Chemical Biology

University of California, Berkeley

About the Program

Bachelor of Science (BS)

The Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in Chemical Biology is intended for students who are interested in careers as professional chemists, or in the biological sciences including the biomedical, biotechnology, and pharmaceutical industries. Chemical Biology offers a solid background in chemistry, so that students understand the chemical principles of biological functions. In addition to an introductory set of math and physics courses and a broad selection of chemistry courses similar to those required for the chemistry major, students pursuing the chemical biology major take courses in general and cell biology, biochemistry, biological macromolecular synthesis, and bioinorganic chemistry. There is a strong emphasis on organic chemistry, quantitative thermodynamics, and kinetics necessary for understanding the logic of biological systems.

Admission to the Major

For information on admission to the major, please see the College of Chemistry Admissions page in this Guide.

Minor Program

There is no minor program in Chemical Biology.

Visit Department Website

Major Requirements

In addition to the University, campus, and college requirements, listed on the College Requirements tab, students must fulfill the below requirements specific to their major program.

General Guidelines

  1. A minimum grade point average (GPA) of 2.0 must be maintained in all courses undertaken at UC Berkeley, including those from UC Summer Sessions, UC Education Abroad Program, UC Berkeley in Washington Program, and XB courses from University Extension.
  2. A minimum GPA of 2.0 in all courses taken in the college is required in order to advance and continue in upper division courses.
  3. A minimum GPA of 2.0 in all upper division courses taken at the University is required to satisfy major requirements.
  4. Chemical Biology majors who receive a grade of D+ or lower in a chemistry course for which a grade of C- or higher is required must repeat the course at UC Berkeley.

For information regarding grade requirements in specific courses, please see the notes sections below.

For information regarding residence requirements and unit requirements, please see the College Requirements tab.

Please note, the Academic Guide is updated once a year. For the most up to date requirements information, please take a look at the College of Chemistry website.

Lower Division Requirements

General Chemistry and Quantitative Analysis
and General Chemistry and Quantitative Analysis
CHEM 96Introduction to Research and Study in the College of Chemistry1
CHEM 12AOrganic Chemistry5
CHEM 12BOrganic Chemistry5
MATH 1ACalculus4
MATH 1BCalculus4
MATH 53Multivariable Calculus4
MATH 54Linear Algebra and Differential Equations4
PHYSICS 7APhysics for Scientists and Engineers4
PHYSICS 7BPhysics for Scientists and Engineers4
BIOLOGY 1AGeneral Biology Lecture3
BIOLOGY 1ALGeneral Biology Laboratory2


  1. Students should take CHEM 4A and CHEM 4B during their freshmen year, and CHEM 12A and CHEM 12B during their sophomore year.
  2. A grade of C- or better is required in CHEM 4A before taking CHEM 4B, in CHEM 4B before taking more advanced courses, and in CHEM 12A before taking CHEM 12B.
  3. A grade of C- or better is recommended in CHEM 12A before taking BIOLOGY 1A.
  4. Students who join the program after completing a general chemistry sequence that does not include quantitative analysis are required to take CHEM 4B or CHEM 105.
  5. Students who join the program after completing CHEM 3A plus CHEM 3AL and CHEM 3B plus  CHEM 3BL at Berkeley are allowed to substitute those courses for CHEM 12A and CHEM 12B. Students who join the program after completing only CHEM 3A plus CHEM 3AL at Berkeley are recommended to take CHEM 12B.
  6. Students must take CHEM 96 during the fall term of their sophomore year at Berkeley.
  7. Students should start MATH 1A in the first semester of their freshman year. MATH 10A and MATH 10B may be substituted for MATH 1A and MATH 1B
  8. Students should start PHYSICS 7A in the second semester of the freshman year. Substitution of PHYSICS 8A and PHYSICS 8B is allowed, but PHYSICS 7A and PHYSICS 7B are recommended. PHYSICS 5A and PHYSICS 5B plus PHYSICS 5BL may be substituted for PHYSICS 7A and PHYSICS 7B.
  9. Students may substitute PHYSICS 89 for MATH 54.

Upper Division Requirements 

CHEM 103Inorganic Chemistry in Living Systems3
CHEM C110LGeneral Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Laboratory4
CHEM 120APhysical Chemistry 13
CHEM 120BPhysical Chemistry 13
CHEM 135Chemical Biology 23
MCELLBI 110Molecular Biology: Macromolecular Synthesis and Cellular Function 24
Select one of the following:
Instrumental Methods in Analytical Chemistry [4]
Physical Chemistry Laboratory [3]
Biochemical Engineering Laboratory [3]
Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics Laboratory [3]
Select 7 units of upper division chemistry and allied subjects (see below for list) 3
One must be an additional lecture course (or laboratory/lecture course) in chemistry as approved by your staff adviser

A grade of C- or higher is required in CHEM 120A and CHEM 120B if taken before CHEM 125 or CHEM C182It is strongly recommended to take Chem 120A and Chem 120B in sequence.


BIOLOGY 1A plus BIOLOGY 1AL and CHEM 135 satisfy the prerequisites for MCELLBI 110.


Advanced Placement, Advanced Level, and International Baccalaureate credit cannot be applied to this requirement.

No more than 4 units of research (e.g., CHEM H194 and CHEM 196) may be used to satisfy this requirement.

