The Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Major 2013-14

The biochemistry and molecular biology (BMB) major constitutes an integrated curriculum of basic instruction in biology, chemistry, mathematics, and physics, followed by the opportunity to pursue advanced study in specialized areas of interest. In modern, well-equipped laboratories, distinguished faculty are engaged in frontline research. The BMB program features close faculty-student interaction, stimulating learning environments, and opportunities for independent research and study. Students majoring in BMB are encouraged to become involved in research under the guidance of a faculty sponsor. Many students participating in this aspect of the program have made important contributions to the scientific literature. The Departments of Chemistry and Biochemistry and Molecular, Cell, and Developmental (MCD) Biology host a very active seminar series of national and international scholars in which advanced undergraduates are encouraged to participate.

Study and Research Opportunities

  • B.S.
  • Students are required to participate in at least one small upper-division research lab course focused on teaching valuable research skills that help prepare students for graduate school and careers in biotechnology.
  • Opportunities for faculty-mentored research and independent study.

High School Preparation

In addition to completing the courses required for UC admission, high school students who intend to major in biochemistry and molecular biology should take courses in biology, chemistry, physics, and advanced mathematics (precalculus or calculus).

Transfer Preparation

Junior transfer students who plan to major in biochemistry and molecular biology must complete the introductory requirements for the major prior to transfer, in particular a complete year of calculus, general and organic chemistry, introductory biology, and calculus-based physics. Students who transfer with the necessary preparation will be on track to enroll in the advanced degree requirements and have time in their senior year to take advantage of undergraduate research opportunities.

To declare the biochemistry and molecular biology major, transfer students must have completed courses equivalent to the following with a cumulative GPA of 2.50 or better:

  • Chemistry 1B, General Chemistry
  • Chemistry 1C, General Chemistry Biology 20A, Cell & Molecular Biology
  • and one of the following calculus courses,
  • Applied Mathematics & Statistics 15A, Case-study Calculus I
  • Mathematics 11A, Calculus with Applications
  • Mathematics 19A, Calculus for Science, Engineering, & Mathematics

California community college students should follow the prescribed course work in the UCSC transfer agreements available at Students at other institutions should compare courses at their school with the degree requirements at and the UCSC General Catalog course descriptions to ensure courses will qualify for transfer.

The Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum (IGETC) will not provide transfer students with enough mathematics and science courses to allow them to complete the program at UC Santa Cruz in two years. Prospective transfer students should visit the Physical and Biological Sciences Undergraduate Affairs web site for further information (see the More Information section).

Lower-Division Requirements

To qualify for a Biochemistry & Molecular Biology BS., students must complete the following courses, or their equivalents, with a grade of C or better:

  • CHEM 1B, General Chemistry
  • CHEM 1C, General Chemistry
  • BIOL 20A, Cell & Molecular Biology

AND one of the following:

  • AMS 15A, Case-Study Calculus I
  • MATH 11A, Calculus with Applications
  • MATH 19A, Calculus for Science, Engineering, & Mathematics

More Information

Undergraduate Affairs
Physical and Biological Sciences
142 Jack Baskin Engineering Building
University of California, Santa Cruz
1156 High Street
Santa Cruz, California 95064
(831) 459-4143

See Also