Human Biology B.S.

Information and Policies

Introduction

The B.S. major in human biology is designed for students interested in careers in healthcare or biomedical research. Medical and professional school admissions requirements vary; students should verify that their coursework will satisfy the admissions requirements of the programs to which they plan to apply. Students are required to take introductory biology and laboratory (BIOL 20L), genetics, biochemistry, molecular biology, cell biology, human physiology with laboratory and additional courses directly relevant to human health. As a unique feature of this program, students must also fulfill Spanish-language and health-care internship requirements. With proper advance planning, a student with virtually any degree can prepare a competitive application for medical school or health care professional school.  Check our Health Careers webpage for more information on how you can academically prepare for a career in health care.  Additional information is available at the UCSC Career Center.

Academic Advising for the Program

Students should take full advantage of academic advising and should keep in frequent contact with the advisers to stay informed about late announcements of courses, changes in scheduling, and opportunities for special study. Transfer students should also consult the Transfer Information and Policy Section. For additional advice and information:

MCD Advising
142 Jack Baskin Engineering
mcdadvising@ucsc.edu 

Getting Started in the Major

Prerequisites

Due to the demanding nature of the major, students must begin their science coursework as early as possible. CHEM 1A, CHEM 1B and CHEM 1C, and BIOL 20A, BIOE 20B, and BIOL 20L must be taken during the first and second years in order for students to qualify for admission to MCD biology-sponsored majors, biology B.S., molecular, cell and developmental biology B.S. and neuroscience B.S. majors. Students are strongly encouraged to take STAT 5 or STAT 7/STAT 7L and begin, if not complete, other requirements including calculus. For an overview of prerequisites and getting started in the major, please visit our Human Biology B.S. site.

An online mathematics placement examination is required to enroll in a math course. Biological science majors 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.

Students intending to major in human biology should take the Spanish placement examination, offered by the language program, to determine the level at which they should begin the Spanish sequence.

Program Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete the human biology major will be able to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of how biochemistry, genetics and molecular biology are used to elucidate both the function of cells and their organization into tissues;
  • Recognize that biology has a basis in chemistry, physics, and mathematics;
  • Describe how scientific method is used to explain natural phenomena;
  • Use effective oral and written language skills to communicate scientific data and ideas;
  • Understand safe laboratory practices, perform basic molecular biology techniques, generate hypotheses and evaluate data;
  • Achieve fluency in Spanish and an understanding of how cultural differences can affect health care delivery;
  • Refine a career-related and/or postgraduate goal through internship experience; and
  • Present advanced knowledge in the specialized field of human physiology.

Major Qualification Policy and Declaration Process

Major Qualification

The Department of Molecular Cell and Developmental Biology has a separate qualification policy that applies to the human biology B.S. major.

To qualify for the human biology major, students must pass the following courses or their equivalents with a grade of C+ or better in each course:

CHEM 1AGeneral Chemistry

5

CHEM 1BGeneral Chemistry

5

CHEM 1CGeneral Chemistry

5

BIOL 20ACell and Molecular Biology

5

BIOL 20LExperimental Biology Laboratory

2

BIOE 20BDevelopment and Physiology

5

All qualification courses must be completed by the campus major declaration deadline.

Students with two or more grades of NP, C-, D+, D, D-, or F in the policy courses are not qualified to declare.

When assessing qualification:

  • All courses must be taken for a letter grade, see Letter Grade Policy.
  • Students with AP credit for BIOL 20A, BIOE 20B, and/or CHEM 1A, need only pass the remaining qualification policy courses with grades of C+ or better .
  • Students with grades of I or IP in any of the policy courses will not be eligible to declare until a grade has been assigned.
  • Every student who satisfies the major qualification requirements and who petitions to declare the major by the campus major declaration deadline (i.e. before enrolling in their 3rd year or the equivalent) will be admitted to the major. Students enrolled in their final qualification policy course at the major declaration deadline may submit the petition, but will not be declared until satisfactory grades have been posted. Students who satisfy the major admission requirements, but who petition to declare the major after the campus major declaration deadline will be considered on a case-by-case basis for admission to the major; admission is not guaranteed.

 

Appeal Process

Students who are informed that they are not eligible to declare the major may appeal this decision by submitting a letter to the Molecular Cell and Developmental Biology faculty adviser within 15 days from the date the notification was mailed. Within 15  days of receipt of the appeal, the department will notify the student and their college of the decision. See our appeal process for more information.

How to Declare a Major

You may declare a major as early as you would like, if you have decided which major to pursue and have satisfied prerequisites or qualification requirements (if any) for the major.  Students who enter UCSC as frosh are required to be formally declared in a major before enrolling in their third year (or equivalent). Upper division transfer students must complete the major qualification courses before entering UCSC.

