New Biological Sciences Major Vs. Old- Which should I do?

As of Fall 2015, the College of Biological Sciences released a new Biological Sciences (BIS) major that has caused some confusion among students. I want to clarify the differences between these two majors, specifically the B.S. degrees, and provide some suggestions to students who are deciding which requirements to follow. The main confusion among students is the fact that some students have to do the new BIS major requirements, while others have the choice of choosing between the two. Remember, you have catalog rights, which means if you started attending UC Davis any time Fall 2015 or later, you need to follow the new BIS major requirements. On the other hand, if you started attending UC Davis before fall 2015, your catalog rights allow you to decide between the two different majors, which can be a bit overwhelming. Below, I will discuss those differences and hopefully help you decide which major requirements to follow. Also, once you decide on which requirements to complete, I suggest sticking to those requirements as you cannot combine the two majors and make your own!

Pre-Fall 2015- “OLD” BIS Major

First, let’s go over the original BIS major. For students who started Fall 2015 or later, ignore this segment and jump to the new BIS major requirements! Like any major in the College of Biolobis-oldgical Sciences, students must complete the 5 major prerequisites series with the addition of STA 100: BIS 2ABC, CHE 2ABC, MAT 17ABC, CHE 118 ABC/CHE 8AB, and PHY 7ABC. This major accepts either BIS 101, 105, & 104 or BIS 101, 102, 103, & 104. The biggest difference between the two majors is the final portion of the requirements. BIS pre-Fall 2015 includes field requirements and an emphasis. To complete the field requirements, students take a class in each of the following areas: Evolution, Ecology, Microbiology, Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior, and Plant Biology. Students then choose an area of emphasis, which could include Evolution, Ecology, and Biodiversity, Plant Biology, Marine Biology, Microbiology, Molecular and Cellular Biology, or Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior. Each emphasis has its own unique set of requirements, but typically requires students to complete 13-17 units. The final requirement for this major is that the depth subject matter, which includes STA 100, needs to total to 49 units. This was a quick and easy summary of the degree check list, but feel free to stop by the Biology Academic Success Center or visit basc.ucdavis.edu if you have further questions.

Frequently Asked Questions:

  • Is the emphasis shown on my transcript or diploma?
    • Unfortunately, no. The emphasis is not shown on either a student’s transcript or diploma.
  • Do I need to complete the Field Requirement that matches the area of my emphasis? For example, if I emphasize in NPB, do I still need to do the NPB Field Requirement?
    • This is a common assumption; YES, a student must complete all field requirements and their emphasis.

Fall 2015-“NEW” BIS Major

new-bisHere is a link to the Major degree check list, so you can follow along or look at the picture provided!

As mentioned before, the biggest difference between the degree patterns is the depth subject matter because this major still includes all of the prerequisites as the old BIS major, as well as STA 100, BIS 101, 102 & 103 (or 105), and BIS 104. The new BIS major removes the field requirements and the emphases, but the same idea remains. Instead of listing multiple classes in each area, the new major removes some of the classes in each topic giving a more concrete list of classes to take. The new major also removes the areas of emphasis and terms the new requirement as “restricted electives.” A student must complete 11 units from the approved list found on the BASC website or in the University’s General Catalog. Among these requirements, a student must complete a minimum of 6 hours of lab. Lab work can be completed by taking a class with a six hours lab per week (ex: EXB 106/106L) or taking 2 classes with 3 hours of lab per week (ex: NPB 101L & MIC 103L). Also, this major allows a student to have up to 3 units of approved research electives to be used toward restricted electives. This new major reduces the redundancy and clutter by narrowing the choices for field requirements, but also increases the options for electives allowing students to create their own unique schedule.

For students who are deciding which major requirements to follow, here are some additional considerations:

  1. How far along are you on the old major vs. the new requirements? Would it be a smooth transition?
  2. Can the classes you have already completed for the old major be used to satisfy requirements for the new major?
  3. Are there classes you really want to take that won’t satisfy major requirements for one major but do for the other?

Overall, both majors were made with the idea of providing students with a broad biology education, while at the same time allowing students to choose classes based on their interests. Most of the information shared today can be found on the BASC website! Please stop by the Biology Academic Success Center for further questions!

