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Chemist Shaowei Chen talks to students in lab, UCSC Science, photo credit Elena Zhukova 2019

Biochemistry Advising Resources

Department: Chemistry & Biochemistry

This page is meant to provide resources to assist you in planning your degree progress.

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Advising

The advisor for the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology major is Rexton Lynn.

Email Advising:

Most advising questions can be answered via email! Please follow the guidelines below:

  • Use the chemistry advising email above, NOT the personal emails of Chem/BMB advisors.
  • Include your full name and student ID number.
  • If you are requesting assistance with forms, please attach a copy of your form to the email.

In-person and Remote Advising Appointment Schedule: Slug Success

Rexton’s Winter 2022 advising appointment schedule is:
  • Tuesday: Remote/Zoom Advising 1:00PM-4:00PM
  • Thursday: In-Person & Remote Advising Available 9:00AM-12pm & 1:00PM-4:00PM
  • Friday: In-Person & Remote Advising Available 9:00AM-12pm & 1:00PM-4:00PM
  • No student appointments are available on Mondays or Wednesdays. If none of the advising times above work for you and you need to meet with Rexton, please email him at to set up an alternate advising appointment time.

Make an appointment with Rexton.
Instructions for how to make appointments using Slug Success.

Getting Started in BMB

Getting Started Guides

Getting started in the major as a first-year student
Getting started in the major as a transfer student

Orientation Presentations

Chemistry & Biochemistry Orientation Presentation for Frosh
Chemistry & Biochemistry Orientation Presentation for Transfer Students

Chemistry Self Assessment

Students who want to make sure they are prepared for the introductory general chemistry sequence are encouraged to take the Chemistry Self-Assessment offered in Canvas (the online system UCSC uses to create and manage lessons, courses, quizzes and other course materials). Your score on the exam will help you determine when to take general chemistry.

Accessing the Assessment:

NOTE: You will need your UCSC CruzID Gold and password to log in to Canvas.

Assessment Guidelines:

  • You may use a calculator and periodic table when taking the assessment.
  • The exam consists of 42 multiple choice questions.
  • There is no time limit; you may take as long as needed to complete the exam.
  • You will receive immediate feedback after submitting your exam.
  • The assessment is advisory, not required to enroll.
  • Any UCSC student with an active CruzID Gold password may take the assessment.

Assessment Score & Enrollment

  • 0-25 points: You should review general chemistry before enrolling in Chem 1A or Chem 1B. Recommended resource: UCI Chemistry 1P online
  • 25-35 points: You may benefit from review prior to enrolling in CHEM 1A.
  • 36-42 points: Your score suggests you are prepared to enroll in general chemistry.

Resources for Reviewing Chemistry

UC Irvine, CHEM 1P: Preparation for Chemistry

Transfer Students & Transfer Credit Requests

Students intending to transfer into UCSC to pursue a Chemistry degree should review the Transfer Information and Policy section of the catalog for the Chemistry degree of interest (links below). Students can also review the getting started in the BMB major as a transfer student guide.

Students preparing to transfer from a California Community College should also reference to determine what UCSC coursework they may receive transfer credit for.

Students preparing to transfer from another University or an out-of-state Community College can request Major or Minor Credit for courses completed at their original institution via the Transfer Credit Articulation Request form.

NOTE: Unit Credit and satisfaction of GE requirements are processed through admissions. Please see the UCSC advising website for more information.

Degree requirements and planners

Degree requirements & planner for the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology B.S.
Senior exit requirements

To create an official major academic plan, please contact the BMB advisor at and request an individualized plan.

Curriculum Plan 2021-22 – this document shows in which quarters all Chemistry & Biochemistry courses are planned to be offered this academic year.

Current Enrollment Updates

Updated 11/17/2021

Winter 2022 Enrollment Updates

Currently, all lower division CHEM lectures (CHEM 1A, CHEM 1B, CHEM 1C, CHEM 8A, & CHEM 8B), upper division CHEM lectures/labs (CHEM 144, CHEM 151A, CHEM 151L, CHEM 163B, & CHEM 164), and BIOC lectures (BIOC 100B & BIOC 163A) are planned to be offered in-person on campus in Winter 2022.

CLASS CLOSED/FULL?: The Chemistry & Biochemistry Department will be monitoring enrollment numbers throughout the enrollment period and adjusting capacities as possible/necessary. Students should waitlist for Chemistry courses that are full (waitlists open during second pass enrollment), especially if the sections are full but the total course enrollment has not been met. The department uses waitlisting to gauge the demand for additional seats.

For enrollment information/procedures/updates on BIOL courses, visit the MCD enrollment website.

For updates on courses sponsored by other departments (non CHEM/BIOC courses), please visit the appropriate department websites. 

