Prospective from a BASC Peer Advisor: Searching for a Job after Graduation

It’s graduation season! As a graduating senior from UC Davis College of Biological Sciences, I would like to share some job search tips. Here are some questions that you may wonder:


What kinds of job can I apply for with a biology related major?

You don’t necessarily have to apply for a job related to your major after graduation. Take a moment to think about your short-term and long-term goals. It’s all about what fits you and what you would like to do. To start, you can search for jobs or areas that you are interested in, and conduct informational interviews with people in the areas. In addition, gather more information by asking professors, mentors, friends and family.

Some popular career areas are health/medical, biotechnology, environmental sciences, education and academic research.


Where can I find job postings?

  • Check out Handshake, the new UC Davis platform for job posts. Handshake is replacing Aggie Job Link, the older platform, in 2019.
  • Job search websites, such as LinkedIn, Indeed, Glassdoor, and more. Look into multiple of them for more opportunities.
  • Career/job postings on company websites.
  • Career/job postings on academic institutions’ websites for entry level research positions. Labs in the UCs and other research oriented universities always need support.


What materials do I need?

Make sure to update your resume, and get ready to write some cover letters. For research related jobs, you should also prepare a C.V. (Curriculum Vitae). You can start with a template, but customize your resume/cover letter/C.V. for each job you apply to. Some jobs may ask for a college transcript.


Do I need references?

Many jobs require applicants to provide 2-3 references, including the name, affiliation, and phone or email. The references should be people who know you well in academics or at work/internship. Before you start to apply for jobs, contact professors you know or supervisors from your past job, and ask for permission to provide their name as your reference.


Who can help me with the process?

Internship and Career Center (ICC) at UC Davis is a very helpful resource in helping recent college graduates find a path to start their career.

  • Hire Me! Academy” is a two day workshop held by ICC targeting graduating seniors and recent alumni. The workshop will take place on Tuesday, June 18, 10 a.m – 3:30 p.m. and Wednesday, June 19, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. If you can’t attend the workshop, there are also other 50 minute workshops offered throughout the year.
  • As a recent alumni, you can schedule a 30-minute in-depth appointment with ICC career advisors to discuss about the following topics:
    • Career exploration
    • Detailed resume/CV and cover letter review
    • Evaluating internship/job offers
    • Internship/job search
    • Interview preparation and practice
    • Coaching on networking strategies
    • Salary and benefits negotiation


Congratulations on your college graduation! Finding a job might take some time, but there will be a perfect position waiting for you.


BASC Peer Advisor
4th Year Genetics and Genomics Major, Class of 2019
Linya Hu


Minoring/Double Majoring with CBS: Tips, Tricks, and Reasons to Do It

For this post, I thought I would cover a somewhat daunting topic that I am well-acquainted with – the minor/double major option. I hope to illuminate some of the many reasons people have for minoring, different perspectives on why it can be beneficial, and other tips on how to best plan for these when pursuing a major in the College of Biological Sciences.

Just for some personal context, I am currently pursuing a double major in Evolution, Ecology, and Biodiversity (EEB) and Spanish. While I initially only committed myself to a minor in Spanish, I was able to make a double major work with some finessing and willingness to take a few Summer courses. I was also able to skip a good amount of prerequisite coursework due to taking AP Spanish in High School — which was a fortunate happenstance that has helped make double majoring possible for me. While some majors with smaller unit requirements may be feasible to do alongside a CBS major, it does take a lot of planning and is made most possible with planning earlier in your undergraduate career and by closely coordinating with academic advisers. On the other hand, pursuing a minor does take some planning, but is much more feasible for most STEM majors as well as transfer students who may have too few quarters for making a double major happen. With this in mind, I will mostly be addressing the prospect of minoring, but please take note that with the right mindset, some early planning, and some gumption, double majoring may also be possible! These are just a few things to consider as we move forward.