Best,
Brenda Garibay
5th year, Biological Sciences Major, minor in Communication
BASC Peer Advisor

Making a Four-Year Plan

Pass 1 for Winter 2016 is coming up. Some of you may already have a beautiful schedule lined up and some of you may still be frantically searching for classes to take, feeling lost and anxious. Whichever individual you are at the moment, you should seriously consider making a rough four-year plan or revising one you already have. Creating a four-year plan can seem daunting, time consuming, and unnecessary; however, in the long run your academic life will be much easier with a pre-planned schedule. Think about all those pass times that you won’t have to stress over! For many of you, creating a four-year plan may mean making life defining decisions such as: Should I go to Medical School? Will I be taking a gap year before work? Do I want to change my major? Am I finally going to minor in Spanish like I said I would?  Our recommendation is: make a plan now and don’t be afraid to change it along the way! Here are some simple steps to get started.

 

  • FRUSTRATEDKIDTalk to An Adviser (Or Multiple) 

Not sure where to begin when planning your future? When in doubt, don’t hesitate to make an appointment with your major adviser or come by during drop-in hours  to see a peer adviser. Trained professionals are available to give you the know how’s and the what’s ups to making an academic plan.

What about Double Majoring?

Finishing a double major at UC Davis requires tactful and strategic arranging of classes and definitely, lots of planning. When making a plan be sure to visit the advisers of both majors you intend to finish.

Thinking About Minoring?

Finishing one minor or even multiple minors is a great way to broaden your academic experience. Most minors require roughly 20 units; it’s also important to check for prerequisites and other minute details. For more information, talk to an adviser for the college or department you plan on minoring in.

Planning on Going to Professional School?NorthHall-Large

For many of you, applying to college won’t be the last time you needed to write a personal statement; find teachers for letters of recommendations; take a standardized exam; and ensure you fulfill all the prerequisites for your future dream school. This is where a four-year plan can really help you reach your professional dreams and make sure you fulfill all prerequisites, GE’s, and university/major requirements before you graduate. Applying to professional school is indeed difficult, but thankfully there are trained advisers available to guide you through the application process. Visit UC Davis’ Pre-Graduate/Professional Advising in 111 South Hall or go to 1011 SLB to talk to a Pre-Health Professions Adviser \

  • Make a List of Prospective Classes  

So, you’ve already seen your major adviser and you’re on track to graduate–Great! The next thing to do is incorporate interesting and/or relevant classes into your four-year plan. Exploring the General Catalog is a great place to begin, as it contains all the major/minor requirements, a list of all the GE’s offered on campus. Tip: The letters and numerals you see here:  QL, SE, SL, VL.—I, II, III. (I, II, III.) These tell you what GE’s the class fulfills and also the quarter that class is offered. (I. means fall, II. means winter, and III. means spring)                                                               You can also narrow down your search using Schedule Builder’s Advanced Options. Extra Tip: Jot these classes down into a planner or into your computer so you can access them later.

 

  • Sit Down and Actually Make a Plan planning baby

So, you’ve more or less decided on a career and have compiled a list of interesting classes–you’re ready to start planning! Be sure to allocate a time block of a few hours to sit down infront of a computer and churn out a four-year plan. Many students like to use Excel but we also recommend using Oasis‘s Academic Plan form.    Such a form can be found under the Forms and Petitions Tab on Oasis. When plugging and chugging the classes you want to take, be sure to consider a few things…

Fulfill Prerequisites:

Most upper-division major requirements have prerequisite classes, and it is important to make sure you’ve filled in all your prerequisite courses before putting in your major classes. Not having the right prerequisites could result in being dropped from the class or being unprepared for the course, so be sure to take a look in the General Catalog or on Schedule Builder for specific details.

Consider SS1 or SS2: 

UC Davis offers a large majority of major classes during the summer, and students tend to perform better in classes taken during the summer time. Instead of spreading yourself thin with multiple classes, you can focus all your efforts on one class! If you want to get ahead of your schedule or take a load off of your normal academic quarter, definitely plan on taking a class or two in the summer. It’s important to plan ahead so that you can talk to the Financial Aid Office regarding your financial needs or make vacation plans with friends and family.

