Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology BS

The Bachelor of Science degree in Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology (MCDB) is designed especially for students who intend to go on to postgraduate work in biology or medicine and for students aiming for entry-level positions in biotechnology-related fields. Students are exposed to basic biological and molecular concepts underlying recent technical advances in molecular, cell, and developmental biology of animals and plants. Areas of emphasis include cell biology, immunology, molecular biology, plant biology, developmental biology, and neurobiology, among others.

Learning Outcomes

The Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology major has the following learning outcomes:

  • Broad knowledge of the fundamental tenets of molecular, cell, and developmental processes
  • Through use of the scientific method, demonstrated ability to test questions and solve problems using quantitative and inquiry-related skills
  • Demonstrated ability to ask questions about primary scientific literature within the discipline
  • Demonstrated analytical skills to evaluate primary scientific literature within the discipline
  • Effective written and oral communication of laboratory findings
  • Demonstrated appropriate awareness of issues associated with responsible conduct of research

Preparation for the Major

Life Sciences Core Curriculum

Required: Chemistry and Biochemistry 14A, 14B, 14BL, 14C, and 14D, or 20A, 20B, 20L, 30A, 30AL, and 30B; Life Sciences 30A, 30B, and 40 or Statistics 13, or Mathematics 3A, 3B, and 3C, or 31A, 31B, and 32A; Physics 1A, 1B, 1C, 4AL, and 4BL, or 5A, 5B, and 5C.

Students must also complete one of two life sciences sequences—either Life Sciences 1, 2, 3, 4, and 23L, or 7A, 7B, 7C, and 23L. They may not substitute courses in either sequence.

Each core curriculum course must be passed with a grade of C- or better, and all courses must be completed with an overall grade-point average of 2.0 or better. Students receiving grades below C- in two core curriculum courses, either in separate courses or repetitions of the same course, are subject to dsmissal from the major.

Transfer Students

Transfer applicants to the Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology major with 90 or more units must complete the following introductory courses prior to admission to UCLA: one year of general biology with laboratory for majors, preferably equivalent to Life Sciences 1 and 2, or 7A, 7B, and 7C, one year of calculus, one year of general chemistry with laboratory for majors, and one semester of organic chemistry with laboratory. A second semester of organic chemistry or one year of calculus-based physics is strongly recommended but not required for admission.

Refer to the UCLA transfer admission guide for up-to-date information regarding transfer selection for admission.

The Major

Required Courses: Chemistry and Biochemistry 153A, Life Sciences 107, Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology 138, 144, 165A, and one laboratory course from Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology 104AL, 150AL, 187AL, or 196B.

Electives: A total of 20 upper-division elective units must be completed. At least 10 units must be taken from molecular, cell, and developmental biology (except 100, 104AL, 138, 144, 150AL, 165A, 187AL, 192A, 192B, 193, 194A, 194B, or 199), Chemistry and Biochemistry C100, 153C, 153L, C159, CM160A, Computer Science CM124, CM186, Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics 100L, 101, 102, 105, 158, 168, 174, C185A, Physiological Science 121, 125, or 174, of which at least 5 units must be molecular, cell, and developmental biology courses. The remaining 10 units may be taken from the above courses or from Biostatistics 100A or Statistics 100A, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology 110, 121, 162, Human Genetics C144, or Physiological Science 166.

Credit for a maximum of two upper-division developmental biology courses from Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology 138, C141, and 143 may be applied toward the major.

A maximum of 4 units of approved seminar course credit may be applied toward the electives requirement. A maximum of 12 units of upper-division independent research courses from Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology 196A and 196B, 198A through 198D or 199A through 199D may be applied toward the major. Credit for 199 courses from other departments may not be applied to the major requirements.

Any single course may be applied toward only one category of the major, and must be taken for a letter grade.

Majors are required to earn at least a 2.0 (C) overall grade-point average in all courses applied toward the major.

Honors Program

Admission

The honors program provides exceptional Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology majors with the opportunity to do research culminating in an honors thesis. Junior and senior majors who have completed all university-level coursework, including all preparation courses and requirements for the major with an overall grade-point average of 3.0 or better and a 3.5 GPA or better in the required major courses, may apply for admission to the honors program. Students must have the sponsorship of an approved faculty adviser.

For more information and application forms, students should contact the Student Affairs Office, 128 Hershey Hall, early in their educational planning. Completed applications should be submitted at least two weeks prior to the term in which students plan to begin the honors program.

Requirements

The core of the program consists of at least one approved undergraduate seminar course from Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology 191 and three research courses (12 units minimum) from 198A, 198B, and 198C, culminating in a thesis.

To qualify for graduation with honors, students must satisfactorily complete all requirements for the honors program and the major and obtain at least an overall 3.0 grade-point average and a 3.5 GPA or better in coursework required for the major. On recommendation by the faculty sponsor and with approval of the thesis by the departmental honors committee, students are awarded no honors, departmental honors, or highest departmental honors.

At the discretion of the departmental honors committee, students who have (1) a GPA of 3.6 or better, both overall and in the major and (2) demonstrated exceptional accomplishment on the research thesis are awarded highest departmental honors.

Computing Specialization

Majors in Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology may select a specialization in Computing by (1) satisfying all the requirements for a bachelor’s degree in the major, (2) completing Program in Computing 10A, 10B, 10C, 16A, and Life Sciences 40 or Statistics 13, and (3) completing one course from Computer Science CM124, CM186, Chemistry and Biochemistry C100, CM160A, Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology 187AL, or Physiological Science 125. A grade of C- or better is required in each course, with a combined grade-point average in the specialization of at least 2.0. Students must petition for admission to the program and are advised to do so after completing Program in Computing 10B (petitions should be filed in the Student Affairs Office). Students graduate with a bachelor’s degree in their major and a specialization in Computing.