What are the basic skills required to pursue future studies in theoretical ecology?

What are the basic skills required to pursue future studies in theoretical ecology?

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I am a student and just about to choose a project for my Master's thesis in biology. I want to pursue studies in theoretical ecology in the future. Between field ecology and computational biology (as my two possible choices) what would be the best option to go for? Suggestions are needed as soon as possible .

Theoretical ecology

From wikipedia

Theoretical ecology is the scientific discipline devoted to the study of ecological systems using theoretical methods such as simple conceptual models, mathematical models, computational simulations, and advanced data analysis. Effective models improve understanding of the natural world by revealing how the dynamics of species populations are often based on fundamental biological conditions and processes. Further, the field aims to unify a diverse range of empirical observations by assuming that common, mechanistic processes generate observable phenomena across species and ecological environments. Based on biologically realistic assumptions, theoretical ecologists are able to uncover novel, non-intuitive insights about natural processes. Theoretical results are often verified by empirical and observational studies, revealing the power of theoretical methods in both predicting and understanding the noisy, diverse biological world.

The field is broad and includes foundations in applied mathematics, computer science, biology, statistical physics, genetics, chemistry, evolution, and conservation biology. Theoretical ecology aims to explain a diverse range of phenomena in the life sciences, such as population growth and dynamics, fisheries, competition, evolutionary theory, epidemiology, animal behavior and group dynamics, food webs, ecosystems, spatial ecology, and the effects of climate change.

Theoretical ecology has further benefited from the advent of fast computing power, allowing the analysis and visualization of large-scale computational simulations of ecological phenomena. Importantly, these modern tools provide quantitative predictions about the effects of human induced environmental change on a diverse variety of ecological phenomena, such as: species invasions, climate change, the effect of fishing and hunting on food network stability, and the global carbon cycle.

Computational Biology

from wikipedia

Computational biology involves the development and application of data-analytical and theoretical methods, mathematical modeling and computational simulation techniques to the study of biological, behavioral, and social systems.1 The field is broadly defined and includes foundations in computer science, applied mathematics, animation, statistics, biochemistry, chemistry, biophysics, molecular biology, genetics, genomics, ecology, evolution, anatomy, neuroscience, and visualization.2

Computational biology is different from biological computation, which is a subfield of computer science and computer engineering using bioengineering and biology to build computers, but is similar to bioinformatics, which is an interdisciplinary science using computers to store and process biological data.

Field Ecology

Ecology can be studied empirically through data analysis, through lab experiments or through field observations and experimentations. Field ecology refers to this last point that is, it refers to empirical ecology in the field.


Potential Misunderstanding

In your post, you seem to suggest that field ecology is a subfield of theoretical ecology. It is not! Either you work as a theoretician or as an empiricist (and then eventually as a field ecologist). Of course many people do both theory and empiric work.

Note that whether you are theoretical or an empiricist working in ecology, you will need to have a good understanding of the theory behind the science of ecology.

Computational biology vs theoretical ecology

In opposition to empirical ecology and field ecology, computational biology and theoretical ecology do not have a hierarchical relationship. If you work in theoretical ecology you can make analytical modelling or numerical (computer) modelling. If you work in computational biology you could analyze data in genetics, you could model cell processes, you could simulate interacting populations in ecology and many other things.

What should you chose?

What skills do you need?

  • Do you like data analysis (statistics and R and python coding)? You will have to analyze your data whatever you chose!

  • Do you like numerical simulations (lots of coding, incl. languages like C++)? If no, then maybe avoid computational ecology!

  • Do you like analytical modelling (lots of math)? If no, then maybe avoid making analytical models in ecology!

  • Do you like messy, complicated, tiring field work? if not, then maybe avoid working as a field ecologist.

What would you imagine to work on?

  • What question would you like an answer to? Think about it and try to understand how you would address the question you are trying to answer.

My advice

  • Do not be afraid of any field, any technics, any programming language, etc… You are good enough and have enough time to learn what you do not know.

  • Do whatever you like most!


The following is a list of majors available to Innovation Academy students. We may add to this list in the future as additional colleges and departments develop IA-compatible program plans. Each major has a sample program plan (in pdf format) showing the required courses and the order in which IA students should complete them. From time to time, majors may be discontinued and those will be marked with the availability of cohorts prior to the inactive date.

*All majors are subject to change.

Relevant Degrees

This major requires the completion of 48 units, which must include:

18 units from completion of the following course(s):

Code Title Units
BIOL1003 Biology 1: Evolution, Ecology and Genetics 6
BIOL1004 Biology 2: Molecular and Cell Biology 6
BIOL1009 Diversity of Life 6

6 units from completion of the following course(s):

Code Title Units
BIAN3014 Research Design and Analysis in Biological Anthropology 6
BIOL2202 Experimental Design and Analysis in Biology 6
BIOL2001 Introduction to Quantitative Biology 6
ENVS1003 Introduction to Environmental and Social Research 6
PSYC2009 Quantitative Methods in Psychology 6

12 units from completion of the following course(s):

Code Title Units
BIOL2114 Evolution 6
BIOL2115 Comparative Physiology 6
BIOL2131 Ecology 6
BIOL2151 Genetics 6
BIOL2203 Field Studies in Functional Ecology 6

6 units from completion of the following course(s):

Code Title Units
BIOL3125 Plants and Global Climate Change 6
BIOL3206 Evolution of Biodiversity 6

6 units from completion of the following course(s):

Code Title Units
BIOL3191 Biology, Society and Ethics 6
BIOL3201 Big Questions in Biology 6
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Explore 85-plus majors at UCI.

Learn about the diverse array of academic programs offered at UCI and start envisioning your future. Interdisciplinary study is highly encouraged across programs. For example, taking courses in the arts as you major in biological sciences.

Aerospace Engineering, B.S.

Offered by: The Henry Samueli School of Engineering

Aerospace engineers analyze, design, and manufacture aircraft and spacecraft, including the engines that propel these vehicles. To achieve these goals, aerospace engineers use mathematics, physics, and chemistry together with engineering science and technology.

The undergraduate curriculum includes the topics of aerodynamics, propulsion, controls and performance, light-weight structures, spacecraft dynamics, and advanced materials. Coursework emphasizes engineering fundamentals, their application to the aerospace field, and the professional skills required to build a successful career in engineering. Laboratory courses provide hands-on experience with wind-tunnel testing, advanced flow diagnostics, structural testing, and control-system design.

African American Studies, B.A.

Offered by: School of Humanities

The major and minor in African American Studies offer students an opportunity to study those societies and cultures established by the people of the African diaspora. The program’s curriculum encourages students to investigate the African American experience from a variety of disciplinary perspectives and theoretical approaches.

Among the topics explored in the course offerings are the process of colonization and the forced migration of African people, the positionality of African people in the racialized symbolic and social orders of the western hemisphere, the rhetoric produced by and about African people, and the cultural and aesthetic values associated with "blackness" and "Africanness."

Anthropology, B.A.

Offered by: School of Social Sciences

UCI's Anthropology major specializes in sociocultural anthropology, the subfield of anthropology devoted to the comparative and in-depth study of culture. Our faculty research such topics as new technologies and new kinds of science that shape, and are shaped by, culture music, art, and expressive culture gender and political transition globalization and modernity. Students are prepared for a wide variety of jobs in business, government and non-governmental organizations and have also gone on to the very top graduate and professional programs in the country.

Applied Physics, B.S.

Offered by: School of Physical Sciences

Applied Physics majors are expert problem-solvers with a broad understanding of physical principles. Graduates are prepared for careers in industrial research, applications programming, education, law, or business, as well as for graduate study in astronomy, biomedical physics, engineering, or physics.

The Applied Physics major allows students to combine physics courses with courses from overlapping disciplines, such as materials science, electrical engineering, geosciences, biomedical imaging, or other fields. The program includes a standard track for graduate study in Physics, a specialization in Astrophysics, and concentrations in Computational Physics, the Philosophy of Physics, and Physics Education.

Art, B.A.

Offered by: Claire Trevor School of the Arts

Art majors learn a broad, interdisciplinary view of contemporary art practice at UCI. With an emphasis on experimentation and innovation, the program is viewed as a leader in genres addressing cultural identity and emerging technologies. Students are provided with a solid theoretical and technical foundation from which to approach art making as both process and product.