Make Time for Studying Abroad: abroad

Did you know students can take BIS 101 in Europe every summer? This is just one example of the many classes and places students can explore with the Study Abroad Program. Studying abroad is usually the experience of a lifetime, but there may be a lot of hoops to jump through before actually going abroad. That is why it is important to have a plan, so you have time to prepare documents and figure out living expenses.

Whether or not you’ve decided on a future career, it never hurts to make a four-year plan and then change it as life goes forward. Life happens and your plans may be uncertain; however, a four-year plan may elucidate certain fuzzy details about the future, and set you on the right track to success!

Happy Planning!

Melissa Li                                                                                                                         Class of 2016  Biological Sciences, Emphasis in Neurology, Physiology, and Behavior                                                Biology Academic Success–Peer Adviser

Nuts and Bolts: Winter Quarter

davis_signHello again everyone, I hope you’ve all enjoyed these unusually warm and sunny October days! Don’t let the summer weather fool you however, we are well underway here at UC Davis and believe it or not it is already time to look ahead to winter quarter. As you begin to plan out your winter quarter schedule, there are a few key things to keep in mind. Let’s break them down:


1.Pass-times:

As most of you know, pass times are the dates assigned to you indicating when you can register for your classes. Things can get a little tricky beyond this especially when you start to consider the different pass time intervals and the different number of registration units that each allows. The easiest way to keep this information in line is to make a list.

Winter Quarter Pass 1 Registration: Nov 2-Nov 13
17 units allowed
Pass 1 Open registration:
Weekdays 6:00 a.m.–midnight (PT)
Weekends 10:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m. (PT)

Winter Quarter Pass 2 Registration: Nov 23- Dec 5
19 units allowed
Pass 2 Open registration:
Weekdays 6:00 a.m.–midnight (PT)
Weekends 10:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m. (PT)

*open registration means that you can adjust your schedule during those times after your passtime

You can view your assigned pass times on Schedule Builder, right below the yellow search buttons. A key thing to note about Pass 1 is that you may not wait list a class during this time. You must wait until Pass 2 to wait list courses. AP units will no longer contribute to an earlier pass time in an effort to be fair to students who did not have access to AP courses in high school. This is effective October 26, when pass times are released. If you feel confused about anything I have written so far, you may visit the Office of the Registrar’s website to access all of the information listed above.

2. Units:

Unit count is an important thing to consider when registering for classes because it can affect your status as a student as well as your academic standing.

12 units= full time status (you qualify for financial aid and may live in the residence halls)
13 units= minimum progress (must average 13 units a quarter and have 39 units by the end of the year to be in good academic standing)

Remember that wait listed units do not count towards your full time status. Therefore, you must ensure that you are registered for 12 units by the start of the quarter to receive financial aid (if you qualify for it). You can do this by registering for a backup class that you can drop if you get into the wait listed class or keep if you do not get into it.

If you are a first year student and living in the residence halls I encourage you to attend the Residence Hall Advising Team (RHAT) program “Planning Your Winter Quarter Schedule” to learn more about both pass times and unit requirements. Please contact your RA if you wish to find out when RHAT will present on your floor.

3. Studying, Fun, and Wellness

While it is crucial to fully understand the information I mentioned above, it is also important to be self-aware when planning your winter quarter schedule…or any quarter schedule for that matter. What I mean is, take a moment to reflect on how you are doing so far. If you feel like 0014_arboretum_walkwayyou are totally in control here at UC Davis and your grades are where you want them to be, then feel free to continue at your pace. However, if you feel like you need more room to breathe and you want to work on improving your grades, it is perfectly okay to lighten your load. We have student peer advisers and staff advisers here at the Biology Academic Success Center (BASC) that can help you plan a schedule to best fit your needs and still meet university, college, and major requirements. I also recommend that you visit the Student Academic Success Center (SASC) if you would like to learn more about tutoring options BEFORE you even begin your next quarter; this way you can fit tutoring into your schedule!

