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First-Year Initiatives

Participation in either of the below is by invitation only. Freshmen who are invited to apply will be contacted individually and given the website information for application.

BILD 96 – Biology Honors Seminar

The biology honors seminar for fall will focus on the many ways in which scientific information is communicated. Of course what you think and know is important, but whatever your walk of life - student, research scientist, physician, businessman, professor - if you can't communicate your knowledge and understanding to other people, you cannot succeed. Students will be introduced to some basic principles of scientific writing, graphic design, oral presentation (with and without slides), and other forms of communication. Then, they'll practice these skills in brief assignments and learn how to evaluate the performance of others.

The goal of the seminar is to increase students' awareness that how they communicate is a very important aspect of what they communicate. In addition, it is intended to help students become more effective communicators.

Not available for the 2023-24 academic year.

Phage Genomics Research Initiative

A freshman in the lab uses a microscope.

The Phage Genomics Research Initiative is an exciting and innovative opportunity for freshmen biology majors entering UC San Diego to acquire hands-on research experience.

Students accepted into the Phage Genomics Research program will learn how to approach research problems creatively. Research will focus on bacteriophage, rapidly evolving viruses that infect bacteria. Students will isolate new bacteriophage from the environment and sequence and characterize their genomes. A goal is for the results to be published in scientific journals with the students listed as co-authors.

Selected students who participate in the program for will earn course credit toward their Biology degree.

UC San Diego is one of only 12 universities nationwide previously selected by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) to offer this program to our students through HHMI's Science Education Alliance (SEA).

Faculty Instructor

Course Descriptions

There is currently one course associated with the Phage Genomics Research Initiative. During fall, the course that will be offered is:


BILD 70 (Genomics Research Initiative Lab I 4-units) Students will isolate bacterial viruses or other organisms from the environment and characterize them by methods including electron microscopy and nucleic acid analysis. The genomic DNA will be purified, and sent for sequencing.

BILD 70 applies to the BILD 4 requirement for biology majors.


Related Links

UC San Diego Selected for Nationwide Science Education Program

Current UCSD students: Please submit your questions via the VAC. An advisor will respond in 1-3 business days.

Non-UCSD students: Email us at