Marine Biology B.S.

Information and Policies

Introduction

The marine biology B.S. is offered by the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (EEB), located on UC Santa Cruz’s Coastal Science Campus (CSC). CSC is situated on Monterey Bay and its great diversity of coastal marine ecosystems; nature reserves; and state, federal, and private marine research institutions and resource management agencies. These resources, combined with on-campus computing and analytical facilities and the Long Marine Laboratory, make an exceptional campus for the study of marine biology and its application to coastal conservation and management. Descriptions of nearby environments, institutions, and facilities are available through the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (EEB) Department website.

The marine biology major is designed to introduce students to marine organisms and the biological and physical processes that affect these organisms, their populations, and their coastal and oceanic ecosystems. The emphasis is on basic principles that help in understanding the processes that shape life in marine environments. The marine biology major is a demanding program that offers a B.S. degree and requires several more courses than the general biology B.A. major.

Academic Advising for the Program

Academic advising is available at the EEB undergraduate advising office. The undergraduate webpages contain advice and information pertinent to students’ most frequently voiced questions. Each student should review the information posted on the website; for further assistance, contact an EEB undergraduate adviser. EEB undergraduate adviser at eebadvising@ucsc.edu. Transfer students should also review the Transfer Information and Policy Section.

Getting Started in the Major

Prerequisites

The introductory biology sequence is prerequisite to virtually all upper-division biology courses. BIOL 20A (offered by the Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology Department) has a prerequisite of CHEM 1A. Therefore, it is essential for students to start chemistry as soon as possible. Students who have not taken CHEM 1A may begin the introductory sequence with BIOE 20C. The entire introductory biology sequence should be taken the first and second year, concurrently with or following the general chemistry sequence. We also strongly recommend completing the lower-division physics requirements early in your academic career.

An online mathematics placement is required to enroll in a mathematics course. Students are expected to take this examination and are encouraged to work in the learning modules until they place into calculus. For more information see the mathematics placement website.

Advanced placement (AP) course equivalencies can be used to fulfill prerequisites.

Program Learning Outcomes

The undergraduate curriculum offered by the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (EEB) is designed to ensure that all students declared in any EEB sponsored major will achieve the following seven program learning outcomes.

  1. Students will demonstrate broad-based knowledge of the fundamentals of ecology, behavior, evolution and physiology and the relationships among these disciplines.
  2. Students will demonstrate skills in the observation and experimental study of organisms, using both field-based and laboratory-based approaches.
  3. Students will demonstrate skills in identifying, accessing, comprehending and synthesizing scientific information, including interpretation of the primary scientific literature. This includes understanding key questions and hypotheses, interpreting results and conclusions, and evaluating quality through critique.
  4. Students will demonstrate the ability to conceive and execute independent scientific research, including developing their own questions and hypotheses, designing an appropriate theoretical or empirical/experimental approach, executing that approach, and analyzing and interpreting data.
  5. Students will demonstrate an ability to understand and apply fundamental quantitative skills, including models and statistical analyses, so as to properly interpret published research and apply such skills in their own research.
  6. Students will demonstrate the ability to communicate original scientific work in the form of a scientific paper, as well as in oral or poster presentations.
  7. Students will exhibit strong teamwork and problem solving skills. They will demonstrate the ability to make arguments from evidence and work together to find optimal solutions.

Major Qualification Policy and Declaration Process

Major Qualification

All courses must be taken for a letter grade. The following qualification courses, or their equivalents, must be completed with a grade of C (2.0) or better:

All of the following courses:
CHEM1AGeneral Chemistry

5

CHEM1BGeneral Chemistry

5

BIOL20ACell and Molecular Biology

5

BIOE20BDevelopment and Physiology

5

BIOE20CEcology and Evolution

5

And one of the following courses:
MATH11ACalculus with Applications

5

MATH19ACalculus for Science, Engineering, and Mathematics

5

Students with one grade of NP, C-, D+, D, D-, or F in one of the qualification courses are eligible to declare after successfully repeating the same or an equivalent course with a grade of C (2.0) or better.