Once you feel like you are on the right track with academics, start to think about how you physically feel so far. Are you exercising the right amount and eating a well balanced diet? Are you generally healthy or do you notice an increase in sick days? Make all the necessary adjustments in your daily routines to make sure that you are the best version of yourself as often as can be. Our previous blogs cover topics such as campus recreation, wellness, and campus activities, which you can browse through to learn more about things you can do to improve your lifestyle!

I hope you found this to be a helpful read and that you feel more prepared to make the right decisions for yourself come winter quarter. Drop by the BASC with any questions or leave a comment below. One last note: enjoy the rest of fall quarter! Don’t let all the talk about next quarter distract you from the present.

Take care,
Daiana Bucio
4th year Genetics & Genomics
BASC peer adviser

 

 

 

 

 

 

Career Spotlight: Anatomist

Do you enjoy studying the form and structure of animal bodies?  Are you interested in performing systematic observations and dissections of muscles, tissues, and organs? Where you fascinated with the make up of the human body when you took CHA 101/EXB 106? If so, a career as an Anatomist may be a great fit!

What is an Anatomist?

According to schoolsintheusa.com, an Anatomist is someone who specializes in the body structure of organisms, and has played an important role in the research and discovery of organisms and their function for centuries. A career as an Anatomist can be very rewarding, because it allows you to explore what is normally hidden from view and discover how structure relates to function. There are a variety of different systems Anatomists can specialize in depending on their interests. Some examples of these include the endocrine system, lymphatic system, cardiovascular system, and skeletal system.

Anatomists also specialize in different species other than the human body depending on their field of work. Because the structures of most mammalian bodies have many similarities, Anatomists will typically draw inferences from existing knowledge to discover new purposes for the existing structure of species and their organs.

The following is a list of typical tasks an Anatomist regularly performs:

  • Examine large organs and organ systems through dissection
  • Examine smaller structures such as tissues and cells using a microscope
  • Compare structures across different species
  • Utilize knowledge on the structural form of organisms to solve medical problems

What type of education do Anatomists have?

An Anatomist will typically have a Bachelor’s degree in Biology, Chemistry, or any related field to biological, physical, or behavioral science. A masters degree in Anatomy is required to then work in a laboratory or for a private company. Most Anatomists also go on to earn a Doctoral degree to get a research or teaching position at a university or medical school.

Where do Anatomists work?

There are many different areas Anatomists can work. Most Anatomists either teach or do research in universities or medical centers where they help train scientists or various health care workers such as physicians, nurses, dentists, and pharmacists. Others may be employed by private companies, governmental agencies, or scientific publishing firms. Anatomists therefore spend most of their time in laboratories or class rooms, and must be flexible with working alone or as part of a team.

Salary:

Salary depends on the education of the Anatomist, and according to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics the average pay is $75,160, and there is an expected 13% increase in employment.

Additional Resources:

There are various Graduate Programs in Anatomy across the country. You can explore these options to choose a program that best fits your interests and career goals. Here is a summary of the resources used in this blog to help you gather more information on becoming an Anatomist:

Hopefully this spotlight on becoming an Anatomist has peaked your interest or helped you identify some of your career goals. Good luck!

Zoe Lim
BASC Peer Adviser
Biological Sciences Major

 

The Many Advantages of Summer Sessions

Spring quarter is off in full swing and it is time to start looking ahead and thinking about summer plans. Many of you may be excited to get some rest and relaxation, or to just get out of Davis for an adventure. Although these all sound very enticing, remember that Summer Sessions is a great option. Whether you are looking to get ahead, catch up on units, or take a challenging major course, the advantages of enrolling in Summer Sessions are plentiful. To peak your interest in staying in Davis to take classes this summer, I will share my experience with Summer Sessions in the following paragraphs.