Each major/minor advising office has a process for declaring.  To initiate the process to declare, please complete the online declaration petition located on the Department of MCD Biology website. For assistance, please contact MCD Biology Advising at mcdadvising@ucsc.edu.

Transfer Information and Policy

Transfer and Admission Screening Policy

MCD Biology encourages applications from transfer students in the biological sciences. In fall 2012 the department established a Major Qualification Policy that limits access to the program to those students who have successfully completed a subset of foundational coursework. Transfer students are held to similar criteria when being assessed for admission to UC Santa Cruz as an MCD-sponsored major. See qualifying for the major as a transfer applicant for more information.

To be considered for admission as a proposed major in human biology B.S., transfer students must complete courses equivalent to CHEM 1A, CHEM 1B, CHEM 1C, BIOL 20A, and BIOE 20B with a grade of C+ or better in each course prior to transfer.  

In addition to the required coursework for admission, students should complete courses equivalent to the lower-division calculus (MATH 11A or 19A and MATH 11B or 19B;  statistics (STAT 5 or STAT 7 and STAT 7L and organic chemistry (CHEM 8A, CHEM 8B and CHEM 8L) requirements. Students who transfer without having completed these recommended courses may have difficulty enrolling in courses and may require more than two years to complete their MCD-sponsored degree. Students are also encouraged to complete all general education requirements prior to transfer. Please see our preparing to transfer as an MCD major for more complete information.

Getting Started at UCSC as a Transfer Student

Transfer students who have met the major qualification requirements are encouraged to declare the major immediately upon arrival. Students who are proposed in a different major and have advanced standing when they come to UC Santa Cruz require permission from the department to change into the major. Admission to the major is not guaranteed.

Transfer students should complete the required courses in genetics (BIOL 105), biochemistry (BIOL 100) and molecular biology (BIOL 101) by the end of their first year at UCSC since they are prerequisites for the majority of other required courses.
Transfer students should take the Spanish placement exam upon arrival.  We encourage transfer students to complete the required Spanish courses (including SPAN 5M) before the fall of their second year.

 

Letter Grade Policy

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

Course Substitution Policy

At least half of the upper-division courses (numbered Biology 100–Biology 190) required for the major must be taken through the biological sciences program at UC Santa Cruz, not as transfer credits from another department or institution. If a student plans to transfer to UCSC from another institution, the student is advised to contact a MCD Biology Department adviser at UC Santa Cruz before enrolling in upper-division courses at the student’s institution or any institution other than UCSC. This advising will help students understand the limitation of transferring upper-division courses from other institutions to UCSC. For more information on transferring courses to UC Santa Cruz, please consult the undergraduate website.

Once matriculated, a student must receive permission from the department to satisfy the BIOL 20A, BIOL 100, BIOL 105, BIOL 101 or BIOL 110 requirements with courses taken at other institutions. Students who wish to receive credit toward the major for these or other courses taken either at UCSC or at another institution should contact a department adviser.

Double Majors and Major/Minor Combinations Policy

Students interested in pursuing multiple majors within the biological sciences may NOT declare the following combination of majors:

  • Biology (B.A., B.S., or minor) AND any other biological sciences major
  • Any combination of the following: Human Biology; Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology; Neuroscience; or Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Should a student choose to double major, they must qualify for and complete the Disciplinary Communication and comprehensive requirements for each of the majors.

Study Abroad

The UC Education Abroad Program (EAP) offers qualified students unique opportunities to broaden their educational horizons. The MCDB Department encourages interested students to participate. 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.

Students interested in study abroad need to get an early start on their basic science requirements, including chemistry, mathematics, and introductory biology and must declare their major prior to applying to go abroad. Visit the EAP office as soon as possible to begin planning; you must seek advice about your EAP plan for major courses at UC Santa Cruz  from a department adviser and/or faculty adviser and receive their approval for your plans.

Honors

Honors in the 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.

Medical and Professional School Admission

Medical and professional school admissions requirements vary; students should verify that their coursework will satisfy the admissions requirements of the programs to which they plan to apply.

Requirements and Planners

Course Requirements

Lower-Division Courses

All of the following courses:
BIOL 20ACell and Molecular Biology

5

BIOE 20BDevelopment and Physiology

5

BIOL 20LExperimental Biology Laboratory

2

CHEM 1AGeneral Chemistry

5

CHEM 1BGeneral Chemistry

5

CHEM 1MGeneral Chemistry Laboratory

2

CHEM 1CGeneral Chemistry

5

CHEM 1NGeneral Chemistry Laboratory

2

CHEM 8AOrganic Chemistry

5

CHEM 8LOrganic Chemistry Laboratory

2

CHEM 8BOrganic Chemistry

5

CHEM 8MOrganic Chemistry Laboratory

2

BIOL 20L is waived for junior transfer students.

Note: CHEM 109 is also recommended for pre-med students.