Students with two or more grades of NP, C-, D+, D, D-, or F in the qualification courses are not eligible to declare. Mathematics courses will not be included in this calculation.

Students with AP credit for any of the qualification course(s) are eligible to declare after successfully completing the remaining qualification courses.

Consult with an EEB undergraduate adviser when requesting to declare the major after the campus declaration deadline. Transfer students should also review the Transfer Information and Policy Section.

For information on qualifying for the environmental studies/biology combined major, please see environmental studies in this catalog.

Appeal Process

Students who are not eligible to declare the major may appeal this decision after they have successfully completed the qualification courses by submitting an appeal letter to EEB undergraduate advising. Within 15 days of receipt of the appeal, the department will notify the student and college of the decision. For more information about the appeal process, see the appeal process website.

How to Declare a Major

Students may submit a petition to declare after successful completion of the qualification policy courses. Students who are enrolled in their final qualification policy course(s) may submit the petition, but will not be declared until grades have been posted. Information on major declaration can be found here. Additional questions may be directed to eebadvising@ucsc.edu.

Transfer Information and Policy

Transfer Admission Screening Policy

To be considered for admission to UC Santa Cruz as a proposed major in ecology and evolution (B.S.), marine biology, or plant sciences, transfer students must pass equivalents of the following preparatory courses with a C (2.0) or better prior to transfer:

BIOL20ACell and Molecular Biology

5

BIOE20BDevelopment and Physiology

5

BIOE20CEcology and Evolution

5

CHEM1AGeneral Chemistry

5

CHEM1BGeneral Chemistry

5

Plus, one of the following calculus courses:
MATH11ACalculus with Applications

5

MATH19ACalculus for Science, Engineering, and Mathematics

5

More information on qualifying for the major as a transfer applicant is here.

While it is not required for UC Santa Cruz admission, transfer students are strongly encouraged to complete equivalents of the complete general chemistry series, a second quarter of calculus, and the physics series (PHYS 6A/PHYS 6L, plus PHYS 6B or PHYS 6C) prior to transfer. Students who transfer without having completed this additional recommended introductory coursework may require more than two years to complete the major requirements. Additional transfer preparation information is here.

Getting Started at UCSC as a Transfer Student

Transfer students who satisfy the major screening requirements may declare the major at any time after matriculation only after their official transcripts have been posted to their MyUCSC student portal by the UCSC Office of Admissions. 

Beginning in late June and early July (for fall transfer students) EEB advising will review admitted students' reported transfer course work and determine how it applies to their major's requirements.
EEB advising will contact admitted students via email.  The email will include information on how students' transfer coursework fulfills major requirements.  We will suggest courses for students' Fall enrollment, and invite you to make an appointment to talk with EEB undergraduate advising or direct questions to eebadvising@ucsc.edu. Transfer students may also expect to receive regular email messages from EEB advising in June, July, and August with additional information about the major.

Letter Grade Policy

All courses used to satisfy any major requirement must be taken for a letter grade.

Course Substitution Policy

To discuss the process for a course substitution, contact an EEB undergraduate adviser.

At least half of the upper-division courses (numbered BIOE 100–BIOE 179) required for each major must be taken in EEB at UC Santa Cruz not as transfer credits from another department or institution.

Transfer students are advised to contact an EEB undergraduate adviser before enrolling in numerous upper-division courses at other institutions. For more information on transferring courses to UC Santa Cruz, please consult the transfer student website. Additional information for transfer students is provided above in the “Transfer Students” section.

Only one upper-division course requirement may be met with a research-based independent study or graduate-level UC Santa Cruz biology course.

Double Majors and Major/Minor Combinations Policy

Students interested in pursuing multiple majors within the biological sciences may not declare any combination of biology (B.A., B.S., or minor), ecology and evolution B.S., marine biology B.S., plant sciences B.S., or environmental studies/biology B.A. combined major.

