Frequently Asked Questions
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 G.P.A. 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 question #1), 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.
When should I declare?
If you have decided that MCB is the right major for you and you are prepared (see item #1). 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.
I am a junior and I need an Advisor Code to register on Tele-BEARS, but I'm not prepared to declare yet. What do I do?
Please come into the Undergraduate Affairs Office, in 3060 VLSB. Letters and Science requires juniors and seniors with 75 units of completed or in progress coursework to get an Advisor Code from their intended major.
What must I do to declare the MCB major?
Students who are ready to declare should go online to http://mcb.berkeley.edu/internal/uao/declaration/ to begin the process. Follow the instructions on the web site, which will take approximately 10 minutes.
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 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.
Can I minor in MCB?
There is no minor program in MCB.
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.
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.
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, 100B, 102, & 104 are all offered fall and spring. Check the online catalog for offerings of our other courses.
May I use MCB research units in satisfaction of the MCB elective requirement?
No. Independent studies will not fulfill major requirements. The units will count towards unit requirements in the college.
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.
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.
Why do MCB majors graduate with a Bachelor of Arts instead of a Bachelor of Science? Will this hinder my chances of getting into medical or graduate school?
Molecular & Cell Biology is a department within the College of Letters & Sciences, which awards undergraduate degrees of Bachelor of Arts. Your undergraduate program, overall, is a liberal arts program, which includes courses in humanities, social sciences, philosophy & values, and social & behavioral science, in addition to your science courses.
The students who graduate from MCB have equally good chances of earning admission to medical or graduate school as those who graduate from UCB with B.S. degrees. We have MCB graduates in most if not all of the top medical and graduate programs across the country.