The Neuroscience Major 2013-14

The laboratory of Professor Bin Chen focuses on mammalian brain development.

The neuroscience major provides students with rigorous preparation for graduate studies and research. The brain and determinants of behavior are studied at all levels, from biological molecules to individual nerve cells to functioning organisms to social behavior.

Study and Research Opportunities

  • B.S.
  • Pathways in behavior and molecular neuroscience
  • Hands-on laboratory and field courses and opportunities for independent research

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 neuroscience 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. In addition, please review the introductory requirements for the neuroscience major:

  • Calculus: MATH 11A + 11B OR MATH 19A + 19B OR AMS 15A + 15B
  • Chemistry: CHEM 1A + 1B + 1C/N
  • Biology: BIOL 20A + BIOE 20B + BIOE 20C
  • Organic Chemistry: CHEM 108A/L + 108B
  • Statistics: AMS 5 OR 7/L
  • Physics: PHYS 6A/L + 6C

Prospective transfer students should visit the Physical and Biological Sciences Undergraduate Affairs web site for further information (see the More Information section).


  • Animal husbandry
  • Biochemistry
  • Biomedical research
  • Cell biology
  • Child development
  • Government research
  • Marine biology
  • Medical technology
  • Medicine
  • Mental health
  • Optometry
  • Physiology
  • Psychology/Psychotherapy
  • Teaching
  • Veterinary medicine

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

Education Abroad Opportunities

The UC Education Abroad Program (EAP) offers qualified students unique opportunities to broaden their educational horizons. MCD Biology encourages 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.

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 adviser and/or faculty adviser.

Academic Advising

Academic advising is available from 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 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