MCDB Master's Degree

Foundation Building

MCDB offers a Masters degree in order to meet the recognized need for Masters level graduates with an MCDB emphasis, especially for positions in the biotechnology industry. MCDB offers two Masters programs: by Thesis (Plan 1), emphasizing independent research training, and by Project (Plan 2), emphasizing coursework and broader academic training. Students will choose which plan to follow, with the expectation that all Masters students will be enrolled full-time, and register for at least 12 units each quarter. Often, students on the Plan 2 track can complete the degree in one year with careful planning. Masters applicants should consult with faculty in advance of applying in order to identify an advisor; preference will be given to applicants who have established a potential working relationship with a faculty member. The normative time to degree in Plan 1 is 2 years. See the MCDB Graduate Handbook for more details.

Course Requirements

Seminar Courses

MCDB students are required to enroll each quarter for the mandatory department seminars:

Course Number Course Name Quarter Units
MCDB 262 Friday Noon Seminar Fall / Winter / Spring 1
MCDB 263 Research Seminar Fall / Winter / Spring 1
MCDB-CORE Graduate Curriculum

The MCDB Core Courses are revised beginning Fall, 2020. See previous versions of the MCDB Graduate Guide for previous years’ core courses.

Course Number Course Name Quarter Units
MCDB 229 Protein Biochemistry Fall 2
MCDB 218A EMethod & Logic in MCD Biology I Fall 3
MCDB 218B Method & Logic in MCD Biology II Winter 5
MCDB 260 Research Strategies in MCDB (every qtr, years 1 & 2) Fall / Winter / Spring 1

Elective coursework is individualized (see Appendix I in the MCDB Graduate Guide for pre-approved elective course list); other courses may be substituted upon prior written approval of the Faculty Graduate Advisor. See below for Plan 1 and Plan 2 unit requirements.

Teaching Assistant Courses

To qualify for a TAship, students must complete the following courses.

Course Number Course Name Quarter Year Units
MCDB 500 Campus Orientation Fall 1 1
MCDB 501 Practicum in Instruction N/A N/A 1-4
MCDB 502 Teaching Techniques Fall 1 1-2

Select Masters Plan 1 or Masters Plan 2

Plan I: Thesis

Requirements: Graduate core courses and electives for 30 units total (a maximum of 10 units of the units may be MCDB 596) and a thesis. See Appendix I for pre-approved elective course list; other courses may be selected upon prior written approval of the Faculty Graduate Advisor. See the MCDB Graduate Guide for more details.

Plan 2: Project

Requirements: graduate core courses plus electives to total 36 units completion of a project. See Appendix I for pre-approved elective course list; other courses may be selected upon prior written approval of the Faculty Graduate Advisor. The capstone for the Masters degree, Plan 2 is a Final Project. The final project consists of either (i) a research presentation in the MCDB 262 meeting or (ii) a written review article on a topic pre-approved by the graduate committee and in the format of a Nature Reviews review article. Consult the MCDB Graduate Guide for further details.