Biochem at Berkeley

<p>How is the biology and science department in berkeley? Please help me :)</p>

<p>There are three ways to do "biochem" at berkeley....</p>

<li><p>B.S. Chemical Biology from the college of chemistry........that's probably the most hardcore Biochem program you'll find in the country (you have to take 3 semesters worth of calculus, linear algebra/diff equations, 2 physics, A BACHELOR OF ARTS IN CHEMISTRY WORTH OF CHEMISTRY CLASSES (including biochem), 1 lower div bio class, BERKELEY'S UNDISPUTEDLY HARDEST BIOCHEM CLASS: MCB 110, MCB 110's associated LAB class, and a couple more science electives, as well as humanities/language classes. Trust, me, you won't find Biochem majors this intense in any other school, and that's why the college of chemistry (being cocky) decided to call the major Chemical Biology instead of Biochemistry to distinguish the fact that Chemisty is emphasized in this major. </p></li>
<li><p>B.A. Molecuar and Cell Biology from letters and science (there are 5 emphases, and 3 of them are biochemish, but only one of them is actually called MCB with emphasis in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology)'s the premed major, where last year, 76% of graduates went to medica/health professional schools, and 10% went to graduate schools. And this is Berkeley's LARGEST MAJOR. This means peope in this major tend to take school very seriously. However, the requirements are pretty relaxed, and you'll be able to take 2 major classes each semester until you graduate, and be able to take a relaxed load the semester of your MCATs. IF YOU'RE A PREMED, DO THIS MAJOR. </p></li>
<li><p>Random ass majors like Biomolecular Nutrition is the College of Natural Resources.</p></li>

<p>this is really helpful in the BA Biochemisty and MCB major how hard is it to maintain a 3.5 GPA</p>

<p>wow thanks abcdefg, that is really helpful</p>

<p>"How hard" is a subjective question. But 3.5 is very do-able as long as you study enough to know the material. It may seem like common sense, but some people over-kill some classes and slack-off on others, and thus cause inbalances in their semester that stresses them out. If you're BA MCB, you ONLY HAVE TO TAKE 2 SCIENCE CLASSES PER SEMESTER. If you're a premed, don't do something dumb like double-major: it's not going to help you get into med school. And your breadth/humanities requirements.......take them PASS/FAIL unless you're really into the class. hope that helps</p>

B.S. Chemical Biology from the college of chemistry........that's probably the most hardcore Biochem program you'll find in the country ... Trust, me, you won't find Biochem majors this intense in any other school


<p>Most hardcore in the whole country? Really? I think that MIT and Caltech might have something to say about that. </p>

<p>Take MIT as an example. To complete the Biology major at MIT, you have to complete MIT's versions Genetics, Cell Biology and General Biochemistry, none of which are jokes by any stretch of the imagionation. You also have to complete MIT's killer 24-unit biology project lab (which is basically equivalent to 2 regular MIT classes). Furthermore, you also have to complete the regular MIT General Institute Requirements of a smorgasboard of math, physics, and chemistry. </p>

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<p>Let's take a look at Caltech. Caltech's Biology major and General requirements are rather similar to those of MIT's. Basically, a bunch of killer biochem and genetics classes, hugelytime consuming lab courses, and of course the general Caltech requirements which consist of (among other things) a long string of difficult math and physics courses.</p>

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<p>Granted, you might say that these Biology majors at MIT or Caltech aren't really true 'biochem' majors, because they aren't named biochem. Well, to that, I would argue that the Chemical Biology isn't named "biochem" either. What's important is not the actual name that is used, but rather the content of the major. The Chemical Biology major at Berkeley is basically a defacto Biochem major, when you look at all the requirements. However, the Biology majors at MIT or Caltech are also basically defacto Biochem majors, when you factor in all the requirements (including the General Institute Requirements). </p>

<p>The point is, I agree with you that the Chemical Biology major at Berkeley is difficult. No doubt about that. But when you say that it is the most difficult biochem major in the country (and by that, I think you mean a 'defacto' biochem major), I think you go a bit too far. In particular, I think that MIT and Caltech might have something to say about that. Are you really prepared to say that Chemical Biology at Berkeley is demonstrably more difficult than Biology at MIT?</p>

<p>sakky, true. When i said "most hardcore," i was trying to highlite the fact that it's a "new kind" of biochem, started by chemistry faculty who are dismayed that Biochemistry has shifted its emphasis from Chemistry (like in the 50s) to biology.</p>

<p>...but i might add that those MIT/Caltech programs you mentioned are biology programs. I'm taking about bioCHEMISTRY here, with the important part being CHEMISTRY. There are many biology programs at Berkeley</p>

<p>And I attempted to address this point you just made, because I thought you would say that. The Biology programs at MIT or Caltech may not strictly speaking be biochem programs, but the 'Chemical Biology' program at Berkeley isn't truly a biochem program either. However, if you look at the actual curriculum of all 3 programs, they are not really all that different in content (but are in difficulty - I still maintain that the MIT and Caltech programs are probably more difficult). So if the Chemical Biology program at Cal can be considered a Biochem program, then so should the Bio programs at MIT and Caltech. </p>

