Jul 12, 2024  
2021-2022 Catalog 
2021-2022 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Biological Sciences Major

The UC Merced Biological Sciences Undergraduate Program trains students in the fundamental knowledge, skills, and ethical responsibilities of equitable participation in the diverse future of biological sciences, its sub-disciplines, and professional applications.

There has never been a more exciting and important time to study biology. Recent, interdisciplinary and technological advances in our understanding of biological systems make the 21st Century the “Century of Biology”. The immediate future of Biology promises an era of important and profound discoveries. Beyond a basic understanding of life, new insights and knowledge gained from the study of Biology is essential to addressing some of society’s most pressing and important problems.

The University of California, Merced undergraduate major in the Biological Sciences instructs students in the study of biology across all of its scales from molecules and cells to organisms and ecosystems. The program teaches biology as a unified and interdisciplinary science, reflecting the foundational importance of chemistry, physics, mathematics, engineering, computer science, and philosophy to our understanding of biological systems. Students learn both the theoretical and empirical bases of knowledge, and how the scientific method is applied to investigate fundamental questions in the field.

The undergraduate major in Biological Sciences provides a strong basis for a career in any of the biological, ecological, biomedical, health, or industrial fields. It is a great choice for students interested in interdisciplinary approaches to the sciences as a general course of study. Graduates of this program can earn skills relevant to healthcare, biotechnology, conservation, policy and natural resource management, laboratory technical work, data analysis, education, and beyond. The program is designed to equip students with the foundational skills and knowledge to pursue any biology-related career.

Students majoring in Biological Sciences can choose among current 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 to six upper division courses that are taken in the second, third and fourth years of the program.

The UC Merced Biological Sciences Undergraduate Program is committed to Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion for all members, including students, faculty and staff.

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.