Art majors are encouraged to develop an individual, disciplined direction approach to media, materials, and techniques. To this end, the curriculum provides studio experiences in drawing, painting, sculpture, photography, digital imaging, video, performance art, and new media.

Art History, B.A.

Offered by: School of Humanities

Art History is the study of works of art and other visual artifacts from all regions of the world and all periods of history. With its global perspective, the curriculum is one of the most diverse disciplines in the humanities.

Through Art History, students learn how to describe and interpret a range of objects including sculpture, painting, photography, architecture, and “new media” such as video and performance art. These skills, along with the program’s intense focus on writing and verbal expression, prepare students to think critically and to express themselves clearly at a time when visual communication is becoming ever more important.

Asian American Studies, B.A.

Offered by: School of Humanities

Asian American Studies majors examine the history, social organization, culture, literature, and art of Asian Americans as part of American multi-ethnic society. A context for understanding the cultures and histories of Asian American and Pacific American peoples, and their experiences in relation to their countries of origin is provided by the program.

The curriculum seeks to impart an analysis of the cultural, political, and economical organization of Asian American communities. Students are invited to participate and partake in broadening their understanding of multicultural perspectives within U.S. society.

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, B.S.

Offered by: School of Biological Sciences

Almost all areas of biological sciences are impacted by studies at the chemical and molecular level. Students who wish to begin in-depth study of the molecular basis in any of a variety of fields, including development, gene expression, immunology, pathogenesis, disease, virology, and evolution, can do so through this major.

Graduates will be prepared to pursue graduate degrees that emphasize basic scientific research, including Ph.D. and M.S. programs. In addition, and particularly with the explosive growth in biotechnology and its significant influence in everyday life, graduates could use their backgrounds very effectively to pursue careers in business, education, law, and public affairs.

Biological Sciences, B.S.

Offered by: School of Biological Sciences

The Biological Sciences major presents a unified, in-depth study of modern biology, with courses ranging from ecology and evolutionary biology to genetics, biochemistry and molecular biology.

Important laboratory techniques and methodology are presented in upper-division laboratories. Advanced elective courses provide an opportunity to continue to diversify students’ exposure to the biological sciences or to gain a much more in-depth study of a particular area of the biological sciences.

Graduates have entered fields such as medicine, genetic counseling, physical therapy, environmental management, and many others.

Biology/Education, B.S.

Offered by: School of Biological Sciences

The Biology/Education major allows a student to earn a B.S. degree in Biological Sciences concurrently with a California Preliminary Single Subject Teaching Credential. Individuals who hold this credential are authorized to teach biology and general science in a middle school or high school.

With careful, early planning, it is possible for students to complete their bachelor’s degree and teacher certification in four years. This is a more time-efficient and cost-effective route than the traditional five-year teacher preparation model, which usually involves a full academic year of teacher education courses and clinical teaching experience after completion of a bachelor’s degree.

Biomedical Engineering, B.S.

Offered by: The Henry Samueli School of Engineering

Biomedical engineers serve people, work with living systems, and apply advanced technology to the complex problems of medical care. They may be called upon to design instruments and devices to diagnose and treat disease, engineer tissues to repair wounds, develop cutting-edge genetic treatments, or create computer programs to understand how the human body works.

The curriculum emphasizes education in the fundamentals of engineering sciences that form the common basis of all engineering subspecialties. Elements of bio-engineering design are incorporated at every level in the curriculum through integration of laboratory experimentation, computer applications, and exposure to actual bio-engineering problems throughout the program.

Biomedical Engineering: Premedical, B.S.

Offered by: The Henry Samueli School of Engineering

This major prepares students for medical school, and is also suitable for those planning to enter graduate school in biomedical engineering, physiology, biology, neurosciences, among others. It has less engineering and more biological sciences content than the biomedical engineering major, and is one of many majors that can serve as preparation for further training in medical, veterinary, or allied health professions.

The curriculum covers a quantitative background in biomechanics, bioelectronics, and biotransport, which is important because of the heavy utilization of biomedical technology in modern medical practice. The curriculum includes courses in the sciences that satisfy the requirements of most medical schools.

Business Administration, B.A.

The Business Administration major offers a traditional curriculum found in one of the top business schools in the country. The major is broad, drawing on the social sciences to study organizations, interpersonal communication skills, individual and group behavior, leadership, strategy, financial and accounting issues, ethics, information technology, marketing, and more.

While preparing students for careers in management, the Merage School will help students fashion an undergraduate program tailored to their own unique career objectives. Management education blended with specific industry areas could include, for example, bioscience business, government service, international commerce, arts management, entrepreneurship in computer gaming, and other combinations.

Business Economics, B.A.

The Business Economics major is for students seeking a business orientation in their study of economics. It does not replicate the traditional undergraduate business school curriculum. Instead, it offers a more tightly focused curriculum that is guided by the rigorous logic and integrative perspective of economics.

In addition to required economics courses for the major, students also take business electives and select from among topics such as corporate finance, international trade and commercial policy, and business forecasting and management electives from among topics such as business decisions, behavioral economics, and economics of law.

Business Information Management, B.S.

Offered by: The Paul Merage Business School and the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences

Today's business environment needs professionals who understand business concepts and practices, and know how to use information technology for strategic business analysis and decision-making.

This Business Information Management major consists of an integrated curriculum covering computing (computer science, informatics, and software) business fundamentals (accounting, finance, marketing, strategy, and operations) and analytical methods (mathematics, statistics, economics, management science, and decision analysis).

Students graduate prepared to pursue careers in the for-profit and not-for-profit sectors, or they can proceed to graduate school in several disciplines, including information systems, computing, economics, business, and law.

Offered jointly by The Paul Merage School of Business and the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Science.

Chemical Engineering, B.S.

Offered by: The Henry Samueli School of Engineering

Chemical engineering adds chemistry as a full partner to the traditional engineering sciences of mathematics and physics. Chemical engineers typically concern themselves with the chemical processes that turn raw materials into valuable products. Students choose chemical engineering to gain the broadest scientific and technical skills to apply to chemical, biological, and environmental problems.

Chemical engineers have contributed to advances as wide-ranging as nuclear medicine, pharmaceuticals, plastics and other synthetic materials, pollution controls, electronic and cryogenic materials, consumer products, and improvements to food production.

The curriculum builds on basic courses in chemical engineering, and provides a strong background in humanities and human behavior.

Chemistry, B.S.

Offered by: School of Physical Sciences

Chemistry majors plan for careers in the chemical sciences and have interests in biology, medicine, earth sciences, secondary education, business, and law. The curriculum is designed to satisfy the diverse needs of these students and others who may have occasion to study chemistry.

The program emphasizes research and chemistry majors are urged to engage in research or independent study under the direction of a faculty member.

Chicano/Latino Studies, B.A.

Offered by: School of Social Sciences

Examine the historical and contemporary experiences of Americans of Latino origin or ancestry. This diverse population includes people who trace their heritage to Mexico, Puerto Rico, Cuba, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and other Latin American and Caribbean nations.

The curriculum provides an awareness, knowledge, and appreciation of the language, history, culture, literature, sociology, anthropology, politics, social ecology, health, medicine, and creative (art, dance, drama, film, music) accomplishments of Chicano/Latino communities.

Chinese Studies, B.A.

Offered by: School of Humanities

The major in Chinese Studies offers two emphases: Chinese Language and Literature, and Chinese Culture and Society. The Language and Literature emphasis enables students to understand the extensive and rich literary, historical, social, and aesthetic achievements of China by studying its language, literature, film, religion, and other cultural accomplishments in depth. The Culture and Society emphasis stresses a multidisciplinary examination of modern Chinese culture and society that includes the perspectives of both the humanities and the social sciences.

The major emphasizes the complementarity of these approaches in understanding the complexity of the forces that have shaped contemporary China.

Civil Engineering, B.S.

Offered by: The Henry Samueli School of Engineering

Civil engineering deals with civil infrastructure systems such as buildings, bridges, roads, transportation and water systems. Students choose civil engineering to be of immediate service to their community and to be involved in a more hands-on, social discipline.

Civil engineers plan, design, and supervise the construction of facilities such as high-rise buildings, airports, water-treatment centers, transportation networks, and sanitation plants. Civil engineers play a key role in environmental protection through the study of water resources, air pollution, and solid-waste disposal.