Study Abroad

The UC Education Abroad Program (UCEAP) offers qualified students unique opportunities to broaden their educational horizons. The EEB Department encourages interested students to participate. It is possible to satisfy major requirements abroad and graduate on time; consult with an EEB undergraduate adviser early in the planning process.

Many programs are in English-speaking countries or use English for advanced courses. Many programs offer small classes, extensive laboratories, and/or field research experience.

There are excellent programs in Costa Rica, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Denmark, and Germany, among others. The Costa Rica Tropical Biology Program is of note to students interested in tropical biology and ecology. Held spring and fall quarters at the Monteverde research station, this program gives students experience with hands-on field research and offers a homestay program. The University of Queensland (Australia) offers an intensive, full-semester marine science program, which includes stays at research stations on the Great Barrier Reef and in sheltered mangrove and seagrass habitats near Brisbane.

Students interested in study abroad need to get an early start on their introductory requirements, including chemistry, mathematics, and biology and must declare their major prior to going abroad. Visit the UCEAP office as soon as possible to begin planning and seek advice and approval for your UCEAP plan from an EEB undergraduate adviser prior to participation in UCEAP.

Honors

Honors in the biological sciences majors are awarded to graduating students whose academic performance demonstrates excellence at a grade point average (GPA) of 3.5 or above. Highest honors are awarded to those students whose performance demonstrates the highest level of excellence and results in a GPA of 3.8 or above.

Requirements and Planners

Course Requirements

Lower-Division Courses

Introductory Biology:
BIOL20ACell and Molecular Biology

5

BIOE20BDevelopment and Physiology

5

BIOE20CEcology and Evolution

5

General Chemistry:
CHEM1AGeneral Chemistry

5

CHEM1BGeneral Chemistry

5

CHEM1CGeneral Chemistry

5

CHEM1NGeneral Chemistry Laboratory

2

Calculus:

Choose one of the following options:

Either these courses

MATH11ACalculus with Applications

5

MATH11BCalculus with Applications

5

or these courses

MATH19ACalculus for Science, Engineering, and Mathematics

5

MATH19BCalculus for Science, Engineering, and Mathematics

5

Biostatistics:
STAT7Statistical Methods for the Biological, Environmental, and Health Sciences

5

STAT7LStatistical Methods for the Biological, Environmental, and Health Sciences Laboratory

2

Physics:

Choose one of the following options:

Either these courses

PHYS7AElementary Physics I

5

PHYS6LIntroductory Physics Laboratory

1

PHYS7BElementary Physics II

5

or these courses

PHYS6AIntroductory Physics I

5

PHYS6LIntroductory Physics Laboratory

1

PHYS6BIntroductory Physics II

5

or these courses

PHYS6AIntroductory Physics I

5

PHYS6LIntroductory Physics Laboratory

1

PHYS6CIntroductory Physics III

5

PHYS 7A, PHYS 6L, PHYS 7B: recommended

Upper-Division Courses

A total of 11 upper-division courses, including relevant electives; two must include laboratory or fieldwork. Courses appearing in more than one category can fulfill only one requirement.

Two core courses:
BIOL105Genetics

5

BIOE109Evolution

5

One ecology course:
BIOE107Ecology

5

BIOE108Marine Ecology

5

One marine-environment course:
OCEA101The Marine Environment

5

OCEA130Biological Oceanography

5

One marine course:

NOTE: Lecture/lab combinations count as one course

BIOE120Marine Botany

5

BIOE120LMarine Botany Laboratory

2

BIOE122Invertebrate Zoology

5

BIOE122LInvertebrate Zoology Laboratory

2

BIOE127Ichthyology

5

BIOE127LIchthyology Laboratory

2

BIOE129Biology of Marine Mammals

5

BIOE129LBiology of Marine Mammals Laboratory

2

BIOE 129/BIOE 129L: lab optional

Electives

Three topical electives chosen from the following:

NOTE: Lecture and 2-credit lab combinations count as one course.

