Biological Sciences

What is Biological Sciences?

The majors leading to a B.A. or B.S. in Biological Sciences are the most general of those offered by EEMB and MCDB. Students in either major take courses fulfilling requirements in several broad areas ranging from ecology to molecular biology, but can choose from a variety of courses in each area. In addition, the Biological Sciences majors allow a greater number of electives than the more specialized majors offered by the two departments. Students who wish to have the most flexibility in their choice of biology courses often choose a Biological Sciences B.A. or B.S. major.

The Biological Sciences B.S. degree is more oriented toward science and math courses, with fewer General Education requirements. The Biological Sciences B.A. degree allows students to pursue a typical liberal arts education while still receiving excellent training in biology.

All students interested in any area of the biological sciences enter UCSB as pre-biological sciences majors. Pre-biology majors share a common core curriculum, typically completed during the freshman and sophomore years, consisting of introductory biology with laboratory, general chemistry with laboratory, mathematics, physics with laboratory, and for many of the majors, organic chemistry with laboratory. After completion of a subset of this key preparatory coursework, students may petition to declare the full major. The Biological Sciences B. S. degree requires completion of 48 upper-division quarter units in biology and offers a strong, well-rounded background in the field. The Bachelor of Arts degree in Biological Sciences requires 36 upper division units in biology and allows students greater flexibility in taking courses both within and outside their major. Students are encouraged to work closely with faculty members who share their interests, and to seek assistance in program planning from the well-informed and helpful undergraduate advisors.

General Major Information

How Can I Tell if I Would Like Biological Sciences?

Biology majors are inquisitive. They want to know how and why things work and like to analyze how things are interrelated. This student will likely enjoy conducting experiments or reading how things work. This student is capable of working independently and has good written and verbal communication skills. A strong interest in the sciences and mathematics is important.

What are Potential Topics within This Major?

DNA techniques
Cell Developmental Biology
General Chemistry
Organic Chemistry
Marine Biology

To learn more about whether you might enjoy this major, check with a peer in the Career Resource Room for details on:

- Focus 2 to explore college majors and careers.

- The Strong Interest Inventory®, an assessment that compares your interests against six broad categories of work. This assessment helps match your interests and suggests potential careers to explore.

What Can I Do To Make My Major More Marketable?

  • Pursue relevant work, internship, volunteer, and/or research experience.
  • Choose a complementary minor.
  • Specialize in an area; take courses in related fields.
  • Develop your computer skills.
  • Learn a foreign language.
  • Study abroad.
  • Join professional associations.
  • Get involved in student clubs.
  • Participate in community organizations.
  • Seek out leadership positions.
  • Research specific prerequisites for different positions.
  • Network with others in fields that interest you.


General Career Information

What Are Some Possible Career Options?
Note: On its own, your major does not dictate what your job will be. The following list provides only a handful of possibilities. Biological Sciences majors with strong liberal arts background may pursue career options in many fields. Depending on experience, specialized coursework, and possible graduate study, options include:

  • Animal Biologist
  • Biomedical Technician
  • Botanist
  • Cell Biologist
  • Developmental Biologist
  • Environmental Consultant
  • Inspector
  • Research Associate
  • Scientifi c Lab Director
  • Veterinary Surgeon
  • Vision Scientist
  • Zoologist
To learn more about these and other occupations, please visit:
O*Net Online
Come visit the Career Resource Room to see our vast collection of career books and resources.
See what other UCSB alumni are doing with their major on LinkedIn


Graduate and Professional Schools

Click “Graduate School” for information on how to choose a grad school, how to pay for grad school, how to survive and flourish in grad school.
This is a comprehensive website that provides information about where graduate programs are offered throughout the nation.

This is a database to help find where graduate programs are offered throughout the U.S.

Come to the Career Resources Room to view the CHOICES lab version of graduate schools.

Experience Search Strategies

Ecology and Conservation Jobs.

Finding Biotechnology jobs
Job listings, salary info, recruiters, employer profiles, resume help, everything you need.

Good general Info on bio-technology connections, see Career Network for jobs listed.

American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors
Employment page is kept up-to-date. Listings in CA and national.

New Scientist Jobs
All types of biology jobs categorized by field, location, government/private, etc.
Lists biotech jobs, biology teaching jobs and bioscience jobs

Jobs in pharmaceuticals, biology and research

UCSB Career Services “Job Links” section
Check out job links in the following categories: Local/CA, National, International, Industry Specific, UCSB Careers By Majors and Diversity..

When you join LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network, you get access to people, jobs, news, updates, and insights that help you be great at what you do.

Professional Associations

The American Institute of Biological Sciences
The American Institute of Biological Sciences is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) scientific association dedicated to advancing biological research and education for the welfare of society.

Ecological Society of America
The Ecological Society of America (ESA) is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization of scientists founded in 1915 that promote ecological science, provide resources and enhance communication between ecological community and policy-makers.

UCMP Societies & Organizations
Professional Societies and organizations in natural history, conservation, microbiology, botany, zoology, etc.

Scholarly Societies Project
The penultimate site for professional biology associations, national and international.

The Biotechnology Industry Organization
BIO is the world's largest biotechnology organization, providing advocacy, business development and communications services for more than 1,100 members worldwide. BIO members are involved in the research and development of innovative healthcare, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products.

Cellular & Molecular Biology Online
Lists common professional organizations for cell and molecular biologists. Most society web sites provide information about associated publications, meetings, membership and careers.


UCSB Resources