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Molecular and Cell Biology (BI37)

Description, major requirements and advising resources for the Molecular and Cell Biology (BI37) Major in the School of Biological Sciences.

The Lower-Divison and Upper-Division Requirements listed on this page only apply to students who were admitted to UC San Diego in Fall 2024.

Older major requirements can be referenced within the General Catalog Archive.

Description of the Major

The Molecular and Cell Biology major emphasizes instruction in the basic molecular principles that allow organisms to live, grow, and adapt to their environment. Students will learn to apply concepts from biochemistry, molecular biology, genetics, and cell biology to a diverse array of questions ranging from how plants move towards light to the molecular basis of cancer. Students will also be exposed to interdisciplinary approaches to biology, such as bioinformatics, which combines genetics, molecular biology and computer science. The broad scope of the Molecular and Cell Biology major makes it ideal for students interested in a wide variety of careers including medicine, postgraduate training in basic or translational research, biotechnology, science writing and policy, public health, and science education.

Lower-Division Requirements

  • Biology: BILD 1, 3, 4, and 5*
  • Chemistry: CHEM 6A, 6B, 6C and 7L
  • Organic Chemistry: CHEM 40A and 40B
  • Mathematics: MATH 10A, 10B, and 11 or 20A, 20B, and 11
  • Physics: PHYS 1A/1AL, 1B/1BL, and 1C/1CL or 2A, 2B, 2C and one lab (2BL, 2CL, 2DL)
*BILD 5 is required for Fall 2024 admitted students

Upper-Division Requirements

Note: Any given course can only satisfy one major requirement

  • Structural Biochemistry (BIBC 100) or Biochemical Structure and Function (CHEM 114A)
  • Metabolic Biochemistry (BIBC 102) or Biochemical Energetics and Metabolism (CHEM 114B)
  • Biochemical Techniques (BIBC 103) or Recombinant DNA Techniques (BIMM 101)
  • Genetics (BICD 100)
  • Cell Biology (BICD 110)
  • Molecular Biology (BIMM 100)
  • Molecular and Cell Biology Core Courses - complete three courses from the following:
    • Nutrition (BIBC 120)
    • Genetic Inquiry (BICD 102)
    • Stem Cells and Regeneration (BICD 112)
    • Embryos, Genes and Development (BICD 130)
    • Immunology (BICD 140)
    • Population Genetics (BICD 156)
    • Genome Diversity and Dynamics (BIEB 146)
    • Evolution of Infectious Diseases (BIEB 152)
    • Molecular Basis of Human Disease (BIMM 110)
    • Regulation of Eukaryotic Gene Expression (BIMM 112)
    • Virology (BIMM 114)
    • Pharmacology (BIMM 118)
    • Microbiology (BIMM 120)
    • Microbial Genetics (BIMM 122)
    • Biology of Cancer (BIMM 134)
    • Electron Microscopy of Macromolecules (BIMM 162)
    • Genome Science (BIMM 172)
    • Cellular Neurobiology (BIPN 140)
    • Biology Meets Computing (CSE 180)
    • Physics of the Cell (PHYS 177)
    • Marine Natural Products (SIO 124)
  • Biology Lab - complete one of the following courses:
    • Biochemical Techniques (BIBC 103)
    • Chemistry of Biological Interactions (BIBC 151)
    • Eucaryotic Genetics Laboratory (BICD 101)
    • Plant Molecular Genetics and Biotechnology Laboratory (BICD 123)
    • Laboratory in Molecular Medicine (BICD 145)
    • Ecology Laboratory (BIEB 121)
    • Molecular Methods in Evolution & Ecology Lab (BIEB 123)
    • Marine Invertebrate Ecology Lab (BIEB 131)
    • Aquatic Ecology Lab (BIEB 135)
    • Intro to Q-Modeling Biology Lab (BIEB 141)
    • Computer Modeling in Evolution and Ecology (BIEB 143)
    • Microbiome Function Laboratory (BIEB 159)
    • Animal Communication Lab (BIEB 167)
    • Recombinant DNA Techniques (BIMM 101)
    • Laboratory in Microbiology (BIMM 121)
    • Bioinformatics Laboratory (BIMM 143)
    • Animal Physiology Lab (BIPN 105)
    • Neurobiology Lab (BIPN 145)
    • BISP 196/197/199 (at least 4 units)
  • Biology Electives - complete at least six or eight units of upper-division coursework offered by the UC San Diego School of Biological Sciences. Number of elective units are variable depending on the upper-division lab option selected (a total of 48 upper division units is required for completion of the major).
    • Upper-division Biology elective units may be completed with courses numbered 100-189 taken through UC San Diego’s School of Biological Sciences. Elective units may include one quarter of BISP 195, up to four BIxx 194s, and one quarter of either BISP 193 or BISP 196/197/199.
    • Only one BISP 196/197/199 can apply towards the major. Subsequent quarters of BISP 196, 197 or 199 may be applied toward college and university requirements.

Coursework taken outside of the School of Biological Sciences may be applicable toward the major, assuming the course has been previously reviewed and approved and meets minimum criteria. Non-reviewed coursework requires an Undergraduate Student Petition for consideration.

Advising Documents and Resources

Additional Major Requirements

In addition to programmatic course requirements, all majors offered by the School of Biological Sciences have a minimum grade, upper division unit and residency requirement. All coursework, along with additional major requirements, must be complete in order to earn a degree from the School.

Program Learning Outcomes & Goals for BioSci Majors

UC San Diego is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). Interested in how your curriculum is built? View our Inventory of Educational Effectiveness Indicators. You can find out more about accreditation and WASC at UC San Diego Accreditation. Additionally, the School of Biological Sciences' Program Learning Outcomes align with knowledge and compentencies mastered by undergraduate students upon completion of degree requirements.