The Human Biology Major 2013-14

The B.S. major in human biology is designed to meet the needs of students who are interested in pursuing careers in medicine or biomedical research. The major is based on the B.S. degree in molecular, cell, and developmental biology, with identical course requirements in chemistry, physics, math, and statistics. Like many other biological sciences majors at UC Santa Cruz, the human biology major satisfies subject requirements for most medical schools. Unique features of the human biology major are the required courses related to human health, the requirement of proficiency in Spanish, including a course in conversational Spanish for health care workers, and participation in a formal internship program. About 100 students at UC Santa Cruz seek admission to medical school each year. UC Santa Cruz students have been accepted at the eight California medical schools, as well as at all the major medical schools in the country, including Harvard, Yale, and Johns Hopkins.

Study and Research Opportunities

  • B.S.
  • The Health Sciences Internship Coordinator works with students to provide opportunities for experience working in health care in the local community.

High School Preparation

High school students planning to pursue the human biology major should have a solid background in high school biology (including physiology), chemistry, advanced mathematics (precalculus and/or calculus), and physics.

Transfer Preparation

Junior transfer students who plan to major in human biology 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. 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 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 at for further information (see the More Information section).


  • Chiropractics
  • Dentistry
  • Medical technology
  • Medicine
  • Optometry
  • Pharmacy
  • Physician’s assistant
  • Public health
  • Veterinary medicine

These are only samples of the field’s many possibilities.

Health Sciences Internship Program

The Health Sciences Internship Program offers students a unique opportunity for personal growth and professional development. Paired with a professional mentor, students spend one quarter interning in a community health care setting. Placement opportunities cover a broad range, from individual physicians to community clinics and hospitals, hospices, and public health agencies. The Health Sciences Internship Coordinator works with students to prepare them for their internship and keeps a database of appropriate placements.

Medical Spanish

The major includes a requirement of proficiency in Spanish. After completing Spanish 1–4, students take a unique course in Medical Spanish, which will help prepare them to better meet the increasing need for bilingual health care professionals.

Health Careers Advising

Students interested in careers in the health professions are strongly encouraged to meet with the campus Health Careers Advisor. Detailed information regarding health professions and professional school preparation can be found on the Health Career Advising web site at

Academic Advising

Academic advising is available at Physical and Biological Sciences Undergraduate Affairs. 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 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