All of the majors in biology build upon a common foundation of preparatory course work, typically completed during the freshman and sophomore years. Students interested in graduating with a major in any area of the biological sciences enter UCSB as a pre-biology major and take a subset of this key preparatory coursework in introductory biology, chemistry, mathematics, and physics. Once the pre-major requirements have been completed students may petition to declare one of the full majors. Note: Grades earned must meet the grade prerequisites for the full major.

For full instructions for declaring a major go to: Current Students.

Course Prerequisites

All Biology courses, with the exception of GE courses, build upon prerequisite or preparatory course work, and these prerequisites are strictly enforced by the departments. Students who have not successfully completed the prerequisites for a course will not be allowed to register. In addition, certain upper-division courses also have a grade requirement for their prerequisites, as discussed below. Specific course prerequisite information can be found on GOLD, in the UCSB Catalog, and on the annual departmental Proposed Course Lists.

Grade Requirements for Prerequisite Courses

All upper-division MCDB courses and some upper-division EEMB courses require a "C" or better in their prerequisite courses. Students who pass a prerequisite course but with a grade lower than C must repeat the course and earn at least a C in order to advance to the next course.

It is important to note that only these specific upper-division courses have this prerequisite grade requirement. Other courses a student may take as a pre-biology major do not have this grade requirement, and would not need to be repeated as long as they received the minimum passing grade and are able to maintain a major GPA of 2.0. A detailed discussion the regulations for repeating courses can be found on the Letters & Science academic advising website.

Additional Information

For further information please consult one of the biology undergraduate academic advisors.


Tel: (805) 893-3295


Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry
University of California Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara, CA 93106-9510