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. Following is some information that you might find valuable in applying to Cal.

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 1A 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. 

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

The MCB major accepts scores of 4 or 5 in the exams listed below to allow you to waive certain prerequisite coursework, although 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.

Also, if you're planning on applying to any health professional school or graduate school, those schools often require that you have, for example, two semesters of a general biology course with a lab.  This cannot be fulfilled by the AP Biology exam credit. 

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

Please take some time to explore our web site and see what courses our current undergraduates are taking, what research opportunities they have and the student clubs that they run and belong to.

Some useful links