Our biology curriculum isn’t bound by book covers; it’s a hands-on experience that prepares students for careers and graduate programs in biology, biotechnology, medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, field and laboratory biology, and public health. You’ll work alongside accomplished faculty to test theory against experience using modern instrumentation in state-of-the-art facilities.

Major in Biology

The program is designed to prepare students for a broad spectrum of careers in the life sciences, including completion of all requirements for admission to professional schools (e.g., medical, dental, pharmacy and veterinary schools) and graduate programs.

Program Learning Outcomes

Students will:

  • demonstrate both in-depth and broad knowledge of the concepts that comprise the biological sciences
  • apply the scientific process, including designing and conducting experiments and testing hypotheses
  • competently perform laboratory, field, and analytical techniques
  • understand and critically review scientific papers and prepare oral and written reports in a standard scientific format
  • demonstrate an awareness of the significance ethics plays in the biological sciences

Major in Biology Honors Program

This degree requires a research thesis in an area of biology. The program is designed to provide superior undergraduate students with opportunities to carry out original research in preparation for graduate school, professional training, or a position in an industrial or government research laboratory.


Students with an overall grade point average of 3.2, plus a grade point average of 3.4 or above in biology and supporting science courses (chemistry, math, and physics) are eligible for acceptance into the program.

Applications are to be made to the Honors Thesis Program Committee during the student's junior year.

Depending on the area of research interest, students are assigned a thesis committee consisting of a research adviser and one additional faculty member.

Research Experience

Our students have the unique opportunity to work with faculty on research projects. They can explore virology, cancer biology, botany, marine mammal physiology, animal behavior, herpetology, and other relevant fields of study through faculty labs and field research around the Bay Area’s rich ecosystems. Common research sites include Russell Ranch, Muir Beach, Monterey Bay, Glen Canyon Park, and elsewhere. Periodically students also have the chance to take special research trips to Alaska, Antarctica, and even the Galapagos Islands.

Through the Partnership for Undergraduate Mentoring and Teaching program (PUMT), students can apply for research spots at UC-San Francisco, or assist our UCSF grad and post-doc adjuncts on cutting-edge biomedical research.


We offer annual scholarships to support student research and travel to scientific meetings. This support is made possible by our donors’ generous contributions to the Biology Gift Fund. Scholarships include:

  • The Arthur Furst Award – awarded to eligible students conducting biology research
  • Carol Chihara Awards – awarded every semester to eligible students, based primarily on their science GPA
  • The Edward L. Kessel Award – awarded to a graduating Biology major who demonstrates leadership, academic excellence, and high potential for a career in the biological sciences
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Last updated September 11, 2018
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Sep 2019
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Sep 2019
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