The goal of the Civil Engineering curriculum is to prepare graduates for a career in practice, research, or teaching.

Classics, B.A.

Offered by: School of Humanities

Classics majors learn the origins and heritage of Greco-Roman civilization. The program is committed to a twofold purpose: (1) disseminating interest in and knowledge of Classical Civilization through the teaching of Greek and Latin language and literature and (2) helping students, through courses in Classical literature, history, civilization, mythology, and religion taught through English translations, to appreciate the achievements of Greek and Roman culture and their pervasive influence on our own civilization.

In addition, students will examine the reception of key texts by later thinkers and writers. Authors include Homer, Vergil, Catullus, Livy, Euripides, Plato, and others.

Cognitive Sciences, B.S.

Offered by: School of Social Sciences

The B.S. in Cognitive Sciences is strongly grounded in theory and an empirical approach emphasizing experimental/computational methods. To ensure an intellectually coherent experience, students in the major are able to choose courses from areas including: (a) Cognitive Neuroscience (b) Experimental Psychology–Sensation, Perception, Attention, and Memory (c) Language Science and (d) Computational Cognitive Science. In addition, students are required to acquire a background in (a) calculus, (b) statistics, (c) introductory computer programming, and (d) some combination of the natural sciences, logic and philosophy of science, linguistics, or more advanced computer science or mathematics.

Comparative Literature, B.A.

Offered by: School of Humanities

Comparative literature is the study of the world through its literatures and cultures. From novel to poetry, drama to film, monuments to political protest, comics to audio, urban space to visual culture—comparative literature introduces students to global cultures in the widest sense, and to the theoretical lenses essential for putting them in perspective.

Comparative Literature majors interpret and engage with other academics and publics outside the academy through writing, speaking, visualizing, blogging, and social networking. Comparative Literature majors can choose among three emphases: Comparative Literature and Critical Theory, Cultural Studies, and World Literature.

Computer Engineering, B.S.

Offered by: The Henry Samueli School of Engineering

Computer engineers deal with all aspects of computer systems, including design, construction, and operation. Some computer engineers specialize in areas like digital systems, operating systems, computer networks, and software.

The computer engineering curriculum addresses the design and analysis of digital computers, including both software and hardware. Computer design includes topics such as computer architecture, VLSI circuits, design automation, system software, data structures and algorithms.

Courses include programming in high-level languages, use of software packages for analysis and design, design of system software, and the application of computers in solving engineering problems. Laboratories in both hardware and software experiences are integrated within the curriculum.

Computer Science, B.S.

Offered by: Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences

UCI’s Computer Science program is internationally recognized for its unique group of faculty and researchers, outstanding students, and cutting edge curriculum.

The Computer Science major emphasizes the principles of computing that underlie our modern world, and provides a strong foundational education to prepare students for the broad spectrum of careers in computing. Students receive a solid background in low-level architecture and systems, as well as training in middle-level infrastructure, algorithms, and mathematical foundations. From mathematical theories, data structures, and algorithms, to the operating systems and programs that employ them, an understanding of computer science is essential if you wish to develop the next advances in computer technology and applications.

Computer Science and Engineering, B.S.

Offered by: The Henry Samueli School of Engineering and the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences

The Computer Science and Engineering major provides a unique educational opportunity for students interested in learning about both the hardware and software aspects of computers, and the application of computers to real-world problems. CSE includes methods of organizing and manipulating information (computer science), as well as the design of computers and their components (computer engineering).

Students learn the computer science principles that are critical to the development of software, hardware, and networking of computer systems. From that background, engineering concepts and methods are added to give students exposure to circuit design, network design, and digital signal processing.

Offered jointly by The Henry Samueli School of Engineering and the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences.

Criminology, Law and Society, B.A.

Offered by: School of Social Ecology

Criminology, Law and Society majors learn why we have the laws we have, why the law often results in unintended consequences, who violates the law and why, and how communities respond to crime.

Explore the problem of crime and the social, cultural, political, and economic forces that interact with the law. Students learn how, why, and what behaviors society chooses to control or regulate.

This major provides excellent preparation for law school and careers in criminal justice and regulatory agencies, public policy organizations, social service organizations, law and legal services, and a wide variety of other areas.

Dance, B.A.

Offered by: Claire Trevor School of the Arts

UCI’s dance major is one of the largest and most comprehensive university dance programs in the United States. Students embrace dance in its many forms, including ballet, modern dance, jazz, tap, Spanish dance, and a changing selection of world dance forms.

Courses cover dance history, critical issues in dance, research methods, kinesiology, injury prevention and dance science, choreography, video technology, and more.

Students benefit from exposure to many styles and approaches and the result is a stimulating, well-rounded educational experience.

Data Science, B.S.

Offered by: Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences

If you enjoy working with data, understanding basic mathematical principles, and implementing your ideas in algorithms and software, then the Data Science major is for you. Data Science majors learn the principles underlying mathematical and statistical aspects of data analysis as well as a broad range of foundational skills in computing. The program will build on these ideas to teach you how to utilize your knowledge to analyze and solve a variety of data analysis problems.

Faculty are experts in machine learning, Bayesian statistics, database management, graph algorithms, and more. Students can participate in undergraduate research projects and summer internships in Southern California or Silicon Valley.

Developmental and Cell Biology, B.S.

Offered by: School of Biological Sciences

Students majoring in Developmental and Cell Biology are provided with intensive training in cutting-edge approaches to understanding the structure and function of cells and how they interact to produce a complex organism, starting with a fertilized egg. In-depth training in the molecular basis of cell and developmental biology will be coupled with integrating knowledge obtained from the recent explosive advances in genomic technology to provide a strong working understanding of how to approach problems in basic research.

Distinctive features of the major include new upper-division courses, flexibility in the curriculum, an option for mentored research, and close interaction with faculty advisors.

Drama, B.A.

Offered by: Claire Trevor School of the Arts

Drama began with the greatest literature ever written—Theatre—and the practice of Drama is a hands-on collaboration that involves real-time interactions with other artists, and displaying the results of your work to real-life audiences.

A drama major is part of a larger education that will include close consideration of world history and politics human psychology and desire music, dance, literature and art visual and aural aesthetics, and both ancient and contemporary technologies of communication.

While studying acting, directing, design, music theatre, playwriting, stage management, theatre production, and more, students also have hands-on involvement in various UCI productions.

Earth System Science, B.S.

Offered by: School of Physical Sciences

Gain a fundamental understanding of the oceanographic, atmospheric, and terrestrial sciences. Students learn to apply basic sciences (physics, chemistry, mathematics, and biology) to understand the major processes and systems governing the Earth’s climate, biogeochemical cycles, and global change.

Students will learn to explain the current and projected future state of the Earth system in the context of past climate change and current human activities. Opportunities to participate in research are also available. The B.S. program provides students with a solid scientific understanding of Earth system science, which can lead to careers in science, research, or technical fields.

East Asian Cultures, B.A.

Offered by: School of Humanities

Technological borderless-ness, combined with more permeable political frontiers, has created a space of mutual awareness and interaction in East Asia. This regionalism holds the promise of new avenues of study and employment for fields as diverse as developmental economics, international finance and relations, film production and distribution, biological and environmental engineering, literature, publishing, and education.

Majors gain knowledge of East Asian cultures through offerings on topics as diverse as environmental ideologies, translation, and post colonialism, to courses on film, popular culture, and both traditional and modern literature. Majors also acquire intermediate proficiency in at least one East Asian language.

Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, B.S.

Offered by: School of Biological Sciences

Modern biologists are increasingly incorporating ecological and evolutionary ideas in their research. The Ecology and Evolutionary Biology major is designed for students interested in the basic principles underlying organismal change over time, and how organisms interact with each other and their environment. The major is very broad, including components of evolutionary biology, ecology, and physiology.

Following graduation, students will be especially well-prepared to enter graduate programs in either ecology or evolution for advanced study. The major also provides the foundation to pursue careers in governmental and non-governmental environmental organizations, as well as professional schools.

Economics, B.A.