It was Spring quarter during my second year at Davis, and I had just taken Physics 7B. Physics proved to be challenging to me compared to other courses, so I began thinking about taking it as soon after Physics 7B as I could. After sitting down and mapping out my third and fourth year classes, I realized taking Physics would not only clear up my schedule but help me concentrate on other challenging courses that I was planning to take during fall quarter of my third year, like NPB 101 and BIS 101. My next decision was whether or not to take Session 1 or Session 2. I wanted to take Session 1 because I felt it would be good to take Physics 7C right after having taken 7B, with only a couple of weeks separating the two rather than a couple months. However I felt pretty drained from Spring quarter and I ultimately decided that Session 2 would be best because it would give my mind a break and I could come back ready to learn in the beginning of August.  I also realized that many of my friends from home that were going to semester schools would be going back to school around August too, so I would not feel like I was ending my summer early.

Summer session 2 was fast-paced to say the least. Although I was only taking Physics 7C and a GE course,  I had to constantly study in order to keep up with the work. However, I found it much easier to do so when I only had two classes to concentrate on because the material was constantly being reinforced. This, along with the fact that I was able to go to my professor’s office hours because I had a more open schedule, is why I was able to have a remarkably better learning outcome in Physics 7C than I had with Physics 7B when I took it during the regular quarter. I was also really happy to finish classes in 6 weeks rather than 10 weeks!


Although Summer Session at UC Davis may not be your first idea when it comes to making summer plans here is a short list of the advantages of taking Summer Sessions:

  • Improve your UC cumulative GPA
  • Work towards reaching minimum progress
  • Take prerequisite courses for graduate school
  • Clear up a packed schedule by taking some classes in the summer
  • Benefit from concentrating on less classes
  • Summer session is only six weeks
  • Have more time to explore the city of Davis!

When registering for Summer Session classes, be sure to keep a balanced schedule during each session. This means you should avoid taking two science classes together during one session due to the time constraints and rigor of of science courses.

There has been an important update to financial aid for Summer Session. It will now be awarded based on the earliest date that you are registered or wait-listed in at least 6 units total over the whole summer. For example, if you only wanted to enroll in one session, you would need a minimum of 6 units. But, if you wanted to take both sessions, you would need a minimum of 6 units total for both summer sessions. Also, be on the look out for Summer Sessions pass times coming out April 27th!

 

Have a great Summer Session and good luck!

Zoe Lim

Biological Sciences

BASC Peer Adviser

 

Career Spotlight: Lawyer

Do you enjoy negotiating with others, defending your opinions, and rationalizing through difficult situations? Are you quick on your feet and able to analyze situations with a critical eye? If so, a career in law may be a good fit for you. As a science major, pursuing a law degree may be off the beaten path, but it is a great opportunity to enter into a career where your degree in science is viewed as a unique asset.

According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, lawyers “advise and represent individuals, businesses, and government agencies on legal issues and disputes.”  Job opportunities for lawyers is expected to grow 10% from 2012 to 2020, which is about average for most occupations. A lawyer offers advice and counsels clients on legal rights and obligations, as well as aids in interpreting the law. Researching precedents (earlier interpretations of the law and the history of previous judicial decisions) makes up much of a lawyer’s work, because doing so is necessary in order to offer sound advice and make informed decisions. There are many types of law that one can specialize in. As written by the State Bar of California, these include:

  • Criminal Law
  • Family Law
  • Taxation Law
  • Estate Planning, Trust, and Probate Law
  • Environmental Law *
  • Patent Law *

 


 

Preparing for Law School

Most law schools require a Bachelor’s degree. As with medical schools, law schools accept students with a wide range of majors. Despite this fact, most pre-law students generally major in economics, political science, or history. A major in science can therefore be uniquely beneficial. Having a science background gives students an upper edge in that they have working knowledge of scientific processes and have been taught to think critically, which is a very important aspect of practicing law. Unlike other professional schools, most law schools do not have pre requisite requirements, but be sure to research specific law schools you are interested in to check on this.  You can read more about how to prepare for law school, as well as find help attaining internships to get experience, by visiting the Internship and Career Center (ICC).

Aside from a Bachelor’s degree, law schools require taking the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT). The LSAT consists of five 35 multiple choice questions and measures reading comprehension, analytical reasoning, and logical reasoning. Preparing for the LSAT is an essential part of preparing for law school, as law school admissions look at applicant’s GPA and LSAT scores as primary factors when admitting students.

After law school, students must pass a licensing exam, commonly known as “the bar,” in order to practice law.

