Congratulations on your acceptance to UC Berkeley!
Check out these frequently asked questions to learn more about MCB and to help separate fact from fiction! Also, we polled some of our peer advisors about their choice to come to Berkeley, their freshman experience, and more.
- What are the lower-division MCB requirements?
- I've heard that you can't graduate in 4 years if you want to major in MCB. Is that true?
- What should I take in the fall as a new freshman?
- Is the Math 16 series acceptable to meet the math requirement for MCB?
- What if I'm not sure whether or not I want to major in MCB?
- If I am pre-med, is MCB the right major for me?
- What about AP scores? Can I waive out of other prerequisite courses for the MCB major?
- I still have questions about which classes to take. Can I call, email or come to the Undergraduate Affairs Office even though I'm not declared yet?
- How can I get in touch with other students to get their opinion about certain classes?
- I'm not able to attend Cal Day but I still want to keep up-to-date about MCB-related events. What can I do?
- How do I learn about the current research being conducted in MCB?
- I was admitted to the Fall Program for Freshman (FPF). Will I be behind the rest of my MCB peers? Can I still graduate in four years?
- Why do I receive a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree even though I'm studying MCB?
- What can I do with a degree in Molecular and Cell Biology?
Q: What are the lower-division MCB requirements?
A: All students will take the following courses. However, any student considering MCB:Biological Chemistry (BMB: Track 2) should plan to take Chem 1B and the upper-division orgranic chemistry sequence (Chem 112A/B). Any deviations from this course list must be approved by the MCB major advisor prior to completing the sequence.
|Course Number||Course Name||Semesters Offered||Units|
|Math 10A||Methods of Mathematics: Calculus, Statistics, and Combinatorics||Fall||4|
|Math 10B||Methods of Mathematics: Calculus, Statistics, and Combinatorics||Spring||4|
|Chemistry 1A/1AL||General Chemistry with Lab||Fall, Spring, Summer||3 + 1|
|Chemistry 3A/3AL||Chemical Structure and Reactivity with Lab||Fall, Spring, Summer||3 + 2|
|Chemistry 3B/3BL||Chemical Structure and Reactivity with Lab||Fall, Spring, Summer||3 + 2|
|Biology 1A/1AL||General Biology with Lab||Fall, Spring, Summer||3 + 2|
|Biology 1B||General Biology with Lab||Fall, Spring, Summer||4|
|Physics 8A||Introductory Physics||Fall, Spring, Summer||4|
|Physics 8B||Introductory Physics||Fall, Spring, Summer||4|
Note: Students interested in Biological Chemistry must also take Chemistry 1B and replace Chem 3A/3AL and Chem 3B/3BL with Chemistry 112A and 112B.
Q: What should I take in the fall as a new freshman?
A: There are many variables that must be considered, but as a general rule, most incoming students intending MCB will take Chemistry 1A/1AL and Math 10A. In addition, many first semester students will take a reading & composition course and/or a breadth course. Ideally, students should register for Chem 1A/1AL and Math 10A during phase 1, but it is up to you to determine your priorities. CalSO will help guide your scheduling choices for your first semester at Cal.
A: We still recommend that you take Chem 1A/1AL and Math 10A during your first semester at Cal. Most other biological science majors (including Integrative Biology, Public Health, and those offered through CNR) on campus will accept this sequence. If you would like to know about other biology majors, check out the Biology @ Berkeley website.
Q: If I am pre-med, is MCB the right major for me?
A: Maybe. Students are admitted to medical school with a variety of majors, such as spanish, history, german, political science, etc. We suggest majoring in MCB if you have a true interest in science and, in particular, genetics, immunology, biochemistry, neurobiology, or cell biology. If your interests lie in another major, you can always take the classes needed for admission to medical school while majoring in the subject that is most interesting to you. Regardless of your major, you would need to take one year of college-level calculus, general biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry, calculus-based physics, and biochemistry. More information can be found on the Career Center's medical school preparation website.
Q: What about AP or IB scores? Can I waive out of other prerequisite courses for the MCB major?
A: AP and/or IB scores can substitute for some of the MCB prerequisites (see chart below). However, we strongly suggest that you take all lower-division courses here at Cal so that you have a solid background in biology and chemistry before you begin your upper-division course work. We particularly recommend taking Biology 1A/1AL regardless of AP credit. The classes at Cal are typically more in-depth, taught differently, and designed to prepare you for success beyond Cal. Most health professions programs require that you have, for example, two semesters of general biology with labs, taken at the college-level. Most programs do not accept AP/IB credit.
|AP Chemistry||4 or 5||Chem 1A/1AL|
|AP Biology||4 or 5||Bio 1A/1AL and/or Bio 1B|
|IB Chemsitry||5, 6, or 7||Chem 1A/1AL|
|IB Biology||5, 6, or 7||Bio 1B only|
Q: I still have questions about which classes to take. Can I call, email or come to the MCB Undergraduate Affairs Office even though I'm not declared yet?
A: ABSOLUTELY! During the fall and spring semesters, we have peer advisors Monday through Friday beginning at 10a. In addition, there are academic advisors in the Undergraduate Affairs Office (UAO), M-Th 9-12, 1-4 and F 9-12, 1-3. For quick questions, you can also email firstname.lastname@example.org. We check this email daily so we'll be sure to get back to you as soon as possible. If you would like to speak with someone immediately, please call 510.643.8895.
Q: How can I get in touch with other students to get their opinion about certain classes?
A: When school is in session, we have peer advisors in our office every day of the week (beginning at 10A). They are here specifically to talk to you, the prospective major, the undeclared student, the student with questions. More information can be found on the peer advising webpage.
Specifically, the MCB major is housed within the College of Letters & Science and is designed to balance depth in the science and knowledge of subects beyond your major, such as anthropology, legal studies, economics, etc. Many students use this opportunity to declare a minor, participate in the Course Threads program, and/or demonstrate success in a multitude of areas.