Plant Sciences B.S.

Information and Policies

Introduction

UC Santa Cruz has a strong program in the plant sciences (sometimes called botany). Resources that support the plant sciences major include state-of-the-art greenhouse facilities, natural ecosystems on the campus from coastal wetlands to redwood forests, the collections of the UCSC Arboretum, and the Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems (including the UC Santa Cruz Farm and Garden).

The plant sciences major is designed for students with an interest in plant biology and its associated curricular fields such as plant ecology, plant physiology, plant pathology, plant genetics, soils, and applied plant sciences. After completion of the core courses, students can proceed in one of several directions depending on their interests. For example, a more in-depth study of physiology and evolution courses can serve as preparation for work in biotechnology or plant breeding; further studies in plant ecology, tropical ecology, or restoration ecology can lead to careers in resource ecology and management or biodiversity exploration; upper-division training in agroecology can lead to careers in agriculture or food systems. There are many opportunities for internships both on the UC Santa Cruz campus and in the greater community.

Academic Advising for the Program

Academic advising is available at the ecology and evolutionary biology (EEB) undergraduate advising office and via email at eebadvising@ucsc.edu. 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 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:
CHEM 1AGeneral Chemistry

5

CHEM 1BGeneral Chemistry

5

BIOL 20ACell and Molecular Biology

5

BIOE 20BDevelopment and Physiology

5

BIOE 20CEcology and Evolution

5

And one of the following courses:
MATH 11ACalculus with Applications

5

MATH 19ACalculus 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 have reached their major declaration deadline and 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:

BIOL 20ACell and Molecular Biology

5

BIOE 20BDevelopment and Physiology

5

BIOE 20CEcology and Evolution

5

CHEM 1AGeneral Chemistry

5

CHEM 1BGeneral Chemistry

5

Plus, one of the following calculus courses:
MATH 11ACalculus with Applications

5

MATH 19ACalculus 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 UCSC, 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 UCSC 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:
BIOL 20ACell and Molecular Biology

5

BIOE 20BDevelopment and Physiology

5

BIOE 20CEcology and Evolution

5

General Chemistry:
CHEM 1AGeneral Chemistry

5

CHEM 1BGeneral Chemistry

5

CHEM 1CGeneral Chemistry

5

CHEM 1NGeneral Chemistry Laboratory

2

Calculus:

Choose one of the following options:

Either these courses

MATH 11ACalculus with Applications

5

MATH 11BCalculus with Applications

5

or these courses

MATH 19ACalculus for Science, Engineering, and Mathematics

5

MATH 19BCalculus for Science, Engineering, and Mathematics

5

Biostatistics:
STAT 7Statistical Methods for the Biological, Environmental, and Health Sciences

5

STAT 7LStatistical Methods for the Biological, Environmental, and Health Sciences Laboratory

2

Physics:

Choose one of the following options:

Either these courses

PHYS 7AElementary Physics I

5

PHYS 6LIntroductory Physics Laboratory

1

PHYS 7BElementary Physics II

5

or these courses

PHYS 6AIntroductory Physics I

5

PHYS 6LIntroductory Physics Laboratory

1

PHYS 6BIntroductory Physics II

5

or these courses

PHYS 6AIntroductory Physics I

5

PHYS 6LIntroductory Physics Laboratory

1

PHYS 6CIntroductory 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.

Three core courses:
BIOL 105Genetics

5

BIOE 107Ecology

5

BIOE 109Evolution

5

One plant physiology course from the following:

NOTE: Lecture/lab combinations count as one course

BIOE 135Plant Physiology

5

BIOE 135LPlant Physiology Laboratory

2

ENVS 162Plant Physiological Ecology

5

One botany course from the following:

NOTE: Lecture/lab combinations count as one course

BIOE 117Systematic Botany of Flowering Plants

5

BIOE 117LSystematic Botany of Flowering Plants Laboratory

2

BIOE 120Marine Botany

5

BIOE 120LMarine Botany Laboratory

2

Electives

Three topical electives chosen from the following:

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

Biological Sciences-EEB
BIOE 117Systematic Botany of Flowering Plants

5

BIOE 117LSystematic Botany of Flowering Plants Laboratory

2

BIOE 118Plants and Society: the Biology of Food, Shelter, and Medicine

5

BIOE 120Marine Botany

5

BIOE 120LMarine Botany Laboratory

2

BIOE 125
/ENVS 125
Ecosystems of California

5

BIOE 135Plant Physiology

5

BIOE 135LPlant Physiology Laboratory

2

BIOE 137Molecular Ecology

5

BIOE 137LMolecular Ecology Laboratory

2

BIOE 145Plant Ecology

5

BIOE 145LField Methods in Plant Ecology

5

BIOE 148AQuantitative Ecology

5

BIOE 148BQuantitative Methods in Ecology and Evolution

5

BIOE 149Disease Ecology

5

BIOE 151A
/ENVS 109A
Ecology and Conservation in Practice Supercourse: Ecological Field Methods

