Freshman Admits to Cal

Congratulations on your acceptance to Cal!

Welcome to Integrative Biology!  On this page, we will provide you with some answers to frequently asked questions and help you to separate fact from fiction. If you have any additional questions, please don't hesitate to contact our staff and peer advisors by email, or stop by the IB/MCB Undergraduate Student Services Office in 3060 VLSB. Our contact information and advising hours can be found on the Undergraduate Home page

How do I get started in Integrative Biology? What are the courses required?

All students who plan to major in Integrative Biology must take the same set of prerequisites, even though you can follow two different major programs (tracks) within the  major. See the chart below, which shows you all of the lower-division courses and when they are offered.

Course Number Course Title Semester Units
Math 10A/Math 1A* Methods of Mathematics: Calculus, Statistics, and Combinatorics F, Su 4
Math 10B/Math 1B* Methods of Mathematics: Calculus, Statistics, and Combinatorics Sp, Su 4
Chemistry 1A/1AL General Chemistry and Lab F, Sp, Su 3+1
Chemistry 3A/3AL Organic Chemistry and Lab F, Sp, Su 3+2
Chemistry 3B/3BL Organic Chemistry and Lab F, Sp, Su 3+2
Biology 1A/1AL General Biology and Lab F, Sp, Su 3+2
Biology 1B General Biology (includes lab) F, Sp, Su 4
Physics 8A** Calculus-based Physics (includes lab) F, Sp, Su 4
Phyiscs 8B** Calculus-based Physics (includes lab) F, Sp, Su 4

*For students who complete an alternate sequence, major advisors will work with the student to develop a plan that will likely include a third math course that covers the missing content. Please consult with a major advisor for more information. Math 16A and/or 16B are not accepted by the IB major. 

**Physics 7A can be taken in place of 8A and Physics 7B in place of 8B.

 

Can I use my AP scores in biology, math, physics, or chemistry to waive requirements?

The Department of Integrative Biology does not accept any test scores (AP, IB, A-Levels, etc) to waive the lower-division IB requirements.

What should I take during my first semester at Cal?

High School Preparation Suggested classes for the IB major for fall
Chemistry & pre-calculus
Chem 1A/1AL, Math 10A or Math 32
AP Calculus AB or BC test
Chem 1A/1AL, Math 10A or Math 1A

I'm confused. Is there anyone I can talk to?

We are available to speak with you on the phone or meet with you in person throughout the summer. There are staff advisors working through the summer months and our peer advisors will return in fall. Call us at 510-643-1667 or come to 3060 Valley Life Sciences Building, M-Th 9-12, 1-4, F 9-12, 1-3, or you can email ibusso@berkeley.edu and we'll get back to you within one business day.
 

What if I want to work out a four-year plan?

We have some sample plans for you to take a look at here. You can always come into the Undergraduate Advising Office and speak with a peer advisor (fall, spring) or a staff advisor. Come to 3060 Valley Life Sciences Building, M-Th 9-12, 1-4, or F 9-12, 1-3.


Example of program beginning in the fall semester of freshman year  - Track 1: Ecology, Evolution and Organismal Biology

  Fall Spring Summer
Freshman

Math 10A or 1A
Chem 1A/1AL

Math 10B or 1B
Chem 3A/3AL

       
Sophomore

Chem 3B/3BL
Biology 1B

Biology 1A/1AL
Physics 8A

 
Junior

IB Req. Group A or B
Physics 8B

IB Req. Group B w/ field lab
IB Req. Group C or elective

   
Senior

IB Req. Group B (w/lab?)
IB Req. Group A or C

IB Req. Elective or 2nd Lab
IB Req. Elective
 

Example of program beginning in the fall semester of freshman year  - Track 2: Human Biology and Health Sciences

  Fall Spring Summer
Freshman

Math 10A or 1A
Chem 1A/1AL

Math 10B or 1B
Biology 1B

             
Sophomore

Chem 3A/3AL
Physics 8A

Chem 3B/3BL
Physics 8B

 
Junior

Biology 1A/1AL
IB Req. Group B

IB Req. Group C
IB Req. Elective

 
Senior

IB Req. Group C w/lab
IB Req. Group A

IB Req. 2nd Lab
IB Req. Elective
 
 

Example of program beginning in the spring semester of freshman year. (FPF, Global Edge, etc.)

***Students who need to complete advanced math courses (Math 53, 54, or 55) may be able to substitute two of these three courses for Math 10A/Math 1A and 10B/1B. Please see an IB advisor for more information. 

  Fall Spring Summer
Freshman

Math 10A or 1A***
 

Math 10B or 1B*
Chem 1A/1AL

           
Sophomore

Chem 3A/3AL
Biology 1B

 Chem 3B/3BL
Physics 8A

 
Junior

Biology 1A/1AL
Physics 8B 

IB Elective

IB Req. Group C
IB Req. Group B or Elective

 
Senior

IB Req. Group C w/ lab
IB Elective

IB Req. Group A
IB Elective w/ lab

 
 

Is it possible to graduate in 3 or 3.5 years? How does this differ from the standard 4 year plan?

Yes, sample plans comparing 3, 3.5, and 4 year options can be found by clicking the sentence below. Students interested in the 3 or 3.5 year plan should consider the impact that these course intensive options may have on the Integrative Biology (IB) and Cal experience. First, students may lose the opportunity to participate in substantial research training and to develop their own pathways in original research, which could limit post-graduate options. Second, because some IB courses are offered only every two years, course options may be limited. Lastly, students may be limited in their participation in off-campus programs, study abroad programs, and internships, as well as in department student organizations.

It is important for students considering this shortened path to talk with a major advisor as soon as possible after arriving on campus so that we can create a customized plan. 

Why do I receive a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree even though I'm studying IB?

The word "Arts" in Bachelor of Arts does not mean arts in the modern sense. You are receiving a "liberal arts" degree in the classical sense: the term refers to those subjects that were considered essential for a free citizen to study in ancient Rome--and those subjects included mathematics and astronomy! Like Harvard undergraduates, who also earn a BA degree, you attend a liberal arts college. A liberal arts education will ensure that you graduate with both a depth of knowledge in your major and a breadth of knowledge across the disciplines, making you well prepared for a range of graduate school and career options.

Specifically, the IB major is housed within the College of Letters & Science and is designed to balance depth in the science and knowledge of subjects beyond your major, such as anthropology, legal studies, economics, etc. Many students use this opportunity to declare a minor, participate in the Course Threads program, and/or demonstrate success in a multitude of areas.