Skip to main content

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 2021-22 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 Instructors

Course Descriptions

There are several courses associated with the Phage Genomics Research Initiative. During fall and spring, the courses that will be offered are:


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.


BIMM 170 (Genomics Research Initiative Laboratory II 4-units) Students will characterize the genomic sequence of the organisms isolated in BILD 70 and use molecular and computational tools to resolve ambiguities and close gaps. They will then annotate the DNA sequence to identify protein and RNA coding regions.

BIMM 170 applies to either a biology lab or biology elective for biology majors. Applicability is dependent on declared biology major.

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