So, let’s get started on the different motives and benefits of minoring…


1 – Making the Most of Your GEs — A well-known truth about CBS is that our college is somewhat deficient in Arts and Humanities (AH) and Social Science (SS) courses. Thus, the 32 units of AH and SS courses needed for the General Education requirement are generally not associated with your major course material. That is approximately 8 courses outside of your major that you can dedicate to a minor! A minor is generally a few courses of lower division prerequisite material and around 20-24 units (5-6 courses)

One of my favorite non-Spanish GE courses at Davis was an introduction to Film Studies. We studied the advent of moving pictures in the late 1800s up to the early years of the Golden Age of Hollywood cinema.

of upper division ‘depth’ coursework — making it wholly feasible to utilize for completing your GEs, which are already a necessary degree requirement. What better way to make the most of your GEs than to do a minor and earn yourself an additional credential? This is something I planned out with my Spanish adviser, as there are some specific or niche GE requirements that only specific Spanish courses would cover. Make sure to check in with your advisers to find out when certain courses are offered in order to best plan for this!


2 – Balancing Your Course Load — One of the biggest issues people run into while pursuing STEM degrees is the sheer amount of heavy science coursework they have to take at once. Being able to use minor courses as ‘buffers’ is a really helpful tool in preventing mental strain and maintaining your overall wellness. While partaking in

“Problems arise in that one has to find a balance between what people need from you and what you need for yourself.” – Jessye Norman

extracurriculars and making time for your hobbies is great in theory, it is often easy to put off these sorts of things due to academic and personal stress. In my own circumstance, I found that committing myself to Spanish helped to ensure this balance throughout my academic career. In the best possible way, it forced me to prioritize something aside from science that I greatly enjoy, which has substantially enhanced my college experience as a whole.


3 – Standing Out/Becoming More Multifaceted — When considering increasingly competitive work positions or graduate/health-related programs, it feels impossible to capture yourself on paper in a way that truly reflects your identity and individuality. Completing a unique minor is just one way to differentiate yourself. This is something that can help you both directly and indirectly. For instance, it can be both help with how you appear to someone reviewing physical applications and it can also be helpful as a

Another way to stand out in the professional world…

point of interest to connect with an interviewer or colleague. Aside from appearances, minors are especially helpful in broadening your horizons, expanding your comfort zone, or building upon your skill set to make you a more well-rounded candidate for any position. Whether you minor in something more practical, like Communications, or something of a more personal interest, like Art History, both can help build your professional versatility and extend the scope of your academic experience.

4 – An Increasing Professional Gray Area — Modern-day careers are no longer nearly as rigid and linear as they used to be. Not only are there more and more spliced careers being established within the gray area between different fields, but there are also increasing numbers of STEM majors pursuing careers outside of STEM, such as law, etc. Some minor programs might help prepare you for navigating the gray area between

“I translate science to the bureaucrats and politicians and translate the bureaucracy to the scientists.” – Nancy Kingsbury

different career paths as you work to found yourself professionally. However, you do not necessarily need a minor for this and there are also many meaningful extracurricular opportunities that might be equally helpful in working toward this goal.


5 – Studying Abroad — Arguably one of the most straightforward reasons for pursuing a minor is the possibility of studying abroad. While this is not a required part of most

copacabana rio
One of the Study Abroad 2018 Photo Contest candidates — Welcoming the New Year in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (by Ricardo Martinez)

minors, this can often be more easily incorporated into culturally or linguistically focused minors when compared to STEM majors. While there are some specific programs that help students complete STEM courses abroad or partake in health or research opportunities while abroad, these are not looked at as being nearly as ‘necessary,’ and so they are generally less promoted. For more information on these opportunities, I recommend dropping into the Study Abroad Center.


6 – (Last, but not least…) Uncertainty and Curiosity — It is completely normal and quite common for students to not have a concrete idea of what career they would like to pursue after they graduate. I think that, as students here, most of us have probably seen a friend or two have a change of heart about their studies or the future career they want for themselves. With this in mind, it is important to recognize that a person’s major does

two roads diverged
Exploring the paths before you…

not limit their career prospects upon graduation, as people often end up in careers largely unrelated to what they studied for their undergraduate. Will trade schools are geared toward training you for a specific line of work, an academic career at a university is meant to foster the exploration of ideas rather than limiting you to a narrow path. For those of us undertaking unit-dense majors in Biological Sciences, the space for exploration is a bit more limited, but if you make the most of your GEs and plan accordingly, minoring is not out of reach.


