Shape Your Education and Future

As a UCI BioSci undergraduate, you study the science of life and the interconnection between mind, body and world health. As you learn more about the extraordinary ways biologists shape the future, you may become intrigued by a particular area and decide to choose it as a major.

Students begin by majoring in Biological Sciences, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology or Biology/Education. After meeting course and GPA requirements, it’s possible to apply for these additional majors:

Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

The Biochemistry and Molecular Biology major provides students with a comprehensive background in this modern, conceptual understanding of biology. Ideal for students interested in studying the molecular basis (including development, gene expression, immunology, pathogenesis, disease, virology, and evolution).  This major is also designed for students that wish to pursue an advanced degree in biological or medical sciences. In addition, and particularly with the explosive growth in biotechnology and its significant influence in everyday life, graduates could use their backgrounds very effectively to pursue careers in business, education, law, and public affairs.

Biological Sciences

The Biological Sciences major presents a unified, in-depth study of modern biology. The Biological Sciences Core is a five-quarter series of courses ranging from ecology and evolutionary biology, to genetics, biochemistry, and molecular biology. Important laboratory techniques and methodology are presented in upper-division laboratories. Advanced elective courses provide an opportunity to continue to diversify students’ exposure to the biological sciences or to gain a much more in-depth study of a particular area of the biological sciences.

NOTE: Biological Sciences majors who successfully complete their second year of study may elect to apply for a change of major to one of the following: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Developmental and Cell Biology, Exercise Sciences, Genetics, Human Biology, Microbiology and Immunology, or Neurobiology. Students may apply directly to the Biology/Education major or the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology major when they apply for admission to UCI. Contact the Biological Sciences Student Affairs Office for more information.

University of California, Irvine Student Learning Outcomes for B.S. in Biological Sciences

1. Demonstrate an understanding of biology at the level of molecules, cells, systems, organisms and ecosystems.
2. Demonstrate an understanding of key concepts in evolutionary biology, ecology, neurobiology, cell biology, molecular biology, biochemistry, genetics, developmental biology and physiology.
3. Demonstrate scientific quantitative skills, such as the ability to evaluate experimental design, read graphs, and understand and use information from scientific papers.
4. Demonstrate skill in communication of scientific data in standard format.


The Biology/Education major allows students to earn both a B.S. degree in Biological Sciences along with a California Preliminary Single Subject Teaching Credential within four years. Upon completion of this major, individuals will be authorized to teach biology and general science in a middle school or high school.

Developmental & Cell Biology

The Developmental and Cell Biology major is intended to provide students with intensive training in cutting edge approaches to understanding the structure and function of cells and how they interact to produce a complex organism, starting with a fertilized egg. The focus of the B.S. in Developmental and Cell Biology is to provide students with intensive training aimed at preparing them for graduate programs in modern Developmental and Cell Biology or other biomedical sciences. In-depth training in the molecular basis of cell and developmental biology will be coupled with integrating knowledge obtained from the recent explosive advances in genomic technology to provide a strong working understanding of how to approach problems in basic research.

Ecology & Evolutionary Biology

In the 21st century, biologists in fields ranging from medicine to global change biology increasingly incorporate ecological and evolutionary ideas in their research. The major in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology encourages students to understand and appreciate important linkages between biological disciplines. The major is very broad, including components of evolutionary biology, ecology, and physiology. Faculty interests are also broad and include the evolution of aging, conservation biology, restoration ecology, biogeography, plant and animal population and community ecology, the evolution of infectious disease, evolutionary physiology, behavioral ecology, host-disease interactions, evolutionary genetics, genetics of invasive species, and plant population biology. Following graduation, students will be especially well prepared to enter graduate programs in either ecology or evolution for advanced study. The major also provides the foundation to pursue careers in governmental and non-governmental environmental organizations, as well as professional schools. The Department considers undergraduate experience in research an integral component of a scientific education, and majors are encouraged to participate in BIO SCI 199 , in which they will be mentored by an individual faculty member within the Department.