5

BIOE 151B
/ENVS 109B
Ecology and Conservation in Practice Supercourse: Ecological Field Methods Laboratory

5

BIOE 151C
/ENVS 109C
Ecology and Conservation in Practice Supercourse: Functions and Processes of Terrestrial Ecosystems

5

BIOE 151D
/ENVS 109D
Ecology and Conservation in Practice Supercourse: Conservation in Practice

4

BIOE 153AIntroduction to Arctic Ecology

5

BIOE 153BArctic Ecology

5

BIOE 153CDisciplinary Communication for Biologists

5

BIOE 161Kelp Forest Ecology

5

BIOE 161LKelp Forest Ecology Laboratory

5

Biological Sciences-MCDB
BIOL 100Biochemistry

5

BIOL 101Molecular Biology

5

BIOL 101LMolecular Biology Laboratory

2

BIOL 110Cell Biology

5

BIOL 115Eukaryotic Molecular Biology

5

Environmental Studies (enrollment by permission of instructor)
ENVS 104AIntroduction to Environmental Field Methods

5

ENVS 104LField Methods Laboratory

2

ENVS 129Integrated Pest Management

5

ENVS 130AAgroecology and Sustainable Agriculture

5

ENVS 130LAgroecology and Sustainable Agriculture Laboratory

2

ENVS 130BJustice and Sustainability in Agriculture

5

ENVS 131Insect Ecology

5

ENVS 160Restoration Ecology

5

ENVS 161ASoils and Plant Nutrition

5

ENVS 162Plant Physiological Ecology

5

ENVS 163Plant Disease Ecology

5

Science Communication
SCIC 160
/BIOE 188
Introduction to Science Writing

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
BIOL 100Biochemistry

5

BIOL 101Molecular Biology

5

BIOL 101LMolecular Biology Laboratory

2

BIOL 110Cell Biology

5

BIOL 115Eukaryotic Molecular Biology

5

BIOL 120Developmental Biology

5

Earth and Planetary Sciences
EART 100Vertebrate Paleontology

5

EART 100LVertebrate Paleontology Laboratory

2

EART 101Invertebrate Paleobiology

5

EART 101LInvertebrate Paleobiology Laboratory

1

EART 102Marine Geology

5

EART 105Coastal Geology

5

Economics
ECON 166A
/CSE 166A
Game Theory and Applications I

5

ECON 166B
/CSE 166B
Game Theory and Applications II

5

Environmental Studies (enrollment by permission of instructor)
ENVS 104AIntroduction to Environmental Field Methods

5

ENVS 104LField Methods Laboratory

2

ENVS 107ANatural History Field Quarter

5

ENVS 107BNatural History Field Quarter

5

ENVS 107CNatural History Field Quarter

5

ENVS 108General Entomology

5

ENVS 115AGeographic Information Systems and Environmental Applications

5

ENVS 115LExercises in Geographic Information Systems

2

ENVS 120Conservation Biology

5

ENVS 122Tropical Ecology and Conservation

5

ENVS 123Animal Ecology and Conservation

5

ENVS 129Integrated Pest Management

5

ENVS 130AAgroecology and Sustainable Agriculture

5

ENVS 130LAgroecology and Sustainable Agriculture Laboratory

2

ENVS 130BJustice and Sustainability in Agriculture

5

ENVS 131Insect Ecology

5

ENVS 160Restoration Ecology

5

ENVS 161ASoils and Plant Nutrition

5

ENVS 162Plant Physiological Ecology

5

ENVS 163Plant Disease Ecology

5

ENVS 167Freshwater and Wetland Ecology

5

ENVS 168Biogeochemistry and the Global Environment

5

Microbiology and Environmental Toxicology
METX 119Microbiology

5

METX 119LMicrobiology Laboratory

5

Ocean Sciences
OCEA 118Marine Microbial Ecology

5

OCEA 130Biological Oceanography

5

Psychology
PSYC 123Cognitive Neuroscience

5

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

Any 5 credits of undergraduate research

BIOE 183WUndergraduate Research in EEB--Writing

2

BIOE 183LUndergraduate Research in EEB

3

BIOE 193Independent Research in EEB

5

BIOE 193FIndependent Research in EEB

2

BIOE 195Senior Thesis

5

or

Environmental Studies
ENVS 183Environmental 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 plant sciences 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.

