General Biology

This program allows the most diversified exposure to biology of any of the majors offered by the Division of Biological Sciences. It is designed for students with broad interests who do not wish to be constrained by the specialized requirements of the other majors and who desire maximum freedom to pursue their particular educational goals.

The major requirements below ONLY apply to students who were admitted to UC San Diego in Fall 2017 or later.  If you were admitted to UC San Diego prior to Fall 2017, please refer to your degree audit, the UC San Diego General Catalog, or academic plan that aligns with your admit term for a listing of major requirements.  If you have further questions, please contact a Biology Advisor for clarification.

Lower-Division Requirements

  • Biology: BILD 1, 2, 3, and 4
  • Chemistry: CHEM 6A, 6B, 6C and 7L
  • Organic Chemistry: CHEM 40A, 40B, and 43A
    Information on Changes to the Organic Chemistry Sequence
  • Mathematics: MATH 10A, 10B, and 11 or 20A, 20B, and 11

    Note: Effective Fall 2016, entering freshmen are required to complete Calculus-Based Introductory Probability and Statistics (MATH 11).  Fall 2016 and 2017 entering transfer students may complete MATH 10C, 20C, or 11 to complete the math sequence.  Transfer students will be required to complete MATH 11 beginning Fall 2018.

  • 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)
  • Genetics (BICD 100)
  • Upper-Division Biology Labs - complete one of the following options:
    • Option 1 - complete one six unit lab from the following list:
      • Laboratory in Microbiology (BIMM 121)
      • Animal Physiology Lab (BIPN 105)
    • Option 2 - complete two four unit labs from the following list:
      • 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)
      • C omputer Modeling in Evolution and Ecology (BIEB 143)
      • Animal Communication Lab (BIEB 167)
      • Recombinant DNA Techniques (BIMM 101)
      • BISP 196/197/199 (at least 4 units)
  • Upper-Division Biology Electives - complete at least thirty-two or thirty-four units of 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 195, 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 blue and you have a D in a required course 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 degree audit is blue and the 48 upper division unit requirement in the bottom of the first column is red, 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.