Area of Focus
  • Science & Math
Degrees Offered
  • B.A.
  • B.S.
  • Undergraduate Minor
Academic Division
  • Physical and Biological Sciences
  • Not Applicable

Program overview

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. Outstanding faculty, each with a vigorous, internationally recognized research program, teach courses in their specialties as well as core courses for the major.


Learning Experience

Areas of research strength within the departments 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. Many students take advantage of the numerous opportunities for undergraduate research, allowing students to interact one on one with faculty and other researchers in a laboratory or field setting. 

Study and Research Opportunities

Students may plan a program that leads to a bachelor of arts (B.A.),  or bachelor of science (B.S.) degree. The  Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department administers the B.A. major, while the Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology Department administers the B.S. major and the minor. With the guidance of faculty members, students have access to extensive departmental laboratory facilities for independent research, and fieldwork that draws on a variety of terrestrial and oceanic habitats. Hospitals and physical therapy centers, veterinary clinics and other medical enterprises in the local community provide the opportunity to pursue field projects and internships comparable to on-the-job training.

First-Year (Freshman) Requirements

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.

The MCDB department has a qualification policy that applies to the molecular, cell and developmental biology B.S.; global and community health, B.S.; biology B.S.; and neuroscience B.S. majors. For more information about these and other MCDB majors, see the MCD Biology Undergraduate Program website and the UCSC Catalog.

communities of color

Transfer Requirements

This is a screening majorJunior transfer students who plan to major in biological sciences must complete the qualification requirements prior to transfer.

Junior-level transfer students are also strongly encouraged to complete a year of organic chemistry, calculus and calculus-based physics courses prior to transfer. This will prepare transfers to begin their advanced degree requirements and allow time in their senior year for doing research. California community college students should follow the prescribed coursework in the UCSC transfer agreements available at

Prospective transfer students should review the transfer information and qualification requirements on the MCD Biology Transfer Student website and the UCSC Catalog.


Internships and Career Opportunities

  • Both the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department and MCD Biology Department degrees are designed to prepare students to go on to:

    • Graduate programs
    • Positions in industry, government, or NGO’s
    • Medical, dental, or veterinary medicine schools.

Program Contact MCD Biology

Biology B.S. and Minor:
MCD Biology Advising






apartment Sinsheimer Labs, 225
phone (831) 459-4986 

Program Contact EEB Biology

Biology B.A:
EEB Biology Advising






apartment Coastal Biology Building 130 McAllister Way
phone (831) 459-5358

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