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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
389 Thimann Labs
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. MATH 11A or MATH 19A; CHEM 1A, CHEM 1B, CHEM 1C, and CHEM 8A; and BIOL 20A, BIOE 20B, and BIOL 20L must be completed before the sixth quarter  in order for students to qualify for admission to MCD biology-sponsored majors, the biology B.S., human 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

CHEM 8AOrganic Chemistry

5

BIOL 20ACell and Molecular Biology

5

BIOL 20LExperimental Biology Laboratory

2

BIOE 20BDevelopment and Physiology

5

Students must also pass one of the following courses:
Either this course

MATH 11ACalculus with Applications

5

or this course

MATH 19ACalculus for Science, Engineering, and Mathematics

5

All qualification courses must be completed by the end of the fifth quarter. Students with one or more grades of NP, C, 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 MATH 11A or MATH 19A, BIOL 20A, BIOE 20B, and/or CHEM 1A, need only pass the remaining qualification policy courses with grades of C+ or better
  • 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 third year or the equivalent) will be admitted to the major. 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 not eligible to declare the major may submit an appeal to the Molecular Cell and Developmental Biology faculty adviser. The department will notify the student and their college of the outcome of the appeal within 15 working days of the quarterly appeal deadline.

See our appeal process for more information.

How to Declare a Major

Students may declare a major as early as they would like, if they have decided which major to pursue and have satisfied the prerequisites or qualification requirements (if any) for the major.  Students who enter UC Santa Cruz 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 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. The department has a major qualification policy that limits access to the program to 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 Czuz 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 human biology B.S. major, transfer students must complete the following courses or their equivalents prior to transfer, by the end of the spring term for students planning to enter in the fall with grades of C+ or higher in each course.

CHEM 1AGeneral Chemistry

5

CHEM 1BGeneral Chemistry

5

CHEM 1CGeneral Chemistry

5

CHEM 8AOrganic Chemistry

5

BIOL 20ACell and Molecular Biology

5

BIOL 20LExperimental Biology Laboratory

2

BIOE 20BDevelopment and Physiology

5

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

5

MATH 19ACalculus for Science, Engineering, and Mathematics

5

The CHEM 8A and MATH 11A or MATH 19A requirement will be enforced for transfer students entering in the fall of 2022 and thereafter. BIOL 20L is not required for students who have completed BIOL 20A and BIOE 20B from California community colleges.

In addition, the following courses are recommended prior to transfer to ensure timely graduation.
One of the following courses
MATH 11BCalculus with Applications

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 both of the following courses
CHEM 8BOrganic Chemistry

5

CHEM 8LOrganic Chemistry Laboratory

2

Please see our preparing to transfer as an MCD major for more complete information.

Prospective students are encouraged to prioritize required and recommended major preparation, and may additionally complete courses that articulate to UC Santa Cruz general education requirements as time allows.

Students who are proposed in a different major and have advanced standing when they enter UCSC require permission from the department to change into the major. Admission to the major is not guaranteed. 

Getting Started at UCSC as a Transfer Student

Transfer students who have met the major qualification requirements are encouraged to declare the major during their first quarter at UC Santa Cruz.   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 required for the major must be taken at UC Santa Cruz, not as transfer credits from another  institution. If a student plans to transfer to UCSC from another institution, the student is advised to contact MCD Advising at UCSC 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 UCSC, 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 MCD Advising.

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 MCD Biology Departmnt 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. Students interested in studying abroad should visit the EAP office as soon as possible to begin planning.  They should also seek advice about their EAP plan for major courses at UC Santa Cruz  from MCD Advising and/or a faculty adviser and receive their approval.

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 I Laboratory

1

PHYS 6BIntroductory Physics II

5

or these courses

PHYS 6AIntroductory Physics I

5

PHYS 6LIntroductory Physics I Laboratory

1

PHYS 6CIntroductory Physics III

5

or these courses

PHYS 7AElementary Physics I

5

PHYS 7BElementary Physics II

5

PHYS 6LIntroductory Physics I 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

3

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

Electives

At least two upper-division electives chosen from the following (only one of which may be a 3-credit course: BIOL 112, BIOL 116 or  BIOL 188).

Note: Lecture/lab combinations count as one course.

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

5

BIOL 118Principles of Human Genetics

5

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

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

3

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

Additional 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

Additional transfer student sample planners

  Fall Winter Spring
3rd (junior) BIOL 105 BIOL 100 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: