The Biology Majors 2013-14

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/or calculus), and physics.

Transfer Preparation

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 Students at other institutions should compare courses at their school with the degree requirements at 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.

Education Concentration

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

Academic advising is available at the Physical and Biological Sciences Undergraduate Affairs Office. The Undergraduate Affairs Web Site at contains detailed information about the degree programs, sample schedules, transferring credit, placement exams, faculty research, and opportunities in the Physical and Biological Sciences majors.

More Information

Physical and Biological Sciences Undergraduate Affairs
142 Jack Baskin Engineering Building
University of California, Santa Cruz
1156 High Street
Santa Cruz, California 95064
(831) 459-4143

See Also