My advice on how to make a minor work for you will be highly unoriginal: make alternate plans, seek out advising, and be flexible. I personally love to make alternate academic plans to be able to see what my options are so that I can ensure that my future quarters will be well-balanced. In planning ahead, I have also been able to make space for research and extracurricular opportunities. I have been able to identify potential problems early on and avoid a lot of complications by reviewing my plans with both my EEB and Spanish advisers. Some issues I had were unavoidable and that’s where it was so important for me to be flexible and willing to take a summer session to keep things on track.

I hope that this post gives you some food for thought as you continue your academic journey and helps you to explore the options before you.




I Know I Want to be in CBS, but How Do I Choose A Major?

Tips for Bio Students: Highlights of Specific Majors


Welcome to the College of Biological Sciences, where we have no shortage of pre-health students and students interested in going into biological research fields! You have chosen to be a part of an enriching academic community, but now you have a big decision to make: What’s your major?


Picking a major is one of the most important outlets for setting your path for your time at UC Davis. Luckily for you, the College of Biological Sciences has 9 majors that span a whole array of academic and professional biology focuses. In addition, for the first couple of years, all of the majors in our College have the same pre-requisite courses, meaning you can dip your toe in the waters of all of the different possibilities before you commit to your upper-division course work.


All CBS students have to take the basic science series: BIS 2ABC, CHE 2ABC, PHY 7/9 ABC, CHE 8AB / CHE 118ABC (CHE 118 ABC or CHE 128/192 for BMB majors), MAT 17ABC/21AB, etc. All of that information is available on our website:


So once you get through those lower division/pre-req classes, how do you decide where to go from there? Ask around, talk to peer and academic advisors, and take a look at the for examples of upper division electives! But if you’re still stuck, let me give you some highlights for the different majors to hopefully help your decision!


Biochemistry and Molecular Biology: If Physics and Chemistry are your jam, then this major may be the one for you. In addition to taking the same lower division physics and chemistry classes as everyone else, you get to take Physical Chemistry and Molecular Biology. COOL, and it is a great avenue if you are interested in molecular or chemical research in the health or environmental sciences!


Biological Sciences: Get a taste of it all! Through the Biological Sciences major, you will have requirements to complete upper division coursework in a variety of different areas like a class in Plant Biology, Neurobiology/Behavior, a lab or two, a class in Microbio, Ecology, and Evolution!


Cell Biology: Focus on Molecular Bio courses in your upper-division classes and have the chance to take restricted electives in a combination of different emphases like Physical Chemistry, NPB, Plant Biology, Immunology (PMI), and more!


Microbiology: Keep the focus on Microbiology for your upper division classes and labs, but you will also have requirements to take a course in each of the following areas: Molecular Microbio, Virology, and Immunology. The restricted electives for this major are super open in that you’ll have 45 units to choose classes from upper division Micro or any other related fields after consulting with an advisor!


Genetics and Genomics: If you’re interested in the way genes interact to make us who we are, this is the major for you! Get an in depth look at the molecular development of chromosomes and their influence by taking related Microbiology courses, Evolution, and upper division Biology courses that have a focus on genetics.


Marine and Coastal Science: Get connected with Oceanography, Environmental Science, Evolution, Toxicology, and more at the core of your upper division requirements. Additionally, you have the opportunity to participate in one of the four emphases: Coastal Environmental Processes, Marine Ecology and Organismal Biology, Marine Environmental Chemistry, or Oceans & the Earth System.


Evolution, Ecology, and Biodiversity: Get into the core of how Biology works and where it came from. See how everything you learn about is connected in the environment, and also learn about the Biodiversity and conservation from the biological perspective! Take classes in Biodiversity and Advanced Evolution and Ecology, and even get the chance to intern or research with the Bodega Bay Marine Laboratory! Talk about hands-on field experience!


Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior: NPB is one of the most popular majors in the College of Biological Sciences, and I will tell you why! NPB offers three different tracks for restricted electives that tunnel the student’s main interests. Once you take the track series 110ABC, specialize in either Neurobiology, Physiology, or Organism-Environmental Interactions. Every track has plenty of class options to choose from so that every student can really get a deep understanding of their main interest area.


Plant Biology:    If plants are your vibe, and BIS 2C is just not enough, this is the major for you! Get into a close relationship with all things photosynthesis. Take classes in Ecology, Evolution and Diversity, Plant Genetics, and Plant Physiology, Development, and Molecular Biology. Additionally, there are lots of ways to get involved in research and clubs on campus so, calling all you Plant People!



So as you can see, all of the different majors in the College of Biological Sciences are special and in depth in their own ways, but one thing is the most important to remember when selecting your major: Selecting a major does not restrict opportunity! Every major has built-in room to explore; so take a breath, take the pre-requisites, talk to someone in BASC, and let the majors guide your exploration!



Sandra McAteer
BASC Peer Advisor
Third Year, Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior major

Five GE Classes I Took and Recommend

I started taking my General Education classes a little late, since in the first two years of college I was trying to finish the required STEM classes for the MCAT exam. Reflecting on those two years, I wish that I hadn’t followed my premed plans so carefully and took more non-science classes instead. Although I picked Genetics and Genomics as my major, I always knew that I have interests in arts and humanities. I was just too focused on my path to consider the option of getting a minor or double major, and while I realized at the end of my third year that I’d love to minor in Art History, I was unable to fit the classes in my schedule.

Anyways, taking GE classes is a great experience to continue your interest or to try something new. When students ask “What GE classes do you recommend?”, the answer is, there are SO MANY different classes that can fulfill the requirements, and it all depends on what sparks your interest. In this blog, I selected five UC Davis GE classes I enjoyed, and I would like to share with you my experiences. All five of them are lower division classes without prerequisites.

AHI 1C – Baroque to Modern Art


The Kiss, Gustav Klimt. (picture from Wikipedia)

GE requirements: WC, AH, VL
Units: 4 units
Instructor: Diana Strazdes
I took this class because of a friend’s recommendation. I didn’t have much knowledge about art history, but Professor Strazdes did such a great job teaching the material from the basics. In class, Professor Strazdes showed power point slides with art works from different times and told stories. In addition to introductions of the artist and the technique, the professor explained why specific styles were popular at a certain period due to social movements and political background. The two midterms and one final were in short answer format with vocabulary definition, work identification, and some comparisons. This class required some memorization, but it was fun, and making flashcards really helped. Also, many works introduced in class are actually exhibited at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Arts, and if you plan a trip to SF, you get to see them in person!
Similar Classes: AHI1A – Ancient Mediterranean Art, AHI1B – Medieval and Renaissance Art, AHI1D – Arts of Asia, AHI1E – Islamic Art and Architecture

CHI 10 – Intro Chicana/o Studies
GE requirements: DD, ACGH, OL, AH, SS, WE
Units: 4 units
Instructor: Lorena Marquez
CHI10, along with HIS17AB and other classes, satisfies the American History and Institutions Requirement. For students who completed the requirement by taking American History in high school, CHI10 is a good introductory class to learn about the history and culture of the Chicana/o group. Professor Marquez was very passionate about the topic, and I really appreciated that she took time in lectures to answer questions and explained every point clearly. We started from learning the ancient civilizations in Central and South America (Aztec, Mayan, etc.), the European colonization, Mexican Civil War, and we ended at WWII and recent Chicana/o movements. Other than the exams (short answer format) and a term project, there were plenty of extra credits option, such as watching a Chicana/o related movie. I watched a documentary film, the Zoot Soot Riot, and wrote a report for that.
Similar Class: CHI50 – Chicana and Chicano Culture

