Medical School - Berkeley Chemistry Sequence

UC Berkeley has a unique chemistry sequence. The Chem 1A/1AL, 3A/3AL, 3B/3BL, MCB 102, or alternately instead of MCB 102 students can complete MCB C100A/MCB 100B, Chem C130/MCB100B, or Chem 135. This sequence has been in place since 1991 and is what most students complete at UC Berkeley, and this sequence is accepted by the vast majority of medical schools.

Note: Chem C130 is the same course as MCB C100A. Students completing Chem C130 will need to also complete MCB 100B to satisfy the metabolism requirement. 

Even though this chemistry sequence doesn’t fit neatly into the classification of 2 semesters of inorganic chemistry + lab and 2 semesters of organic chemistry + lab, most medical schools accept the sequence anyway. They understand our sequence is unique and most schools feel that this chemistry sequence adequately teaches concepts you will need to be successful in medical school. Please note that for Biochemistry medical schools want an emphasis on cellular metabolism.

How to classify chemistry coursework on your application

If you complete the sequence above, classify 1A/1AL and 3A/3AL as general chemistry, and 3B/3BL and MCB 102 (or MCB C100A or CHEM C130 or CHEM 135) as organic chemistry in your primary and secondary applications. If you complete MCB C100B you can list that course as Biochemistry.

What to do if a medical school says you haven’t completed chemistry

For assistance, email Irma L Moreno at the Career Center, and include the following information in your email:

  1. The name of the school(s) questioning your completion of chemistry
  2. Who you have been in contact with at the school
  3. The language they used to indicate you didn’t complete chemistry
  4. How you explained the chemistry sequence to the school

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