The Biology Majors 2011-12
The biology departments at UC Santa Cruz offer a broad spectrum of courses that reflect the exciting new developments and directions in the field of biology. An outstanding group of faculty, each with a vigorous, internationally recognized research program, are available to teach courses in their specialties as well as core courses for the major. Areas of research strength include RNA molecular biology, molecular and cellular aspects of genetics and development, neurobiology, immunology, microbial biochemistry, plant biology, animal behavior, physiology, evolution, ecology, marine biology, and conservation biology.
Study and Research Opportunities
- Biology (B.A., B.S., M.A., Ph.D., B.A. concentration in bioeducation, undergraduate minor)
High School Preparation
In addition to the courses required for UC admission, high school students who intend to major in biology should take high school courses in biology, chemistry, advanced mathematics (precalculus), and physics.
Junior transfer students who plan to major in the biological sciences must complete the introductory requirements prior to transfer, in particular a complete year of calculus, general chemistry, and introductory biology. Additionally, students who complete a year of organic chemistry, statistics, and calculus-based physics will transfer prepared to begin their advanced degree requirements and allow time in their senior year for doing research. California community college students should follow the prescribed course work in the UCSC transfer agreements available at www.assist.org. Students at other institutions should compare courses at their school with the degree requirements at undergrad.pbsci.ucsc.edu/programs/mcdb and the UCSC General Catalog course descriptions to ensure courses will qualify for transfer.
The Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum (IGETC) will not provide transfer students with enough mathematics and science courses to allow them to complete the program at UC Santa Cruz in two years. Prospective transfer students should visit the Physical and Biological Sciences Undergraduate Affairs web site for further information (see the More Information section).
Course Substitution/Transfer Credit
At least half of the upper-division courses (Biol/Bioe 100–190) required for each biological sciences major must be taken through the MCDB and EEB programs at UC Santa Cruz, not as transfer credits from another department or institution. Transfer students are advised to contact the Physical and Biological Sciences Undergraduate Affairs Office before enrolling in numerous upper-division courses at other institutions.
Biology B.A. students have the option of completing an education concentration, which requires rigorous course work in biology, a solid background in education theory and practice, and additional breadth courses to prepare students to demonstrate subject matter competence in the General Sciences and Biology/Life Sciences for the California Subject Matter Examination for Teachers (CSET).
Education Abroad Opportunities
The UC Education Abroad Program (EAP) offers qualified students unique opportunities to broaden their educational horizons. The biology departments encourage interested students to participate. Many programs are in English-speaking countries or use English for advanced courses. Many programs offer small classes and extensive laboratory and/or field research experience.
There are excellent programs for biological science students in Costa Rica, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Denmark, and Germany, among others. The Costa Rica Tropical Biology Program is of note to students interested in tropical biology and ecology. Held spring and fall quarters at the Monteverde Research Station, this program gives students experience with hands-on field research, offers a homestay program, and carries credit for upper-division biology courses. The University of Queensland (Australia) offers an intensive, full-semester Marine Science Program, which includes a stay at a research station on the Great Barrier Reef, near sheltered mangrove and seagrass habitats.
Students interested in study abroad need to get an early start on their basic science requirements, including general and organic chemistry, math, and introductory biology. Visit the EAP office as soon as possible to begin planning, and seek advice about your academic plan from the Physical and Biological Sciences Undergraduate Affairs Office.
Academic advising is available at the Physical and Biological Sciences Undergraduate Affairs Office. The Undergraduate Affairs Web Site at undergrad.pbsci.ucsc.edu contains detailed information about the degree programs, sample schedules, transferring credit, placement exams, faculty research, and opportunities in the Physical and Biological Sciences majors.
Dr. Jonathan Gershenzon (B.A., biology, ’77) is director of the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology in Jena, Germany. He is one of the world’s leading experts on terpenes, the largest group of chemical defenses in plants.
Nina Grove (B.A., biology, ’79) is vice president for commercial planning & strategy at the Institute for OneWorld Health. Grove led the product development and commercialization planning for OneWorld Health’s malaria project and spearheaded a partnership selection process and due diligence review for OneWorld Health’s semisynthetic artemisinin grant. She holds a Masters in Medical Microbiology and a Masters in Public Health from UC Berkeley.
Teresa Ish (B.A., environmental studies/biology, ’00; M.S., marine sciences, ’03) cofounded the nonprofit organization Sustainable Fisheries Associates, which administers a color-coded information system called FishWise that helps consumers identify sustainable seafood choices.
Julie Packard (B.A., ’74, M.A., ’78, biology) helped found the world-famous Monterey Bay Aquarium and now serves as executive director. In 1998, she was awarded the Audubon Medal for Excellence in Environmental Protection, and in 2004 she received the Ted Danson Ocean Hero Award from the conservation group Oceana.
Dr. Cheryl Scott (B.A., biology, ’74) spent four years as the director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention operations in Tanzania, combating the spread of AIDS, which affects nearly 1.5 million Tanzanians. Her public health career has taken her around the world, from the Ivory Coast, Kenya, India, to the Caribbean. Currently a medical director at CDC headquarters in Atlanta, Dr. Scott is a captain in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps and has received several Public Heath Service awards.
Physical and Biological Sciences Undergraduate Affairs
387 Thimann Laboratories
University of California, Santa Cruz
1156 High Street
Santa Cruz, California 95064