PHI 7Y – Philosophy Perspective on Sexuality
GE requirements: DD, AH
Units: 3 units
Instructor: Adam Sennet
PHI7Y was an online course with a discussion session held once a week for an hour. This course combined philosophy and sexual studies. Topics that were covered included pornography, sexual relationships, sexual consent, and more. We didn’t have to do much work for this class, and I personally think it was the easiest GE I took at UC Davis. The only homework was a two to three page term paper, and the exam and quiz questions were straightforward multiple choices. I enjoyed PHI7Y because unlike the STEM classes, there was no “right or wrong answers” as long as I can logically prove my standpoint. Besides, while the topics can stir up much debated, they are important and relevant to college students.
Similar Classes: PHI31 – Scientific Reasoning, ANT30 – Sexualities, HDE12 – Human Sexuality.

SOC 3 – Social Problems
GE requirements: DD, ACGH, SS
Units: 4 units
Instructor: Ryan Finnigan
SOC3 was one of the pre-health classes recommended by the HPA (Health Professional Advising) office. I took this class and General Psychology (PSC1) during my freshman year, thinking that they might be helpful for the MCAT psychology and sociology section. Professor Finnigan explained important social issues related to poverty, education, and immigration. One memorable discussion was about the Food Desert, a residential area where people with low income consume more fast food due to fresh food not being accessible. From a personal viewpoint, although SOC3 did not cover all topics on MCAT, the class gave me a good idea on current social issues in the United States. The readings of SOC3 were brief and informative. Moreover, Professor Finnigan was very open to discuss about essays ideas and course materials during office hours.
Similar Classes: SOC1 – Introduction to Sociology, SOC4 – Immigration and Opportunity

RST 68 – Hinduism

Diwali, the festival of lights, is one of the most popular festivals in Hinduism. (Picture from Wikipedia)

GE requirements: WC, AH, VL, WE
Units: 4 units
Instructor: Layne Little
The lectures were taught based on Hinduism traditions, epics and stories of various Hindu deities. In the first lecture, Professor Little talked about Ganesha, the male Hindu deity with an elephant head and a pet mouse, and stories of how Ganesha turned into his elephant-head form. RST68 was novel and fascinating, but it was at times difficult for me because I had never been exposed to the religion before. I almost dropped the class, but decided to change the class to P/NP because I wanted to learn more. Professor Little was absolutely the nicest person. He gave us doughnuts (enough doughnuts for everyone to get a second one) at exams, and he was very knowledgeable and enthusiastic. I recommend this class to students with Hinduism background or students interested in studying other religions/cultures.
Similar Classes: RST1 – Survey of Religion, RST30 – Religions of South Asia

These five classes are the ones that I personally enjoyed. The courses offered and the instructors can vary each quarter/year. If you want to learn more about choosing GE classes at UC Davis, check out this blog: Which GE’s Should I take?

Linya Hu
Fourth Year, Genetics and Genomics Major, Class of 2019
BASC Peer Advisor

Why UC Davis?

First and foremost, I would like to say congratulations on being accepted to UC Davis! I am sure you may have some anxiousness about the road ahead, but remember that you have earned these opportunities for yourself through hard work and dedication. In honor of Decision Day, I will share with you all my story of how I ended up at UC Davis.

In being asked to consider why I chose Davis, I had to really take myself back to my senior year of high school, which was a strange time all around. With college just on the horizon, I dealt with a lot of complex feelings about the path before me. Choosing where in the world you want to go to grow academically and develop yourself as a person is truly not an easy task and I vividly remember how this weighed on me. I remember feeling it was such an impossible decision to make, yet so many people take this step and move away for school. How is it normal to leave all that you have known for the first 18 years of your life, just like that? While it might sound a bit dramatic, these were my authentic feelings at the time.

Another aspect that made it such a difficult predicament is how I felt so many options were available to me. I worked especially hard in high school in order to receive better grades and thus better scholarship offers, as I did not want to limit myself due to finances. Additionally, as an L.A. native, I applied to mostly schools within California and a handful of out-of-state universities. In the end, I felt deeply split between two UCs: Santa Barbara and Davis.

