Undergraduate Minors

Campus during a foggy day

Special Emphasis in A Chosen Field of Study 

Students use microscopes in a science lab

The minor programs offered in the UC Davis College of Biological Sciences allow a student to specialize in a specific field of study to gain new skills, seek potential career paths, or simply pursue a new or long-standing personal interest. 

All minors offered with the College of Biological Sciences are offered as majors; thus, pursuing such minors can enhance and add to a student's skill-set and expertise. If you are interested in two or more areas of study, you should consider completing one or more minor programs outside of the College of Biological Sciences. Minor program requirements are listed in the UC Davis catalog under the department that offers them.

What's in a Minor?

A minor consists of 18 to 24 units in upper division courses specified by the department or program offering the minor. Courses used to satisfy the requirements of a minor, including those completed elsewhere, must be approved by an adviser in the sponsoring department or program. You are also expected to complete all courses that are a prerequisite to the upper division courses required for the minor. Students in the College of Biological Sciences may not complete a minor in the same field as their major. This includes any minor offered by the department or curriculum committee in charge of the student's major. All major and minor requirements must be completed within the 225 total unit limit.

To request certification of a minor, you must have a grade point average of 2.000 in all courses required for the minor. At most, one course used in satisfaction of your major may be applied to your minor. If you elect more than one minor, the minors may not have any courses in common. If you want to have completion of a minor certified on your transcript, you must submit a minor petition form (online at students.ucdavis.edu) no later than the deadline for filing for graduation. You can select only one minor in a subject area. Requirements for the minor must be met by the time of graduation.

College of Biological Sciences Undergraduate Minors

  • Biological Sciences -  This minor provides an opportunity for students in programs outside of the College of Biological Sciences to complement their studies with a concentration in biology. Students will experience the breadth of biology by taking courses in five core areas: molecular biology/ biochemistry, animal biology, plant biology, microbiology and ecology/evolution.
  • Evolution, Ecology and Biodiversity - Learn about the diversity of life on Earth, including diversity in genes, physiology, shapes, sizes, and behaviors. You will learn about how this diversity emerged, as plants, animals, and microbes became adapted to the environment and to each other. And you will learn to predict whether populations of interacting organisms will persist over time.
  • Exercise Biology - Learn how physical activity levels impact human form and function, from physiological, biomechanical and behavioral perspectives. The courses are designed to foster intellectual curiosity, problem-solving and critical thinking skills, in the context of understanding organismal animal (including human) biology.
  • Human Physiology - This minor exposes students to general and specialized courses related to human biology including courses such as exercise and aging in health and disease and exercise metabolism. Students who obtain a human physiology minor will be able to demonstrate knowledge of the physiological processes that allow animals to function in their environment. This minor provides a foundation for further training in health-related professions.
  • Neuroscience This minor allows non-NPB majors to learn about the importance of the nervous system.  The large breadth of neuroscience courses available includes molecular and cellular neurobiology, developmental neurobiology, neurobiology of addictive drugs and cell signaling in health and disease. Students who obtain a neuroscience minor will be able to demonstrate knowledge of the neurobiological processes in animals and humans.
  • Plant Biology This minor explores plants and their dynamic means of interacting with the environment. The Plant Biology minor has an 18-unit minimum requirement. Three areas of specialization are offered – (i) Anatomy and Morphology, Physiology and Development, (ii) Evolution and Ecology, and (iii) Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics – with a small, strategic course selection per area.  
  • Quantitative Biology and Bioinformatics This interdisciplinary minor introduces students to the quantitative and computational approaches that are redefining all disciplines of the biological sciences, from molecular and cell biology to genetics and physiology, ecology and evolutionary biology.  Students will learn research tools that apply mathematical and computational methods, increase their insight into the strengths and limitations of quantitative approaches, and develop the interdisciplinary perspective that is now the foundation of modern biological research and training. This minor is open to all UC Davis undergraduates regardless of major.

In addition to minors offered by the College of Biological Sciences, undergraduates may also select a minor from a variety of subject areas and disciplines across campus.

View a complete list of UC Davis undergraduate minors