Prospective Students

Welcome to the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology at the University of Arizona!

Molecular and Cellular Biology is the largest graduating life science major in the College of Science. We provide a dynamic and friendly environment that gives students the knowledge, support, and confidence they need to succeed. Our graduates go on to successful careers as doctors, researchers, health professionals, entrepreneurs, genetic counselors, attorneys, science writers, teachers, and more. (Interested in a graduate degree? Visit our Graduate Programs page.)

Why study MCB?

  • Get the strong foundation in genetics, development, and biochemistry to pursue a variety of careers. MCB graduates go to top medical and grad schools. 39% of our students are in the Honors College.
  • Learn from engaged faculty committed to innovative education.
  • Do hands-on research in cutting-edge labs. Over 40% of MCB undergraduate students conduct independent research in labs.
  • Meet your educational and personal goals. Graduate on time with advice and support from our award-winning academic advising team.
  • Develop problem solving and teamwork skills critical to career success in MCB’s collaborative learning environment.
  • Follow your passion, whether you are answering fundamental questions about how cells, molecules, and genes work, or applying that knowledge to uncovering new therapies for cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, or aging.
  • Be part of a vibrant, engaged student community. The MCB Club, independent research, and outreach opportunities allow students to learn leadership skills, connect and give back to the community.
  • MCB is committed to diversity and opportunity for all students. The department directs the TRIO ASEMS program which provides support to UA undergraduate STEM and health science majors who are first generation students, students with disabilities, and/or economically disadvantaged students.
  • Work hard, play hard. MCB students maintain a 3.3 GPA while exploring the outdoors and enjoying the activities Tucson and the University of Arizona offer.

The Major

MCB undergraduates earn a Bachelor of Science degree. The 35-unit major includes core courses in Introductory Biology, Molecular Basis of Life, Molecular Genetics, Cell & Developmental Biology, and Metabolic Biochemistry. In addition, students complete elective courses in related fields, including microbiology, evolutionary biology, biochemistry, physiology, and plant sciences. MCB also strongly encourages students to undertake independent laboratory research to complement required coursework.  The MCB major meets the pre-requisite requirements for most medical schools; many MCB majors are pre-med.

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Student Profiles

Mary-Beth Roberts (2015)

"MCB and the University of Arizona gave me the opportunity and encouragement to reach my potential. I went from wondering if I could keep up to having the honor of speaking to my graduating class.  I don’t think I could have done that anywhere else."

Mary-Beth was the Fall 2015 Oustanding Senior for the MCB Department, as well as for the College of Science.

Mary-Beth is a graduate student working on her Master of Science in Genetic Counseling degree at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Alec Calac (2016)

"MCB has world-class professors teaching classes. The professors have a genuine investment in your success."

Alec graduated with honors with a double major in Molecular & Cellular Biology and Neuroscience & Cognitive Science, and a minor in Biochemistry. He was a successful advocate for Native American participation in STEM at the University of Arizona and has continued his advocacy work since graduating.  

Alec, pictured with Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM) aims to start his MD-PhD in 2018 and is looking forward to becoming a physician scientist.


For more information about becoming an MCB student:
Marisa Lester
Senior Academic Advisor (preferred)
(520) 621-1073