Offered by: School of Social Sciences

This major is designed for students seeking a broad education applicable to occupations in business, law, and government or as preparation for graduate school in the social sciences. Among the course topics Economics majors will study are basic and intermediate economics, probability and statistics in economics, single-variable calculus, mathematics for economists, and applied econometrics.

Education Sciences, B.A.

Offered by: School of Education

The major in Education Sciences provides a foundation for the study of education. Graduates are prepared for careers in the global knowledge economy, with opportunities to apply learning modalities and technologies in multicultural contexts. Career opportunities for graduates can span public education, informatics, higher education, and education software development.

Electrical Engineering, B.S.

Offered by: The Henry Samueli School of Engineering

Electrical engineering is a broad field encompassing such diverse subject areas as computers, controls, electronics, digital systems, communications, signal processing, electromagnetics, and physics of electronic devices. Electrical engineers focus on the behavior of electronic devices and circuits that are the basic building blocks of complex electronic systems: the generation, transmission, and utilization of electrical energy behavior of complex electronic systems, such as computers, automatic controls, telecommunications, and signal processing and the applications of these complex systems to other areas, including medicine, biology, geology, and ecology.

Engineering, B.S.

Offered by: The Henry Samueli School of Engineering

The general engineering major allows upper-division students the opportunity to pursue multidisciplinary programs of study not offered within UCI’s engineering departments.

The general engineering program creates a flexible environment for high-achieving students to study complex engineering disciplines such as biochemical engineering, electromechanical engineering, project management, hydrology, engineering mathematics, engineering mechanics, and engineering physics. In consultation with a faculty advisor, students may choose any area of special interest.

English, B.A.

Offered by: School of Humanities

UCI’s English program offers an extraordinary range of approaches to the literary text. You might explore the impact of Hollywood on storytelling in one class and examine the formal conventions of Elizabethan love sonnets in another. You might explore the ways Jane Austen subtly probes the boundaries of gender roles in early 19th-century England or you might analyze the intersection of race and sexuality in the poetry of Langston Hughes.

English majors learn to conduct research, produce effective professional writing, and interpret written works with the tools of rhetorical and culture analysis. Faculty include literary theorists and historians, rhetoricians, fiction writers, and poets.

Environmental Engineering, B.S.

Offered by: The Henry Samueli School of Engineering

Environmental engineers design and integrate technologies that minimize the deterioration of natural resources and promote urban sanitation. Advances in water-treatment processes, such as disinfection and filtration, have virtually eliminated once wide-spread diseases, including cholera, typhoid, and dysentery.

Today, the challenges facing environmental engineers are even more complex. Physical, chemical, and microbiological approaches are needed to remediate contaminated soils and aquifers. Alternative materials and processing methods must be found to replace the use and release of hazardous chemicals. More effective pollution-control technologies are required for urban waste-water and combustion emissions.

Environmental Science and Policy, B.A.

Environmental Science and Policy majors will learn environmental problem solving by linking an understanding of natural science with socioeconomic factors and public policy. The curriculum combines a quantitative understanding of environmental science, chemistry, and biology with law, policy, and economics to provide a foundation for careers in environmental policy, resource management, education, environmental law, urban and environmental design and related fields.

Environmental Science and Policy majors will have a solid foundation to recognize the impacts of human activities on the environment and in turn the impacts of environmental change on society. Students will understand the mechanisms by which key institutions, policies, and regulations impact ecosystems and the physical environment.

European Studies, B.A.

Offered by: School of Humanities

The European Studies program focuses on the study of Europe from the vantage points of several disciplines in the humanities and social sciences. Because Europe is both a geographical place and an idea that changes throughout history, it has had different meanings at different times and in different places.

The program provides a multidisciplinary view of Europe as a whole and of its historical, political, and cultural formation and global implications and encounters with the non-European world. It also provides a focus on a specific area of European experience that cuts across traditional disciplinary and national boundaries.

Exercise Sciences, B.S.

Offered by: School of Biological Sciences

Virtually every organism is dependent on movement in one form or another. With respect to humans, physical activity imposes unique stresses on a broad spectrum of cell types, tissues, and organ systems. In so doing, physical activity plays a key role in shaping fundamental biological processes necessary for maintaining health and preventing disease.

While both human and nonhuman species exhibit many common biological phenomenon, there are also many unique aspects of their physiology. This major will also highlight some of the unique physiological traits of nonhuman species and how such unique phenomenon may provide important insights into human health.

Film and Media Studies, B.A.

Offered by: School of Humanities

Media greatly influence our sense of who we are and how we live. Those sights and sounds are so pervasive that we rarely pause to consider how we engage and interact with them.

The Film and Media Studies curriculum trains students to read and understand the audio-visual expressions and forms of media, and to analyze them from historical, theoretical, political, and aesthetic perspectives. The skills learned are relevant not only in the influential U.S. film and broadcast industries or in the fast-growing Internet and game sectors, but also increasingly as the professional language of the future in legal, medical, and business careers.

French, B.A.

Offered by: School of Humanities

The undergraduate program in French is multidisciplinary, where the study of literature is linked to critical, historical, and political concerns. Courses reflect the faculty's interest in the related disciplines of history, philosophy, anthropology, visual studies, gender and sexuality studies, cultural studies, postcolonial studies, and comparative literature.

Lower-division language courses encourage students to participate in the creative process of language, to think in French as they learn to understand, speak, read, and write. These courses are taught entirely in French, and the approach to teaching stresses the interdependence of the four basic language skills and makes them mutually reinforcing.

Game Design and Interactive Media, B.S.

Offered by: Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences

The Game Design and Interactive Media major combines computer science with a focus on designing, building, and understanding computer games and other forms of interactive media. Students receive a firm foundation in the fundamentals of information and computer science, augmented with courses in film and media studies, mathematics, physics, and game technology.

Throughout the major, students gain hands-on experience in creating a variety of digital games. Working in teams, you will employ a variety of different programming languages, game platforms and hardware. This culminates in a two-quarter capstone course where you will design and implement a new game from scratch under the supervision of game designers from the local industry.

Gender and Sexuality Studies, B.A.

Offered by: School of Humanities

The Gender and Sexuality Studies major is dedicated to the study of women, gender, and sexuality in their complex articulation with race, ethnicity, class, religion, and nationality. By emphasizing a rigorous interdisciplinary perspective in their teaching and research, faculty seek to produce new knowledge about the social meanings of gender, race, class, and sexuality, and to equip students with a range of analytical and methodological skills.

Gender and Sexuality Studies provides a unique intellectual community for students, where faculty and students share a commitment to interactive teaching and learning.

Genetics, B.S.

Offered by: School of Biological Sciences

Genetics pervades every aspect of modern society, from discussions on health care to cloning. With the sequencing of the human genome, it is more important than ever for biology students to have a broad background in the study of heredity and evolution.

The Genetics major is designed to benefit undergraduates who have a particular interest in learning about developmental genetics, evolutionary genetics, and molecular genetics and to allow them to explore how our knowledge of genetic mechanisms contributes to our understanding of human development and disease. The major will be especially attractive to students desiring focused study and preparation for graduate training.

German Studies, B.A.

Offered by: School of Humanities

The German Studies major emphasizes the humanistic endeavor of understanding and evaluating culture. Courses are focused on language, literature, and film in context, that is, within the historical, social, philosophical, linguistic, intellectual, and political circumstances of their production and continuing reception.

In the lower-division language courses, students develop skills in speaking, listening, reading, and writing through an engaging, collaborative, task-based curriculum. The courses place a great deal of emphasis on meaningful cultural literacy in German, employing a diverse range of authentic texts and materials from the beginning.

Global Cultures, B.A.

Offered by: School of Humanities

Global Cultures majors explore the problems and processes of globalization from a humanistic perspective. The major provides students with analytical skills and knowledge critical to understanding the complexities of the diverse world in which we live.

Tailored to individual needs and interests, students choose from several approved geographic emphases (e.g., Africa, Asia, Europe, Atlantic Rim, Pacific Rim, Inter-Area Studies, and Hispanic/U.S. Latino/Luso-Brazilian Culture), or they may define their own emphases. The degree leads to a variety of careers in areas such as business, law, politics, television, print media, and also to graduate studies.

Global Middle East Studies, B.A.

