Ecology and Evolution


The ecology and evolution major provides students with interdisciplinary skills necessary for understanding and solving complex problems in behavior, ecology, evolution, and physiology, and includes a focus on both basic concepts and aspects that can be applied to important environmental problems, including genetic and ecological aspects for conservation biology and biodiversity. Ecology and evolution addresses questions on a wide variety of scales, from molecular or chemical mechanisms up to issues that apply to large spatial and temporal scales.

Degrees Offered

  • B.S.
  • M.A.
  • Ph.D.

Study and Research Opportunities

  • Undergraduate degree available: Bachelor of Science (B.S.); graduate degrees available: M.A., Ph.D.
  • A broad array of lecture courses that cover the essentials of behavior, ecology, evolution, and physiology, coupled with capstone courses that emphasize theory and natural history applied to more focused topics
  • A suite of field and lab courses providing unique opportunities to learn cutting-edge methods and concepts in ecology, evolution, physiology, and behavior
  • Participation in research projects with faculty sponsors that often lead to opportunities for senior thesis research
  • Intensive Education Abroad programs in Costa Rica (tropical ecology) and Australia (marine sciences)

Information for First-Year Students (Freshmen)

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

Information for Transfers

The faculty encourage applications from students who are prepared to transfer into the ecology and evolution major at the junior level. Transfer applicants are screened by Admissions for completion of required equivalents of calculus, general chemistry, and introductory biology courses prior to transfer.  

California community college students should follow the prescribed coursework in the UCSC transfer agreements available at for course equivalency information.


Ecology and Evolutionary Biology degrees are designed to prepare students to go on to:

  • Graduate programs
  • Positions in industry, government, or NGO’s
  • Medical, dental, or veterinary medicine schools. 


Students are encouraged to participate in the unique opportunities available through study abroad. It can be possible to satisfy major requirements while abroad and graduate on time. Field based programs in Costa Rica and Australia are of particular note.

Department Website

More Information

Ecology & Evolution Undergraduate Advising Office:
Coastal Biology Building 105A

University of California, Santa Cruz
Coastal Science Campus

130 McAllister Way

Santa Cruz, California 95060