General Chemistry

The UCSC Chemistry Department is currently redesigning the General Chemistry (CHEM 1ABC with Chem Labs 1MN) series. The redesigned series is planned to commence with new course numbering in Fall 2022.

  • CHEM 1A, 1B, and 1M are planned to be offered for the final time in Summer Session 1, 2022.
  • CHEM 1C and 1N are planned to be offered for the final time in Summer Session 2, 2022.

If you have already started or are currently starting the General Chemistry series–and especially if you are proposed, declared, or in an advising cluster associated with a major that requires one or more General Chemistry course(s)/lab(s), it is important that you create an academic plan that will allow you to complete the CHEM 1 courses required in your major by the end of Summer Session 2, 2022.  Major advisors are here to assist you in academic planning.

Organic Chemistry

CHEM 8M: enrollment is restricted (for Winter enrollment) during first pass to those majors in which it is a requirement. The enrollment restriction will lift during the second pass. CHEM 8M is offered both Winter and Spring Quarters.

CHEM 110/L: enrollment is restricted to chemistry majors, minors and proposed majors. Students outside of chemistry who wish to take this course should complete the Enrollment Request Form. Once all chemistry majors have had an opportunity to enroll into CHEM 110/L, those on the request form will be contacted via email with next steps if there are seats available. Entering your information on the form does not guarantee your enrollment into the course or lab.

Non-chemistry students needing a third quarter of organic chemistry should enroll into CHEM 109. (NOTE: CHEM 109 and CHEM 110L cannot be taken together. CHEM 109 does not substitute for CHEM 110.)

General Enrollment Policies

General Enrollment Information

General Enrollment Information from the Registrar (enrollment appointments, waitlists, min/max credits, etc.)
Enrollment How-To Videos

General Chemistry

The General Chemistry series includes three lectures courses (CHEM 1A, CHEM 1B, and CHEM 1C) and two lab courses (CHEM 1M, to be taken with CHEM 1B, & CHEM 1N, to be taken with CHEM 1C).

Please note that CHEM 1A and CHEM 1B do not have to be taken in order. These are two separate courses that do not build upon each other. CHEM 1A requires placement in Math 3 or equivalent (ALEKS placement score, AP test scores, or AM 3) and is a prerequisite for CHEM 1C but NOT CHEM 1B. Please keep this in mind if you find your intended General Chemistry course is full. You may have other options!

Lab Attendance and “Crashing”

Enrolled students who do not attend their first lab meeting will be dropped. Attendance will be taken in the first 10 minutes; students not present when roll is taken will be dropped from the lab and their space in the course will be given to those on the waitlist.

General Chemistry labs are offered every quarter. Although it is recommended to take the General Chemistry lecture & associated lab concurrently, students have the option of delaying the lab for a future quarter if the lab sections are full.


All Chemistry courses will have a waitlist.  Do not contact the instructor asking for a permission code to get you off the waitlist.

  • Waitlists will be available at the start of Second Pass enrollment: Log in to MyUCSC to view your waitlist appointment time. For your best chance at becoming enrolled, add or swap onto a waitlist as soon as they become available.
  • All waitlists will be set to auto-enroll unless otherwise noted: Students will be automatically enrolled as space becomes available in the course and notified via email.
  • Waitlists will manage enrollment: If you want to enroll in a full course, you MUST enroll onto the waitlist.  To allow for fair access to enrollment, individual requests to instructors or the department will not be entertained.

Chemistry Lab Waitlists

If you are waitlisted in CHEM 1B, CHEM 1C, CHEM 8A, or CHEM 8B, you will not be able to waitlist the corresponding lab course (CHEM 1N, CHEM 1M, CHEM 8L, CHEM 8M) until you are officially enrolled in the class, unless you have previously passed the courses.

NOTE FOR WAITLISTED LAB STUDENTS: As explained above (under “crashing” of lab sections), waitlisted students must wait for an official enrollment confirmation notification from the Registrar’s Office prior to attending the lab section.
  • CHEM 1M is the lab associated with CHEM 1B. CHEM 1N is the lab associated with CHEM 1C.
  • CHEM 8L is the lab associated with CHEM 8A. CHEM 8M is the lab associated with CHEM 8B.
  • Gen Chem Labs (1M and 1N) do not have a lab lecture.  O Chem labs (8L and 8M) do – held once a week.
  • O Chem Labs (8L and 8M): All students enrolled, waitlisted, or seeking a seat in a lab MUST attend the first class lecture meeting (lab lecture – NOT the lab itself) which is noted in the schedule of classes.
  • “Crashing” lab sections:  In the case of all Chemistry labs, “crashing” is not an option, even if you are on the waitlist for the lab. Only enrolled students (not including waitlist) may attend the first lab. If you are on the waitlist, you must wait for confirmation notification by the Registrar’s Office regarding your official enrollment in a lab section prior to attending the lab section.