Offered by: School of Humanities

The Global Middle East Studies major offers students an in-depth, interdisciplinary grounding in the histories and present-day realities of the Middle East in a global context. Students will be well positioned to continue their studies at the graduate level in the U.S. and globally, and/or begin a career in law, business, consulting, foreign affairs, humanitarian affairs, medicine, science, or security studies, in which both theoretical and practical/first-hand knowledge of the regions we study are equally important.

History, B.A.

Offered by: School of Humanities

History majors can build a Chinese empire, march with Roman legions, mingle with the Aztecs and Maya, have a rebirth (Renaissance), explore the events leading up to two world wars, or colonize North America and then revolt. They can also trace the interactions and origins of the globalism that daily shape our world.

The program presents a variety of approaches to history, and each emphasizes basic disciplinary skills: weighing evidence, constructing logical arguments, and exploring the role of theory in historical analysis and human action. Faculty are united by a deep curiosity and a desire to try out new ways of thinking.

Human Biology, B.S.

Offered by: School of Biological Sciences

Understanding normal and disordered human functions requires a broad integration of human physiology, behavior, and culture. Students in this major will receive a unified, in-depth study of modern biology that includes ecology, evolutionary biology, genetics, biochemistry, molecular biology, cell biology, human physiology, neurobiology, and behavior.

Advanced elective courses provide an opportunity to diversify exposure to the biological sciences. Additional courses in the humanities and social sciences focus on the relevance of these areas to the human condition. Given the focus on human biology, this major will serve as an ideal preparation for the health science professions.

Informatics, B.S.

Offered by: Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences

Want to learn how to design better user interfaces? Wondering how evolving privacy laws affect the design of software worldwide? Care about helping people in need with smart apps? Interested in learning how information technology can support organizations?

Informatics majors receive a firm grounding in software engineering and design, human-computer interaction, computer-supported collaborative work, information visualization, and the impact of information technology on organizations and society. Students with an affinity for design and an interest in learning how to design effective and usable software systems are encouraged to explore this major.

International Studies, B.A.

Offered by: School of Social Sciences

International Studies has a strong track record of placing graduates in exciting careers and graduate programs, including fields such as international affairs and public policy, international business and finance, international organizations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and academic research and teaching.

Students majoring in international studies obtain an interdisciplinary perspective on global politics, economics, cultures and history. In addition to their coursework, International Studies students are encouraged to engage globally in a variety of ways: involvement in student organizations, residency in the International Peace and Conflict Studies (IPACS) House, study abroad, UCDC, and internships (local and international).

Japanese Language and Literature, B.A.

Offered by: School of Humanities

Japan is a land with a long and distinguished history and culture. Over the years it has actively welcomed the cultural heritage of Chinese, Korean, European, and American institutions. These have shaped Japan’s distinctive achievements in the arts, sciences, and culture.

The Japanese major makes use of this rich legacy, still in the making, spanning ancient Japanese literary and visual culture to contemporary popular culture (manga, anime, postmodern art, literature, and aesthetics). The curriculum enables students to understand the extensive and rich literary, historical, social, and aesthetic achievements of Japan by studying its language, literature, film, religion, and other cultural accomplishments in depth.

Korean Literature and Culture, B.A.

Offered by: School of Humanities

The rich cultural traditions of Korea have been developed as a result of interactions with two neighboring countries: China and Japan. The curriculum for Korean Literature and Culture enables students to understand the extensive and rich literary, historical, social, and aesthetic achievements of Korea by studying its language, literature, film, religion, and other cultural accomplishments in depth. Korean majors will achieve proficient understanding of Korean in professional and social environments. Majors have successfully gone on to pursue careers in academia, business, law, and public service.

Language Science, B.A.

Offered by: School of Social Sciences

Language Science major will learn theoretical, behavioral, computational, and applied approaches to language science. Students will have a background in theoretical linguistics, language development & use, advanced aspects of natural or formal languages, the analytical tools of formal language study, and some combination of neuroscience, psychology, logic, computer science, anthropology, education, and hearing & speech, as related to the scientific study of language and its applications.

This is attractive for a variety of careers, including teaching, language technology industry positions, teaching English as a second language abroad, interpreting & translation, technical writing, language consulting for legal firms and medical practices, and advertising, among others.

Literary Journalism, B.A.

Offered by: School of Humanities

Materials Science and Engineering, B.S.

Offered by: The Henry Samueli School of Engineering

Materials play a crucial role in the growth, prosperity, security, and quality of human life. The major in Materials Science and Engineering is designed to provide education and training areas related to the impact of materials on the environment and biotechnology. Its distinctive features include a multi- and interdisciplinary curriculum that develops students’ communication and computer skills, and draws from the physical sciences as well as other engineering disciplines such as chemical, civil and mechanical engineering. Students gain a fundamental understanding of structures, properties, processing, and performance, with an emphasis on engineering aspects of materials and the selection of materials to meet design goals.

Mathematics, B.S.

Offered by: School of Physical Sciences

Mathematics majors acquire an understanding of the fundamental mathematical tools that apply to the wide array of statistical, business, economic, financial, engineering, biological, and physical and natural sciences.

The program covers the theories and applications of calculus, linear and abstract algebra, analysis and differential equations, numerical methods, probability and statistics, number theory and logic, and geometry and topology. This knowledge is paramount to the study of many disciplines, making the study of mathematics a truly interdisciplinary one. Students can choose from many electives to concentrate or specialize in statistics, economics, applied and computational math, or education during their junior and senior years.

Mechanical Engineering, B.S.

Offered by: The Henry Samueli School of Engineering

Mechanical engineers design, manufacture, and control machines ranging from robots to aircraft and spacecraft. They also design engines and power plants that drive these machines, analyze the environmental impact associated with power generation, and strive to promote environmental quality. To achieve their goals, mechanical engineers use mathematics, physics, and chemistry together with engineering science and technology in areas such as fluid mechanics, heat transfer, dynamics, controls, and atmospheric science.

Mechanical Engineering students at UCI learn the problem-solving, modeling, and testing skills required to contribute to advances in modern technology.

Microbiology and Immunology, B.S.

Offered by: School of Biological Sciences

Microbiology addresses the biology of bacteria, viruses, and unicellular eukaryotes such as fungi and protozoa. Immunology encompasses efforts to understand how multicellular organisms have evolved to survive a variety of challenges to health and survival, including threats by pathogens and cancer cells.

With the growing threat of emerging diseases and the potential for viral-based biological weapons, the study of virology was recently intensified and gained new perspectives. Students have the opportunity to specialize within the major in one of three areas: microbiology, immunology, or virology. The curricula overlap considerably, but there are unique courses for each specialty.

Music, B.A.

Offered by: Claire Trevor School of the Arts

Music is unique among the arts and humanities in terms of the wide range of transferable skills developed in the undergraduate curriculum that tend to be widely admired by employers in many fields. Music majors at UCI learn how to think, write, present themselves in public, and work collaboratively in different kinds of teams. With a degree in Music, students will find that many career paths lie before them.

Music majors study music history, music theory, composition, or performance within a curriculum that is flexible enough to allow a second major, study abroad, and other curricular options.

Neurobiology, B.S.

Offered by: School of Biological Sciences

The Neurobiology major is designed to teach students how neurobiologists apply cellular, molecular, systems, and behavioral analyses in understanding how the nervous system works. The hallmark of the major is a year-long, in-depth exploration of the intellectual tools used to create, advance, and disseminate knowledge about the nervous system.

Graduates will be well qualified for graduate or professional schools in preparation for careers in biological research, medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, nursing, and other related fields. Even without additional education, they will be competitive for positions in the pharmaceutical industry, the health care delivery industry, or in medically or biologically related technologies.

Nursing Science, B.S.

Offered by: Sue & Bill Gross School of Nursing

Nursing Science prepares students to function as generalists in professional nursing practice and to collaborate with other health care providers in clinics, hospitals, and community health settings. Nurse professionals work with people of all ages, cultural backgrounds, and lifestyles. The undergraduate curriculum is designed to provide theory and research-based clinical experiences that integrate critical thinking, compassion, and caring behaviors that build clinical expertise. Nursing Science graduates are eligible to take the licensure examination to become a registered nurse. The Nursing Science major is approved by the Board of Registered Nursing and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).

Pharmaceutical Sciences, B.S.