If a course is used to satisfy another requirement, the course cannot also be used to satisfy the upper division Chemistry and Allied Subjects requirement.


Upper Division Chemistry and Allied Subjects List 

ASTRON C162Planetary Astrophysics4
BIO ENG 100Ethics in Science and Engineering3
BIO ENG 104Biological Transport Phenomena4
BIO ENG 111Functional Biomaterials Development and Characterization4
BIO ENG C112Molecular Biomechanics and Mechanobiology of the Cell4
BIO ENG 115Tissue Engineering Lab4
BIO ENG 116Cell and Tissue Engineering4
BIO ENG C117Structural Aspects of Biomaterials4
BIO ENG C118Biological Performance of Materials4
BIO ENG C119Orthopedic Biomechanics4
BIO ENG 121BioMEMS and Medical Devices4
BIO ENG 131Introduction to Computational Molecular and Cell Biology4
BIO ENG 132Genetic Devices4
BIO ENG 143Computational Methods in Biology4
BIO ENG 147Principles of Synthetic Biology4
BIO ENG 150Introduction of Bionanoscience and Bionanotechnology4
BIO ENG 151Micro/Nanofluidics for Bioengineering and Lab-On-A-Chip4
BIO ENG 163Principles of Molecular and Cellular Biophotonics4
BIO ENG C181The Berkeley Lectures on Energy: Energy from Biomass3
CHM ENG 140Introduction to Chemical Process Analysis4
CHM ENG 141Chemical Engineering Thermodynamics4
CHM ENG 142Chemical Kinetics and Reaction Engineering4
CHM ENG 150ATransport Processes4
CHM ENG 150BTransport and Separation Processes4
CHM ENG 154Chemical Engineering Laboratory4
CHM ENG 160Chemical Process Design4
CHM ENG 162Dynamics and Control of Chemical Processes4
CHM ENG 170ABiochemical Engineering4
CHM ENG 170BBiochemical Engineering4
CHM ENG C170LBiochemical Engineering Laboratory3
CHM ENG 171Transport Phenomena3
CHM ENG 176Principles of Electrochemical Processes3
CHM ENG C178Polymer Science and Technology3
CHM ENG 179Process Technology of Solid-State Materials Devices3
CHM ENG 180Chemical Engineering Economics3
CHM ENG H194Research for Advanced Undergraduates 22-4
CHM ENG 195Special Topics2-4
CHM ENG C195AThe Berkeley Lectures on Energy: Energy from Biomass3
CHM ENG 196Special Laboratory Study 22-4
CHEM 100Communicating Chemistry (limited to 2 units)2
CHEM 104AAdvanced Inorganic Chemistry (limited to 2 units) 13
CHEM 104BAdvanced Inorganic Chemistry (limited to 2 units) 13
CHEM 105Instrumental Methods in Analytical Chemistry4
CHEM 108Inorganic Synthesis and Reactions4
CHEM C110LGeneral Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Laboratory4
CHEM 113Advanced Mechanistic Organic Chemistry3
CHEM 114Advanced Synthetic Organic Chemistry3
CHEM 115Organic Chemistry--Advanced Laboratory Methods4
CHEM 122Quantum Mechanics and Spectroscopy3
CHEM 125Physical Chemistry Laboratory3
CHEM C130Biophysical Chemistry: Physical Principles and the Molecules of Life4
CHEM 130BBiophysical Chemistry (limited to 2 units) 13
CHEM C138The Berkeley Lectures on Energy: Energy from Biomass3
CHEM 143Nuclear Chemistry2
CHEM C150Introduction to Materials Chemistry3
CHEM C170LBiochemical Engineering Laboratory3
CHEM C178Polymer Science and Technology3
CHEM C182Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics Laboratory3
CHEM C191Quantum Information Science and Technology3
CHEM 192Individual Study for Advanced Undergraduates1-3
CHEM H194Research for Advanced Undergraduates 22-6
CHEM 195Special Topics3
CHEM 196Special Laboratory Study 22-6
CIV ENG C106Air Pollution3
CIV ENG 111Environmental Engineering3
CIV ENG 112Water & Wastewater Systems Design and Operation3
CIV ENG 114Environmental Microbiology3
CIV ENG 115Water Chemistry3
CIV ENG C116Chemistry of Soils3
CIV ENG C133Engineering Analysis Using the Finite Element Method3
COMPSCI 160User Interface Design and Development4
COMPSCI 162Operating Systems and System Programming4
COMPSCI 164Programming Languages and Compilers4
COMPSCI 170Efficient Algorithms and Intractable Problems4
COMPSCI 174Combinatorics and Discrete Probability4
COMPSCI 184Foundations of Computer Graphics4
COMPSCI C191Quantum Information Science and Technology3
EPS 103Introduction to Aquatic and Marine Geochemistry4
EPS C129Biometeorology3
EPS 131Geochemistry4
EPS C162Planetary Astrophysics4
EPS C180Air Pollution3
EPS C181Atmospheric Physics and Dynamics3
EPS C182Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics Laboratory3
EPS C183Carbon Cycle Dynamics3
ECON C103Introduction to Mathematical Economics4
EDUC 223BSpecial Problems in Mathematics, Science and Technology Education (graduate-level; requires consent of instructor)2-6
EDUC 224AMathematical Thinking and Problem Solving (graduate-level; requires consent of instructor)3
ENGIN 117Methods of Engineering Analysis3
ENGIN 128Advanced Engineering Design Graphics3
ESPM 119Chemical Ecology2
ESPM 120Science of Soils3
ESPM C128Chemistry of Soils3
ESPM C129Biometeorology3
ESPM C138Introduction to Comparative Virology4
ESPM C148Pesticide Chemistry and Toxicology3
ESPM 162Bioethics and Society4
ESPM 162AHealth, Medicine, Society and Environment4
ESPM C180Air Pollution3
IND ENG 172Probability and Risk Analysis for Engineers4
INTEGBI 106APhysical and Chemical Environment of the Ocean4
INTEGBI 115Introduction to Systems in Biology and Medicine4