Independent Study

If you need an independent study course number for enrollment for either your Senior Thesis or Lab Research, you must complete a Petition for Undergraduate Individual Studies form. You must have an informal agreement in place with the Professor/Faculty Sponsor prior to completing this form.

How to Qualify and Declare for the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Major

Major Qualification Process

Students must complete a certain set of coursework and achieve a certain GPA in order to qualify for a Chemistry major.

Qualification courses and GPA requirements for the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology B.S.

Major Declaration Process

Students may petition to declare once they have completed all qualification courses and met the GPA requirements.

To initiate the process to declare, students should complete the online petition to declare (below) no later than two weeks prior to the declaration deadline. For assistance, please contact the chemistry advising team at

Students who entered UC Santa Cruz as first-year students are required to formally declare a major by the deadline in their sixth quarter on campus. Students who transfer to UC Santa Cruz are required to declare a major by the deadline in their second quarter on campus. The major declaration deadlines for each quarter can be found in the academic calendar.

Online Petition to Declare

Students enrolled in their final qualification policy course at the major declaration deadline may submit the petition, but will not be declared until satisfactory grades have been posted. To view the Petition to Declare Major form, you must be logged in to your UCSC email account.

Major Declaration Appeals

Appeals do not have to be any particular length, but should clearly and concisely explain the reason you are appealing.

All appeals must contain the following information at the top of the appeal letter:

  • Full name
  • Student ID number
  • Major you wish to declare

In the body of your appeal letter, explain the extenuating circumstances that influenced your academic performance. Identify solutions/resources you are using or intend to use to improve your academic performance in the future, and anything else you feel is relevant to explaining your circumstances.

Please note that the information you share in your appeal or with your advisors will be kept confidential and shared only with campus officials as required to serve you in an advising capacity or to process your appeal, except in cases related to potential harm to yourself or others, or sexual assault or abuse. In those cases, we may be required by law to report incidents you disclose to other need-to-know offices on campus such as the Title IX Office and/or University of California Police Department. If you are in need of support for any issues, please consult this list of confidential and/or support resources.

Academic Support

Below are some particularly useful resources for students seeking academic support. Please visit the website for a full list of academic support resources

  • ACE – The Academic Excellence Program provides discussion sections in biology, pre-calculus, general and organic chemistry and physics. Sections meet for 4 hours each week with professional teaching staff and take the place of the required secondary discussion section for your math or science lecture.
  • DRC – The Disability Resource Center assists the UCSC campus with equal educational access for students with disabilities.
  • EOP – Academic and personal support for educationally disadvantaged students.
  • LSS – Learning Support Services offers Modified Supplemental Instruction (MSI) and tutoring services.
  • MSI – Modified Supplemental Instruction gives students the opportunity to learn together in small groups led by advanced Student Learning Assistants.
  • Navigate Slug Success – You can use Navigate Slug Success to:
    • Set alerts and reminders. Stay on top of your to-do list and important deadlines.
    • Locate campus resources. Connect to resources and support throughout campus.
    • Sync your class schedule with your phone calendar. See your whole schedule in one calendar view.
    • Find Study Buddies. Start or join a study group with other students from your classes.
    • Make an appointment. Instantly schedule a Slug Success meeting with an academic advisor or other campus staff.
  • STEM Diversity – The UCSC STEM Diversity Programs encompass a variety of programs that support underrepresented students in STEM fields.
Undergraduate Research

Becoming involved in research is one of the most important decisions you will make as an undergraduate student.  For students interested in pursuing grad school, undergraduate research is a way of expanding your education outside of the classroom and better preparing yourself for the rigors of graduate study. The right research experience can greatly enhance your education and further your preparation for industry, business, and professional schools.

Getting involved in an undergraduate research project is not like signing up for a class. Instead, it is much more like obtaining a job – you need to find an available research position and then sell yourself for that position.

This is a recording of the Undergraduate Research Information Session held on October 13, 2021 from 12pm-1pm by Chemistry & Biochemistry department at UC Santa Cruz. Students interested in participating in Chemistry and Biochemistry-related research should watch this video and then read the tips below. Those two references, together, are a great starting guide to help begin the search for a research opportunity.

Step 1: Activate

First and Second Year students –  plan ahead by attending workshops and events held by the Undergraduate Research Office.

Attend the annual Undergraduate Research Symposium, Poster Session, & Panel Discussion in late May or early June.

