Prospective Transfer Students

Every year, the Molecular and Cell Biology (MCB) department welcomes more than 75 transfer students from around California and across the country to the MCB major. Transfer students are active members of the MCB community, getting involved in research experiences, student organizations, and other activities that complement the rigorous academic program of MCB.  

Major Preparation - Lower Division Courses

MCB accepts transferable coursework from most accredited colleges and universities. Students hoping to transfer to UC Berkeley with the intention of declaring MCB should plan to complete all lower division prerequisite courses at their transfer institution. Failure to complete the lower division requirements prior to enrolling at UC Berkeley may impact your admission to the University.

If you are admitted without having fully completed a specific series at the transfer institution, you may not have sufficient background to take the remaining equivalent course at UC Berkeley. Completion of the prerequisites is necessary before starting upper division coursework. We advise you to postpone your admission to UC Berkeley until you complete that coursework. This will also allow for more course exploration in the emphases and other subjects.

In general, students considering transferring to the MCB major at UC Berkeley should take at least two semesters (three quarters) of the following lower division courses:

Subject
Berkely Equivalent Courses
General Biology
Biology 1A/1AL, Bio 1B (includes lab)
General Chemistry
Chemistry 1A/1AL, Chemistry 1B*
Organic Chemistry
Chemistry 3A/3AL, Chemistry 3B/3BL
Calculus
Math 1A, Math 1B**
Physics (calculus-based)***
Physics 8A (includes lab), Physics 8B (includes lab)

*Chemistry 1B is required for BMB track 2 only. See ACS Exam (below) for other BMB track 2 requirements.
**For transfer students, MCB will accept any two semester combination of Math 1A, Math 1B, Math 53, Math 54, or Math 55. While not required for admission to the university or the major, it is strongly recommended that all students take an introductory statistics course prior to the start of the upper division coursework.
***While it is highly recommended to complete Physics sequence prior to enrolling at UC Berkeley, it is not required to declare the major and can be completed while enrolled at UC Berkeley.

Course descriptions for these courses can be found on the Berkeley Academic Guide or by visiting the host department’s website.  Advanced Placement (AP) scores may be used to satisfy some of the lower division requirements. For a list of acceptable scores, click here.

ACS Exam: Completion of the ACS exam in organic chemistry is only required for students interested in Track 2 of the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology emphasis. Students planning major in the MCB: Biological Chemistry track should have completed the Chem 1B equivalent and have taken and scored at least a 75% on the ACS exam. This ACS score satisfies the requirement for Chem 112A/112B which replaces the Chem 3A,3AL,3B,3BL requirement for BMB track 2. 

Transferring from a California Community College

If you will be completing your transfer work at a California community college, please refer to ASSIST for all course articulations between your college and UC Berkeley. ASSIST has already been approved by MCB.

We advise you to complete all IGETC (Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum) requirements before you transfer here. Once here, you have limited time in which to complete these requirements in addition to major requirements. For questions related to University and college requirements, please contact the College of Letters & Sciences.

If you are currently attending a community college, visit their Transfer Center for more information about the UC campuses and to find out if a Berkeley admissions representative will be visiting your campus.

Transferring from a 4-year College/University or Out-of-State

If you are transferring from a college/university that is not included in Assist.org (most four year, private, out-of-state, and foreign institutions), please see the new UC Berkeley Transfer Information for In-State and Out-of-State Institutions articulation system. Courses not included in this system will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Be prepared to provide detailed syllabi about the course(s) you would like to count towards the MCB major requirements.

Full evaluation of transfer courses will occur once you start at UC Berkeley, so it is important to retain any syllabi and/or course material that will be useful in determining course equivalency. For questions related to University and college requirements, please contact the College of Letters & Sciences.