The Best Major at Harvard

Category Student Voices

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Kathleen, HFGP coordinator
Kathleen Bellon Pizarro Class of '24
Authored on February 16, 2022

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Harvard has over fifty different concentrations (our lingo for "majors"), which is a lot. How do you figure out what to concentrate in, and most importantly, which one is the best?

Well, I have the answer for you: Molecular and Cellular Biology!

A gray webpage with the words "MCB Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology"

MCB, the best department.

What's so special about MCB? I could write a list that goes on for a very long time, but for this blog post, I'll keep it short. In general, to concentrate in MCB, you need to take 12-13 courses, most of which are in the life-sciences field. If you're also interested in applying to medical school in the future, many of the MCB requirements overlap with pre-med requirements, making it a good choice for a concentration. More importantly, if you're someone who loves to study cells and the molecules that make up those cells—and in different biological contexts—then MCB is the right concentration for you! Research is also important in MCB, and there's plenty of MCB faculty who love to host undergrads in their labs!

Speaking of labs, there are many places on campus where you can find MCB research going on. One place is the Northwest Building, where, if you're an MCB concentrator, you'll be spending a lot of your time.

A building with glass panes and a grassy field in front.

Northwest Building.

Northwest is home to many MCB classrooms, labs, and a delicious café. Harvard SEAS

This beautiful building has an actual massive fossil on display, so if you're ever around campus, I'd encourage you to check it out. Though the walk to Northwest is a bit farther than to other campus buildings, the café is what makes it absolutely worth it. The café has so many snacks like candy, granola bars, chips, ice cream, soda, and on top of that, serves freshly prepared lunch meals! My personal favorite is the classic chicken tenders and fries. The best thing about it is that you can use your Boardplus to buy food here (what's Boardplus? Read Olga's blog here).

However, the best way to get food as an MCB concentrator is at study breaks! Every week, our program coordinators order a bunch of food and let us take a "study break" by enjoying the food and catching up with other MCB concentrators. 

Our MCB study breaks are held in the courtyard of the MCB-CPB office, or inside when the weather is too cold. At the end of last semester, during finals week, the MCB team held a holiday party for concentrators, and it was a great time. I would say this is the best part of being an MCB concentrator!

A collage of pictures of food, including baklava, donuts, bagels, cookies

Study break food.

Some of the snacks we've gotten at these past few study breaks! Irina Cashen

Last, but certainly not least, we're one of the few concentrations that has its own space! The infamous MCB-CPB office is a space where we MCB concentrators can stop by to say hi to our advisors, grab a cup of coffee/tea, or relax in any of the study rooms upstairs. If you're lucky, you can catch Dominic and his dog around the office. The office also has a thesis room that has a printed record of every MCB thesis that students have written!

An office space with a green spiral staircase on the left.

The MCB-CPB concentration office.

But, most importantly, what makes MCB special is the people. Whether we're helping a friend on that MCB 60 p-set, needing last-minute class recs, or sending each other research opportunities, our community and people is what makes MCB the best concentration at Harvard.

A collage of pictures of Kathleen and her friends (two girls on the bottom left, two girls on the top left, and a boy and two girls on the right.

MCB friends!

My favorite MCB concentrators.

Kathleen Bellon Pizarro Class of '24

Hello! My name is Kathleen, and I’m a junior concentrating in Molecular and Cellular Biology on the pre-med track. I’m currently living in Mather House (the best house!), but growing up I lived in both the beautiful states of Montana and Texas.

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Kathleen, HFGP coordinator