MAT SCI 102Bonding, Crystallography, and Crystal Defects3
MAT SCI 103Phase Transformations and Kinetics3
MAT SCI 104Materials Characterization3
MAT SCI 111Properties of Electronic Materials4
MAT SCI 112Corrosion (Chemical Properties)3
MAT SCI 113Mechanical Behavior of Engineering Materials3
MAT SCI 117Properties of Dielectric and Magnetic Materials3
MAT SCI C118Biological Performance of Materials4
MAT SCI 120Materials Production3
MAT SCI 121Metals Processing3
MAT SCI 122Ceramic Processing3
MAT SCI 125Thin-Film Materials Science3
MAT SCI 130Experimental Materials Science and Design3
MAT SCI 140Nanomaterials for Scientists and Engineers3
MAT SCI 151Polymeric Materials3
MATH C103Introduction to Mathematical Economics4
MATH 104Introduction to Analysis4
MATH H104Honors Introduction to Analysis4
MATH 105Second Course in Analysis4
MATH 110Linear Algebra4
MATH H110Honors Linear Algebra4
MATH 113Introduction to Abstract Algebra4
MATH H113Honors Introduction to Abstract Algebra4
MATH 114Second Course in Abstract Algebra4
MATH 115Introduction to Number Theory4
MATH 121AMathematical Tools for the Physical Sciences4
MATH 121BMathematical Tools for the Physical Sciences4
MATH 123Ordinary Differential Equations4
MATH 125AMathematical Logic4
MATH 126Introduction to Partial Differential Equations4
MATH 128ANumerical Analysis4
MATH 128BNumerical Analysis4
MATH 130Groups and Geometries4
MATH 135Introduction to the Theory of Sets4
MATH 136Incompleteness and Undecidability4
MATH 140Metric Differential Geometry4
MATH 142Elementary Algebraic Topology4
MATH 170Mathematical Methods for Optimization4
MATH 185Introduction to Complex Analysis4
MATH H185Honors Introduction to Complex Analysis4
MATH 189Mathematical Methods in Classical and Quantum Mechanics4
MEC ENG C115Molecular Biomechanics and Mechanobiology of the Cell4
MEC ENG C117Structural Aspects of Biomaterials4
MEC ENG 118Introduction to Nanotechnology and Nanoscience3
MEC ENG C176Orthopedic Biomechanics4
MEC ENG C180Engineering Analysis Using the Finite Element Method3
MCELLBI C100ABiophysical Chemistry: Physical Principles and the Molecules of Life4
MCELLBI C103Bacterial Pathogenesis3
MCELLBI 104Genetics, Genomics, and Cell Biology4
MCELLBI 110Molecular Biology: Macromolecular Synthesis and Cellular Function4
MCELLBI C110LGeneral Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Laboratory4
MCELLBI C112General Microbiology4
MCELLBI C112LGeneral Microbiology Laboratory2
MCELLBI C114Introduction to Comparative Virology4
MCELLBI C116Microbial Diversity3
MCELLBI 133LPhysiology and Cell Biology Laboratory4
MCELLBI 135ATopics in Cell and Developmental Biology: Molecular Endocrinology3
MCELLBI 140General Genetics4
MCELLBI 140LGenetics Laboratory4
MCELLBI 141Developmental Biology4
MCELLBI 143Evolution of Genomes, Cells, and Development3
MCELLBI C148Microbial Genomics and Genetics4
MCELLBI 150Molecular Immunology4
MCELLBI 150LImmunology Laboratory4
MCELLBI 160LNeurobiology Laboratory4
NUC ENG 101Nuclear Reactions and Radiation4
NUC ENG 104Radiation Detection and Nuclear Instrumentation Laboratory4
NUC ENG 107Introduction to Imaging3
NUC ENG 120Nuclear Materials4
NUC ENG 124Radioactive Waste Management3
NUC ENG 130Analytical Methods for Non-proliferation3
NUC ENG 150Introduction to Nuclear Reactor Theory4
NUC ENG 161Nuclear Power Engineering4
NUC ENG 162Radiation Biophysics and Dosimetry3
NUC ENG 170ANuclear Design: Design in Nuclear Power Technology and Instrumentation3
NUC ENG 170BNuclear Design: Design in Bionuclear, Nuclear Medicine, and Radiation Therapy3
NUC ENG 180Introduction to Controlled Fusion3
NUSCTX 103Nutrient Function and Metabolism4
NUSCTX 108AIntroduction and Application of Food Science3
NUSCTX 110Toxicology4
NUSCTX 115Principles of Drug Action2
NUSCTX 160Metabolic Bases of Human Health and Diseases4
NUSCTX 171Nutrition and Toxicology Laboratory4
PHYSICS 7CPhysics for Scientists and Engineers (must be completed with a grade of C- or better)4
PHYSICS 105Analytic Mechanics4
PHYSICS 110AElectromagnetism and Optics4
PHYSICS 110BElectromagnetism and Optics4
PHYSICS 112Introduction to Statistical and Thermal Physics4
PHYSICS 130Quantum and Nonlinear Optics3
PHYSICS 137BQuantum Mechanics4
PHYSICS 138Modern Atomic Physics3
PHYSICS 141ASolid State Physics4
PHYSICS 141BSolid State Physics3
PHYSICS C191Quantum Information Science and Technology3
PLANTBI C103Bacterial Pathogenesis3
PLANTBI C112General Microbiology4
PLANTBI C112LGeneral Microbiology Laboratory2
PLANTBI C114Introduction to Comparative Virology4
PLANTBI C116Microbial Diversity3
PLANTBI 120Biology of Algae2
PLANTBI 120LLaboratory for Biology of Algae2
PLANTBI 122Bioenergy2
PLANTBI C124The Berkeley Lectures on Energy: Energy from Biomass3
PLANTBI 135Physiology and Biochemistry of Plants3
PLANTBI C148Microbial Genomics and Genetics4
PLANTBI 150Plant Cell Biology3
PLANTBI 160Plant Molecular Genetics3
PLANTBI 170Modern Applications of Plant Biotechnology2
PLANTBI 180Environmental Plant Biology2
PB HLTH 142Introduction to Probability and Statistics in Biology and Public Health4
PB HLTH 162APublic Health Microbiology4
STAT 134Concepts of Probability4
STAT 135Concepts of Statistics4