BIOE108Marine Ecology

5

BIOE120Marine Botany

5

BIOE120LMarine Botany Laboratory

2

BIOE122Invertebrate Zoology

5

BIOE122LInvertebrate Zoology Laboratory

2

BIOE127Ichthyology

5

BIOE127LIchthyology Laboratory

2

BIOE128LLarge Marine Vertebrates Field Course

5

BIOE129Biology of Marine Mammals

5

BIOE129LBiology of Marine Mammals Laboratory

2

BIOE155Freshwater Ecology

5

BIOE155LFreshwater Ecology Laboratory

5

BIOE158LMarine Ecology Laboratory

5

BIOE159AMarine Ecology Field Quarter: Marine Ecology with Laboratory

5

BIOE159BMarine Ecology Field Quarter: Ichthyology with Laboratory

5

BIOE159CMarine Ecology Field Quarter: Methods in Field Ecology

5

BIOE159DMarine Ecology Field Quarter: Methods in Field Ecology Laboratory

5

BIOE161Kelp Forest Ecology

5

BIOE161LKelp Forest Ecology Laboratory

5

BIOE163Ecology of Reefs, Mangroves, and Seagrasses

5

BIOE163LEcology of Reefs, Mangroves, and Seagrasses Laboratory

2

BIOE165Marine Conservation Biology

5

EART102Marine Geology

5

EART105Coastal Geology

5

OCEA118Marine Microbial Ecology

5

OCEA130Biological Oceanography

5

Three general electives chosen from the following:

NOTE: Lecture/lab combinations count as one course

Biological Sciences-EEB

Any upper-division BIOE course numbered BIOE 100-BIOE 179 of 5 or more credits

Biological Sciences-MCDB
BIOL100Biochemistry

5

BIOL101Molecular Biology

5

BIOL101LMolecular Biology Laboratory

2

BIOL110Cell Biology

5

BIOL115Eukaryotic Molecular Biology

5

BIOL120Developmental Biology

5

Earth and Planetary Sciences
EART100Vertebrate Paleontology

5

EART100LVertebrate Paleontology Laboratory

2

EART101Invertebrate Paleobiology

5

EART101LInvertebrate Paleobiology Laboratory

1

EART102Marine Geology

5

EART105Coastal Geology

5

Economics
ECON166A
/CSE 166A
Game Theory and Applications I

5

ECON166B
/CSE 166B
Game Theory and Applications II

5

Environmental Studies (enrollment by permission of instructor)
ENVS104AIntroduction to Environmental Field Methods

5

ENVS104LField Methods Laboratory

2

ENVS107ANatural History Field Quarter

5

ENVS107BNatural History Field Quarter

5

ENVS107CNatural History Field Quarter

5

ENVS108General Entomology

5

ENVS115AGeographic Information Systems and Environmental Applications

5

ENVS115LExercises in Geographic Information Systems

2

ENVS120Conservation Biology

5

ENVS122Tropical Ecology and Conservation

5

ENVS123Animal Ecology and Conservation

5

ENVS129Integrated Pest Management

5

ENVS130AAgroecology and Sustainable Agriculture

5

ENVS130LAgroecology and Sustainable Agriculture Laboratory

2

ENVS130BJustice and Sustainability in Agriculture

5

ENVS131Insect Ecology

5

ENVS160Restoration Ecology

5

ENVS161ASoils and Plant Nutrition

5

ENVS162Plant Physiological Ecology

5

ENVS163Plant Disease Ecology

5

ENVS167Freshwater and Wetland Ecology

5

ENVS168Biogeochemistry and the Global Environment

5

Microbiology and Environmental Toxicology
METX119Microbiology

5

METX119LMicrobiology Laboratory

5

Ocean Sciences
OCEA118Marine Microbial Ecology

5

OCEA130Biological Oceanography

5

Psychology
PSYC123Cognitive Neuroscience

5

Some of these electives may have prerequisites that do not satisfy major or minor requirements.

