Biochemistry, Biophysics & Structural Biology (2024)

Upper Division Requirements, Sample 4-yr Plans, Elective List

Biochemistry, Biophysics & Structural Biology (1)BBS (formerly Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, BMB) is dedicated to the mechanistic understanding, at the molecular level, of essential processes for the life of the cell. To this end, the BBS emphasis uses rigorous and reductionist approaches to describe living systems in chemical and physical terms. Unique to BBS is the combination of powerful molecular biological methodologies (e.g. cloning, gene splicing and gene expression), with biochemical and biophysical assays, as well as structural biology strategies (e.g. X-ray crystallography, 2-D NMR, cryo-electron microscopy) for dissecting structure and function of macromolecules. Berkeley hosts unique, state-of-the-art facilities to carry out research using these methodologies.

The ability to understand complex biological processes by characterizing the activity of the molecular machinery governing processes such as DNA replication, transcription, transposition,recombination, protein synthesis, protein degradation and RNA processing, have greatly advanced our understanding of the living cell. Furthermore, these approaches and new knowledge are playing a major role in unraveling many complexbiological processes at the organismal level, such as development, differentiation, mutagenesis, gene regulation, pathogenesis, oncogenesis, and aging.

Through the major, you will learn not only how the molecules of life work in the healthy cells and organisms, but also how disruption of their function leads to disease. Furthermore, the identification and characterization of the molecular culprits for human illness is an essential step towards treatment by pharmacological agents that target these molecules to alter their activity. An exciting and invigorating aspect of these types of studies is that they can be done by individual students, armed with keen interest and curiosity.

Upper Division Requirements

Biochemistry, Biophysics & Structural Biology
Track 1: Biochemistry & Molecular BiologyTrack 2: Biological Chemistry
MCB C100A: Biophysical Chemistry (Fa,Sp4 un)MCB C100A: Biophysical Chemistry (Fa,Sp4 un)
MCB 100B: Biochemistry: Pathways, Mechanisms, & Regulations (Sp; 4 un)Chem 130B: Biophysical Chemistry (Sp; 3 un)
MCB 110: Molecular Biology: Macromolecular Synthesis & Cellular Function (Fa, Sp; 4 un)Chem 135: Chemical Biology (Fa; 3 un)

MCB 140: General Genetics (Fa, Sp; 4 un)


MCB C148: Microbial Genomics & Genetics (Sp; 4 un)

MCB 140:General Genetics(Fa, Sp; 4 un)


MCB C130:Cell Bio: From Discovery to Disease(Sp; 4 un)

MCB C110L: Biochemistry & Molecular Biology Lab (Fa, Sp; 4 un)


MCB 170L:Molecular & Cell Biology Laboratory (Su only; 4 un)


petition to substitute with research units

MCB C110L: Biochemistry & Molecular Biology Lab (Fa, Sp; 4 un)


MCB 170L:Molecular & Cell Biology Laboratory (Su only; 4 un)


petition to substitute with research units

BBS Elective (see list below)BBS Elective (see list below)

Alternative Lower Division Chem Sequence for track 2:

  • Students planning to major in the MCB: Biological Chemistry track should planto take the following chem sequence:

    • Chem 1A/1AL, Chem 1B, Chem 12A, and Chem 12B

  • Chem 12A/B is allowed tobe replaced replaced by Chem 3A/3AL, 3B/3BL but be aware of the following as general advice:

  • The Chem3 series provides less rigorous preparation for the upper-division chemistry courses required for the Biological Chemistrytrack. Once students decide to pursue the Biological Chemistry track, it is recommended that they adhereto the alternative sequencerequirements if possible (e.g., complete Chem 12B, not Chem 3B). However, the Chem 3 series will still be accepted for track 2. Please note that Chem 1B is still required.

Sample 4-yr Plans

These are just examples, for more sample schedules including spring start and transfer seeguide.berkeley.eduor meet with an advisor to explore your options. It is recommended by MCB advisors and faculty to take the upper division lab as early as you can if you are interested in research and/or honors research.