For CHEM 104A, CHEM 104B, and CHEM 130B only 2 of the 3 units will count towards Allied Subject requirement since there are overlapping concepts with required major courses. However, students will receive the full 3 units of credit towards their GPA and the 120 unit graduation requirement.


No more than 4 units of research (e.g., CHEM H194 and CHEM 196) may be used to satisfy this requirement.


College Requirements

All students in the College of Chemistry are required to complete the University requirements of American CulturesAmerican History and Institutions, and Entry-Level Writing.  In addition, they must satisfy the following College requirements:

Reading and Composition

In order to provide a solid foundation in reading, writing, and critical thinking the College requires lower division work in composition.

  • Chemical Engineering majors: A-level Reading and Composition course (e.g., English R1A) by end of the first year
  • Chemical Biology and Chemistry majors: A- and B-level courses by end of the second year
  • R&C courses must be taken for a letter grade
  • English courses at other institutions may satisfy the requirement(s); check with your Undergraduate Adviser
  • After admission to Berkeley, credit for English at another institution will not be granted if the Entry Level Writing requirement has not been satisfied

Humanities and Social Sciences Breadth Requirement: Chemistry & Chemical Biology majors

The College of Chemistry’s humanities and social sciences breadth requirement promotes educational experiences that enrich and complement the technical requirements for each major.  

  • 15 units total; includes Reading & Composition and American Cultures courses
  • Remaining units must come from the following L&S breadth areas, excluding courses which only teach a skill (such as drawing or playing an instrument):

Arts and Literature
Foreign Language1,2
Historical Studies
International Studies
Philosophy and Values
Social and Behavioral Sciences

To find course options for breadth, go to the Berkeley Academic Guide Class Schedule, select the term of interest, and use the 'Breadth Requirements' filter to select the breadth area(s) of interest.

  • Breadth courses may be taken on a Pass/No Pass basis (excluding Reading and Composition)
  • AP, IB, and GCE A-level exam credit may be used to satisfy the breadth requirement

Elementary-level courses may not be in the student's native language and may not be structured primarily to teach the reading of scientific literature.

For Chemistry and Chemical Biology majors, elementary-level foreign language courses are not accepted toward the 15 unit breadth requirement if they are used (or are duplicates of high school courses used) to satisfy the Foreign Language requirement.

Foreign Language (Language Other Than English [LOTE]) Requirement

Applies to Chemistry and Chemical Biology majors only.

The LOTE requirement may be satisfied with one language other than English, in one of the following ways:

  • By completing in high school the third year of one language other than English with minimum grades of C-.
  • By completing at Berkeley the second semester of a sequence of courses in one language other than English, or the equivalent at another institution. Only LOTE courses that include reading and composition, as well as conversation, are accepted in satisfaction of this requirement. LOTE courses may be taken on a Pass/No Pass basis.
  • By demonstrating equivalent knowledge of a language other than English through examination, including a College Entrance Examination Board (CEEB) Advanced Placement Examination with a score of 3 or higher (if taken before admission to college), an SAT II: Subject Test with a score of 590 or higher, or a proficiency examination offered by some departments at Berkeley or at another campus of the University of California.

Humanities and Social Sciences Breadth Requirement: Chemical Engineering major

  • 22 units total; includes Reading and Composition and American Cultures courses
  • Breadth Series requirement: As part of the 22 units, students must complete two courses, at least one being upper division, in the same or very closely allied humanities or social science department(s).  AP credit may be used to satisfy the lower division aspect of the requirement.
  • Breadth Series courses and all remaining units must come from the following lists of approved humanities and social science courses, excluding courses which only teach a skill (such as drawing or playing an instrument):

Arts and Literature
Foreign Language1,2
Historical Studies
International Studies
Philosophy and Values

To find course options for breadth, go to the Berkeley Academic Guide Class Schedule, select the term of interest, and use the 'Breadth Requirements' filter to select the breadth area(s) of interest.

