The purpose of the MBES curriculum is to combine a solid background in molecular and cellular biology with flexible, individually-tailored programs in which students use cutting edge molecular skills to solve environmentally relevant questions including those affecting human health. The curriculum for first-year students involves comprehensive and integrated studies of biochemistry, molecular biology and cell biology with seminars and workshops through the common core curriculum of the College of Graduate Studies on the downtown medical campus. In the second half of the second semester students take a seven week elective in one of several departments and programs. MBES offers "Environment, Oceans, and Humans: The Inextricable Relationship between Environmental and Human Health" . In the afternoon students participate in four laboratory rotations during the first academic year.
The second academic year consists of specialized elective courses in which the principles of the first year are applied to focus topics such as Marine Eco-Genomics, Environmental Carcinogenesis, Proteomics,