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College of Biological Sciences

Biology Academic Success Center
1023 Sciences Laboratory Building
530-752-0410; http://basc.ucdavis.edu/

The College of Biological Sciences administers undergraduate programs in fundamental aspects of biology. The college is organized into five departments that represent major themes of modern biology: Evolution and Ecology; Microbiology and Molecular Genetics; Molecular and Cellular Biology; Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior; and Plant Biology. A total of eight specialized majors are offered, each focusing on one of the core disciplines of biology. The Biological Sciences major, the Individual major, the Undeclared Life Sciences program and the Bodega Marine Laboratory Spring Quarter Program are offered by the entire college.

The academic advising for all majors within the college is administered through the Biology Academic Success Center (BASC). Students enrolled, or interested, in any of the college's majors may meet with an academic adviser at BASC to receive information on all major, college and university requirements, policies, and procedures, including PELP, withdrawal, readmission, change of major or college, multiple majors and late actions. Academic advisers work closely with master advisers, who are faculty members in the departments, to connect students to research opportunities in a variety of fields, and career development experiences in the community. Students are encouraged to meet with their academic advisers at least yearly, starting during their first two quarters of enrollment in the college.

The Undergraduate Programs

Biological Sciences

The Biological Sciences major is broad in concept, designed to span the numerous core disciplines of biology. The major covers most dimensions of the study of life, ranging from molecules and cells to populations of organisms.


  • Biological Sciences, A.B., B.S.


  • Biological Sciences

Evolution and Ecology

The major in Evolution, Ecology and Biodiversity offers the student a broad background in the theoretical and empirical basis of our understanding of the evolution and ecology of living organisms. The program of study begins with a core of introductory courses in mathematics, physical sciences and biology. These are followed by survey courses in evolution and ecology and more specialized courses that focus the student on particular disciplines or organisms, with an emphasis on problem-solving and critical thinking.


  • Evolution, Ecology and Biodiversity, A.B., B.S.


  • Evolution, Ecology and Biodiversity

Microbiology and Molecular Genetics

Microbiology deals with bacteria, yeasts and other fungi, algae, protozoa and viruses. These microorganisms are ubiquitous in nature and play a crucial role in areas such as agriculture, biotechnology, ecology, medicine and veterinary science. The field of microbiology contributes to areas of fundamental inquiry such as biochemistry, cell biology, evolution, genetics, molecular biology, pathogenesis and physiology.


  • Microbiology, A.B., B.S.

Molecular and Cellular Biology

The Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology offers three majors.

The Biochemistry and Molecular Biology major introduces students to the chemistry of living organisms and the experimental techniques that are used to probe the structures and functions of biologically important molecules. Students who enjoy both chemistry and biology and who are comfortable with quantitative approaches to problem-solving will find this major a rewarding field of study.

The Cell Biology major provides a comprehensive understanding of the cell, the basic structural and functional unit of all living organisms. The major emphasizes the principles that govern how biomolecules interact with one another to organize themselves into higher order structures that comprise cells and how cellular organization and function contribute to the development, maintenance and reproduction of adult organisms.

The Genetics and Genomics major provides a broad background in the biological, mathematical and physical sciences basic to the study of heredity and evolution. The major provides a dual focus on the molecular mechanisms that regulate utilization of information encoded within the genome as well as the mechanisms and analysis of inheritance of genetic information. The major is sufficiently flexible to accommodate students interested in the subject either as a basic discipline in the biological sciences or in terms of its applied aspects in medicine, biotechnology and agriculture.


  • Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, B.S.
  • Cell Biology, B.S.
  • Genetics and Genomics, B.S.

Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior

The Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior major emphasizes the understanding of vital functions common to all animals. All animals perform certain basic functions-they grow, reproduce, move, respond to stimuli and maintain homeostasis. The physiological mechanisms upon which these functions depend are precisely regulated and highly integrated. Actions of the nervous and endocrine systems determine behavior and the interaction between organisms and their physical and social environments. Students in this major will study functional mechanisms; the control, regulation and integration of these mechanisms; and the behavior which relates to those mechanisms at the level of the cell, the organ system and the organism.


  • Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior, B.S.


  • Exercise Biology
  • Human Physiology
  • Neuroscience

Plant Biology

Plant Biology is the study of plants as organisms. It includes the newer disciplines of cellular and molecular plant biology and the traditional areas of botany, such as anatomy, morphology, systematics, physiology, mycology, phycology, ecology and evolution. The major provides breadth in diverse areas of plant biology and depth in one of several areas of specialization.


  • Plant Biology, A.B., B.S.


  • Plant Biology

College-wide Programs

Quantitative Biology and Bioinformatics

The interdisciplinary minor in Quantitative Biology and Bioinformatics is an integrative program that introduces students to the quantitative and computational approaches that are redefining all disciplines in the biological sciences, from molecular and cell biology, through genetics and physiology, to ecology and evolutionary biology. The minor in Quantitative Biology and Bioinformatics is open to all undergraduates regardless of major and is sponsored by the College of Biological Sciences.


  • Quantitative Biology and Bioinformatics

Individual Major

Students whose academic interests are not met by any established major, or combinations of majors and minors may develop an Individual major. Students work in conjunction with the Committee on Undergraduate Petitions and a faculty member in the college.


  • Individual Major, A.B., B.S.

Students who wish to explore the array of life science majors offered at UC Davis before declaring a major may be admitted to the college through the Undeclared-Life Sciences program. These students use the Biology Academic Success Center for their advising center. Students in this program must declare a major before completing 90 units.

Bodega Marine Laboratory Program


Spring Quarter Program

A full quarter of undergraduate course work in marine biology is available each spring quarter at the Bodega Marine Laboratory, located in Bodega Bay, California. Course offerings include lecture and laboratory instruction in the developmental biology and physiological adaptation of marine organisms, and population biology and ecology; a weekly colloquium; and an intensive individual research experience under the direction of laboratory faculty (Biological Sciences courses 120, 120P, 122, 122P, 123; Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior 141, 141P). This is a 15 unit program and course offerings and instructors may vary from year to year. Applications are due January 31. For more course detail, see Bodega Marine Laboratory Program or http://bml.ucdavis.edu/.

Summer Sessions Courses

This integrated program offers students a multidisciplinary understanding of coastal ecosystems through intensive, hands on courses taught at Bodega Marine Laboratory. The program offers courses during the Summer Session 1 and Summer Session 2 academic quarters with up to 10 units available in each quarter. Applications are due March 15. For more course detail, see full description under appropriate academic department listing or http://bml.ucdavis.edu/.

Course offerings and instructors may vary from year to year.

BML programs are residential with students housed on the laboratory grounds. Participants are assessed a room and board fee in addition to standard campus registration fees. Additional information is available directly from the Bodega Marine Laboratory at 707-875-2211, P.O. Box 247, Bodega Bay, CA 94923.

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Updated: November 21, 2017 12:17 PM