  • Breadth courses may be taken on a Pass/No Pass basis (excluding Reading and Composition)
  • AP, IB, and GCE A-level exam credit may be used to satisfy the breadth requirement

Elementary-level courses may not be in the student's native language and may not be structured primarily to teach the reading of scientific literature.

For chemical engineering majors, no more that six units of language other than English may be counted toward the 22 unit breadth requirement.

Class Schedule Requirements

  • Minimum units per semester: 13
  • Maximum units per semester: 19.5
  • 12 units of course work each semester must satisfy degree requirements
  • Chemical Engineering freshmen and Chemistry majors are required to enroll in a minimum of one chemistry course each semester
  • After the freshman year, Chemical Engineering majors must enroll in a minimum of one chemical engineering course each semester

Semester Limit

  • Students who entered as freshmen: 8 semesters

  • Chemistry & Chemical Biology majors who entered as transfer students: 4 semesters

  • Chemical Engineering and Joint majors who entered as transfer students: 5 semesters

Summer sessions are excluded when determining the limit on semesters. Students who wish to delay graduation to complete a minor, a double major, or simultaneous degrees must request approval for delay of graduation before what would normally be their final two semesters. The College of Chemistry does not have a rule regarding maximum units that a student can accumulate.

Senior Residence

After 90 units toward the bachelor’s degree have been completed, at least 24 of the remaining units must be completed in residence in the College of Chemistry, in at least two semesters (the semester in which the 90 units are exceeded, plus at least one additional semester).

To count as a semester of residence for this requirement, a program must include at least 4 units of successfully completed courses. A summer session can be credited as a semester in residence if this minimum unit requirement is satisfied.

Juniors and seniors who participate in the UC Education Abroad Program (EAP) for a full year may meet a modified senior residence requirement. After 60 units toward the bachelor’s degree have been completed, at least 24 (excluding EAP) of the remaining units must be completed in residence in the College of Chemistry, in at least two semesters. At least 12 of the 24 units must be completed after the student has already completed 90 units. Undergraduate Dean’s approval for the modified senior residence requirement must be obtained before enrollment in the Education Abroad Program.

Minimum Total Units

A student must successfully complete at least 120 semester units in order to graduate.

Minimum Academic Requirements

A student must earn at least a C average (2.0 GPA) in all courses undertaken at UC, including those from UC Summer Sessions, UC Education Abroad Program, and UC Berkeley Washington Program, as well as XB courses from University Extension.

Minimum Course Grade Requirements

Students in the College of Chemistry who receive a grade of D+ or lower in a chemical engineering or chemistry course for which a grade of C- or higher is required must repeat the course at Berkeley.

Students in the College of Chemistry must achieve:

  • C- or higher in CHEM 4A before taking CHEM 4B

  • C- or higher in CHEM 4B before taking more advanced courses

  • C- or higher in CHEM 12A before taking CHEM 12B 

  • GPA of at least 2.0 in all courses taken in the college in order to advance to and continue in the upper division

Chemistry or chemical biology majors must also achieve:

Chemical engineering students must also achieve:

  • C- or higher in CHM ENG 140 before taking any other CBE courses

  • C- or higher in CHM ENG 150A to be eligible to take any other course in the 150 series

  • 2.0 GPA in all upper division courses taken at the University to satisfy major requirements

Chemical engineering students who do not achieve a grade of C- or higher in CHM ENG 140 on their first attempt are advised to change to another major. If the course is not passed with a grade of C- or higher on the second attempt, continuation in the Chemical Engineering program is normally not allowed.

Minimum Progress

To make normal progress toward a degree, undergraduates must successfully complete 30 units of coursework each year. The continued enrollment of students who do not maintain normal progress will be subject to the approval of the Undergraduate Dean. To achieve minimum academic progress, the student must meet two criteria:

  1. Completed no fewer units than 15 multiplied by the number of semesters, less one, in which the student has been enrolled at Berkeley. Summer sessions do not count as semesters for this purpose.

  2. A student’s class schedule must contain at least 13 units in any term, unless otherwise authorized by the staff adviser or the Undergraduate Dean.

Student Learning Goals


Each Chemistry graduate will have completed an integrated, rigorous program which includes foundational course work in chemistry and in-depth course work in chemistry or chemistry-related fields. The ACS-certified degree further emphasizes laboratory experience and the development of professional skills. Advanced coursework and educational activities outside the traditional classroom, such as independent research, provide students the opportunity to conduct individual research projects or participate as a member of a research team. Many undergraduate students also benefit from taking our graduate courses in synthetic and physical chemistry.

At graduation, Chemistry majors will have a set of fundamental competencies that are knowledge-based, performance/skills-based, and effective.

Learning Goals for the Major

All our graduates will be able to:

  1. Master a broad set of chemical knowledge concerning the fundamentals in the basic areas of the discipline (organic, inorganic, analytical, physical, and biological chemistry).
  2. Solve problems competently by identifying the essential parts of a problem and formulating a strategy for solving the problem. They will be able to rationally estimate the solution to a problem, apply appropriate techniques to arrive at a solution, test the correctness of the solution, and interpret their results.
  3. Use computers in data acquisition and processing and use available software as a tool in data analysis.
  4. Employ modern library search tools to locate and retrieve scientific information about a topic, chemical, chemical technique, or an issue relating to chemistry.
  5. Successfully pursue their career objectives in advanced education in professional and/or graduate schools, in a scientific career in government or industry, in a teaching career in the school systems, or in a related career following graduation.


