Frequently Asked Questions

Declaring

Requirements

Enrollment

Declaring

When should I declare?

If you have decided that MCB is the right major for you and you are prepared (see declaration page). Declared majors have priority consideration for enrollment in some upper division MCB courses so it is to your advantage to declare as soon as you are eligible.

What must I do to declare the MCB major?

Students who are ready to declare should go link on the Declaration Instruction Page to begin the process. Follow the instructions on the web site, which will take approximately 10 minutes. 

What courses do I need to take in order to declare the MCB major?

You need to have completed or be currently enrolled in Biology 1A, and have a C or better on the first midterm exam. You must also have completed or be currently enrolled in Chemistry 3B after the early drop deadline.

What kind of GPA must I have to get into the MCB Major?

You must have a 2.0 cumulative G.P.A., a 2.0 major G.P.A. (upper- and lower-division courses combined) and a 2.0 upper-division major G.P.A. to declare the major. This is a C average and is considered to be good academic standing in the College of Letters and Science.

Is this an impacted major?

No, it is not. If you have taken the courses necessary to get into the major (see declaration page), are in good academic standing, and have a reasonable amount of time to complete the upper-division requirements, you will be admitted to the major.

Can I declare a double major within MCB (2 emphases)?

No, I'm afraid not. Technically, this is a single major. Regardless of the emphasis you choose, your diploma will reflect a degree in Molecular & Cell Biology (not neurobiology, immunology, etc.).

Can I minor in MCB?

There is no minor program in MCB.

Requirements

Can I take any of the major course requirements for a P/NP grade?

All lower- and upper-division courses must be taken for a letter grade if they are to be used towards satisfaction of the major requirements.

Are there any minimum grade requirements that I must achieve in any MCB major courses?

While we would hope that you earn at least Cs in all of your classes, you must officially pass all courses (D-) and your major G.P.A.s must stay at or above 2.0. Note though that we've noticed a correlation between the grade students receive in Biology 1A/1AL and their upper-division MCB G.P.A.

How many courses and units must I complete in MCB?

There are 9 lower-division courses required for the MCB major, which total 39 units. You are then required to take 22 to 28 upper-division units, depending upon which emphasis and track you choose.

May I use MCB research units to satisfy any MCB requirement?

Possibly. Students can petition to have appropriate research units substitute for the upper division lab in their emphasis. For more information on the approval process see here.

Can I use courses from other departments to satisfy MCB major requirements?

We have 9 possible major programs to follow. Each has its own set of approved electives. Some, but not all, of these lists include courses from other departments.

Once I complete all the MCB requirements will I be eligible to graduate?

The MCB requirements are only a portion of the requirements necessary for the B.A. degree. Consult with advisors in the College of Letters and Science regarding other requirements such as breadth, unit, residency and upper-division units outside the major.

Enrollment

I have an Academic Advising Hold on CalCentral. What do I do?

Please come into the Undergraduate Affairs Office, in 3060 VLSB. A staff advisor will be able to lift this hold after discussing your plans for next semester.

I have an Undeclared Senior Hold on CalCentral. What do I do?

If you are eligible to declare, please start the process online: Declaration Instruction Page. If you are not eligible, please come into the Undergraduate Affairs Office, in 3060 VLSB to meet with a staff advisor who will give you a conditions to declare form. You will need to bring this form to L&S Advising to get your undeclared senior hold lifted.

What is the difference between enrolling in my MCB upper division courses in Phase I and Phase II?

Some courses may fill up entirely with MCB majors in Phase I or the early part of Phase II, but not all MCB courses. Please speak with an advisor if you have questions regarding enrollment in specific courses.

Must I take Biology 1A/1AL before Biology 1B?

No. These are two separate courses, with separate prerequisites. If you have fulfilled the prerequisites for the courses, you can take either before the other. Since Biology 1A/1AL has a prerequisite of Chem 3A, students often take Biology 1B first.

How often are the MCB courses offered?

The prerequisite courses are all offered fall, spring and summer. Enroll early because some are heavily impacted and fill quickly. The core courses of C100A, 110, 102, & 104 are all offered fall and spring. Check the Berkeley Academic Guide for offerings of our other courses.

When should I take the upper-division lab course?

As a general rule, we schedule this in your senior year, but this varies depending upon other factors. Please come in to speak with an advisor about this if you have questions.