Ecology and Evolutionary Biology / Undergraduate Study

Marine Biology BS

Capstone Major

The Marine Biology major is designed for students who wish to specialize in the area of marine sciences. Completion of this major provides students with both an excellent background in biology and specialization in various disciplines such as oceanography, subtidal and intertidal ecology, and physiology of marine organisms. Graduates are well prepared for postgraduate opportunities in the marine sciences, many other areas of biology, and medicine. The major provides valuable field experience with concomitant individual research opportunities in marine biology.

Learning Outcomes

The Marine Biology major has the following learning outcomes:

  • Demonstrated broad knowledge of fundamentals of ecology, behavior and evolution, or marine biology acquired through coursework
  • Development of skills in library research, data interpretation, synthesis, and scientific writing
  • Use of current primary scientific literature, including database searches, identification of appropriate sources, and reading and understanding papers
  • Understanding of key questions and hypotheses, interpretation of results and conclusions, and discrimination of quality through critique
  • Use of knowledge gained for conception and execution of student project that includes self-developed questions and hypotheses, design of appropriate theoretical or empirical/experimental approach, execution of that approach, and analysis and interpretation of data
  • Communication of original scientific work to colleagues and mentors through capstone scientific paper
  • Demonstrated communication skills through oral or poster presentation at a symposium
  • Display of strong teamwork and problem-solving skills

Preparation for the Major

Life Sciences Core Curriculum

Required: Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences 1 or Earth, Planetary, and Space Sciences 15; Chemistry and Biochemistry 14A, 14B, 14BL, 14C, and 14D, or 20A, 20B, 20L, 30A, 30AL, and 30B; Life Sciences 30A, 30B, and 40 or Statistics 13, or Mathematics 3A, 3B, 3C, and Life Sciences 40 or Statistics 13, or Mathematics 31A, 31B, 32A, and Life Sciences 40 or Statistics 13; Physics 1A, 1B, 1C, 4AL, and 4BL, or 5A, 5B, and 5C.

Students must also complete one of two life sciences sequences — either Life Sciences 1, 2, 3, 4, and 23L, or 7A, 7B, 7C, and 23L. They may not substitute courses in either sequence.

Each core curriculum course must be passed with a grade of C− or better, and all courses must be completed with an overall grade-point average of 2.0 or better. Students receiving a grade below C− in two core curriculum courses, either in separate courses or repetitions of the same course, are subject to dismissal from the major.

Transfer Students

Transfer applicants to the Marine Biology major with 90 or more units must complete the following introductory courses prior to admission to UCLA: one year of general biology with laboratory for majors, preferably equivalent to Life Sciences 1 and 2, or 7A, 7B, and 7C, one year of calculus, one year of general chemistry with laboratory for majors, and one semester of organic chemistry with laboratory. A second semester of organic chemistry or one year of calculus-based physics is strongly recommended but not required for admission.

Refer to the UCLA transfer admission guide for up-to-date information regarding transfer selection for admission.

The Major

Students must complete the following courses:

  1. Ecology and Evolutionary Biology 109 and 109L
  2. At least 4 laboratory units (one course) from Ecology and Evolutionary Biology 101, 105, 110, 112, 136, 170, or 181
  3. At least 4 marine organismic biology or physiology units (one course) from Ecology and Evolutionary Biology 101 (unless taken under item 2), 105 (unless taken under item 2), 107, 112, 128, 142, 170 (unless taken under item 2), C174, or Physiological Science 166. Students with credit for Ecology and Evolutionary Biology 170 cannot also take Physiological Science 166
  4. At least 4 ecology and behavior units (one course) from Anthropology 128P, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology 100, 116, C119A, C119B, 122, C126, 128, 129, M131 (or Geography M117), 133, 136, 137, 142, 151A, 152, 154, 155, 161, 162, 170, C172, or M178 (or Bioengineering CM186 or Computational and Systems Biology M186 or Computer Science CM186)
  5. At least 4 evolution units (one course) from Ecology and Evolutionary Biology 116, 120, 121, 130, 133, C135, 144, CM173 (or Earth, Planetary, and Space Sciences CM173), C174, 175, 185, 186, or Life Sciences 107 (students with credit for Life Sciences 4 cannot take Life Sciences 107). Students with credit for Ecology and Evolutionary Biology 120 cannot also take course 185
  6. One capstone field quarter consisting of 12 to 16 units from the Marine Biology Quarter (MBQ) or preapproved equivalent (see undergraduate adviser)
  7. One additional physical, chemical, or geological oceanography course from Atmospheric and Ocean Sciences 102, 103, 104, M105 (or Ecology and Evolutionary Biology M139), 130, Chemistry and Biochemistry 103, 153A, Earth, Planetary, and Space Sciences 100, 116, 119, C141, 153, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology M131 (or Geography M117), 153, 198B, 199, Geography 100, 101, M106 (or Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences M106), 123, 130, 169, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering 103, or 150A, Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology 172

Credit for 199 courses from other departments may not be applied.

With consent of the instructors and department, students may enroll in 200-level courses and apply them toward major requirements.

Each course applied toward requirements for preparation for the major and the major must be taken for a letter grade. Marine Biology majors must earn a C− or better in each course taken as preparation for the major, and at least a 2.0 (C) overall average in all courses applied toward the major. Courses applied to upper-division major requirements must have a minimum of 4 units. A six-unit course counts as one course on the requirements for the major.

As requisites for the Marine Biology Quarter, students must have a 3.0 overall grade-point average and have taken Statistics 13 or equivalent. Preference for the Marine Biology Quarter is given to Ecology, Behavior, and Evolution majors, and Marine Biology majors. Students must complete Ecology and Evolutionary Biology 109 and 109L prior to participating in the Marine Biology Quarter. Contact the Undergraduate Advising Office for all requirements for the Marine and Field Biology Quarters.