All our graduates will demonstrate the ability to:

  1. Understand the objective of their chemical experiments, properly carry out the experiments, and appropriately record and analyze the results.
  2. Use standard laboratory equipment, modern instrumentation, and classical techniques to carry out experiments.
  3. Know and follow the proper procedures and regulations for safe handling and use of chemicals.
  4. Communicate the concepts and results of their laboratory experiments through effective writing and oral communication skills.

Major Map

Major Maps help undergraduate students discover academic, co-curricular, and discovery opportunities at UC Berkeley based on intended major or field of interest. Developed by the Division of Undergraduate Education in collaboration with academic departments, these experience maps will help you:

  • Explore your major and gain a better understanding of your field of study

  • Connect with people and programs that inspire and sustain your creativity, drive, curiosity and success

  • Discover opportunities for independent inquiry, enterprise, and creative expression

  • Engage locally and globally to broaden your perspectives and change the world

  • Reflect on your academic career and prepare for life after Berkeley

Use the major map below as a guide to planning your undergraduate journey and designing your own unique Berkeley experience.

View the Chemical Biology Major Map PDF.


Chemical Biology

Faculty and Instructors

* Indicates this faculty member is the recipient of the Distinguished Teaching Award.


Brooke Abel, Assistant Professor. Polymer chemistry, organic chemistry, stereoselective catalysis, and polymer recycling.
Research Profile

Ashok Ajoy, Assistant Professor. Physical chemistry, nanoscale NMR spectroscopy.
Research Profile

John Arnold, Professor. Organometallic chemistry, organometallic catalysis, materials chemistry, coordination chemistry.
Research Profile

Polly Arnold, Professor. Synthetic, inorganic, organometallic chemistry and catalysis of the rare earths and actinides.
Research Profile

Anne Baranger, Adjunct Professor. Chemical education, chemical biology, organic chemistry.
Research Profile

Kwabena Bediako, Assistant Professor. Inorganic Materials Chemistry, Electrochemistry, Low-Dimensional Materials, Quantum Transport, Optoelectronics.
Research Profile

Kristie A. Boering, Professor. Physical chemistry, climate change, atmospheric chemistry, environmental chemistry, ozone, earth and planetary science, isotopic compositions of atmospheric trace gases, stratospheric ozone, carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, molecular hydrogen, methane.
Research Profile

Carlos J. Bustamante, Professor. Nanoscience, structural characterization of nucleo-protein assemblies, single molecule fluorescence microscopy, DNA-binding molecular motors, the scanning force microscope, prokaryotes.
Research Profile

Jamie Cate, Professor. Molecular basis for protein synthesis by the ribosome, RNA, antibiotics, a thermophilic bacterium, escherichia coli.
Research Profile

Christopher J. Chang, Professor. Chemistry, inorganic chemistry, neuroscience, bioinorganic chemistry, general physiology, organic chemistry, new chemical tools for biological imaging and proteomics, new metal complexes for energy catalysis and green chemistry, chemical biology.
Research Profile

Michelle Chang, Associate Professor. Biochemistry, Chemical Biology, and Synthetic Biology.
Research Profile

Ronald C. Cohen, Professor. Physical chemistry, water, climate, air pollution, atmospheric chemistry, environmental chemistry, analytical chemistry, ozone, nitrogen oxides, CO2, clouds.
Research Profile

Jennifer A. Doudna, Professor. RNA machines, hepatitis C virus, RNA interference, ribosomes.
Research Profile

Felix Fischer, Associate Professor. Organic and Inorganic Materials Chemistry, Supramolecular Chemistry, Polymer Chemistry, Molecular Electronics.
Research Profile

Graham R. Fleming, Professor. Chemistry, proteins, chemical and biological dynamics in the condensed phase, ultrafast spectroscopy, body dynamics, liquids, solutions, glasses, photosynthetic proteins, role of solvents in chemical reactions, complex electric fields, electron transfer.
Research Profile

* Matt Francis, Professor. Materials chemistry, drug delivery, organic chemistry, Protein modification, artificial photosynthesis, water purification.
Research Profile

* Phillip Lewis Geissler, Professor. Statistical mechanics, theoretical chemistry, microscopic behavior of complex biological and material systems, biomolecular structure and dynamics, nonlinear vibrational spectroscopy.
Research Profile

Naomi Ginsberg, Associate Professor. Physical and biophysical chemistry, light harvesting, spectroscopy, and imaging.
Research Profile

Jay T. Groves, Professor. Chemistry, physical chemistry of cell membranes, molecular organization in cell membranes, receptor-ligand binding, spatial rearrangement of receptors, ligands.
Research Profile

John F. Hartwig, Professor. Inorganic chemistry, organometallic chemistry, catalysis, organic chemistry.
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Martin Head-Gordon, Professor. Theoretical chemistry, electronic structure calculations, development of novel theories and algorithms, quantum mechanics.
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Teresa Head-Gordon, Professor. Computational chemistry, biophysics, bioengineering, biomolecules, materials, computational science.
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John Kuriyan, Professor. Structural and functional studies of signal transduction, DNA replication, cancer therapies, phosphorylation.
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Stephen R. Leone, Professor. Physical chemistry, molecular dynamics, atomic, molecular, nanostructured materials, energy applications, attosecond physics and chemistry, radical reactions, combustion dynamics, microscopy, Optical physics, chemical physics, soft x-ray, high harmonic generation, ultrafast laser, aerosol chemistry and dynamics, neutrals imaging.
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David Limmer, Assistant Professor. Theoretical chemistry.
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Jeffrey R. Long, Professor. Inorganic and solid state chemistry, synthesis of inorganic clusters and solids, controlling structure, tailoring physical properties, intermetal bridges, high-spin metal-cyanide clusters, magnetic bistability.
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Thomas Maimone, Assistant Professor. Organic synthesis, total synthesis, natural products chemistry, catalysis, synthetic methodology, medicinal chemistry.
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Michael A. Marletta, Professor. Chemical biology, molecular biology, structure/function relationships in proteins, catalytic and biological properties of enzymes, cellular signaling, nitric oxide synthase, soluble guanylate cyclase, gas sensing, cellulose degradation, polysaccharide monooxygenases.
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Susan Marqusees, Professor. Director of QB3 and Eveland Warren Endowed Chair Professor of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Structural Biology.
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Evan W. Miller, Assistant Professor. Chemical biology, organic chemistry, fluorescence microscopy, neuroscience, imaging .
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Luciano G. Moretto, Professor. Chemistry, nuclear science, statistical and dynamical properties of nuclei, nuclear reactions, multifragmentation, thermal scaling, monovariant and bivariant regions.
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Daniel Neumark, Professor. Physical chemistry, molecular structure and dynamics, spectroscopy and dynamics of transition states, radicals, and clusters, frequency and time-domain techniques, state-resolved photodissociation, photodetachment of negative ion beams.
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Eric Neuscamman, Assistant Professor. Electronic Structure Theory, Quantum Chemistry.
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Daniel K. Nomura, Associate Professor. Chemical Biology and Analytical Chemistry.
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Eran Rabani, Professor. Theory of nanomaterials.
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Jonathan Rittle, Assistant Professor. Inorganic Chemistry and Chemical Biology: Applying structure and spectroscopy to understand and augment the reactivity of metalloenzymes and transition metal clusters.
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Richmond Sarpong, Professor. Organic and organometallic chemistry.
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* Richard J. Saykally, Professor. Physical chemistry, surface science, analytical chemistry, materials solid state chemistry, laser spectroscopy methods, X-ray spectroscopy, molecular astrophysics, novel forms of matter, nonlinear optical molecular imaging(NMI), water clusters.
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Alanna Scherpartz, Professor. Chemical Biology, Synthetic Biology, Organic Chemistry, Biophysics.
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Kevan M. Shokat, Professor. Chemistry, bio-organic chemistry, diabetes, protein phosphorylation, fundamental signal transduction pathways in cells and whole organisms, kinase, drug development, asthma, multiple forms of cancer, neurological disorders, drug addiction.
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* Angelica Stacy, Professor. Chemistry, solid states, physical and inorganic chemistry, emerging technologies, synthesis and characterization of new solid state materials with novel electronic properties, magnetic properties, development of new synthetic methodologies.
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T. Don Tilley, Professor. Inorganic, organometallic, polymer and materials chemistry, synthetic, structural, and reactivity studies on transition metal compounds, catalysis, new chemical transformations, advanced solid state materials, renewable energy, solar fuels.
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Dean F. Toste, Professor. Organometallic chemistry, organic, development of new synthetic methods, enantioselective catalysts, strategies for the synthesis of natural products, synthesis of complex molecules, formation of carbon-carbon and carbon-heteroatom bonds, olefins.
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K. Peter Vollhardt, Professor. Organic and organometallic chemistry, transition metals, novel synthetic methodology, synthesis of complex natural and unnatural products, assembly of novel oligometallic arrays, phenylenes, organic magnets and conductors.
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K. Birgitta Whaley, Professor. Chemistry, physical and theoretical chemistry, cluster and nano science, quantum information and computations, quantum mechanics of clusters and advanced materials, elucidating and manipulating chemical dynamics in strongly quantum environments.
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Evan Williams, Professor. Spectroscopy, molecular structure and dynamics, analytical chemistry, biophysical chemistry, structure and reactivity of biomolecules and biomolecule/water interactions, mass spectrometry, separations, protein conformation, protein and DNA sequencing.
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Ke Xu, Assistant Professor. Biophysical chemistry, cell biology at the nanoscale, super-resolution microscopy, single-molecule spectroscopy.
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Ting Xu, Professor. Polymer, nanocomposite, biomaterial, membrane, directed self-assembly, drug delivery, protein therapeutics, block copolymers, nanoparticles.
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Omar Yaghi, Professor. Reticular chemistry.
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Peidong Yang, Professor. Materials chemistry, sensors, nanostructures, energy conversion, nanowires, miniaturizing optoelectronic devices, photovoltaics, thermoelectrics, solid state lighting.
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Ziyang Zhang, Assistant Professor. Small Molecules and Synthetic Chemistry, Peptides, Proteins, Drug discovery, Cancer, Autoimmune diseases.
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Michelle Christine Douskey, Lecturer.

Peter C. Marsden, Lecturer.