One of the following may also be used as an upper-division general elective:
Biological Sciences-EEB

Any 5 credits of undergraduate research

BIOE183WUndergraduate Research in EEB--Writing

2

BIOE183LUndergraduate Research in EEB

3

BIOE193Independent Research in EEB

5

BIOE193FIndependent Research in EEB

2

BIOE195Senior Thesis

5

or

Environmental Studies
ENVS183Environmental Studies Internship

5

Disciplinary Communication (DC) Requirement

Students of every major must satisfy that major's upper-division disciplinary communication (DC) Requirement. The DC requirement in marine biology is satisfied by completing two of the following ecology and evolutionary biology courses:

NOTE: Lecture and 2-credit lab combinations count as a single course.

BIOE108Marine Ecology

5

BIOE114Herpetology

5

BIOE114LField Methods in Herpetological Research

2

BIOE117Systematic Botany of Flowering Plants

5

BIOE120Marine Botany

5

BIOE120LMarine Botany Laboratory

2

BIOE122Invertebrate Zoology

5

BIOE122LInvertebrate Zoology Laboratory

2

BIOE127Ichthyology

5

BIOE127LIchthyology Laboratory

2

BIOE128LLarge Marine Vertebrates Field Course

5

BIOE129Biology of Marine Mammals

5

BIOE129LBiology of Marine Mammals Laboratory

2

BIOE137Molecular Ecology

5

BIOE141LBehavioral Ecology Field Course

5

BIOE145Plant Ecology

5

BIOE145LField Methods in Plant Ecology

5

BIOE150LEcological Field Methods Laboratory

5

BIOE151B
/ENVS 109B
Ecology and Conservation in Practice Supercourse: Ecological Field Methods Laboratory

5

BIOE153CDisciplinary Communication for Biologists

5

BIOE158LMarine Ecology Laboratory

5

BIOE159AMarine Ecology Field Quarter: Marine Ecology with Laboratory

5

BIOE161LKelp Forest Ecology Laboratory

5

BIOE171Disciplinary Communication for Biologists

5

BIOE172Population Genetics

5

BIOE172LPopulation Genetics Laboratory

2

For 2-credit laboratory courses taken concurrently with 5-credit lectures, both courses must be passed to receive one half of the DC requirement.

Comprehensive Requirement

All majors in the biological sciences require completion of a comprehensive requirement. This requirement can be satisfied in one of the following ways:

  • receiving a passing grade in an independent research course, or field/laboratory course listed below;
  • completing a senior thesis;
  • achieving a graduate record examination (GRE) score at or above the 50th percentile on the biology subject test or the biochemistry, cell, and molecular biology subject test. Reports of GRE scores must be submitted to the EEB undergraduate advising office before the last day of the graduating quarter;
  • obtaining a medical college admission test (MCAT) score at or above the 50th percentile on the biological sciences section. Reports of MCAT scores must be submitted to the EEB undergraduate advising office before the last day of the graduating quarter.
Comprehensive courses offered by Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

NOTE: Lab courses may have associated prerequisite or corequisite lecture courses.

BIOE112LOrnithology Field Studies

2

BIOE114LField Methods in Herpetological Research

2

BIOE117LSystematic Botany of Flowering Plants Laboratory

2

BIOE120LMarine Botany Laboratory

2

BIOE122LInvertebrate Zoology Laboratory

2

BIOE124LMammalogy Laboratory

2

BIOE127LIchthyology Laboratory

2

BIOE128LLarge Marine Vertebrates Field Course

5

BIOE129LBiology of Marine Mammals Laboratory

2

BIOE131LAnimal Physiology Laboratory

2

BIOE133LExercise Physiology Laboratory

2

BIOE134LComparative Vertebrate Anatomy Laboratory

2

BIOE135LPlant Physiology Laboratory

2

BIOE137LMolecular Ecology Laboratory

2

BIOE141LBehavioral Ecology Field Course

5

BIOE145LField Methods in Plant Ecology

5

BIOE150LEcological Field Methods Laboratory

5

BIOE151A
/ENVS 109A
Ecology and Conservation in Practice Supercourse: Ecological Field Methods

