Human Biology

The Human Biology major provides a program of study in human physiology and biochemistry and the molecular basis of disease.  Students in this major will develop a fundamental understanding of diverse aspects of human biology, from the physiology of organ systems to the genetic and biochemical workings of cells.  Human Physiology and Human Disease core options provide necessary breadth, while still allowing students the flexibility to focus their study in areas of interest.  The human biology major provides a strong starting point for entry into postgraduate programs in the health sciences, including but not limited to those in schools of medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, veterinary medicine, public health, physical therapy, and nursing.  The major also provides a foundation for careers in research, teaching, and many occupations in life science-oriented businesses.

The major requirements below ONLY apply to students who were admitted to UC San Diego in Fall 2018. 

Lower-Division Requirements

  • Biology: BILD 1, 2, 3, and 4
  • Chemistry: CHEM 6A, 6B, 6C and 7L
  • Organic Chemistry: CHEM 40A, 40B, and 43A
  • Mathematics: MATH 10A, 10B, and 11 or 20A, 20B, and 11
  • Physics: PHYS 1A/1AL, 1B/1BL, and 1C/1CL or 2A, 2B, 2C and one lab (2BL, 2CL, 2DL)

Upper-Division Requirements

Note: Any given course can only satisfy one major requirement

  • Metabolic Biochemistry (BIBC 102) or Biochemical Energetics and Metabolism (CHEM 114B)
  • Genetics (BICD 100) 
  • Cell Biology (BICD 110)
  • Molecular Biology (BIMM 100) 
  • Human Physiology I (BIPN 100) 
  • Human Biology Core Courses - complete three courses from the following: Human Physiology and Human Disease. At least one course must be taken from each group.
    • Human Physiology
      • Nutrition (BIBC 120)
      • Embryos, Genes and Development (BICD 130)
      • Immunology (BICD 140)
      • Circadian Rhythms-Biological Clocks (BIMM 116)
      • Human Physiology II (BIPN 102)
      • Biology and Medicine of Exercise (BIPN 108)
      • Endocrinology (BIPN 120)
      • Human Reproduction (BIPN 134)
      • Cellular Neurobiology (BIPN 140)
    • Human Disease
      • AIDS Science and Society (BICD 136)
      • Evolution of Infectious Diseases (BIEB 152)
      • Molecular Basis of Human Disease (BIMM 110)
      • Virology (BIMM 114)
      • Pharmacology (BIMM 118)
      • Medical Microbiology (BIMM 124)
      • Biology of Cancer (BIMM 134)
      • Diseases of the Nervous System (BIPN 150)
      • The Healthy and Diseased Brain (BIPN 152)
  • Biology Labs - complete one of the following options:
    • Option 1 - complete one six unit lab from the list below:
      • Laboratory in Microbiology (BIMM 121)
      • Animal Physiology Lab (BIPN 105)
    • Option 2 - complete two four unit labs from the following courses.  You must select one course from Group 1 and one course from Group 2.
      • Group 1:
        • Biochemical Techniques (BIBC 103)
        • Eucaryotic Genetics Laboratory (BICD 101)
        • Laboratory in Molecular Medicine (BICD 145)
        • Computer Modeling in Evolution and Ecology (BIEB 143)
        • Recombinant DNA Techniques (BIMM 101)
      • Group 2:
        • Biochemical Techniques (BIBC 103)
        • Chemistry of Biological Interactions (BIBC 151)
        • Eucaryotic Genetics Laboratory (BICD 101)
        • Plant Molecular Genetics and Biotechnology Laboratory (BICD 123)
        • Laboratory in Molecular Medicine (BICD 145)
        • Ecology Laboratory (BIEB 121)
        • Molecular Methods in Evolution & Ecology Lab (BIEB 123)
        • Marine Invertebrate Ecology Lab (BIEB 131)
        • Aquatic Ecology Lab (BIEB 135)
        • Computer Modeling in Evolution and Ecology (BIEB 143)
        • Animal Communication Lab (BIEB 167)
        • Recombinant DNA Techniques (BIMM 101)
        • Bioinformatics Laboratory (BIMM 143)
        • BISP 196/197/199 (at least 4 units)
  • Biology Electives - complete at least eight or ten units of upper-division coursework offered by the UC San Diego Division of Biological Sciences.  Number of elective units are variable depending on the upper-division lab option selected (a total of 48 upper division units is required for completion of the major).
    • Upper-division Biology elective units may be completed with courses numbered 100-189 taken through UC San Diego’s Division of Biological Sciences.  Elective units may include one quarter of BISP 195, up to four BIxx 194s, and one quarter of either BISP 193 or BISP 196/197/199. Electives may also include SIO 123, 125, 126, 127, 128, 132, 133, 134, 147, 181, and 189.  Students are required to meet the Division of Biological Sciences residency requirement .
    • Only one BISP 196/197/199 can apply towards the major.  Subsequent quarters of BISP 196, 197 or 199 may be applied toward college and university requirements.

Additional Requirements

Minimum Grade Requirement

  • All courses required and used toward any biology major requirements must be taken for a letter grade and completed with a C- or better.
  • The minimum grade requirement applies to all lower-division, upper-division, required courses taken in other departments, as well as courses transferred and used toward major requirements.
  • Exceptions will be made for those required courses that have a P/NP only grading option (e.g., BISP 199).
  • The minimum major GPA requirement is 2.0.

Please note: The degree audit may not automatically reject D grades for the major. If your degree audit appears to apply a course in which you have earned a D to a requirement for the major, please contact a biology advisor.


Upper-Division Unit Requirement

To receive a Bachelor of Science from UC San Diego, all students must complete 48 or more units of upper-division course work within the major.

Please note: The degree audit may not display an accurate number of upper division biology electives required for the major in order to meet the 48 upper division unit requirement.

If your do not have at least 48 upper division units within your major requirements, you will need to take additional upper division biology coursework in order to satisfy this requirement.  If you have questions, please contact a biology advisor.


Biology Residency Requirement

To receive a Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences from UC San Diego, all students must complete at least twenty units of upper-division coursework in the Division of Biological Sciences with a grade of C- or better. This coursework must directly apply to the student’s Biology major requirements, and must be taken while officially enrolled at UC San Diego. Courses completed outside of the UC San Diego Division of Biological Sciences will not be counted toward the residency requirement.