UC San Diego SearchMenu

Biochemistry and Cell Biology

This major is designed to provide students with the fundamental courses required for entry into a school of medicine or into post graduate training in a wide variety of areas of biological and biomedical sciences: biochemistry, biophysics, genetics, molecular biology, cell biology, developmental biology, microbiology, virology, human biology (physiology, metabolism, genetic disorders), cancer biology, pharmacology, and others. The emphasis is on basic principles that help us understand those processes unique to living organisms at the molecular level.

The program includes two required upper-division biology laboratory courses to provide practical experience with modern techniques and useful technology for those seeking positions as lab technicians in clinical and basic research laboratories. The opportunity to select three elective courses allows students either to seek a still broader background in a variety of biology courses or to begin specialization in a chosen field of study.

Lower-Division Requirements

  • BILD 1, 3, and 4

    Note: Effective fall 2015, entering freshmen are required to complete Introductory Biology Lab (BILD 4). Transfer students will be held to the new requirements beginning fall 2017. Students entering prior to fall 2015 may enroll in BILD 4, but are not required to complete the course for major requirements.

  • Chemistry 6A, 6B, 6C and 7L
  • Mathematics 10A, 10B, and 11/11L or 10C or 20A, 20B, and 11/11L or 20C
  • Physics 1A/1AL, 1B/1BL, and 1C/1CL or 2A, 2B, 2C and one lab (2BL, 2CL, 2DL)

Upper-Division Requirements

  • Organic Chemistry I (CHEM 140A)
  • Organic Chemistry II (CHEM 140B)
  • Organic Chemistry Laboratory (CHEM 143A) or Physical Chemistry Lab (Chemistry 105A)
  • Structural Biochemistry (BIBC 100) or Physical Chemistry (Chemistry 126)
  • Metabolic Biochemistry (BIBC 102)
  • Biochemical Techniques (BIBC 103)
  • Genetics (BICD 100)
  • Cell Biology (BICD 110)
  • Molecular Biology (BIMM 100)
  • Capstone Course - select one of the following courses:
    • Nutrition (BIBC 120)
    • Embryos, Genes and Development (BICD 130)
    • Immunology (BICD 140)
    • Molecular Basis of Human Disease (BIMM 110)
    • Virology (BIMM 114)
    • Circadian Rhythms (BIMM 116)
    • Pharmacology (BIMM 118)
    • Bacteriology (BIMM 120)
    • Medical Microbiology (BIMM 124)
    • Microbial Physiology (BIMM 130)
    • Human Reproduction (BIPN 134)
    • Cellular Neurobiology (BIPN 140)
    • Systems Neurobiology (BIPN 142)
    • Cellular Basis of Learning and Memory (BIPN 148)
    • Diseases of the Nervous System (BIPN 150)
    • The Healthy and Diseased Brain (BIPN 152)
  • Upper-Division Biology Lab - select one of the following courses:
    • Eucaryotic Genetics Laboratory (BICD 101)
    • Plant Molecular Genetics and Biotechnology Laboratory (BICD 123)
    • Laboratory in Molecular Medicine (BICD 145)
    • Ecology Laboratory (BIEB 121)
    • Marine Invertebrate Ecology Lab (BIEB 131)
    • Aquatic Ecology Lab (BIEB 135)
    • Computer Modeling in Evolution and Ecology (BIEB 143)
    • Animal Communication Lab (BIEB 167)
    • Recombinant DNA Techniques (BIMM 101)
    • Laboratory in Microbiology (BIMM 121)
    • Animal Physiology Laboratory (BIPN 105)
  • Upper-Division Biology Electives - select three additional upper-division biology courses (each course must be at least four units) taken through the UC San Diego Division of Biological Sciences.
    • Only one quarter of BISP 195 and/or one quarter of BISP 196, 197 or 199 may be applied toward the fulfillment of this requirement. Subsequent quarters of BISP 195, 196, 197 or 199 may be applied toward college and university requirements.
    • The following Scripps Institution of Oceanography courses may be taken and applied to this requirement: SIO 123, 125, 126, 127, 128, 132, 133, 134, 147, 181 and 189. Students are required to meet the Division of Biological Sciences residency requirement.

Additional Requirements

Minimum Grade Requirement

  • All courses required and used toward any biology major requirements must be passed with a grade of “C-“ or better.
  • The minimum grade requirement applies to all lower-division, upper-division, required courses taken in other departments, as well as courses transferred and used toward major requirements.
  • Exceptions will be made for those required courses that have a P/NP only grading option (e.g., BISP 199).
  • The minimum major GPA requirement remains 2.0.

Please Note: DARS may not automatically reject D grades for the major. If your DARS audit appears blue and you have a D in a required course for the major, please speak with a biology advisor.

Upper-Division Unit Requirement

To receive a bachelor of science in biology from UC San Diego, all biology majors, including transfer students, must complete at least 48 or more units of upper-division course work within the major.

Biology Residency Requirement

To receive a bachelor of science in biology from UC San Diego, all students must complete at least nine upper-division biology courses (each course must be at least four units) in the Division of Biological Sciences while officially enrolled at UC San Diego. (Students participating in the Education Abroad Program (EAP), and courses at other UC campuses, may petition up to three of these courses to count toward their residency minima.) Biology courses completed through the UC Extension program (concurrent enrollment) will not be counted toward this residency requirement.