Getting started in Biomolecular Engineering & Bioinformatics - Frosh


Students are admitted to UCSC with a "proposed major" in most cases, and later petition to officially declare the major. Admission to UCSC does not guarantee acceptance into a particular major. Students must be declared in a major by the end of the second year (or equivalent), so learning about and preparing for a major is a primary goal for first-year students.

Importance of an early start:

This is a course-intensive and/or sequential program, and students who intend to pursue this major must begin taking classes for the major in their first year at UCSC.

Qualification requirements and/or prerequisites for the major:

Review Major Qualification Requirements in the General Catalog.

Frosh who intend to pursue this major should do the following things prior to the beginning of fall term...

  • Ensure your official transcripts arrive to UC Santa Cruz by July 1; all official test scores, including AP scores, must arrive by July 15.
  • Complete parts 1 & 2 of the Slug Orientation Course process to receive your enrollment appointment date.
  • Students with college-level transferable courses must mail or email a copy of the transcript to Baskin Engineering Undergraduate Advising by July 1, in addition to providing the official transcript to the UCSC Admissions Office.
  • Complete the Math Placement process. It takes up to three business days for ALEKS PPL placement to post in your student record. Completing the assessment by July 16 will ensure your placement is posted before enrollment begins (although depending on your enrollment appointment, you may have more time!).

...and should take these courses their first term:

Please do NOT enroll in Math 11A, AMS/ECON 11A.

Only MATH 19A and 19B are acceptable calculus requirements for this major.

For information about how AP scores apply toward major coursework, please see the UCSC AP Scores table.

The option you choose below will depend on your Math Placement.

Option 1)

  • MATH 2, College Algebra 
  • CSE 20, Beg. Python Programming (not required but recommended for students with little or no programming experience) 

Option 2) 

  • Math 3, Precalculus or Math 19A, Calculus for Science, Eng & Math
  • Chemistry 1A, General Chemistry 

If you only have room in your fall schedule to take one course for this major then we recommend that you prioritize Chemistry coursework, particularly if you have placed into MATH 3 or MATH 19A.  (Chem 1A requires placement into Math 3 or higher).

Special enrollment procedures:

All classes being used for major requirements must be taken for letter grades.

Sample Academic Plan:

Review the Sample Academic Plan in the General Catalog.

Skills important for success in this major:

Mathematics, science, problem solving, design, and writing. A desire to apply science and technology to solving problems of global health and medicine.

Other Information:

All students in this major who have little or no programming experience are recommended to take CSE 20, Beg. Python Programming. This course is not required but is recommended to take prior to enrolling into BME 160, Research Programming in the Life Sciences.

Be sure to attend the BE orientation during Fall Welcome Week. 

Links to Review:

Program Description (Catalog)
Department Website
BE Undergraduate Advising

Advisor Contact Information:

Baskin Engineering Undergraduate Advising

(831) 459-5840 or
BE Undergraduate Advising Office, 225 Baskin Engineering