Consider joining the “Chemistry Club” – The Chemistry club at UCSC is a great way for students to meet others interested in Chemistry and a great way to meet professors and talk to them about their research

Step 2: Brainstorm

Think about courses you’ve taken or other educational experiences you’ve had.

  • Make a list of those subjects that you find most interesting.
  • For ideas on topics to list, scan through your science and textbook indices.
  • Look at the department  research section of our website for subjects in which you are interested.
  • What are you excited about? Start searching the web to find out what is happening in this area.
  • Are there news stories about flashy new discoveries? Check out the department news section

Once you have evaluated your research interests and organized your time (plan on up to 15 hours per week), the next step is finding a faculty mentor. As part of a collaborative research team, you will need to find the right position both for you and your potential research lab.

Step 3: Identifying possible research mentors

Once you have an idea of the area in which you would like to do research, you are now ready to find a mentor.

Research your potential faculty mentor

Identify a few faculty and read about their general area of research. Our departments’ faculty listings describe the professor’s research and list recent articles.

When you are researching potential faculty mentors, make sure they are conducting research in your area of interest. You should be able to connect your coursework or previous volunteer/research experience to the research project you are applying for.

Step 4: Contacting potential mentors

Send an email to potential faculty members introducing yourself and clearly indicating your purpose for contacting them. This “cover letter” should include the following points:

  • Name and major/department affiliation
  • Purpose for contacting them
  • Major research interests and enthusiasm for gaining research experience
  • How do your research interests relate to the research being done in said laboratory (ie. Why are you interested in their specific laboratory?)
  • Include your contact information (email, phone, etc.)

As an attachment to your email, include your curriculum vitae (CV). A CV is similar to a resume but is specific to your academic career. Include:

  • Relevant coursework – you may want to include a short description of techniques/concepts mastered.
  • Leadership experience (on/off campus) and work experience that demonstrates organizational skills, independent thinking, etc.)
  • Honors, awards or distinctions (include name of award, granting college/department, and monetary value if appropriate)

Some faculty members may also require a copy of your unofficial transcript.

NOTE: When you contact potential mentors, you may find that one or more of them is unable to accept you into his/her lab. This may be due to a variety of circumstances so do not take it personally. Students often become discouraged in the search for a research position because they have sent many e-mails to faculty and have gotten no replies. Take heart! Your letter may not have reached them.  They might be out of town.  But often the reason for lack of response is something that can be fixed by using proper business communication etiquette.  See the following examples of good and bad letters so you can learn how to write a better letter of inquiry to a potential employer.

Letter Etiquette

Sample Cover Letter

Sample Curriculum Vitae

Step 5: Academic Credit

Chemistry majors may receive credit for participating in research at UCSC by enrolling in the following courses:

  • CHEM 195ABC Senior Thesis (5 credits)
  • CHEM 199  Senior Research:  Independent Research in Lab (5 credits)

Please visit the following link to complete your petition for an Independent Study Course. All Research Independent Study Courses require a faculty sponsor.

Opportunities, Internships, & Careers in Chemistry

Biochemistry & Molecular Biology is a degree that allows for myriad possibilities of career avenues. Graduates from Chemistry majors can pursue careers in industry, academia, government, non-profit, and/or entrepreneurship.

Want to receive targeted emails based on your career interests? Fill out the Career Interest Survey to sign up! You can unsubscribe here at any time.

Below are some resources that the Chemistry and Biochemistry department has gathered for students to peruse as they are considering careers for their degree.

General Career/Graduate Program Exploration:

Graduate/Ph.D. Program Finders:

Internship & Job Search:


  • Prepping for Grad School – A workshop series for EOP students
    Begins Thursday, January 27th; 11am-12:30pm

    The Pathways to Research (P2R) mentors will be hosting a workshop series on preparing for grad school that is open to all EOP students. The workshops will be held virtually and will cover four topics. The first workshop will take place on Thursday, January 27th from 11 am-12:30 pm and discuss how juniors can make the most of their year and begin the graduate school application process.
    Other Prepping for Grad School Workshops:
    A Holistic Guide to Selecting a Grad Program – March 3; 3:30-5pm
    Writing a Personal Statement – March 11; 3-4:30pm
    Networking and Discussing Your Research – April TBD

    All workshops use the following Zoom information:
    Meeting ID: 999 6673 3022
    Passcode: 369401
    flyer showing the graduate school prep workshop schedule
  • Graduate Program Recruitment & Information Events/Workshops

    The Graduate Program Recruitment & Information Events/Workshops document includes a continuously updated list of upcoming Graduate Program information events, workshops, application deadlines, etc. that the Chemistry & Biochemistry Department has been asked to advertise and that may be of interest to current Chemistry & Biochemistry undergraduates that are considering or pursuing graduate school.  

Internships/Extracurricular Experience: