Return to LETTER GRADE REQUIREMENTS: Beginning Fall 2021, all lower division major preparation courses and upper division major courses must be taken for a letter grade to fulfill MCDB major requirements.
MCDB Tentative Course Offerings 2022 – 2023 [Download PDF]
MCDB Major Requirements 2022 – 2023 [Dowload PDF]
Preparation for the Major
|Life Science Series||Physical Science Series|
|Chemistry||14A or 14AE, 14B or 14BE, 14BL, 14C, 14CL★, 14D||OR||20A, 20B, 20L, 30A, 30AL, 30B, 30BL★|
|Math||3A, 3B, 3C or
Life Science 30A, 30B, Stats 13 or LS40
|OR||31A, 31B, 32A|
|Physics||5A, 5B, 5C||OR||1A, 1B, 1C, 4AL, 4BL|
|Life Science||7A (Cell and Molecular Biology), 7B (Genetics, Evolution, and Ecology), 7C (Physiology and Human Biology), 23L (Lab taken after 7B)|
IMPORTANT NOTES – Preparation for the Major
- ★ Chem 14CL or Chem 30BL is not required on the major, but most pre-health professional schools and possibly some graduate schools still require an organic lab class.
- Students must earn a grade of C- or better in each prep course, and achieve an overall GPA of 2.0 in the prep for the major.
- Students receiving grades of below C- in two prep courses, either separate courses or repetitions of the same course, are subject to dismissal from the major.
- Students who complete Chem 20A can move to the 14 series starting with 14B, or after taking 20A, 20B, students can take 14BL, 14C, 14CL*, 14D. Students who transfer chemistry credit from another school for 20A, 20L can take 14B, 14C, 14CL*, 14D.
- The Chemistry 14 series is unique to UCLA – there are no equivalents at other schools and must be taken in its entirety at UCLA.
Upper Division Major Requirements
|Upper Division Core Requirements|
|Biochemistry||Chem 153A – Biochemistry: Intro to Structure, Enzymes, & Metabolism (4 units)|
|Genetics||Life Science 107 – Genetics (5 units) (not required if LS4 completed)|
|Cell Biology||MCDB 165A – Biology of Cells (5 units)|
|Developmental Biology||MCDB 138 – Developmental Biology (5 units)|
|Molecular Biology||MCDB 144 – Molecular Biology of Cellular Processes (5 units)|
|Laboratory Requirement (choose from #1 – 5)|
|1. MCDB 104AL – Research Immersion Lab in Developmental Biology (5 units)|
|2. MCDB 187AL – Research Immersion Lab in Genomic Biology (5 units)|
|3. MCDB 150AL – Research Immersion Lab in Plant-Microbe Ecology (5 units)|
|4. MCDB 196B★ – Research Apprenticeship II (2nd quarter) (4 units) + MCDB 180B♦ – Scientific Analysis & Communication II (2 units)|
|4. MCDB 196B, 198B/C, or 199B/C ★★ + MCDB 145★★ – Appreciation and Critical Review of Biomedical Research (4 units)
IMPORTANT NOTES – Laboratory Requirement
♦ MCDB 180B is taken CONCURRENTLY with 196B (same for 196A and 180A).
★ 196A/180A is a pre-requisite for 196B/180B. The second quarter (196B) is applied to your laboratory requirement. 196A/180A/180B (8 units) are applied toward the 20 units of electives. Click here for more information, including application materials and instructions.
★★ MCDB 145 offered Spring only. Students must apply for the MCDB 145 seminar during Winter quarter. It must be taken with an MCDB upper division research course.
|Upper Division Elective Requirement for the Major|
|20 Units of Approved Upper Division Electives||5 units must be MCDB department course(s) (Category 1), 5 units may be taken from Category 1 or 2, and 10 units may be taken from Category 1, 2, or 3. Please see the list of approved electives below.|
See IMPORTANT NOTES PERTAINING TO MAJOR REQUIREMENTS (below) for information about how specific courses can or cannot be applied toward major electives.
List of Approved MCDB Electives
Five Units of MCDB Upper Division Electives
|Course #||Course Name||Units|
|MCDB 104BL||Advanced Research Analysis in Developmental Biology||4|
||Fundamentals of Digital Imaging and Image Processing||5|
||Cancer Cell Biology
|MCDB C141||Molecular Basis of Plant Differentiation and Development||5|
||Appreciation and Critical Review of Biomedical Research
|MCDB 146||Metabolism and Disease||5|
|MCDB C150||Plant Communication
|MCDB CM156||Human Genetics||5|
|MCDB 160||Principles of Light Microscopy||4|
|MCDB 168||Stem Cell Biology||5|
|MCDB M175A||Neuroscience: From Molecules to Mind||5|
|MCDB M175B||Neuroscience: From Molecules to Mind||5|
|MCDB M175C||Neuroscience: From Molecules to Mind||5|
|MCDB 180A||Scientific Analysis and Communications I (formerly 188A)||2|
|MCDB 180B||Scientific Analysis and Communications II (formerly 188B)||2|
|MCDB 191||Variable Topics in Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology||2|
|MCDB 196A||Research Apprenticeship I (1st quarter)||4|
|MCDB 198A-C||Honors Research in MCDB||4 per quarter|
|MCDB 199A-C||Directed Research in MCDB||4 per quarter|
Five Units of Upper Division Electives from MCDB and Acceptable List of Outside Courses
|Course Dept. & #||Course Name||Units|
|Any additional MCDB course listed above that was NOT taken to fulfill Category 1|
|Chemistry & Biochemistry|
|CHEM C100||Genomics and Computational Biology||5|
|CHEM 153B||NOT ACCEPTED ON THE MCDB MAJOR – DO NOT TAKE THIS COURSE|
|CHEM 153C||Biochemistry: Biosynthetic and Energy Metabolism and Its Regulation||4|
|CHEM 153L||Biochemistry Laboratory||4|
|CHEM C159||Mechanisms in the Regulation of Transcription||4|
|CHEM CM160A||Introduction to Bioinformatics||4|
|Computer Science/Computational and Systems Biology|
|COM SCI CM124||Computational Genetics||4|
|COM SCI CM186||Computational Systems Biology: Modeling and Simulation of Biological Systems||5|
|Ecology & Evolutionary Biology|
|EE BIOL 184
||Evolution, Development, and Disease||4|
|Microbiology, Immunology & Molecular Genetics|
|MIMG 100L||Microbiology Lab for Professional Schools||3|
|MIMG 101||Introductory Microbiology||4|
|MIMG 102||Introductory Virology||4|
|MIMG 105||Biological Microscopy||4|
|MIMG 132||NOT ACCEPTED ON THE MCDB MAJOR – DO NOT TAKE THIS COURSE|
|MIMG 158||Microbial Genomics||4|
|MIMG 168||Molecular Parasitology||4|
||Cell and Gene Therapy
|PHY SCI 121||Disease Mechanisms and Therapies||5|
|PHY SCI 125||Molecular Systems Biology||5|
|PHY SCI C130||Sex Differences in Physiology and Disease||4|
|PHY SCI 174||Cell Biophysics in Physiology and Disease||5|
Ten Units of Upper Division Electives from MCDB and Acceptable List of Additional Outside Courses
|Course Dept. & #||Course Name||Units|
|Category 1 or 2 Courses|
|Any additional MCDB or approved outside elective course(s) listed above that were NOT taken to fulfill Category 1 or 2|
|BIOSTAT 100A||Intro to Biostatistics||4|
|Ecology & Evolutionary Biology|
|EE BIOL 110||Vertebrate Morphology||6|
|EE BIOL 121||Molecular Biology and Evolution||4|
|EE BIOL C146
|EE BIOL 162||Plant Physiology||4|
|HUM GEN C144||Genomic Technology||4|
|PHY SCI 166||Animal Physiology||6|
|STATS 100A||Introduction to Probability Theory||4|
NOTE: Elective credit is granted for either BIOSTAT 100A or STATS 100A, but not both.
Course Number Designations:
C = Course is offered concurrently to undergraduate and graduate levels in the same class.
M = Listed through multiple departments (may have different numbers in each department).
Important Notes Pertaining to Major Requirements
- Any single course can be used in only ONE category on the major.
- Courses applied toward the prep and major requirements must be taken for a letter grade.
- LIFESCI 7A, 7B, 7C, 23L, and LIFESCI 107 are pre-requisites for all MCDB upper division coursework except MCDB 165A (pre-reqs: 14D or 30B and LS 7A, 7B, 7C).
- Any upper division MCDB course will be accepted as an MCDB elective, EXCLUDING MCDB 100, 104AL, 138, 144, 150AL, 165A, 187AL, 187C, 187D, 190A-C, 192A, 192B, 193, 194A, and 199.
- The MCDB department does not approve Biochemistry/MCDB or MIMG/MCDB double major petitions.
- A maximum of 4 units of approved seminar course credit may be applied to the ELECTIVES requirement (e.g., MCDB 145, 180A, 180B, 191).
- APPLYING INDEPENDENT RESEARCH TO MCDB MAJOR REQUIREMENTS: To enroll in MCDB 196A/B, 199A-D, or 198A-D, students MUST be conducting research in an MCDB approved lab. A list of approved faculty mentors is available on the MCDB Undergraduate Research website: https://www.mcdb.ucla.edu/undergraduate-research/ .
- APPLYING INDEPENDENT RESEARCH TO THE LAB REQUIREMENT (196A/B, 180A/B): Students must apply for these courses during their third or fourth year. Click here for more information, including application materials and instructions.
- A maximum of 12 units of research (MCDB 196A – B, MCDB 199A – C, MCDB 198A – C) may be applied to the major requirements. Please note: MCDB 196B (4 units) is applied to the upper division laboratory requirement and MCDB 196A (4 units) plus MCDB 199C (4 units) is applied toward the ELECTIVES requirement.
- If you complete MCDB 104AL AND 104BL, 12 units of MCDB 199A-C or MCDB 198A-C may ALSO be applied to the electives. MCDB 104BL will be applied to the MCDB electives as well.
- Elective credit is granted for either Biostats 100A or Stats 100A, but not both.
Requirements for the B.S. degree established by the College of Letters & Science are listed in the UCLA General Catalog. A total of 180 quarter units are required for the degree; 60 of these 180 units must be upper division (course numbers 100-199). Check your DAR to determine your allotted maximum number of quarter units. NOTE: The MCDB major UD requirements satisfy 48 – 50 upper division units.
- Not all electives are offered every year. Please consult the Schedule of Classes or the appropriate department.
- When making a course plan to meet your major requirements, please make sure you have planned for all prerequisites for any upper division course in which you plan to enroll. To enroll in MCDB 168, you must have already completed MCDB 165A and MCDB 138. Courses which count on the MCDB major, may have upper division prerequisites.
- Some electives are restricted to the home department’s own majors during first pass. For example, if you want to get into MIMG 185A, you may need to wait until your second pass because you are not an MIMG major.
Computing Specialization in MCDB
Majors in Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology may receive a specialization in computing by:
- Satisfying all the requirements for a bachelor’s degree in the major and;
- Completing the following course requirements:
- Program in Computing 10A, 10B, and 10C
- Program in Computing 16A (Python)
- STATS 13 or Life Science 40 (Stats)
- One upper division course from:
- Computer Science CM124
- Computer Science CM186
- Chemistry & Biochemistry C100
- Chemistry & Biochemistry CM160A
- MCD BIO 187AL*
- Physiological Science 125
Students may overlap the upper division courses for the specialization with an elective or lab requirement for the major.
*Space in MCD BIO 187AL is extremely limited and computing specialization students are not guaranteed space in 187AL simply because they plan to complete the specialization.
Students must earn a letter grade of C or better in each required course for the computing specialization and a combined GPA of at least 2.o in these courses to graduate with the specialization in computing.