Isopyrum occidentale. Courtesy of Hodges Lab. Credit: Scott Hodges
Credit: Scott Hodges

 Prospective Students

UCSB is a great place to study biology. Biology is one of the largest majors on campus and the two biology departments continue to grow and take advantage of the tremendous potential of developing research areas. Our new Life Sciences and Technology Building is a cutting edge, state-of the art research facility that includes new teaching laboratories. The undergraduate biology experience at UCSB presents opportunities for students to learn, contribute, and develop in an academic setting of unmatched beauty with a supportive and collaborative intellectual climate that prepares students for the challenges of the 21st century.

High School Preparation

Recommended as Part of or in Addition to the UC admission Requirements:

  • One year of biology
  • One year of chemistry
  • Mathematics through trigonometry
  • One year of physics

Advanced Placement

Advanced Placement (AP) courses usually fulfill General Education (GE) requirements and completing AP Chemistry or Biology will not allow a student to place out of any of the required courses in biology. However, a score of 4 or better on either the AP Chemistry or AP Biology Examination will allow a student to enroll in Introductory Biology as a freshman and jumpstart their studies in biology.


All freshmen requesting any of the 10 biology majors are admitted to the BA as Pre-Biology Majors. The Pre-Biology Major includes the preparatory coursework in chemistry, mathematics, physics, and introductory biology common to all the biology majors. Students declare their BS or BA degree objective and their specific biology major once this common coursework is completed, usually at the end of their sophomore year.

 How To Apply

Applications to the UCSB Biological Sciences Undgergraduate program are submitted online through UC admissions.

 General Questions

+1 805-893-5191

 Academic Advisors


Does the Biology program offer a Minor?

The biology program does not offer a minor.

When is the earliest I can declare the full major?

Freshman admits may declare the full major at the end of their second year provided that they have completed MCDB 1A,1B, EEMB 2, 3 (2.0 gpa required), MCDB 1AL, EEMB 3L and either MCDB 1BL or EEMB 2L (2.0 gpa required), Chem 1ABC and two other preparatory courses (2.0 gpa required). Please see the Pre-Biology major requirement sheet for more detailed information.

Junior transfer students may declare the full major after their second quarter (Winter) - usually 4 upper division biology courses completed (2.0 gpa required)

For all students - At the time of petition for full major, you must have a 2.0 or higher grade point average in all courses attempted toward the major within preparatory and within upper division. Also grades earned must meet the grade prerequisites for the full major.