Maryann Robak, Lecturer.

Emeritus Faculty

Paul A. Bartlett, Professor Emeritus. Bio-organic chemistry, synthetic chemistry, enzyme inhibitors, combinatorial chemistry, peptide conformation, proteomimetics.
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Robert G. Bergman, Professor Emeritus. Organic and inorganic chemistry: synthesis and reaction mechanisms, organotransition metal compounds, homogeneous catalysis.
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Joseph Cerny, Professor Emeritus. Nuclear chemistry, nuclei, radioactivity, isotopes.
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Jean M. J. Frechet, Professor Emeritus. Materials chemistry, catalysis, drug delivery, analytical chemistry, organic synthesis, polymer science, macromolecules, chiral recognition, control of molecular architecture at the nanometer scale, reactive surfaces.
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Robert A. Harris, Professor Emeritus. Molecules, radiation, theoretical chemistry, atoms, weak interactions, condensed matter .
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John E. Hearst, Professor Emeritus. Nucleic acid structure, psoralen photochemistry.
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Clayton H. Heathcock, Professor Emeritus. Organic synthesis, organic chemistry, large-molecule synthesis.
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Darleane C. Hoffman, Professor Emeritus. Nuclear chemistry, actinide, transactinides, superheavy elements, liquid-liquid extractions, solid-phase chromatographic extractions, gas-phase chromatographic separations, meitnerium, nuclear decay properties of the heaviest elements, decay.
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Sung-Hou Kim, Professor Emeritus. Computational genomics, Structural Biology, drug discovery, disease genomics.
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Judith P. Klinman, Professor Emeritus. Catalytic and regulatory mechanisms in enzyme-catalyzed reactions, kinetic, spectroscopic, stereochemical biological techniques, peptide- derived cofactors, Nuclear tunneling and role of protein dynamics in catalysis, enzymatic activation of molecular oxygen.
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Yuan T. Lee, Professor Emeritus.

William Lester, Professor Emeritus. Theoretical and physical chemistry, advances in basic theory, computational methods, study of molecular electronic structure, quantum Monte Carlo method, Born-Oppenheimer approximation.
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Marcin Majda, Professor Emeritus. Electrochemistry, analytical chemistry, electrode and solution interfaces, electron tunneling, bioanalytical chemistry.
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Samuel S. Markowitz, Professor Emeritus. Nuclear chemistry, environmental chemistry, nuclear reactions for chemical analyses.
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Richard Mathies, Professor Emeritus. Genomics, biophysical, bioanalytical, physical chemistry, laser spectroscopy, resonance Raman, excited-state reaction dynamics photoactive proteins, rhodopsins, microfabricated chemical biochemical analysis devices, forensics, infectious disease detection.
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William H. Miller, Professor Emeritus. Theoretical chemistry, chemical dynamics, quantum mechanical and semiclassical theories, dynamical chemical processes at the molecular level, photodissociation, femtosecond pump-probe spectroscopy, calculations of rate constants for chemical reactions.
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C. Bradley Moore, Professor Emeritus.

Steven F. Pedersen, Professor Emeritus.

Norman E. Phillips, Professor Emeritus. Materials, solid state chemistry, low-temperature specific heat measurements, microscopic theories, models for condensed matter, macroscopic properties, microscopic structures, measurements on nanoparticles, carbon nanotubes.

* Alexander Pines, Professor Emeritus. Theory and experiment in magnetic resonance spectroscopy and imaging, quantum coherence and decoherence, novel concepts and methods including molecular and biomolecular sensors and microfluidics, laser hyperpolarization and detection, laser and zero-field NMR, in areas from material science to biomedicine .
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John O. Rasmussen, Professor Emeritus.

Kenneth N. Raymond, Professor Emeritus. Chemistry, bacteria, bioinorganic chemistry, biophysical chemistry, coordination, design of specific chelating agents for metal ions, human iron storage and transport proteins, low-molecular weight chelating agents, metals in medicine, metal-ligands.
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Kenneth Sauer, Professor Emeritus.

Charles V. Shank, Professor Emeritus.

Gabor A. Somorjai, Professor Emeritus. Physical chemistry, catalysis, surface science, low-energy electron diffraction, solid state chemistry, macroscopic surface phenomena, adhesion, lubrication, biocompatibility, bonding, and reactivity at solid surfaces, scanning tunneling.
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Andrew Streitwieser, Professor Emeritus.

David E. Wemmer, Professor Emeritus. Nuclear magnetic resonance, nucleic acids, biophysical chemistry: proteins, NMR spectroscopy, magnetic resonance methods, structure of proteins and DNA, conformational fluctuations, biopolymers.
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Contact Information

Department of Chemistry

419 Latimer Hall

Phone: 510-642-5882

Visit Department Website

Undergraduate Dean

John Arnold

530 Latimer Hall

Phone: 510-375-2011

Director of Undergraduate Student Services

Maura Daly

121 Gilman Hall

Phone: 510-643-0550

Academic Advisor

Korshid Tarin

121 Gilman Hall

Phone: 510-642-3451

Academic Advisor

Shamaya Pellum

121 Gilman Hall

Phone: 510-643-1745

Academic Advisor

Jahzeel Flores Morales

121 Gilman Hall

Phone: 510-642-7919

Intake Adviser

Maritsi Perez

121 Gilman Hall

Phone: 510-664-5264

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