The biology departments at UC Santa Cruz offer a broad spectrum of courses that reflect the exciting new developments and directions in the field of biology. An outstanding group of faculty, each with a vigorous, internationally recognized research program, is available to teach courses in their specialties as well as core courses for the major. Areas of research strength within the departments include RNA molecular biology, molecular and cellular aspects of genetics and development, neurobiology, immunology, microbial biochemistry, plant biology, animal behavior, physiology, evolution, ecology, marine biology, and conservation biology. Many students take advantage of the numerous opportunities for undergraduate research, allowing students to interact one on one with faculty and other researchers in a laboratory or field setting.

Degrees Offered

  • B.A.
  • B.S.
  • Minor

Study and Research Opportunities

Students may plan a program that leads to a bachelor of arts (B.A.),  or bachelor of science (B.S.) degree. With the guidance of faculty members, students have access to extensive departmental laboratory facilities for independent research, and fieldwork that draws on a variety of terrestrial and oceanic habitats. Hospitals and physical therapy centers, veterinary clinics and other medical enterprises in the local community provide the opportunity to pursue field projects and internships comparable to on-the-job training.

Information for First-Year Students (Freshmen)

In addition to the courses required for UC admission, high school students who intend to major in biology should take high school courses in biology, chemistry, advanced mathematics (precalculus and/or calculus), and physics.

Information for Transfers

Junior transfer students who plan to major in the biological sciences must complete the introductory requirements prior to transfer, at minimum a complete year of calculus, general chemistry, and introductory biology. Additionally, students who complete statistics and calculus-based physics will transfer prepared to begin their advanced degree requirements and allow time in their senior year for doing research. California community college students should follow the prescribed coursework in the UCSC transfer agreements available at


The UC Education Abroad Program (EAP) offers qualified students unique opportunities to broaden their educational horizons. Both the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and the Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology departments encourage interested students to participate. Many programs are in English-speaking countries or use English for advanced courses, and offer small classes, extensive laboratories, and/or field research experience.

Department Website

Molecular, Cell & Developmental BIology:

Ecology and Evolutionary Biology:

More Information

MCD Biology Advising
142 Jack Baskin Engineering Building
University of California, Santa Cruz
1156 High Street
Santa Cruz, California 95064