USR- Students in the Field

Undergraduate Program


The Department of Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology offers B.A. and B.S. degrees in Biology.

Both programs are based on the conviction that broad undergraduate training in biology and the physical sciences, together with study in the humanities and social sciences, are fundamental to the education of a biologist. In addition to English composition, humanities, social sciences, mathematics, chemistry, and physics, both degrees require introductory biology courses (BIOL 005A, BIOL05LA, BIOL 005B, and BIOL 005C) and 36 units of upper-division (numbered 100-199) biology courses. The degrees differ only in that 16 units of a foreign language are required for the B.A., whereas the B.S. requires 16 additional units in substantive courses in biology or in related fields.

The research and teaching of the department includes the different levels of biological organization: cellular, developmental, physiological, organismal, ecological, and populational. An overview of processes at all these levels is presented in the introductory courses (BIOL 005A, BIOL05LA, BIOL 005B, and BIOL 005C), and emphasis is placed on the unifying principles of the discipline.

Because of the diversity within biology and the wide range of career options, considerable latitude is allowed in selecting upper-division biology courses for the 36 units required for the major. Each student meets regularly with a faculty advisor (see Student Academic Advising below) to plan an academic program and select courses to prepare for postgraduate study or specific career objectives. Recommended programs of specialization are provided below as a guide in course selection.

Ordinarily, most of the 36 upper-division units required are selected from courses offered by the Department of Biology. With advisor approval, one or two courses in other departments (e.g., Biochemistry, Cell Biology and Neuroscience) may be counted as biology courses in meeting upper-division unit requirements. Qualified undergraduates (GPA 3.0 or above) may participate in graduate-level biology seminar courses by enrolling in BIOL 191. Consent of the instructor is required, and up to 4 units of BIOL 191 (with letter grade) may be included in the major.

Those who choose to obtain a B.S. degree have as a college breadth requirement an additional 16 units in upper-division biology courses and/or substantive courses in a field or fields related to the major. The purpose of this related area is to add strength and breadth to the major and to meet specific requirements for postgraduate study or a chosen career. These courses are selected with the assistance and approval of a faculty advisor. The substantive courses in fields related to the major may be lower or upper division, but they usually have science or mathematics prerequisites (e.g., CBNS 120/PSYC 120, CHEM 005, BCH 100, STAT 100A, STAT 100B, MATH 009C).

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