<p>However, if this is still an issue, then fine, we can compare Chemical Biology at Cal to the Biochem options of the Chemistry majors at MIT and Caltech. Now I think the comparison is very clear - you have to complete an entire B.S. degree in chemistry at MIT or Caltech, and in addition do a whole bunch of bio stuff. </p>

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<p>The point is, I think to say that the Chemical Biology program at Cal is the most hardcore biochem program in the country is a bit of a stretch. Is it difficult? Of course. But is it the most difficult in the country? I think that's a reach.</p>

<p>i have a question. my major when i applied was chemistry but i wanna change it to mcb. i know you can change majors but if i'm a spring admit how does this affect my schedule? can i take those two classes first semester in fall extension? or should i take something during the summer and just take care of breadth requirements during fall extension. also how soon can i change my major?</p>

<p>i looked at the links.... i think i forgot to mention, Berkeley's BS in chemical biology is one class away from double majoring in BA Chemisry and BA Molecular and Cell Biology w/ emphasis in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Whether it's "more hardcore" than Caltech or MIT's biology, chemistry, basket weaving, etc majors is purely subjective, and i'm not even interested in an (opinion) answer. Like i said before, i just want to emphasize that Chemical Biology walks that line between biochemistry and chemistry and is a budding (mostly graduate school) program (started by faculty at either cambridge, oxford, or harvard, i forgot) to reflect how biochemistry SHOULD be taught. By the way, i'm not a chemical biology major.</p>

<p>i wonder what the difference between chemcial biology and biochemistry is, other than the fact that one of them is L&S and the other is in the college of chemistry............</p>

<p>3 years ago, the faculty in the college of chemistry decided that L&S MCB was too pre-med oriented, and sketched out a plan to start a new major that would cover all the BA chemistry requirements as well as require a few upper-div biochemistry classes. This class was meant to be the "cream of the crop" biochemistry program, according to one of three main professors associated with the major. These three are : Carolyn Bertozzi, Micheal Marletta, and Jamie Cate. All three hold appointments in Chemistry AND MCB, and two of them are professors at UCSF as well. All three are also Lawrence-Berkeley National Laboratory scientists and two are Howard Hughes Medical Investigators. In other words, these are 3 high-profile figures in biochem, and they are the faculty advisors. They're really cool too (i've met them).</p>

<p>oh right, i knew one of the two was more prestegious of a major =P</p>

<p>it's not about prestige, it's about what your career goals are.</p>

<p>same difference</p>

<p>abcdefg... thanks for the biochem info! i wasnt considering cal because i thought it would be too competitive and academically impossible or something cuz i hope to go to med school and i thought going to a private feeder school like wellesley/usc/harvey mudd would be better... (i applied for the MCB major at cal) but now im thinking differently!</p>

<p>but a 76% admission rate? wow.<br>
does berkeley discourage the lower-gpa people from applying or something?
and do the 76% actually get into decent/good medical schools?
and what is the average gpa in MCB?
how much studying do u have to do per week for the 3.5?
and how is the major overall?
are MCB people gnereally happy?
is there a significant number of MCB people who flunk/stress/die out and change majors? </p>

<p>sorry im like this neurotic wannabe med student whos totally(!) confused about where to go and needs convincing. if you (or anyone else who knows about this stuff) could please volunteer some of your insight, you would be alleviating my poor stupid mind and i would be oh so very thankful :]</p>

<p>I don't know anything about the 76% admissions rate for MCB students that was cited.</p>

<p>But here are the overall Berkeley premed admissions rates</p>

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<p>christina, sakky is right.......the 76% is the proportion of MCB majors attending all health-related professional schools IMMEDIATELY AFTER GRADUATION. This includes Pharmacy, Dental, and Medical. The med school acceptance rate is lower....probably in the 60s. The thing about Cal is that they don't discourage anyone from applying, as opposed to many schools that have a pre-med screening commitee that only endorse that third (pre-med advisor) letter of recommendation if they believe the applicant will get in. Hence some small liberal arts schools like Whittier College have acceptance rates close to 90....but they only have a dozen or couple dozen applicants. You should shoot for a 3.6 non-science and 3.5 science GPA. It's very do-able. You can accomplish this by taking a max of two science classes each semester, and studying around 8 hours a week for each of those two science classes. This translates to plenty of time to be social. This is a very subjective opinion of course. Here's a handy tip: IF YOU HAVE AP CREDIT FOR MATH, USE IT!!!! Math 1A/1B is a challenging way to start college, and it will drain your soul. Take chem 1A your first semester, and read the textbook (in other classes like upper-div bio classes, you might find it useful not to read the textbook, but to concentrate on readers instead). Take 13 units your first semester. Hope that helps</p>

<p>.......and yeah, MCB has a sorta high change-intended-major rate ( all L&S freshmen are undeclared majors) . The average GPA is probably in the lower-mid 3's. The curves get nicer for upper-div bio classes, according to an article in the daily Cal. The typical MCB major is pretty chilled out, but work esp. hard when the midterms are approaching. And no, MCB majors are not cutt-throat. My organic lecturer used to teach organic chemistry for bio majors/premeds, and he was surprised at how helpful and "team-oriented" the premeds were.</p>