FAQs

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Who should declare the Molecular and Cell Biology major?

The Molecular and Cell Biology (MCB) major may be a good fit for students who are interested in the properties and functions of the molecules that make up living cells, along with those who are looking for rigorous course requirements and the flexibility to choose upper level courses from the areas of Biochemistry, Biophysics, Cellular Systems, Genetics, Microbiology, Virology, and Quantitative Biology.

The MCB major may also be a good fit for students who plan to enter a research career in molecular and cell biology or related areas such as biochemistry, genetics, oncology, microbiology, cell biology, or developmental biology; Pre-professional students who plan to enter either a research or clinical career in medicine, veterinary or allied health fields; or Students with interest in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical science industries.

What can I do with a Molecular and Cell Biology major?

The Molecular and Cell Biology major provides broad foundational knowledge and skills for employment in a variety of public and private agencies, both domestic and international. Opportunities exist in lab research, product development, government agencies, healthcare, medicine, education, and many more!

Check out the What Can I Do With A Molecular Biology Major? document to see what MolBio alumni are doing and the organizations for which they’ve worked.

How do I declare the Molecular and Cell Biology major?

Schedule an appointment via Starfish with the Molecular and Cell Biology Student Services Coordinator.  We will review the major, answer any questions and then you can declare the major when you’re ready.

Can I declare a double major with Molecular and Cell Biology?

A double major of Molecular and Cell Biology with Biochemistry or Biology is not allowed, however, a double major with other majors is acceptable. Some examples of majors completed with the MCB major include (but are not limited to), Afro-American Studies, Anthropology, Data Science, Gender and Women’s Studies, Global Health, Music, Psychology, Spanish, or Zoology.  See a full list of UW-Madison majors and certificates (minors) available at the Undergraduate Guide.

Can I declare Honors in the Major for the Molecular and Cell Biology major?

Yes. Check out Honors in the Major requirements and contact the student services coordinator, to discuss honors in the major is a good fit for you.

How do I find a faculty research mentor?

Undergraduate Molecular and Cell Biology students at UW-Madison have the opportunity to work with some of the world’s leading researchers. Many opportunities for laboratory research experience are available on campus for undergraduate students and at least two credits of research is required in the major. Research experience provides students the opportunity to apply what they’re learning and compliment their knowledge with practical skills. It is highly valued by employers, graduate programs, and professional schools.

To explore undergraduate research opportunities and to find a research mentor, visit the Undergraduate Research tab.

Can I use a Senior Thesis or Directed Study from a different department to fulfill the Lab/Research requirement for the major?

Yes. A Senior Thesis course or Directed Study course from other departments is acceptable as long as the work is sufficiently related to molecular or cell biology.

If you have questions about how to determine if the course is sufficiently related to molecular biology, please contact the molecular biology student services coordinator.

If I take courses at another UW institution, how do they transfer?

Continuing students can check Transferology for transfer credit equivalencies and the Office of the Registrar’s website for how to post transfer credit.  Questions can also be directed to the Molecular and Cell Biology student services coordinator.

Prospective students can find more information at the Transfer Transition Program

Can I take a course for Pass/Fail?

Yes. However, courses taken Pass/Fail will not count towards your major, breadth, or general education requirements.  You can find additional Pass/Fail details here.