Differences Between The Two Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior Majors

n          p            b

Have you heard students saying they are part of the new Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior (NPB) major? Did you know there was a new NPB major? As of Fall 2016, the College of Biological Sciences introduced a new NPB major, which has significant differences from the old NPB major. Therefore, it is very important that a student knows which requirements they are to expected to follow because you cannot combine the requirements from both majors. Some students have the choice of choosing between the two majors while other students must complete requirements for the new major. A student that has been enrolled in UC Davis prior to Fall 2016 has the option of choosing which major they would like to pursue. However, a student that started UC Davis Fall 2016 or later must follow the new NPB requirements, unless they are a transfer student. If the student is a transfer student they have the option of choosing between the two majors if they started college prior to Fall 2016. This blog will further explain the differences between the two majors and provide suggestions to students who are deciding which requirements to follow.

Pre-Fall 2016- “Old” NPB Major

We will start with first going over the old NPB major. The first two years are exactly the same in both majors because students are taking their major prscreen-shot-2017-02-27-at-5-23-49-pmerequisites courses (BIS 2ABC, CHE 2ABC, MAT 17ABC/MAT 21AB, CHE 118 ABC/CHE 8AB, and PHY 7ABC). Other courses that both majors require are STA 100, BIS 101, and either BIS 102 and 103 or BIS 105. After these courses, these two majors have differences in the courses required. For the Pre-Fall 2016 major, a student would need to take BIS 104, NPB 100, 101, 102, NPB lab, and an evolution course (ANT 151, GEL 107, EVE 100). Then, the student has to take at least 12 units from the depth courses list. The depth courses list has many different classes, which allows students to explore and create a unique schedule that would best fit them.

Fall 2016-“NEW” NPB Major

As mentioned before, this major also requires the major prerequisites courses (BIS 2ABC, CHE 2ABC, MAT 17ABC/MAT 21AB, CHE 118 ABC/CHE 8AB, and PHY 7ABC) and STA 100, BIS 101, and either BIS 102 and 103 oscreen-shot-2017-02-27-at-5-24-17-pmr Bis 105. The main difference for this major is that it has a new series (NPB 110ABC) and you get to choose a track: Physio, Neuro, or Organism-Environmental Interactions (OEI).  This major no longer requires BIS 104 or an evolution course because curriculum from these courses are already included in NPB 110ABC with a focus on how it connects to behavior. Each track has its own set of requirements, such as taking a certain NPB lab and then having to take at least 12 units from the approved list of classes provided. Finally, you have to take at least 3 units from the “Extra Elective” column and that completes the major. This new major allows you to have a more in depth knowledge of either Physio, Neuro, or Organism-Environmental Interactions by taking classes that are more specific to that field, while also allowing you to create your own unique schedule because of the many courses you have to choose from.

Additional Considerations:

  1. How far along are you on the old vs. the new requirements? Would it be a smooth transition?
    • If you are a first or second year, the transition would be very smooth. However, if you are in your third or fourth year you should consider which classes you have already taken.
  2. Can the classes you have already completed for the old major be used to satisfy requirements for the new major?
    • For example, if you already took NPB 100, NPB 101, and BIS 104 it would be best to stick with the old major instead of re-taking the NPB 110 series and receiving limited units. Since the courses (NPB 100 & 101) are very similar to to NPB 110B & C, you will only receive 2 units per course instead of the 5 units.

Frequently Asked Questions:

  1. I’m a first year/second year student, and I could easily do either major. Which set of major requirements do you recommend? Which one is better?
    • Neither is better, and each has its own advantages. For example, the core classes (100, 101, 102) for the old major can be taken out of order, allowing for some more flexibility (NPB 110 ABC must be taken in order).
  2. Will NPB 110C satisfy requirements for health professions such as PT, RN, or PA school?
    • Yes, both NPB 101 and NPB 110C would satisfy the requirement because graduate schools that require a physiology course should accept any upper division physiology course intended for science majors.
  3. Can I mix and match the old and new major requirements?
    • No, and that is why it is very important to figure out which major you want to pursue and stick with it.

The new NPB Major was created because faculty members decided to update the major requirements because of science advantages. However, both majors provide students with a broad NPB education and a rewarding academic experience. If you have any other questions or still having a hard time choosing between the to majors, please do not hesitate to visit the BASC website or a peer/staff advisor at the Biology Academic Success Center!

Rufa Pazyuk
BASC Peer Advisor
Fourth Year, Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior and Religious Studies Double Major

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

Decision time!

Congratulations on making it this far! This is such an exciting time- you are getting to choose where you will spend the next four years of your life!

For me, the decision was actually very clear and deep down I knew I would end up choosing UC Davis, but I am such an indecisive person that it took a lot of going back and forth for me to actually commit to going to UC Davis, (I think I signed my Intent to Register on the very last day). I initially thought of UC Davis as “the school off I-80 that is on the way to Tahoe” but after my first visit I began to associate it as an exciting school with a gorgeous campus, big egg heads, and cute and fun downtown. I began to form this opinion of UC Davis during a school field trip in 7th grade on my first college tour. I have a clear picture of walking along the arboretum, sitting on the quad, and walking through the very exciting and busy Memorial Union on that sunny Spring day. I remember having a great time on the trip and really liking that atmosphere. I knew there were many wonderful things about UC Davis, mainly that it was a great science school, and so I began to start picturing myself as a UC Davis student.

When I found out I was accepted, I was very excited because I knew a few people who had gone to school at UC Davis and I always heard positive things from them. My parents had also told me great things about UC Davis, saying that it was one of the last “true college towns.” When they told me this I had no idea what that meant, but after spending four years living in Davis and getting to compare it to other schools, I now know that this is true. Taking a stroll in downtown Davis will allow you to experience the sense of community centered around the school and the excitement about events happening in both the school and the town. Most people that live in Davis seem to be affiliated with the University in some way and are always happy to speak to students and offer advice, which for me was a very positive factor because I really wanted to go to a school with a welcoming and hospitable environment.

I can empathize with many of you who are weighing different factors and trying to decide between your options. An important factor for deciding is thinking about yourself and the type of person you are, and trying to match which school will offer you the most opportunities to succeed both academically and socially. With this in mind, remember that UC Davis has SO MANY different resources and opportunities for a wide variety of students to get involved and feel included in academics and the campus community. Here is a brief list of these resources and opportunities:

Good luck and I hope you are all future Aggies!

Zoe Lim
Peer Adviser
Biology Academic Success Center
Biological Sciences, Class of 2015

 

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

 

The Cell Biology Major

On the macroscopic level, we encounter people, animals, and plants. There is a great amount of variation among organisms, but all living things can be simplified to a single fundamental unit: the cell.

As the basic functional unit of life, the cell continues to be one of the most important scientific discoveries to date. Knowledge of how the cell works has helped scientists work on a large range of biologically important discoveries, such as curing illnesses, tracing genetic ancestry, and transplanting organs. A comprehensive understanding of the cell is thus a good starting point for anyone wishing to conduct research, teach in the biological sciences, or gain a biology foundation for many other career paths.

Continue reading “The Cell Biology Major”