the students’ entrance qualification. BCCB Students select introductory modules with a total of 45 CP from the CHOICE area of a variety of study programs, of which 30 CP will be from their intended major.
Students can still change to another major at the beginning of the second year of studies if they have taken the corresponding modules of the study program in the first year of studies.
Biochemistry and Cell Biology students take the following discipline-specific CHOICE Modules in their first year of study:CHOICE Module: General Biochemistry (7.5 CP)
CHOICE Module: General and Inorganic Chemistry (7.5 CP)
CHOICE Module: General Cell Biology (7.5 CP)
CHOICE Module: General Organic Chemistry (7.5 CP)
The modules of the BCCB major are planned out to consist of integrated lecture and laboratory course module components. The General Biochemistry Module will explain how to apply and analyze basic concepts of biochemistry, while the General Cell Biology Module introduces students to cells that are the minimal functional units of life. Both BCCB-specific modules find their essential foundations and complementation in the General and Inorganic Chemistry and General Organic Chemistry Modules, in which the underlying principles of chemical reactions and organic molecules are conveyed. Thus, the macromolecular composition of cells, general principles of cellular and biochemical processes ,as well as molecular biological codes provided by the genome, the transcriptome and the proteome will be in the focus of the complementary components of the BCCB modules at large. Physiology and pathological alterations bringing about diseases will be introduced alongside. In-lab experiences will encompass documentation, description and discussion of experimental data, while awareness and following of safety rules and regulations are explained and trained.
In their second year, students take modules with a total of 45 CP from in-depth, discipline-speci?c CORE modules. These modules aim to extend the students’ critical understanding of the key theories, principles, and methods in their major at the current state of knowledge and best practice.
BCCB students take the following CORE modules:CORE Module: Advanced Biochemistry I (5 CP)
CORE Module: Advanced Biochemistry II (5 CP)
CORE Module: Advanced Biochemistry Lab (5 CP)
CORE Module: Advanced Cell Biology I (5 CP)
CORE Module: Advanced Cell Biology II (5 CP)
CORE Module: Advanced Cell Biology Laboratory Course (5 CP)
The mandatory CORE Modules of the BCCB program build on the BCCB CHOICE modules and are thought to deepen the knowledge in each of the two core fields of this major: biochemistry and cell biology. For either field, the CORE modules encompass two lectures and a laboratory course. To account for the wealth of information and the fast development in knowledge acquisition, as well as methodological advances in these rapidly enhancing scientific fields, the modules are staggered from the third to the fourth semester. The "Advanced Biochemistry I/II" modules cover energy production by living organisms, synthesis and degradation of biomolecules and principles of metabolism. Moreover, they address how genetic information is regulated, controlled and expressed in pro- and eukaryotic cells, and how DNA repair is realized at an advanced level. The "Advanced Cell Biology I/II" modules provide an in-depth view on the complexity of cellular systems, the regulation of key cellular processes and their integration in tissue formation and organismal organization, including regulatory mechanisms that allow for coordinated early development in selected model organisms. These modules will also address principles of genetics and evolution and discuss consequences of alterations upon loss of homeostasis or stress, thereby approaching biomedical implications leading to disease.
In the laboratory modules, students will perform experiments to elucidate the relationship between structure, biochemical properties, and activity of biomolecules, both in vitro and in a cellular context. For example, proteins tagged by the green fluorescent protein (GFP) will be expressed and biochemically characterized in the Advanced Biochemistry Laboratory module while protein trafficking and functioning in different cellular compartments will be analyzed using GFP-tagged proteins in combination with different targeting signals in the Advanced Cell Biology Laboratory module. Methods range from standard techniques like chromatography, gel electrophoresis, spectrophotometry to genetic engineering of plasmid vectors, the genetic manipulation of cells and advanced laser scanning microscopy. Result documentation, analysis and discussion will be accomplished through publication-style laboratory reports.
