Plant Sciences

Kennedia nigricans at the UCSC Arboretum. Photo by Daniel Mosquin.


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 molecular biology, and soil science. The plant sciences curriculum draws from faculty expertise in the departments of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Environmental Studies, and Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology. The close integration of coursework in Biology and Environmental Studies, combined with off-campus internships with diverse agencies, creates the opportunity for outstanding training in applied plant science fields such as agroecology, restoration ecology, and natural resource management.

Degrees Offered

  • B.S.

Study and Research Opportunities

  • Undergraduate degree available: Bachelor of Science (B.S.)
  • Faculty-directed and/or independent research opportunities.
  • A suite of field courses providing unique opportunities to learn and conduct research in a host of ecological systems.
  • Intensive Education Abroad programs including Costa Rica (tropical ecology) and Australia (marine biology).

Information for First-Year Students (Freshmen)

In addition to the courses required for UC admission, high school students who intend to major in plant sciences 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 plant sciences 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.


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.


A fine natural environment, the campus Arboretum, the facilities under the Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems (especially the Farm and Garden), and an excellent greenhouse collection all enhance the resources that support our botanical programs and the plant sciences major.

Department Website

More Information

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

University of California, Santa Cruz
Coastal Science Campus

130 McAllister Way
Santa Cruz, California 95060