Introductory Laboratory Courses in Biochemistry & Cell Biology

Our department offers three entry level laboratory courses. Each course is described briefly below. More information is available at the individual web sites.

Brief descriptions

Completion of either BIOC 111 or BIOC 112 qualifies students to take BIOC 211 and also counts as a biology lab for medical school applications. A student may receive credit for BIOC 111 or BIOC 112, but not for both courses.

BIOC 111 (1 cr. hr.) introduces fundamental methods and standard laboratory practices in biosciences.  Major objectives are to prepare students who have limited laboratory experience to move on to courses that require more independent learning, including BIOC 211, and to provide students with fundamental skills that are needed to conduct independent study in a research laboratory in biochemistry & cell Biology. BIOC 111, if taken, should be taken in the first year.

BIOC 112 (1 cr. hr.) explores science with a more open approach and involves guided participation in scientific research in collaboration with a research laboratory in BioSciences. It is restricted to freshmen with a "no pass" prelab examination score on record. The course is recommended for students interested in the Biochemistry and Cell Biology major who have very limited practical laboratory experience.

BIOC 211 (2 cr. hrs.) is an intermediate level laboratory course designed for biochemistry & cell biology majors. Students wishing to enroll in BIOC 211 must first take BIOC 111, 112, NSCI 120, or pass a pre-laboratory exam (see below). Biosciences majors should take BIOC 211 early in their careers, but not in the first semester at Rice.

Registration process


To take BIOC 111, 112, or 211 a student must have a pre-lab exam score on record. Eligible students may register for BIOC 111 or 211 on ESTHER in any semester. BIOC 112 requires a pre-lab score and instructor permission. If you have never taken our pre-lab exam then please follow the steps outlined in the next section. Note that there is a limited period of time during which you may sign up.

Accessing the pre-lab exam

Students new to the process must complete a signup form (see steps 1 and 2 below). Students who signed up previously but postponed taking the exam may take the exam when it next becomes available. Such students remain on the eligibility list and need not re-submit a signup form even if they plan to take the exam in a later semester.

See the calendar below for the signup and exam windows. During the signup window we check for new signups and exam submissions each day, score the exams and return results as quickly as possible.

Registration calendar for fall 2017 registration

Apr 11 to Aug 13, 2017 Registration process closed
Sunday Aug 13, 6 pm Signup form and prelab exam become available
Sunday Aug 20, 11:59 pm Signup form closes; it will next be available when the spring 2018 registration planner opens
Tuesday Aug 22, 11:59 pm Prelab exam closes; it will next be available when the spring 2018 registration planner opens

If you have not taken our pre-lab exam then please carry out the steps outlined below. If you previously signed up but did not take the exam you may take it without signing up again. If you previously completed the exam then a score is on record. You are not eligible to take it again.

STEP 1: Log into Owlspace, search under "joinable sites" for the BCB Teaching Lab Collaborative Site, and join. The site is joinable year round. If you join but do not complete one or more of the remaining steps within two semesters your name may be purged from the site. In that case you are welcome to rejoin the site.

Unfamiliar with Owlspace? See here for how to find the signup form –
Navigation instructions

STEP 2: On the BCB Teaching Lab Collaborative Site complete and submit the current BIOC Lab Signup Form under "Tests and Quizzes," then confirm that it is listed under Submitted Assessments in OWL-Space.

*STEP 3: Allow us up to 24 hours to add your name to the eligibility list for taking the pre-lab exam, then check for it under Tests & Quizzes. Complete the exam promptly because the exam window closes soon after registration has ended. The exam is timed at one hour. Set aside one full hour during which you will be undisturbed, with a reliable internet connection and a calculator. Read all instructions carefully to ensure that you submit a valid set of answers.

STEP 4: After scoring your exam we will send the result to the Registrar and then notify you by email whether or not you passed (may take any course) or did not pass (must start with BIOC 111, BIOC 112 or NSCI 120). As soon as the Registrar enters the result, you may sign up for a section of BIOC 111 on ESTHER or complete registration for BIOC 112 with instructor permission.

*The sooner you complete the exam the better. The longer you wait the greater are the chances that the section or sections that you need are filled. Note that BIOC 112, section 001 of BIOC 111, and all sections of BIOC 211 start the first week of classes. BIOC 211 is usually filled by returning students. Students who are not registered for one of these sections by the morning of the first day of classes will have to wait a semester.

Important facts and answers to FAQs

Department of Biochemistry & Cell Biology
Created 14 May 2010; updated 28 Apr 17