5

BIOE151B
/ENVS 109B
Ecology and Conservation in Practice Supercourse: Ecological Field Methods Laboratory

5

BIOE151C
/ENVS 109C
Ecology and Conservation in Practice Supercourse: Functions and Processes of Terrestrial Ecosystems

5

BIOE151D
/ENVS 109D
Ecology and Conservation in Practice Supercourse: Conservation in Practice

4

BIOE153AIntroduction to Arctic Ecology

5

BIOE153BArctic Ecology

5

BIOE153CDisciplinary Communication for Biologists

5

BIOE155LFreshwater Ecology Laboratory

5

BIOE158LMarine Ecology Laboratory

5

BIOE159AMarine Ecology Field Quarter: Marine Ecology with Laboratory

5

BIOE159BMarine Ecology Field Quarter: Ichthyology with Laboratory

5

BIOE159CMarine Ecology Field Quarter: Methods in Field Ecology

5

BIOE159DMarine Ecology Field Quarter: Methods in Field Ecology Laboratory

5

BIOE161LKelp Forest Ecology Laboratory

5

BIOE163LEcology of Reefs, Mangroves, and Seagrasses Laboratory

2

BIOE172LPopulation Genetics Laboratory

2

BIOE183WUndergraduate Research in EEB--Writing

2

Comprehensive courses offered by Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology
BIOL100LBiochemistry Laboratory

5

BIOL105LEukaryotic Genetics Laboratory

5

BIOL109LYeast Molecular Genetics Laboratory

5

BIOL 110LCell Biology Laboratory

5

BIOL115LEukaryotic Molecular Biology Laboratory

5

BIOL120LDevelopment Laboratory

5

BIOL121LEnvironmental Phage Biology Laboratory

5

BIOL 178LProtocols in Stem Cell Biology

5

BIOL186LUndergraduate Research in MCD Biology

5

BIOL186RUndergraduate Research in MCD Biology

5

BIOL189Health Sciences Internship

3

Comprehensive courses offered in other departments
BIOC110LAdvanced Biochemistry Laboratory

5

METX119LMicrobiology Laboratory

5

Planners

In addition to the specific courses shown in these planners, a student must complete courses satisfying the IM,  TA, PE, PR, CC, ER and C campus general education requirements.

Sample Frosh Planner

1st (frosh) BIOE 20C MATH 11A or MATH 19A MATH 11B or MATH 19B
  CHEM 1A CHEM 1B
     
2nd (soph) BIOL 20A BIOE 20B BIOL 105
CHEM 1C & CHEM 1N STAT 7 & STAT 7L PHYS 6A & PHYS 6L
     
3rd (junior) BIOE 109 BIOE 107 or BIOE 108 EEB general elective
PHYS 6C Marine core *MABI topical elective
     
4th (senior) BIOE 109 Marine environment core EEB general elective
*MABI topical elective *MABI topical elective EEB general elective
     

*MABI = Marine Biology B.S.

Electives must be chosen to satisfy the Disciplinary Communication and Comprehensive requirements.

Additional Frosh sample planners may be found on the EEB website.

Sample Transfer Planner

For students who transferred in after completing the transfer screening courses and:

  Fall Winter Spring
3rd (junior) BIOL 105 BIOE 107 or BIOE 108 BIOE 109
*MABI topical elective *MABI topical elective *MABI topical elective
STAT 7 & STAT 7L    
4th (senior) Marine core Marine environment core EEB general elective
EEB general elective EEB general elective  
     

*MABI = Marine Biology B.S.

Electives must be chosen to satisfy the Disciplinary Communication and Comprehensive requirements.

Additional Transfer sample planners may be found on the EEB website.