Offered by: School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences

UCI’s Pharmaceutical Sciences B.S. is the only program of its kind in the UC system. This unique program trains students in a multidisciplinary approach so that they can contribute to the advancement of new pharmaceutical technologies such as accelerated chemical synthesis, molecular-based assays using cloned enzymes and cloned metabolizing enzymes, combinatorial chemistry, in-vitro biopharmaceutical techniques, and gene therapies.

Pharmaceutical scientists are rapidly changing the field of drug discovery and development. Program graduates are well qualified to seek employment in the public and private sectors, or to pursue graduate degrees such as a Ph.D., M.D., or Pharm.D.

Philosophy, B.A.

Offered by: School of Humanities

A major in Philosophy trains students to be flexible, imaginative, and creative thinkers rather than skilled performers of a fixed routine. Students receive solid training in argument and reasoning, which exposes them to provocative and intriguing ideas by such master thinkers as Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, and Kant.

Courses in metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, and other areas are designed to emphasize discussion, essay writing, and the presentation and defense of personal points of view on topics central to the human condition. The faculty encourages Philosophy majors to seriously consider expanding their perspective through an experience of study abroad.

Physics, B.S.

Offered by: School of Physical Sciences

Physics majors are expert problem-solvers with a broad understanding of physical principles. The program is flexible and prepares students for careers in industrial research, applications programming, education, law, or business, as well as for graduate study in astronomy, biomedical physics, engineering, or physics. Meetings with faculty advisors assist students in selecting a program that matches their aptitudes and interests.

In addition to the core Physics courses, students complete either a standard track (such as the track for future Ph.D. physicists), or one of the formal concentrations or specializations (in Applied Physics, Biomedical Physics, Computational Physics, Philosophy of Physics, Physics Education, or Astrophysics).

Political Science, B.A.

Offered by: School of Social Sciences

As a political science major at UCI, you explore how politics works at the individual, group, national, and international levels. Students are introduced to the findings and the methods for gathering information about political behavior and political processes. Coursework emphasizes the development of analytic thinking and clear writing skills and focuses on American society and politics, comparative politics, international relations, public law, and political theory.

Students participate in programs such as the UCDC Internship Program in Washington, D.C., and UCI’s Education Abroad Program. Graduates are prepared for careers in business, international relations, law, politics, consultancy, journalism, and public service.

Psychological Science

Are you interested in studying Political Science but do not want to major in it? You may want to consider the minor in Political Science. The program enables you to explore the field beyond the introductory level but in less depth than the major. Explore the questions of how citizens relate to government, how individuals and organizations participate in the political process and implement decisions, how public policies are developed and implemented, and how nations deal with each other in the international environment.

Psychological Science

Offered by: School of Social Ecology

The curriculum focuses on human behavior in social contexts, and variations in social environments (i.e., the family, school, and the workplace) that affect human behavior over the life span. Students also gain an introduction to the logic behind and methods of designing and conducting research studies.


Offered by: School of Social Sciences

A minor in psychology enables students to explore questions such as: What causes one individual to adapt to stress in our society and another to develop deviant, antisocial behavior? How do people change from infancy to adulthood because of biological, family, cultural, and social influences? Psychologists address these sorts of questions with a scientific rigor that requires a thorough knowledge of sensory, perceptual, cognitive, developmental, and social processes, as well as familiarity with the basic functioning of the nervous system. Students in the minor gain a foundation in general psychology.

Public Health

Offered by: Program in Public Health

The minor in Public Health provides students with the fundamental knowledge of principles, applications, and skills needed to develop a firm appreciation of health and disease prevention at the population level, and to use this special knowledge to transform the experience of their major education into innovative approaches for solving problems in health care and assessment.

Queer Studies

Offered by: School of Humanities

The minor in Queer Studies provides students with an opportunity to study sexuality as a complex historical and cultural formation, rather than merely a feature of intimacy or an outcome of universal and unchanging biological forces.

Queer Studies focuses on the study of how norms are produced and come to be taken for granted, and, conversely how they are destabilized either through their own internal contradictions or through the interventions of activists seeking social justice. Thus the field shares intellectual affinities with the interdisciplinary fields of women's studies, gender studies, ethnic studies, critical legal studies, and cultural studies.

Religious Studies

Offered by: School of Humanities

The curriculum of our major and minor seeks to provide understanding and knowledge of the religious experience in society through relevant study in the Schools of Humanities, Social Sciences, Social Ecology, and the Arts. It employs a wide variety of approaches and methods in order to comprehend in the broadest sense the role of religion and its relationship to other significant human factors.

Students are encouraged to take at least some of the courses for the major or minor at universities abroad, either through the University of California's Education Abroad Program, or independently.

Russian Studies

Offered by: School of Humanities

The Russian Studies minor, in combination with another major, can give you a real edge. Russian on your resume shows that you believe in your abilities, that you accept challenges, and that you are not afraid to go off the beaten path. Russian is not only one of the official languages of diplomacy at the U.N. and a member language of the G-8, but reasonable functional proficiency will greatly increase your prospects in business, engineering, teaching, law, and medicine.

The Russian Studies minor is an interdisciplinary program. Students can select courses in Political Science, History and Russian Literature and Culture. Most classes are taught in English.

Social Ecology

Offered by: School of Social Ecology

The study of Social Ecology prepares students for careers in a wide variety of occupations. The training is explicitly interdisciplinary, providing a broad perspective that views ecological systems in a holistic fashion. Our students have a wide variety of interests and our alumni have gone on to a wide variety of careers. Among the course topics the minor explores are criminology, law and society, environmental analysis and design, urban studies, psychology, and psychology and social behavior.

NOTE: Students pursuing a major in the School of Social Ecology may not use upper-division coursework for both school major and minor requirements. No overlap is permitted. SOCECOL 198 and SOCECOL 199 may not be applied toward the minor.


Offered by: School of Humanities

The minor exposes students to Spanish language and composition as well as to the cultural literacy needed to be citizens of a globalized world where over 400 million people speak Spanish.

The rich cultural legacy of the Hispanic world is approached from an interdisciplinary perspective that puts Latin American and Spanish texts in dialogue with other fields of knowledge such as anthropology, linguistics, history, women's studies, and studies on globalization, among others. Also offered are courses in Spanish and Latin American film, as well as in visual culture.

Spanish/English Bilingual Education

Offered by: School of Social Sciences

A minor in Spanish/English Bilingual Education will create a pathway to better prepare future bilingual teachers by providing students with the following: foundational knowledge on current issues in bilingual education hands-on experience as a teacher aide/tutor in a bilingual classroom and knowledge of linguistic and cultural phenomena associated with the Spanish language and populations from Latin American countries.


Offered by: Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences

The minor in Statistics provides students with exposure to both statistical theory and practice. Interest in statistical methods has increased dramatically with the abundance of large databases in fields like computer science (Internet and Web traffic), business and marketing (transaction records), and biology (the human genome and related data). The minor is somewhat intensive, but it is a useful complement to a variety of undergraduate fields for mathematically inclined students. The minor, supplemented with a few additional courses (mathematics and computing), would provide sufficient background for graduate study in statistics.

Urban and Regional Planning

Offered by: School of Social Ecology

Urban and Regional Planning is a dynamic, cutting edge field that attracts diverse individuals and draws upon and integrates knowledge from geography, economics, design, sociology, environmental studies, political science, urban studies, and other fields. Planners use a range of skills from critical thinking to spatial analysis to environmental sustainability assessment to understand and improve our world.

Urban Studies

Offered by: School of Social Ecology

Students from any major can benefit from minoring in urban and regional planning. Social scientists will learn public management and community organizing. Engineers will learn about urban infrastructure systems, including water supply and transportation. Humanities majors will discover that planning thought draws heavily on critical analyses of race, class, and ethnicity. Science majors will find that planners apply knowledge of statistics, engineering, and environmental systems to solve complex problems.

Marine & Aquatic Biology

Marine and Aquatic Biology is the study of marine and freshwater organisms, their behaviors, and their interactions with the environment. Marine and Aquatic Biology is a subdiscipline of both oceanography and limnology. To best understand aquatic organisms, students are encouraged to acquire an appreciation for the allied disciplines of chemical, physical, and geological oceanography and limnology.

