Prospective Students in High School

Welcome to the MCB web site for our undergraduate program. Are you considering a career in the health field or perhaps hope to conduct stem cell research, cancer research or simply love biology or chemistry? Our undergraduate program is an excellent preparation for medical school, graduate school, or for giving you the opportunity to explore your interests in the life sciences. 

The major in Molecular and Cell Biology exposes students in the fundamentals of biochemistry, molecular biology, genetics, and cell biology, and also encourages students to focus their studies in one of five undergraduate major emphases:

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To find out more about what courses our current undergraduates are taking, what research opportunities they have, and the student clubs they run and belong to, check out our Undergraduate Student Perspectives, If I Knew Then... pages and connect with our Peer Advisors.

Considering applying to Cal?

The University of California, Berkeley and the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology have much to offer its students. The Office of Undergraduate Admissions is the first place to start your exploration of this top-ranked University.

Students considering majoring in any of the sciences should have a strong background in Math, Chemistry, Biology, and Physics, as well as a balanced high school education consisting of academics and out-of-classroom experiences (volunteering, research, etc). College preparatory type courses are encouraged. Most first semester, freshman students take Math 10A and Chem 1A/1AL to continue their preparation for the MCB major. 
 

AP Credit Information

Taking AP courses and the exam in high school is an excellent way to prepare for and get into Cal. In fact, you can earn university credit that you can choose to use toward your undergraduate degree. 

AP Scores of 4 or 5 in the following subjects allow you to substitute prerequisite course work for the MCB major:

  • AP Chemistry = Chemistry 1A/1AL
  • AP Biology  = Biology 1A/1AL, Biology 1B

Should you waive your courses using AP credit if you can?

While MCB will accept the scores above to waive prerequisite coursework, we do not recommend that you do so. Most high school AP programs do not include the in-depth labs that our courses include and they do not delve into the details of the material in the way our courses at Cal do. So, while AP courses provide a good foundation and allow you some review at the beginning of the semester, they do not prepare you for upper-division course work to the same degree that Cal courses do.

Do you accept other advanced test credit?

Yes, we accept some IB and A-Level exam test credit:

  • Score of 5, 6, or 7 in IB Chemistry = Chemistry 1A/1AL
  • Score of 5, 6, or 7 in IB Biology = Bio 1B only
  • A grade in A-Levels Chemistry = Chem 1A/1AL
  • A grade in A-Levels Biology = Bio 1A/1AL only