Plus 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

Plus one of the following options:
Either this course

STAT 5Statistics

5

or these courses

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

5

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

2

Plus one of the following options:
Either 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

or these courses

PHYS 7AElementary Physics I

5

PHYS 7BElementary Physics II

5

PHYS 6LIntroductory Physics Laboratory

1

Note: PHYS 7A/PHYS 7B and PHYS 6L may not satisfy the physics prerequisite for admission to all medical schools; be sure to check the requirements at all schools where you wish to apply.

Language Requirement:

SPAN 1-SPAN 4 or the equivalent and one quarter of Spanish for health-care workers (SPAN 5M).

Upper-Division Courses

Choose one of the following options:
Either these courses

BIOL 100Biochemistry

5

BIOL 101Molecular Biology

5

or these courses

BIOC 100ABiochemistry and Molecular Biology

5

BIOC 100BBiochemistry and Molecular Biology

5

BIOC 100CBiochemistry and Molecular Biology

5

Students who complete the BIOC 100A/BIOC 100B/BIOC 100C sequence can use BIOC 100C to satisfy an upper-division elective.

Plus all of the following courses:
BIOL 105Genetics

5

BIOL 110Cell Biology

5

BIOL 130Human Physiology

5

BIOL 130LHuman Physiology Laboratory

2

Internship Requirement:
BIOL 189Health Sciences Internship

3

BIOL 189WDisciplinary Communication: Human Biology

2

The student must participate in a community health-care service activity approved by the health sciences internship coordinator. Credit may be earned over multiple quarters.

Electives

Two upper-division electives chosen from the following (only one of which may be a 3-credit course: BIOL 112, 116 or  117).

BIOC 100CBiochemistry and Molecular Biology

5

BIOE 133Exercise Physiology

5

BIOE 133LExercise Physiology Laboratory

2

BIOL 111AImmunology I

5

BIOL 111BImmunology II

5

BIOL 112Virology

3

BIOL 114Cancer Cell Biology

5

BIOL 115Eukaryotic Molecular Biology

5

BIOL 116Advanced Topics in Cell Biology

3

BIOL 117Global Health and Neglected Diseases

3

BIOL 120Developmental Biology

5

BIOL 125Introduction to Neuroscience

5

BIOL 126Advanced Molecular Neuroscience

5

BIOL 127Mechanisms of Neurodegenerative Disease

5

BIOL 128Developmental Neurobiology

5

BIOL 140The RNA World

5

BIOL 188A Life in Medicine

3

BME 130Genomes

5

BME 178Stem Cell Biology

5

CMMU 163Health Care Inequalities

5

METX 119Microbiology

5

METX 135Functional Anatomy

5

METX 135LFunctional Anatomy Lab

2

PHYS 180Biophysics

5

Note: Lecture/lab combinations count as one course.

Disciplinary Communication (DC) Requirement

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

BIOL 130LHuman Physiology Laboratory

2

BIOL 189Health Sciences Internship

3

BIOL 189WDisciplinary Communication: Human Biology

2

Comprehensive Requirement

All majors have a comprehensive requirement. For the Human Biology B.S., this requirement can be satisfied by receiving a passing grade in the Health Sciences Internship, BIOL 189.

Planners

Sample Human Biology B.S. Frosh Four-Year Planner

Frosh sample planners.

  Fall Winter Spring
 1st (frosh)

CHEM 1A

 

CHEM 1B & CHEM 1M
CHEM 1C & CHEM 1N
MATH 11A MATH 11B
BIOL 20A



2nd (soph) BIOE 20B

BIOL 100

BIOL 101
BIOL 20L
CHEM 8B & CHEM 8M
BIOL 105
CHEM 8A & CHEM 8L


3rd (junior) BIOL 110
BIOL 130 & BIOL 130L
PHYS 6A & PHYS 6L
SPAN 1
SPAN 2
SPAN 3
STAT 5 or STAT 7 & STAT 7L

UD elective
4th (senior) Upper-division elective
PHYS 6B OR PHYS 6C

BIOL 189

SPAN 4
SPAN 5M
BIOL 189W
 

The following general education requirements will be fulfilled by the major requirements listed in the above planner: MR, SI, SR, CC. In addition to the GE requirements satisfied by the above courses, a student will also need to complete courses satisfying the ER, IM, TA, PE, and PR general education requirements.

Sample Human Biology B.S. Transfer Two-Year Planner

Transfer students sample planners.

  Fall Winter Spring
3rd (junior) BIOL 100
BIOL 105
BIOL 101
PHYS 6A & PHYS 6L
PHYS 6B or PHYS 6C
SPAN 3
SPAN 1
SPAN 2

4th (senior) BIOL 110
BIOL 130 & BIOL 130L
Upper-division elective
Upper-division elective
SPAN 5M
BIOL 189
SPAN 4

BIOL 189W

This planner assumes that a student has completed all UC Transfer Pathway courses: