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Chemical Biology vs Molecular/Cell Bio for MD/PhD track?

hsstudent13hsstudent13 99 replies19 threads Junior Member
Hi all,

I'm currently a senior in high school applying to UC Berkeley for undergrad next year. I'm interested in doing an MD/PhD combined degree to become a medical researcher, and I was wondering if any current Berkeley students or others know which program is better for the MD/PhD track. I know that research opportunities are the most important thing, and the college of chemistry seems to have a lot, and I'm interested in the rigorous coursework, but maybe without the GPA deflation. What do you think I should apply for?

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Replies to: Chemical Biology vs Molecular/Cell Bio for MD/PhD track?

  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 82666 replies737 threads Senior Member
    CoC chemical biology does require more rigorous versions of some courses compared to L&S MCB. For example:

    * CHEM 4A, 4B (general chemistry with quantitative analysis for chemistry majors) instead of 1A/1AL (general chemistry).
    * CHEM 12A, 12B (organic chemistry for chemistry majors) instead of 3A/3AL, 3B/3BL (organic chemistry for biology majors) -- note, L&S MCB biochemistry option needs to take 1B, 12A, 12B.
    * MATH 1A, 1B, 53, 54 (calculus, multivariable calculus, linear algebra & differential equations, as taken by chemistry, math, and engineering majors) instead of 10A, 10B (calculus, statistics, and combinatorics for biology majors).
    * PHYSICS 7A, 7B (physics for scientists and engineers) versus 8A, 8B (physics for biology majors).

    You can check grade distributions at https://berkeleytime.com/grades .
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  • Walter924Walter924 235 replies4 threads Junior Member
    Chemical Biology: More rigorous, better for PhD. Also, chem-centric
    Molecular and Cell Biology (I assume biochem track): Slightly easier, may be better GPA wise.
    There are more premed students in MCB

    Either works. Just come in as Chemical Bio and figure it out later. College of Chemistry gets more free food.

    Plus intro chem-bio classes are transferable to MCB easier than the other way because they are harder.

    Today, I went to drop in advising for MCB (MCB drop in advising is like all the time. I love them so much more than Econ advising which is never. I'm trying to make an appointment with an Econ advisor, my first one, and there's like 1 15-minute slot 2 weeks away that's open, that I can't even go to because I have class). But anyways, went to drop in advising because microbial genetics and developmental biology both sound boring, but I need an elective, and so I'm like, can I take Evolutionary Medicine, and they're like, sure just go get this form signed. And now I get to take Evolutionary Medicine as my elective! Apparently, 2 people who I met today were really excited about bacterial pathogenesis, so take that.

    Personal MCB benefits: Medical-related classes are fun.
    Cons: I feel like I have learned very little since Bio 1A and Biochem 102. All the bio classes after that are just giving you slightly more detail. Small steps in knowledge increases. So, like upper division genetics is the same thing as Bio 1A, but with a bit more complicated recombination calculations (moms have more recombination). Cell biology learn the same signaling pathways, but with a few more enzymes thrown in. But I guess a lot of majors have that issue. The intro classes are just too thorough.
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  • pathtotruthpathtotruth 26 replies0 threads Junior Member
    As a out state parent I hear maintaining GPA especially in premed track is not easy at UCB. Could someone doing Premed or Biology/Chem undergrad share their thoughts and experiences. Since we will have to pay out of state tuition to UCB/UCLA my thoughts are to send my kid rather to a private university with the same money where competition is not as fierce as at UCB and with potential smaller class sizes.
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  • pathtotruthpathtotruth 26 replies0 threads Junior Member
    adding: we are also interested in MD/PHD track.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 82666 replies737 threads Senior Member
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