Students decide to complement their studies by taking the discipline-specific mandatory elective CORE modules (15CP):CORE Module: Microbiology (7.5 CP)
CORE Module: Infection and Immunity (7.5)
Or substitute these modules with CORE modules from a second field of studies according to interest with the aim to pursue a minor.
"Microbiology" (7.5 CP) and "Infection and Immunity" (7.5 CP) explore microbial biology and pathogenicity as well as host-pathogen interactions in light of the human immune system as an efficient defense mechanism.
During their third year, students prepare and make decisions for their career after graduation. To explore available choices fitting individual interests, and to gain professional experience, students take a mandatory summer internship.
The 5th semester opens also a mobility window for study abroad options. Finally, the 6th semester is dedicated to fostering the research experience of students by involving them in an extended Bachelor thesis and seminar module, which aims at data generation of publication quality.
BCCB students take major-specific or major-related, advanced Specialization modules to consolidate their knowledge at the current state of research in areas of their choice.
BCCB students can choose four of the following Specialization Modules:Specialization: Experimental Strategy Design (5 CP)
Specialization: RNA Biochemistry (5 CP)
Specialization: Biomedicine (5 CP)
Specialization: Current Topics in the Molecular Life Sciences (5 CP)
Specialization: Microbial Engineering (5 CP)
The specialization modules in the BCCB program aim at critical discussions and evaluations of current advances in different research fields of the molecular life sciences to unravel and apply the fascinating complexity of biological systems in basic and applied sciences. Although from different perspectives, the BCCB Specialization Modules will address scientific challenges in the 21st century and how scientists tackle them. The module contents will enable students to formulate hypotheses, to develop a strategy to approach any research question experimentally, to predict possible experimental outcomes and how the experiments need to be controlled, in order to finally draw a conclusion from their own data or the results of others. In this context, the regulatory frameworks governing activities in the bioscience field will be discussed and the principles for creating and realizing research projects in the fast progressing fields of life sciences will be outlined. The module contents will take into consideration the societal context in a world with increasing cultural and socio-economic diversity, e.g., by critically deducing today’s challenges in designing research projects in the basic sciences and also aiming at translation into the clinics.
In "Current Topics", students will analyze recent scientific articles in a seminar-style format where students present the authors' rationale and experimental design and debate the experimental outcomes through in-class discussions. Hypothesis-driven research is the central element in "Experimental Strategy Design", where students will expand their methodological knowledge through literature analysis, assessing the benefits and limitations of state-of-the art-techniques, which will enable them to eventually design their own research strategy to answer a given scientific question. The module "RNA Biology" will comprehensively address the structural and functional versatility of this biopolymer, ranging from the discrimination of different RNA types to methodological advances in next generation sequencing and genome editing by CRISPR/Cas. The "Biomedicine" module will analyze how biological processes can go wrong in disease, which molecular regulators are targeted in designing therapeutic approaches and new treatment options and how diagnostic tools can be developed.
Industrial applications will be addressed in the CBT Specializations "Microbial Engineering" and "Chemical and Pharmaceutical Technology". For a detailed description of the CBT Specialization modules, please refer to the handbook of the Chemistry and Biotechnology Study program. Please note that these CBT Specialization modules might have specific pre-requisites.
Admission to Jacobs University is selective and is based on a candidate’s school and/or university achievements, recommendations, self-presentation, and performance on required standardized tests. Students admitted to Jacobs University demonstrate exceptional academic achievements, intellectual creativity, and the desire and motivation to make a difference in the world. Please note that there is no application fee.
Fees & Finances
We believe that everyone has the right to a good education – and this is the principle we live by here at Jacobs University. This is why we offer students a personalized financial aid package to finance their studies, consisting of scholarships and deferral options, for example. You only start repaying the deferred tuition fees once you successfully entered the job market. That way you can focus completely on your studies. We are convinced that a Jacobs’ education will form the perfect foundation for your future career – that is why we are happy to invest in you. Our financing options are automatically available to you upon admission to a study program.