Track 1: Biochemistry and

Molecular Biology

Track 2: Biological Chemistry
Year 1Year 1
Math 10A4Math 10B4Math 10A4Math 10B4
Chem 1A/1AL5Biology 1A/1AL5Chem 1A/1AL5Chem 1B4
Year 2Year 2
Chem 3A/3AL5Chem 3B/3BL5Chem 12A5Chem 12B5
Physics 8A4Physics 8B4Biology 1A/1AL5Physics 8A4
Year 3Year 3
MCB C100A4MCB 100B4MCB C100A4Chem 130B3
Biology 1B4MCB 140 or c1484Physics 8B4Biology 1B4
Year 4Year 4
MCB C110L4BMB Elective3-4Chem 1353MCB 130 or 1404
MCB 1104MCB C110L4BMB Elective3-4

Approved Electives List for BBS

Molecular and Cell Biology

  • 100B Biochemistry: Pathways, Mechanisms, & Regulations (Sp; 4 units) Track 2 Only
  • C103 Bacterial Pathogenesis (Sp, 3 units)
  • C112 General Microbiology (F, Su; 4 units)
  • C114 Introduction to Comparative Virology (Sp, 4 units)
  • C116 Microbial Diversity (F, 3 units)
  • C117Advanced Plant Biochemistry (Sp, 4 units)
  • C130 Cell Biology: from Discovery to Disease (Sp, 4 units) (If track 2: only can use if take 140 for core BMB)
  • 132 Biology of Human Cancer (F, 4 units)
  • C134 Chromosome Biology / Cytogenetics (Sp, 3 units)
  • 135A Molecular Endocrinology (F; 3 units)
  • 136 Physiology (F, Sp; 4 units)
  • 137LPhysical Biology of the Cell(Sp, 3 units)
  • 141 Developmental Biology (Sp, 3 units)
  • C148 Microbial Genomics & Genetics (Sp, 4 units) (If track 1: only can use if take 140 for core BMB)
  • 149 The Human Genome (F, 3 units)
  • 150 Molecular Immunology (F, Sp, 4 units)
  • 153 Molecular Medicine(F, 4 units)
  • 160 Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology (F, 4 units)
  • 161 Circuit, Systems and Behavioral Neuroscience (Sp, 4 units)
  • 165 Neurobiology of Disease (Sp, 3 units)
  • 166 Biophysical Neurobiology (F, 3 units)
  • 168 Sensory Neuroscience (F, 4 units)
  • C175 LSBE Capstone (F, 4 units) (restricted to LSBE students only)


  • 113 Advanced Mechanistic Organic Chemistry (F; 3 units)
  • 115 Organic Chemistry - Advanced Lab Methods (Sp; 4 units)
  • 130B Biophysical Chemistry (Sp; 3 units) (Track 1 only)

Environmental Science, Policy & Management

  • C148 Pesticide Chemistry and Toxicology (Sp; 3 units)


  • 110 Linear Algebra (F, Sp, Su; 4 units)

Nutritional Sciences & Toxicology

  • C114 Pesticide Chemistry and Toxicology (TBD; 3 units)


  • 112 Introduction to Statistical & Thermal Physics (F, Sp; 4 units)
  • 177 Principles of Molecular Biophysics (Sp; 3 units)

Plant & Microbial Biology

  • C112 General Microbiology (F; 4 units)
  • C114 Comparative Virology (Sp; 4 units)
  • C116 Microbial Diversity (F; 3 units)
  • C134 Chromosome Biology / Cytogenetics (Sp; 3 units)
  • 135 Physiology & Biochemistry of Plants (F; 3 units)
  • 150 Plant and Microbial Biology (F; 3 units)
  • 160 Plant Molecular Genetics (Sp; 3 units)

Public Health

  • 142 Introduction to Probability & Statistics in Biology & Public Health (F, Sp, Su; 4 units)


  • C131A Statistical Methods for Data Science(F, Sp; 4 units)

Approved Electives but NOT Regularly Offered

  • BioEng C141 Stats for Bioinformatics
  • Math 127 Mathematical & Computational Methods in Molecular Biology
  • MCB 143 Evolution of Genomes, Cells & Development (F, 3 units)
  • Physics 132 Contemporary Physics
  • Pb Hlth 141 Intro to Bio-Statistics (Su; 5 units)
  • Stat C141 Stats for Bioinformatics
Biochemistry, Biophysics & Structural Biology (2024)


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