Apr 24, 2024  
2020-2021 Catalog 
2020-2021 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Biological Sciences Major

The Biological Sciences address many of the most important and fundamental questions about our world: What is life? What is biodiversity and why is it important? How has biological diversity evolved? How do biological organisms interact with each other and their environment and how are these interactions altered during this period of rapid global change? What are the limits to human life and physical capabilities? How do we feed the world’s growing population? Could medical science ensure that our children will not have to worry about disease? With major technological and theoretical advances, there has never been a more exciting and important time to study biology. From the molecular underpinnings of life and human diseases to the effects of global climate change on the fundamental processes that sustain life on earth, the Biological Sciences are at the forefront of finding answers to some of society’s most vexing problems.

The undergraduate major in Biological Sciences is an excellent first step towards exciting careers in biology, health, and environmental sciences. Graduates of this program will also be well prepared for positions in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries, health care, conservation, environmental law and policy, and natural resources management (including forest and park services). Students will also develop skills valuable to careers in journalism, public policy and business, which increasingly involve the biological sciences. In addition, the breadth and rigor of this program are an excellent preparation for graduates to teach science at the elementary, intermediate or high school levels.

This program teaches biology as a multidisciplinary science, reflecting the increasing role of chemistry, physics, mathematics, computer science and advanced technologies in the life sciences. Students majoring in Biological Sciences can choose between five emphasis tracks providing backgrounds in different areas of biology: Developmental Biology  Ecology and Evolutionary Biology , Human Biology Microbiology and Immunology , and Molecular and Cell Biology . These emphasis tracks consist of a sequence of five or six upper division courses that are taken in the second, third and fourth years of the program.

Biological Sciences Program Learning Outcomes

Graduates from the Biological Sciences programs will have demonstrated:

  1. An understanding of the tenets of modern biology and an understanding of how cellular functions are integrated from the molecular level to the cellular level, through to the level of organism, populations, and functioning ecosystems.
  2. An ability to develop and critique hypotheses and to design experiments, models, and/or calculations to address these hypotheses.
  3. The ability to use appropriate instrumentation and computational tools to collect, analyze and interpret data.
  4. The ability to read, evaluate, interpret, and apply numerical and general scientific information.
  5. A familiarity with and application of safety in good laboratory and field practices.
  6. An ability to communicate biological science topics in written, oral and visual formats
  7. An understanding of the relationship of biological sciences to society.

Sample plans of study for the Biological Sciences degree may be found in the School of Natural Sciences website ns-advising.ucmerced.edu.