The oceans represent the final frontier of discovery on earth. They possess vast untapped resources, provide a global transportation network for commerce, and play a pivotal role in moderating earth's climate. Likewise, our freshwater resources support both commercial and recreational activities. They serve as readily accessible sources of potable water and influence climate on regional scales. Human activities related to global population growth represent a serious challenge to preserving these important resources. We must build upon our existing knowledge of the ocean and our lakes and their potential to help meet the needs of this and future generations.

Career opportunities in the marine and aquatic sciences are exciting and diverse. Graduates may find work with one of the branches of government, in academia with university research labs, with the private sector (consulting, natural resource exploration, aquaculture, recreation), or with a non-governmental organization.

The Marine and Aquatic Biology specialization at BGSU requires completion of a suite of core courses in basic biology, genetics, ecology, and marine biology, including internships and field requirements. Taking advantage of our affiliation with the Gulf Coast Research Lab, students are encouraged to enroll in one or more of GCRL’s specialized summer session field classes with diverse offerings including shark biology, marine ichthyology, marine mammals and dolphin and whale behavior. Students will complement their marine coursework with elective courses at BGSU in diverse areas of ecology and conservation biology as well as advanced courses in organismal biology which create depth of knowledge in biodiversity. Electives in cell, molecular and regulatory biology recognize the increasing importance of training in these areas in gaining insights into the underlying molecular basis of community function. Finally, applied technical training through experiential learning and focused coursework in statistics, GIS, remote sensing independent research, service learning, or internships is also integrated into the program. A check sheet detailing current Marine and Aquatic Biology Specialization requirements is available in the BGSU Undergraduate Catalog.


Upon completion of this specialization, undergraduates will:

• Demonstrate knowledge of the basic principles of marine biology and gain an appreciation of its role as a subdiscipline of oceanography.

• Gain a better understanding of how the marine environment is impacted by human activities.

• Develop critical thinking skills as well as an understanding of the nature of science, demonstrate the ability to evaluate biological research, and demonstrate technical skills relevant to marine biology.

• Demonstrate the ability to articulate their understanding of marine environments in both oral and written formats to professional and non-science audiences.

• Seek employment consistent with their interest in marine science, pursue professional school or graduate education, or be satisfied that the degree met other personal objectives.

Multidisciplinary, Flexible Education

“With all the support I’ve received from my family, and especially throughout the different summer fellowships, I want to give back what was given to me. If you have the ability to offer something to someone, you have the responsibility to offer it whenever you can.”

Asanté Quintana ’18, Human Biology, Health and Society

Our doctoral program is founded on the conviction that theory and practice go hand-in-hand and that our most essential research questions arise from integrating professional experiences and scholarship. Approach your research with a multidisciplinary perspective, integrating science, policy, humanities, education, and service to pursue sustainable solutions to pressing local, national and international environmental challenges.

This degree is offered by AU New England.

Program Overview

In this program, you’ll engage in coursework and seminars with a diverse and supportive group of students and faculty whose experience and wide-ranging interests will augment your own. Specialize in the research area for which you have a passion and apply the theories and methods best suited to your research interests.

Study with faculty who bridge disciplinary and methodological boundaries, who model the integration of scholarship and practice, who emphasize the role of service, and who are recognized locally, nationally, and internationally.

Environmental Studies integrates a wide range of concepts and ideas and embraces multiple methodological approaches to understanding and solving critical and emerging environmental challenges. The current areas of research interest and expertise among ES PhD students and faculty overlap significantly and intentionally, and indicate the richness of content, dialog, scholarship, and practice in our program.

The following illustrate the research areas of our students and faculty:

  • Ecology and Conservation Biology
  • Environmental Decision-Making, Policy, and Governance
  • Environmental Humanities
  • Environmental and Social Justice
  • Environmental, Sustainability, and Science Education
  • Food and the Environment
  • Resilience, Climate and Environmental Change

Cohort-Based Doctoral Program Delivery

The doctoral program in Environmental Studies is a 69-credit program that can be completed in 4-5 years.

Environmental studies doctoral students complete four phases of the program with their cohorts. Each phase spans approximately a year. In the first two phases, students are required to attend classes for an 8-day summer intensive during the first two years of the program. They are also required to attend classes on campus four weekends (Friday – Sunday) during the fall semester and four weekends during the spring semester of the first phase of the program three weekends in the fall and three in the spring of the second phase and two weekends each fall and spring semester in the third and fourth phases of the program. These doctoral weekends typically fall on the first or second weekend of each month.

The cohort model offers exposure to classmates’ research, sparking collaboration and innovation. Students and faculty remain engaged in each other’s work via online communication tools, which enables pathways for resources, support and critique that often results in lifelong bonds of friendship and collegiality.

Doctoral Curriculum

The program also requires weekly online work to supplement class time on campus. Students have a maximum limit of ten years from the date of entry to complete all degree requirements, including the dissertation, and 69 semester-hour credits beyond a Master’s. Students must complete the Candidacy Exam and successfully defend their Dissertation Proposal before admission to the Dissertation Phase. All of the courses described are required courses unless otherwise indicated. Required courses are listed under each competency area:

Phase 1 - Foundation Courses (18 credits)

The initial phase of AUNE’s doctoral program in environmental studies instills the foundations of interdisciplinary environmental studies and scholarship through intensive, integrative, theoretically oriented courses. Topics include research design, ecological thought, applied ecological analysis, global environmental change, political economy and sustainability, and environmental history.

  • Summer Semester: 8 day intensive
  • Fall Semester: 4 weekends
  • Spring Semester: 4 weekends
  • Introduction to Research Design
  • Ecological Thought
  • Comparative Ecological Analysis
  • Global Environmental Change
  • Political Economy and Sustainability
  • Environmental History

Phase 2 - Research Strategies and Learning Domains (24 credits)

The program’s second phase includes a series of seminars about scientific research where students focus on methodologies, literature, and theoretical frameworks to guide their research interests. They discuss their work with leading scholars and writers and learn how others frame and execute their research. Students also design and complete four individual “learning domain” courses, each with an individual mentor, that allows them to focus and deepen their knowledge and research skills in their specific area of future dissertation research.

  • Summer Semester: 8-day intensive
  • Fall Semester: 3 weekends
  • Spring Semester: 3 weekends
  • Research Strategy – Quantitative: Theory, Method, and Design
  • Research Strategy – Qualitative: Theory, Method, and Design
  • Doctoral Learning Domain
  • Individualized Learning Contract, to be selected from:
    • Approved Antioch graduate courses
    • Doctoral Learning Domain Projects (independent studies, formal courses)
    • Reading Seminars

    Phase 3 – Candidacy (9 credits)

    During the candidacy phase (or the dissertation phase), students complete a service learning seminar and project related to their academic goals. This phase also focuses on preparation to pass a qualifying exam in the form of writing an integrated essay about their area of research interests and completion of their dissertation proposals. The timing and sequence of the candidacy phase will vary for each student depending on her or his own pace.

    • Summer Semester: 8-day intensive (optional)
    • Fall Semester: 2 weekends
    • Spring Semester: 2 weekends
    • Doctoral Qualifying Exam
    • Dissertation Proposal Seminar *
    • Service Learning Seminar*

    * May be taken the previous year in the program with permission of advisor and instructor.

    Phase 4 – The Dissertation Process (18 credits)

    During the fourth and final phase of the program, students participate in seminars designed to support all aspects of the dissertation process. They design and conduct original research and analyses that have direct social, environmental, political, and educational impacts. Finally, they write their doctoral dissertation.

    • Summer Semester: 8-day intensive (optional)
    • Fall Semester: 2 weekends
    • Spring Semester: 2 weekends

    * May be taken the previous year in the program with permission of advisor and instructor.

    Backgrounds, Goals, and Outcomes

    Students who pursue AUNE’s PhD in Environmental Studies are united by the desire to research and move forward crucial environmental issues. They have diverse academic, professional, and personal experiences that add value to the comprehensive curriculum. Our students’ and graduates’ backgrounds include:

    Ecology BIOL 228 Credits: 0.5

    Ecology is the study of the distribution and abundance of organisms and the structure and dynamics of the biosphere. Topics will include physiological ecology, population ecology, competition, predator-prey systems, mutualism, succession, energy and nutrient dynamics, and the ecology of communities, ecosystems and the biosphere. We also will explore the influence of humans on natural systems. Students will use theoretical models and primary literature to supplement the text, lectures and discussions. Co-enrollment in BIOL 229 is highly recommended. This counts toward the upper-level environmental biology requirement for the biology major and as an elective for the environmental studies major. Prerequisite: BIOL 115 or equivalent or permission of instructor.