The Varsity Theater at night in Downtown Davis

I know, this story might seem rather anticlimactic in hindsight, as we know where I ended up in the end, but at the time I was unbelievably torn. I had visited Davis in years prior when seeing a family friend who was an alumnus and employee of the university. I remember how quickly the town and the campus grew on me. The deep greens that Southern California largely lacks and the overall feel of the town resonated with me deeply. We went on a campus tour, saw a movie at the Varsity Theater downtown, and walked next door for some gelato and people watching. It’s a small yet crystal clear memory that was very impactful to me. However, I still had my doubts and the distance was also quite daunting, as Davis was 400 miles from my family, friends, and home.

Now on the other hand, there was UC Santa Barbara. UCSB seemed like a pretty perfect location — far enough from home where I could establish myself and have enough distance to do so, but close enough where I could take weekend trips home when needed. Also, I had received a great scholarship offer from them which, to a lot of people in my life, seemed like a telltale sign that I would commit to UCSB. This new feeling of expectation only worked to further complicate my feelings.

I remembered talking to my sister, who seemed like one of the only people who could see that Davis held a special place in my heart. I told her how one of the hardest parts of this decision was that I felt I could really build a place for myself at either school. I knew that I was quite adaptable, and I could envision these two different lives for myself. These talks with my sister gave way to a new perspective that explained why I felt so torn — this decision bottled down to whether I would be true to myself or go along with what was expected of me. This crossroad marked a pivotal moment that would affect me more than anyone in the long run, so why was I so concerned with other people’s feelings? I knew then that, if I were to choose UCSB, I would likely feel some sort of guilt for not listening to my gut.

While moving north and settling in took some time, Davis quickly began to seem like home. I remember feeling myself becoming part of Davis and starting to establish 

The Davis Arboretum in fall

friendships with people from all over the world. Every time I had a gap between classes during my first fall quarter, I would bike through downtown Davis and allow myself to get lost so that I could learn the layout, see what’s there, and eventually know Davis like the back of my hand. Even in difficult times, as I stressed about choosing a major for instance, I felt grounded and supported by the campus community.

For me, choosing to go to Davis came down to a matter of principle and heart, and it was one of the best decisions I ever made. As my own college experience comes to a close, I would like to offer a word of advice to all incoming students, from one human to another. As you take this leap into higher education, I hope that you remember to take chances, ask for help when needed, and always lead with your heart.


Why UC Davis?

Community.To me, that is the word that best encompasses my choice of coming to UC Davis. To be completely honest, when I was completing the UC applications, I selected Davis as an option before I even knew where Davis was! However, when I got my acceptance offer, I did lots of research and became extremely interested in its programs and recognized status and knew that I wanted to learn more about Davis.


When notifications came out with information on Decision UC Davis, I had narrowed my options down to two schools. My family and I decided that traveling from Southern California to Northern California would be a lovely little trip, so we RSVP’d our way into Decision Day 2016.


Apart from the realization that UC Davis was a giant university, Decision Day provided me with an overwhelming feeling of calm. It was a beautiful April day, there were constant tours with enthusiastic guides, tents for the different colleges, presentations, and a multitude of welcoming individuals that I am sure you are all anxious to meet!


Being able to have direct contact with my peers, administrators, and other current students, I was able to have so many important questions answered, and it just put me (and my mom) at ease. I learned about student housing, downtown Davis, campus traditions, as well as the different programs available to students in my major and college. By the end of all the tours, events, and visiting time, I was ready to sign the SIR!


The distance of the school to my hometown was perfect, everybody seemed so nice, and I knew that there would be an endless amount of resources available to help me succeed. I hope all you prospective students reading this feel the same way!



After three years of being in the College of Biological Sciences, I am so happy with my decision to come to Davis. I made so many friends Freshman year and learned so much about myself. I continue to be challenged every quarter but through campus organizations, faculty support, and different resources on campus like Biology Academic Success Center, I have felt at home here. I hope you all get to share the same experience at Davis and come visit Decision Day to see Davis in all its glory.