BIOE 108Marine Ecology

5

BIOE 114Herpetology

5

BIOE 114LField Methods in Herpetological Research

2

BIOE 117Systematic Botany of Flowering Plants

5

BIOE 120Marine Botany

5

BIOE 120LMarine Botany Laboratory

2

BIOE 122Invertebrate Zoology

5

BIOE 122LInvertebrate Zoology Laboratory

2

BIOE 127Ichthyology

5

BIOE 127LIchthyology Laboratory

2

BIOE 128LLarge Marine Vertebrates Field Course

5

BIOE 129Biology of Marine Mammals

5

BIOE 129LBiology of Marine Mammals Laboratory

2

BIOE 137Molecular Ecology

5

BIOE 141LBehavioral Ecology Field Course

5

BIOE 145Plant Ecology

5

BIOE 145LField Methods in Plant Ecology

5

BIOE 150LEcological Field Methods Laboratory

5

BIOE 151B
/ENVS 109B
Ecology and Conservation in Practice Supercourse: Ecological Field Methods Laboratory

5

BIOE 153CDisciplinary Communication for Biologists

5

BIOE 158LMarine Ecology Laboratory

5

BIOE 159AMarine Ecology Field Quarter: Marine Ecology with Laboratory

5

BIOE 161LKelp Forest Ecology Laboratory

5

BIOE 171Disciplinary Communication for Biologists

5

BIOE 172Population Genetics

5

BIOE 172LPopulation 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.

BIOE 112LOrnithology Field Studies

2

BIOE 114LField Methods in Herpetological Research

2

BIOE 117LSystematic Botany of Flowering Plants Laboratory

2

BIOE 120LMarine Botany Laboratory

2

BIOE 122LInvertebrate Zoology Laboratory

2

BIOE 124LMammalogy Laboratory

2

BIOE 127LIchthyology Laboratory

2

BIOE 128LLarge Marine Vertebrates Field Course

5

BIOE 129LBiology of Marine Mammals Laboratory

2

BIOE 131LAnimal Physiology Laboratory

2

BIOE 133LExercise Physiology Laboratory

2

BIOE 134LComparative Vertebrate Anatomy Laboratory

2

BIOE 135LPlant Physiology Laboratory

2

BIOE 137LMolecular Ecology Laboratory

2

BIOE 141LBehavioral Ecology Field Course

5

BIOE 145LField Methods in Plant Ecology

5

BIOE 150LEcological Field Methods Laboratory

5

BIOE 151A
/ENVS 109A
Ecology and Conservation in Practice Supercourse: Ecological Field Methods

5

BIOE 151B
/ENVS 109B
Ecology and Conservation in Practice Supercourse: Ecological Field Methods Laboratory

5

BIOE 151C
/ENVS 109C
Ecology and Conservation in Practice Supercourse: Functions and Processes of Terrestrial Ecosystems

5

BIOE 151D
/ENVS 109D
Ecology and Conservation in Practice Supercourse: Conservation in Practice

4

BIOE 153AIntroduction to Arctic Ecology

5

BIOE 153BArctic Ecology

5

BIOE 153CDisciplinary Communication for Biologists

5

BIOE 155LFreshwater Ecology Laboratory

5

BIOE 158LMarine Ecology Laboratory

5

BIOE 159AMarine Ecology Field Quarter: Marine Ecology with Laboratory

5

BIOE 159BMarine Ecology Field Quarter: Ichthyology with Laboratory

5

BIOE 159CMarine Ecology Field Quarter: Methods in Field Ecology

5

BIOE 159DMarine Ecology Field Quarter: Methods in Field Ecology Laboratory

5

BIOE 161LKelp Forest Ecology Laboratory

5

BIOE 163LEcology of Reefs, Mangroves, and Seagrasses Laboratory

2

BIOE 172LPopulation Genetics Laboratory

2

BIOE 183WUndergraduate Research in EEB--Writing

2

Comprehensive courses offered by Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology
BIOL 100LBiochemistry Laboratory

5

BIOL 105LEukaryotic Genetics Laboratory

5

BIOL 109LYeast Molecular Genetics Laboratory

5

BIOL 110LCell Biology Laboratory

5

BIOL 115LEukaryotic Molecular Biology Laboratory

5

BIOL 120LDevelopment Laboratory

5

BIOL 121LEnvironmental Phage Biology Laboratory

5

BIOL 178LProtocols in Stem Cell Biology

5

BIOL 186LUndergraduate Research in MCD Biology

5

BIOL 186RUndergraduate Research in MCD Biology

5

BIOL 189Health Sciences Internship

3

Comprehensive courses offered in other departments
BIOC 110LAdvanced Biochemistry Laboratory

5

METX 119LMicrobiology 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 EEB general elective
PHYS 6C *PLNT topical elective  Botany & lab
     
4th (senior) EEB general elective *PLNT topical elective EEB general elective
Plant physiology *PLNT topical elective  
     

*PLNT = Plant Sciences BS

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 BIOE 109
*PLNT topical elective *PLNT topical elective *PLNT topical elective
STAT 7 & STAT 7L    
4th (senior) EEB general elective Botany & lab EEB general elective
Plant physiology EEB general elective  
     

*PLNT = Plant Sciences B.S.

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

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