Exercise Sciences

Virtually every organism is dependent on movement (both intracellular and extracellular) in one form or another. With respect to humans, physical activity imposes unique stresses on a broad spectrum of cell types, tissues, and organ systems. However, physical activity plays a key role in shaping fundamental biological processes necessary for maintaining health and preventing disease. While both human and nonhuman species exhibit many common biological phenomenon, there are also many unique aspects of their physiology. This major will also highlight some of the unique physiological traits of nonhuman species and how such unique phenomenon may provide important insights into human health. Additionally, upper-division courses in this major are designed to integrate fundamental principles of biology, chemistry, and physics into a coherent understanding of how physical activity/inactivity impacts human health under healthy and diseased states.

University of California, Irvine Student Learning Outcomes for B.S. in Exercise Science

1. Demonstrate an understanding of biology as it relates to exercise science from the level of molecules, cells, systems, and organisms.

2. Demonstrate an understanding of how key concepts in evolutionary biology, neurobiology, cell biology, molecular biology, biochemistry, physiology, genetics, and developmental biology relate to movement and exercise.

3. Demonstrate an understanding of how physical activity is important for human health and disease prevention.

4. Demonstrate scientific quantitative skills, such as the ability to evaluate experimental design, read graphs, and understand and use information from scientific papers.

5. Demonstrate skill in communication of scientific data in standard format.


Genetics pervades every aspect of modern society, from newspaper articles to talk shows, from discussions on health care to discussions on cloning. With the sequencing of the human genome, it is more important than ever for biology students to have a broad background in the study of heredity and evolution. The Genetics major is designed to benefit motivated undergraduates who have a particular interest in learning about developmental genetics, evolutionary genetics, and molecular genetics and to allow them to explore how our knowledge of genetic mechanisms contributes to our understanding of human development and disease. The Genetics major will accommodate students interested in the study of inheritance either as a basic discipline or in terms of its applied aspects in biotechnology, medicine, and agriculture, but will be especially attractive to those students desiring focused study and preparation for graduate training.

Human Biology

Human Biology provides an in-depth look at cutting edge topics in physiology and epidemiology as they relate to global issues of ethics, anthropology, and socioeconomics. The major also provides the student an understanding of human health beyond basic biological function. Students will learn to evaluate healthcare risks and challenges as they relate to global economies, cultural opinions and environment. Additionally, students will extrapolate information from clinical research publications and relate new findings to accepted knowledge. Topics covered will investigate  intrinsic and extrinsic diseases as well as disorders of the brain and appreciate ethical considerations and dilemmas that face clinicians, research scientists and drug developers.

Microbiology & Immunology

Microbiology and immunology are well-established disciplines within the life sciences. Microbiology addresses the biology of bacteria, viruses, and unicellular eukaryotes such as fungi and protozoa. Studies of microorganisms reveal basic information about processes in evolution, genetics, biochemistry, molecular biology, cell biology, structural biology, and ecology. Many bacteria, viruses, and protozoa cause disease in plants and animals. Hence, major areas of medicine and public health focus on these microorganisms.


The Neurobiology major is designed to teach students how neurobiologists apply cellular, molecular, systems, and behavioral analyses in understanding how the nervous system works. Most noteworthy, the hallmark of the major is a year-long, in-depth exploration of the intellectual nervous system. Through neurobiology, satellite courses, students acquire advanced factual knowledge about neurobiology

University of California, Irvine Student Learning Outcomes for B.S. in Neurobiology

1. Describe and explain, at least in broad strokes, the structural and functional organization of the mammalian brain, integrating all levels of analysis, from molecules and cells to systems and behavior.

2. Discuss a wide assortment of techniques that are used to study the nervous system and identify the techniques’ strengths and weaknesses.

3. Pose testable questions and hypotheses to address gaps and discrepancies in our current understanding of the nervous system.

4. Devise and evaluate experiments designed to test hypotheses.

5. Communicate neurobiology ideas, data and findings with others clearly and accurately.