The Human Biology Major 2011-12
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
- 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 physics.
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 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. In addition, please review the introductory requirements for the human biology major:
- Biology 20A, Cell and Molecular Biology; 20B, Development and Physiology; and 20L, Experimental Biology Laboratory
- Chemistry 1A, 1B/M and 1C/N, General Chemistry with Laboratory (three quarters)
- Chemisty 112A/L, 112B/M, and 112C/N, Organic Chemistry with Laboratory (three quarters); or Chemistry 108A/L and 108B/M (two quarters)
- Mathematics 11A-B and 22, Calculus with Applications (three quarters); or Mathematics 19A-B and 22, Calculus for Science, Engineering, and Mathematics (three quarters)
- Physics 6A/L, 6B/M, and 6C/N, Introduction to Physics with Laboratory (three quarters)
- Applied Mathematics and Statistics 5, Statistics or 7/L, Biostatistics with Laboratory
Prospective transfer students should visit the Physical and Biological Sciences Undergraduate Affairs web site at undergrad.pbsci.ucsc.edu for further information (see the More Information section).
- Medical technology
- 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.
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.
Sarah Broker (B.S., health sciences, ’06) is a health client benefits representative with the MediCruz program of Santa Cruz County, where she assists people with permanent physical and emotional disabilities obtain medical coverage, social security, and disability benefits. Sarah feels that her experience as a health sciences student interning with the Homeless Persons Health Project (HPHP) was invaluable in preparing for her current position.
Sarah Chen (B.S., health sciences, '10) completed the Science Illustration Graduate Program at California State University, Monterey Bay. Upon finishing the program, Sarah interned at LAC + USC Medical Center in the Fresh Tissue Dissection Lab, where she created medical illustrations detailing trauma procedures. Sarah will be applying to medical schools in 2012, while continuing to produce illustrations that bridge art and medicine.
Alyson Davidson (B.S., health sciences, '10) is a Peace Corps health volunteer serving in rural Dominican Republic. Her primary focus in the DR is to train health promoters in general health practices and youth leaders in HIV/AIDS prevention. She also holds a leadership role in a volunteer-run committee that sends volunteers to translate for American physicians who donate their services to treat patients in the DR. She believes that her health sciences degree has allowed her to follow her passion for global health. Alyson plans to attend medical school upon her return from service.
David Pham (B.S., health sciences, '11) is a medical school student at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. David is currently one of the Student Government Association representatives for his medical school class. During his years as a health sciences major at UCSC, David interned with a Santa Cruz Family Practitioner, Dr. Jack Watson, and was an active tutor with Learning Support Services. David feels that his experience in the health sciences major has been integral to his educational development and "couldn't have been better."
Jennifer Roberts-Kelly (B.S., health sciences, '08) is a second-year medical student at Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM) at the Erie, Pennsylvania campus. Her health science internship with a local DO who practiced osteopathic manipulative medicine fueled her decision to attend osteopathic medical school. She is looking forward to starting her clerkship rotations and is looking into a combined family practice and osteopathic manual medicine residency when she graduates in 2014.
Russell Witt (B.S., health sciences '08) is a fourth-year medical student at UC Davis who is currently taking one year to complete an NIH-funded T32 fellowship where he conducts research and takes courses between his third and fourth year of medical school. After completion of his fellowship, he will receive an M.A.S. in Clinical Research. He is currently ranked in the top quartile of his class and hopes to apply to a general surgery residency or directly into an integrated cardiothoracic surgery residency.
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 review the Transferring Credit section on the Physical and Biological Sciences Undergraduate Affairs web site at undergrad.pbsci.ucsc.edu/advising and/or speak with an adviser before enrolling in numerous upper-division courses at other institutions.
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 www2.ucsc.edu/careers/health/index.html.
Academic advising is available at Physical and Biological Sciences Undergraduate Affairs. 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 Biological Sciences majors.
Physical and Biological Sciences Undergraduate Affairs
387 Thimann Laboratories
University of California, Santa Cruz
1156 High Street
Santa Cruz, California 95064