Sandra McAteer
BASC Peer Advisor
Third Year, Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior major



Peer Advising 101: Most Common Questions and How I Google Answers

Peer advisers receive a lot questions that could be answered if the many UC Davis websites were more easily navigable. Much of the peer adviser work comes in the form of knowing what to Google and how to navigate through UC Davis websites to find relevant information. Here are some of the most frequent reasons for visiting a peer adviser and what I will Google to help answer them.

Graduation check

In my experience, the most common reason for seeking BASC drop-in advising is for a graduation check. Graduation checks involve checking miscellaneous college and university requirements in addition to major and general education requirements. I usually find the above links with a Google search similar to this:

basc degree requirements

Seniors who are seeking a pre-graduation degree check will be referred to their major adviser due to the importance of such a check. However, peer advisers are happy to help students who have questions about their major requirements or GE progress. In the BASC office, we use a paper copy of the GE requirements as a visual reference for explaining the overlap rules and which requirements are satisfied by major courses. Degree requirement PDFs for each CBS major are available on their respective BASC website pages (Select Major > left sidebar > Major Requirements (B.S/A.B.)).

basc major requirements

Alternatively, you can find degree requirements on the general catalog.

I will also pull up the student’s OASIS and MyDegree.

mydegree google.PNG

MyDegree provides a visualization of one’s progress in GE and major requirements as per their OASIS record. Ignore the “degree progress” bar at the top of MyDegree and focus on what it says about the completion of each requirement. Always compare MyDegree alongside OASIS in case MyDegree omits a class. Mistakes sometimes arise through MyDegree, so use the resource with caution and clarify any possible mistakes with a major adviser.

Schedule planning

The second most common reason for seeing a peer adviser seems to be to plan upcoming schedules. I will still bring up OASIS and MyDegree to keep track of what courses they have taken already. Schedule Builder is an obvious resource for planning schedules and checking course offerings for the following quarter. For planning more than one quarter ahead, I google two additional things:


On the general catalog, I navigate to “Departments, Programs, & Degrees”. This brings up a full list of departments within the University. If planning the order to take upper division BIS courses, for example, select the Biological Sciences department and then navigate to the BIS courses tab in the upper right. This provides a full list of BIS courses, their descriptions, and prerequisites.

general catalog
The tabs next to BIS courses contain degree requirements for B.S. and A.B. in Biological Sciences.

My second google search:


The course search tool allows us to look back in time at what courses were offered during past quarters. This can help give an idea of when courses are offered in the future. For example, if CHE 8A has been offered every Fall and Spring for the last three years, but never in Winter, we have good reason to believe it will continued to be offered in Fall and Spring but not Winter. Another way to check when courses might be offered in the future is through the OASIS academic plan tool (Forms and Petitions > Submit A New Form > Academic Plan). If you select a course on a quarter it is not typically offered, the academic plan will warn you with a small red warning next to that course.


Is it too late to drop a course?

Another very common type of question I get is “how do I add, drop, P/NP a course? / is it too late to drop, add, P/NP a course?” To answer the second question, I generally google:

ucd calendar google

The UC Davis academic calendar outlines important deadlines each quarter, including last day to add classes, drop classes, opt for P/NP, and add/drop with a PTA/PTD.

The question of how depends on what action they are trying to take. If adding, dropping, swapping sections, or electing P/NP before the relevant deadline, simply use schedule builder. Click Edit next to Letter Grading to change to P/NP, and click Actions to Swap sections or drop.

svched build

Late adding a course is also done through schedule builder after receiving the PTA from the professor. Late dropping requires adviser approval, and the petition is initiated through OASIS.


Web searching may seem menial, but with these simple Google searches and knowing how to navigate the links I provide above, the majority of questions I get from other students seeking drop-in advising can be answered. The amount of information available spread across innumerable UCD websites can be daunting when trying to figure out (for example) “can I graduate?” Concise Google searches and knowing where first to look is how peer advisers answer those sort of questions for students every day.

Justin Waskowiak
BASC Peer Advisor
4th Year, Genetics and Genomics major