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Molecular Biology

The program for molecular biology is designed to provide an intensive exposure to the theoretical concepts and experimental techniques of molecular biology. The concepts and techniques of molecular biology are the foundation for the studies of all aspects of biology in modern time. A focus on molecular biology, therefore, provides an excellent preparation for a wide range of advanced studies including basic research, medicine, bioengineering, and biotechnology. Considerable emphasis is placed on chemistry, biochemistry, and genetics for students enrolled in the program. As such, it is recommended for those students who have a particularly strong interest in this field of study.

The major requirements below apply to students who were admitted to UC San Diego in Fall 2016 or later.  If you were admitted to UC San Diego prior to Fall 2016, please refer to your degree audit, the UC San Diego General Catalog, or academic plan that aligns with your admit term for a listing of major requirements.  If you have further questions, please contact a Biology Advisor for clarification.

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 requirement beginning Fall 2017. 

  • Chemistry 6A, 6B, 6C and 7L
  • Mathematics 10A, 10B, and 11 or 20A, 20B, and 11
    Note: Effective Fall 2016, entering freshmen are required to complete Calculus-Based Introductory Probability and Statistics (MATH 11).  Fall 2016 and 2017 entering transfer students may complete either MATH 10C, 20C, or 11 to satisfy the math sequence.  Transfer students will be required to complete MATH 11 beginning Fall 2018.
  • Physics 1A/1AL, 1B/1BL, and 1C/1CL or 2A, 2B, 2C and one lab (2BL, 2CL, 2DL)

Upper-Division Requirements

Note: Any given course can only satisfy one major requirement

  • Organic Chemistry I (CHEM 140A)
  • Organic Chemistry II (CHEM 140B)
  • Organic Chemistry Laboratory (CHEM 143A) or Physical Chemistry Laboratory (CHEM 105A)
  • Structural Biochemistry (BIBC 100)
  • Metabolic Biochemistry (BIBC 102)
  • Genetics (BICD 100)
  • Cell Biology (BICD 110)
  • Molecular Biology (BIMM 100)
  • Recombinant DNA Techniques (BIMM 101)
  • Regulation of Gene Activity in Eukaryotic Cells (BIMM 112)
  • Microbial Genetics (BIMM 122)
  • Upper-Division Biology Lab - complete one of the following courses:
    • Biochemical Techniques (BIBC 103)
    • 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)
    • Laboratory in Microbiology (BIMM 121)
    • Animal Physiology Lab (BIPN 105)
    • BISP 196/197/199 (at least 4 units)
  • Upper-Division Biology Electives - complete two upper-division biology courses (each course must be at least four units) offered by the UC San Diego Division of Biological Sciences.
    • One quarter of BISP 195 and/or one quarter of either BISP 196, 197 or 199 may be applied to this requirement. Students may only apply one BISP 196, 197 or 199 toward their major, as either a biology lab or a biology elective, but not both. 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 is 2.0.

Please note: The degree audit may not automatically reject D grades for the major. If your degree audit appears blue and you have a D in a required course for the major, please contact a biology advisor.


Upper-Division Unit Requirement

To receive a Bachelor of Science from UC San Diego, all students must complete 48 or more units of upper-division course work within the major.


Biology Residency Requirement

To receive a Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences from UC San Diego, all students must complete at least twenty units of upper-division coursework in the Division of Biological Sciences with a grade of C- or better. This coursework must directly apply to the student’s Biology major requirements, and must be taken while officially enrolled at UC San Diego. Courses completed outside of the UC San Diego Division of Biological Sciences will not be counted toward the residency requirement.