Jul 25, 2024  
2014-2015 Catalog 
2014-2015 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Biological Sciences Major

The Biological Sciences address many of the most important and fundamental questions about our world: What is life? How does our brain produce our ideas and emotions? 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 won’t have to worry about disease? Moreover, there has never been a more exciting and important time to study biology. From the mapping of the genome to understanding the molecular basis of human disease to predicting the effects of global climate change on ecosystems to understanding fundamental processes that produce and 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 and the health 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), as well as careers such as 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 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: Molecular and Cell Biology , Ecology and Evolutionary Biology , Human Biology , Developmental Biology  and Microbiology and Immunology . 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.

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