Mythbusters: UC Davis Edition

Between university, college, and major requirements, plus prerequisites for graduate and professional school programs, it can become slightly difficult to keep the seemingly endless amounts of information straight. Incorrect information can often be disguised to seem true, and it’s easy to be misled or overwhelmed by a million different sources. Here are a few common myths that are in need of debunking – test yourself and see how well you know your stuff!




It’s impossible to graduate in four years.

It is absolutely possible to graduate in four years. In order to stay on track, it’s important to familiarize yourself with your major requirements, plan your course schedules ahead of time, and meet with a peer adviser or your major adviser if you need help. However, although it is entirely possible to finish your degree in four years, it is absolutely normal to take more than four years to graduate. It’s difficult to know exactly what you want to study right away – fear not; you’re not alone! Most students change their major at least once before they graduate. If you change your major within the College of Biological Sciences, a majority of the lower division prep courses overlap between majors, so you won’t necessarily be behind on prerequisite courses. Be proactive about planning ahead and taking advantage of the resources available to you!


All preparatory courses in series, such as CHE2ABC, must be taken consecutively and must be finished within the first two years before moving on to upper division courses.

Although a majority of the lower division preparatory courses are in series – MAT17ABC, CHE2ABC, BIS2ABC, CHE118ABC or CHE8AB, and PHY7ABC, these courses do not necessarily have to be taken three quarters in a row. For example, it is perfectly acceptable to take MAT17A during Fall, take a break from calculus in the Winter, and continue with MAT17B in the Spring. It just depends on the rest of your course schedule for that quarter and when you plan to finish the series. However, it’s important to pay attention to when each course is offered – for example, CHE2B is only offered during Winter and Spring. Therefore, plan accordingly! Continue reading “Mythbusters: UC Davis Edition”

To be an Aggie, or not to be?: Why I Chose UC Davis

UCD watertower

Ordinarily, I am not one for procrastination. Nevertheless, it was the day of the deadline to submit my SIR to the UC of my choice, and truth be told, I wasn’t much closer to a final decision than I was when acceptance (and rejection) letters had just been sent out.

I hadn’t discussed my options with my parents because talking about it out loud came with a certain sense of reality/finality that I just wasn’t too thrilled about – I am truly indecisive. This is somewhat of a setback when faced with the rather large, life-changing decision of choosing which college is right for you. But fear not; it can be done!

I had been going back and forth between two schools: UC San Diego and UC Davis. I had made a mental pros-and-cons list in my head, because putting it on paper made it too real.

Tip #1: Write out your pros-and-cons list on paper! Although it might seem intimidating to actually see your reasons listed out side-by-side, this will be extremely helpful to your decision-making process in getting your initial thoughts out of your head.

I had all the big, obvious reasons on my list – closeness to home, environment, academics, my major of interest, etc. – but it was difficult to know which reasons weighed more than others. Whenever I thought that I was close to a final answer, I talked myself out of it and I was back to square one again.

Tip #2: Don’t procrastinate! The decision-making process takes time, and you’ll benefit from a clear mind without the added pressure of a deadline. It can get overwhelming at times, so it might be helpful to take a break from decision-making every so often to get a fresh perspective.

It was a Friday afternoon and my SIR was due by midnight; I was running out of time. I finally decided to consult my older sister – who better to help me with such a huge decision than someone who has known me my entire life?

Tip #3: Talk to someone! It’s easy to become lost in your thoughts after a while, so it’s helpful to get someone else’s perspective and input – especially if they know you well.

“Picture yourself in one year: where are you?” My answer surprised myself; while I had previously assumed that I would picture myself in sunny SoCal, studying on the beaches of UCSD, I instead instinctively saw myself surrounded by hordes of bicyclists and the green, open campus of UC Davis.

Tip #4: Close your eyes and actually try to picture yourself at school and the type of environment you see yourself in. It might seem silly, but trying to visualize where you’ll physically be in the future can help to find the college that is the best fit for you.

Centennial walk in the quad

After a lengthy discussion and a few more back-and-forths, I had finally made my decision. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it; it wasn’t one singular reason over another that made me choose UC Davis, but more of a general, inexplicable feeling that I had. Although, it didn’t hurt that Davis was the perfect distance from home for me – close enough for comfort, but far enough to be independent; and the College of Biological Sciences offered specific majors that were particularly interesting to me – Exercise Biology (EXB) and Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior (NPB). For these reasons, it did not bother me as much when my classmates were surprised that I had chosen UC Davis over UC San Diego, as going to SoCal was apparently the “thing to do.” I was happy with my decision and excited to spend the next four years of my life at the college of my choice.


Kimberlee Hu
BASC Peer Adviser
Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior
Class of 2014

Why Major in NPB?

Human neuroanatomy diagram

What is NPB?

While some might think that NPB means “no peanut butter,” “no paper bills,” or “no problem, Bob,” ask any NPB student and they will tell you its true meaning – Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior.

With a yearly average of over 966 students, NPB is the third largest major in the College of Biological Sciences1. So why is this elaborately named major so popular?

N = Neurobiology

This aspect of the major focuses on the lovely gray matter in your skull and how this singular organ coordinates perception, sensory and motor function, cognition, learning, memory, and basic reflex pathways. Did you know that about 50% of your brain is dedicated to vision? Do you ever wonder how a pain in your toe – the furthest body part away from your brain – can almost instantaneously transmit sensory information up into your nervous system? This occurs through various neural circuits that integrate information in the brain from environmental signals at different parts of the body. You will learn more about this circuitry in NPB 100 (Neurobiology), which is a required course for the major.

P = Physiology

This aspect of the major focuses on the physiological mechanisms that regulate basic functions, such as growth, reproduction, movement, response to stimuli, and the maintenance of homeostasis. These functional mechanisms occur at the level of the cell, organ system, and whole organism and are common to all animals. There is also an emphasis on human physiology and the systematic functions of major organ systems. The amount of interconnection within the human body may surprise you! For example, nerve impulses to and from the brain can travel as fast as 170 miles per hour and the human body is estimated to have up to 60,000 miles of blood vessels! This intricate and extensive circuitry is essential for overall physiological function. You will learn more about the human body in NPB101 (Systemic Physiology), which is a required course for the major.

Human body systems diagram

B = Behavior

This aspect of the major focuses on how the nervous system (neurobiology) and the endocrine system (physiology) integrate to determine behavior and the interaction between organisms and their environments – both physical and social. Wouldn’t you be curious to find out how nerve impulses can release specific hormones that can influence your mood or behavior? For example, do you ever wonder why you might feel pain from a sports injury hours after you’ve stopped exercising? This is due to a “runner’s high” which is a secretion of endorphins that may inhibit pain during physical activity..

N + P + B = NPB

As a whole, the NPB major provides a multifaceted approach to how organisms regulate basic and complex functions, the mechanisms underlying these functions, and how neural and physiological information is integrated to influence behavior. Continue reading “Why Major in NPB?”