Common Specializations in Law for Science Majors

There are a variety of common specialties of law that are applicable to students with a Bachelor’s degree in science. An example of one of these specialties is Patent Law.  Patent law involves working in areas of medical malpractice, medical or pharmaceutical patents, and intellectual property of medical or biological products. All of these specialties require a working knowledge of science and technology. According to educationportal.com, patent law is the most common specialty that students with a science background choose to pursue.  Patent lawyers specialize in an area of law protecting the rights of new inventions. Applying for a patent is a lengthy process that requires the expertise of a patent lawyer who is well equipped and trained to interpret the law, provide legal documentation, and critically analyze new biological products.

Another common specialization for students with a science background is Environmental Law. Environmental lawyers specialize in regulations, laws, and disputes relating to the environment. Environmental lawyers help increase awareness on climate change, alternative energy sources, and other sustainability issues. According to the Environmental Law Institute, the need for environmental legal expertise is expected to grow in the coming years due to an increase in legal legislation involving protecting the environment from greenhouse gases and global warming.

Both patent lawyers and environmental lawyers typically have a Bachelor’s degree in one of the following: chemistry, biology, physics, or electrical, civil, or biomechanical engineering.


Lawyers are some of the most educated and highly compensated professionals in the United States. The median annual pay rate for lawyers in 2014 was $130, 530. Considering a career in law may be a great option if you are passionate about the sciences and interested in legal rights and how they affect society.

Summary of Resources

U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics: A governmental agency that collects, processes and analyzes labor statistical data for the American public.

State Bar of California: This website offers information for both current and future lawyers on how to best practice law as well as advance their careers.

Law School Admissions Test: Here you will find all information on how to register and prepare for the LSAT. This website also  breaks down how to understand your LSAT score, and details the steps of applying to Law School.

Environmental Law Institute: The mission of this institute is to offer innovative law and policy solutions regarding how best to improve the environment.

 

Sincerely,

Zoe Lim
BASC Peer Adviser

 

Why Major In Genetics?

Genetics

Surely you’ve wondered what is responsible for your black hair, your brown eyes, or the ever so famous big feet that run in your family and you thought genes, right? These tiny things are what make you who you are. Without genes, well, you wouldn’t exist. Amazing isn’t it?

Genetics allows us to understand how characteristics are passed down by parents and inherited by offspring. How is it that offspring are so similar to their parents? What’s the probability of inheriting more phenotypic traits (physical characteristics) from the father than from the mother? How did this mutation arise and what went wrong? How have mutations helped in promoting evolution? Genetics helps answer questions such as these and more.

Genetic make up can be especially important when dealing with genetically related disorders, in which cases disorders can be detected and treated early. This reduces any risks of further complications, it can help to accommodate special needs if detected as early as a few weeks into pregnancy. For example, if Autism is detected in infancy, then treatment and therapy can begin as early as 18 months. Other genetic disorders include Trisomy 18 (Edward’s Syndrome), Cystic Fibrosis, Down Syndrome, and Sickle Cell Anemia. The disorders listed are just a few of the many that exist. Knowing the genetic components of each of these is highly beneficial in keeping the health of the individual affect by the disorder.

But the best part about Genetics is that it does not only apply to humans. Any living thing has some type of genetic make up ready to be studied. From Mendel’s pea plants to your pet at home. A major in genetics can be applied to anything that has genes.

Example of genes determining phenotype
Example of genes determining phenotype
Genetics and disease prevention/detection
Genetics and disease prevention/detection

A brief list of possible career options:

  • Teaching
  • Research
  • Biotechnology (Working with biotechnology companies)
  • Medicine
  • All the health sciences
  • Wildlife
  • Forensics
  • And more

The requirements for the Genetics major can be found on the UC Davis website under majors. Here’s a quick link: http://catalog.ucdavis.edu/programs/MCB/MCBreqt.html (Make sure to scroll down to “Genetics B.S. Major Requirements.”)

I encourage you to check out the major requirements and major description and try out a few classes as well. Who knows, you might fall in love with it!

Alejandra Villa
Second year, Biological Sciences
Biology Academic Success Center Peer Adviser