    The modules listed below are examples from the last academic year. There may be some changes before you start your course. For the very latest module information, check with the department directly.

    Choose a year to see modules for a level of study:

    In your first year, you'll spend your first week on a field course in Sheffield, collecting and analysing data throughout the city's green spaces and out to the edge of the Peak District. Throughout the year, you’ll study topics including sustainability, biotechnology, biodiversity, climate change and environmental management. You'll develop practical skills in the lab, including microscopy and genetics, complemented by regular field trips to zoos, aquariums and nature reserves. You'll also have lectures and take part in small group tutorials where you'll enhance your writing, data analysis and presentation skills as you learn about the latest research findings from our world-leading academics.

    Climate Change and Sustainability

    This course introduces the core scientific issues required to understand climate change and sustainability. Students will learn the causes of climate change, its impacts in natural and agricultural ecosystems, the influence of biogeochemical cycles in these ecosystems on climate, and strategies for sustainably managing ecosystems in future. Learning will be achieved via lectures and videos, practicals and independent study.

    This course is an introduction to the principles of ecology and conservation. It covers ecological concepts about the abundance and distribution of species and key ideas about conserving populations, communities and habitats.

    The Skills for Biology module introduces students to the fundamentals of scientific practice: lab practical skills, experimental design, information technology, data visualisation and analysis, writing and presentation skills, skills reflection, professionalism and career development.

    This module is aimed at providing an initial training in the identification and research skills needed for ecological fieldwork. It involves a structured prgramme of online identification and research assignments over the academic year, with practical examination at the end of the semester. The course will develop familiarity with using identification guides, with a range of plant and invertebrate groups and the ecological issues associated with them. It will prepare students for fieldcourses and other practical work.

    This course is an introduction to the scientific study of animals. Students will explore the wonders of the animal kingdom through investigations of the physiology, reproduction, development, form and function of a wide diversity of both invertebrates and vertebrates. Students will learn through lectures and videos, practicals and independent study.

    This course is an introduction to the scientific study of plants and associated organisms. Students will explore plant origin, diversity, form, reproduction and development, photosynthesis, nutrient and water acquisition, as well as interactions with symbiotic and pathogenic microbes. Students will learn through lectures and videos, practicals and independent study.

    This unit will provide an introduction to behaviour, focussing on the four fundamental questions: (i) the evolution of behaviour (ii) the function of behaviour, (iii) the ontogeny of behaviour and (iv) the causation (or mechanisms) of behaviour. The course will introduce the major concepts and information on specific topics, including sexual behaviour, foraging behaviour and social behaviour in humans and non-humans. A central theme will be the extent to which animal behaviour can inform us about human behaviour and in particular the similarities and differences between the evolutionary approach to animal behaviour and evolutionary psychology.

    This module introduces students to the key mechanisms underlying the disease process. Students will learn about pathogens that cause infection, the inflammatory response and the role of the immune system. Students will gain insight into the genetic and environmental basis of disease. The module will discuss how epidemics and pandemics (e.g. AIDS and COVID-19) can have a profound effect on society as well as on the individual. Teaching and learning will take place in a formal lecture environment, supported by online tutorials and web-based materials. Assessment will be by formal examination.

    This module aims to provide students with a general introduction to Developmental, Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology. The approach will be concept-based, with an emphasis on the importance of techniques and the interpretation of experimental data. Topics covered include life cycles of the main animal model systems, how cell differences are generated during development, the basic principles of regenerative biology and wound healing as well as stem cell biology. Teaching will take place in a formal lecture environment, supplemented by online tutorials. Assessment will be by formal examination.

    Proficiency in basic calculations is essential for all scientists. In this module, designed for first-year students who have not studied maths to A-level (or equivalent) we will develop the mathematical skills needed to excel as a molecular bioscientist. Using video tutorials, problems classes, and worksheets, we will give students plenty of practice performing calculations, building their skills and confidence. Topics covered include arithmetic, exponential numbers and logarithms, mathematical and statistical notation, probability, functions, precision and accuracy of measurements, and the graphical presentation of data.

    This module provides a broad introduction to Biochemistry and examines the molecules that carry out and control all the chemical reactions in biological cells. The basic chemical concepts underlying the structures, functions and mechanisms of action of biomolecules.

    This module considers the fundamental processes at the heart of all life on this planet. Students will learn about the basic molecular processes that enable cells to store and use genetic information to make proteins, as well as the mechanisms that allow cell growth, division, and ultimately cell death. Learning materials will be delivered through a combination of lectures, videos, practical classes and independent study.

    This course is an introduction to evolution as the central unifying theme of modern biology. Students will examine evolutionary patterns from the geological past to the present, and investigate evolutionary mechanisms of selection, adaptation and the origin of species. They will be introduced to the approaches used to study evolution including classical population and quantitative genetics, phylogenetic trees, and the fossil record. Students will learn through lectures, videos, practical sessions, quizzes, and independent study.

    This module aims to provide students with an introduction to neuroscience. It will introduce the fundamental principles of cellular and molecular neuroscience that govern neuronal excitability and neurotransmission. Building on these principles, it will introduce theories relating to how sensory information is processed, and how motor output and aspects of behaviour are controlled by the central nervous system. How the normal functioning of the nervous system is affected by disease and drugs will be examined. It will also provide an opportunity to perform neuroscience experiments and interpret the data. Although focussed on the understanding of human neuroscience, the module will demonstrate how the study of model organisms has contributed to this understanding.

    This course is an introduction to the field of microbiology. Students will explore the diversity of microorganisms including Bacteria, Archaea, unicellular Eukaryotes and viruses. They will examine the diversity of the structure and the function of these microorganisms, emphasising the fundamental role that they play in our everyday lives by using examples in medicine and biotechnology.

    This course is an introduction to the principles of genetics. Students will explore the genetics of pro- and eukaryotes by studying the mechanisms of gene transmission, genetic exchange, mutations and gene mapping. Additional topics are the genetic basis of diseases, prenatal diagnosis, genetic counselling, gene therapy and genetic basis of antibiotic resistance in bacteria. Students will learn through lectures and videos and independent study.

    This module aims to provide students with an introduction to human physiology and pharmacology. It will introduce the fundamental physiological principles that govern the functioning of all cells and tissues within the body. The physiology of normal bodily functions will be explained using a systems-based approach which encourages students’ to integrate their understanding of events at a molecular and cellular level with the structure and function of tissues and whole organs. It will examine how these normal bodily functions are affected by disease and drugs, with examples of how model organisms can inform this understanding. It will also provide an opportunity to perform and interpret physiological measurements, giving students hands-on experience of the experimental methods that they will be learning about in lectures.

    In your second year, you’ll build on your new skills and knowledge covering more advanced scientific topics and techniques across ecology and conservation biology. Some students choose to take our science communication module where you'll get the chance to make your own factual science documentaries, with support and advice from professional filmmakers.

    All of our ecology and conservation biology students receive training in modern data analysis techniques and get the opportunity to participate in an optional two-week intensive project, designing and carrying out your own research. Depending on your focus, this could be in the field, giving you the chance to develop an understanding of the ecology and biodiversity of different habitats across the globe, or in one of our world-class labs here in Sheffield, dedicated to an area such as molecular biology, genetics or even wildlife forensics.

    Animal and Plant Science Tutorials

    This module provides training in the generic and subject-related skills necessary to undertake research in biology and communicate biology effectively. Students will learn: different forms of scientific writing (including essays, abstracts and scientific papers) experimental design analysis and evaluation of biological information synthesis of material from a variety of sources including the primary literature and presentation of scientific information (seminars and debates). Teaching will be in small-group tutorials, during which students will discuss key topics and recent developments in biology. Evaluation will be based on continual assessment of written work, exercises and presentations. Tutors will provide both academic and pastoral support.

    The Career Development for Biologists module will explore career paths open to biology graduates including employment as a professional biologist, postgraduate study, teaching, enterprise activities and the development of transferable skills. Students will identify and research career options and the skills that they have, or need to acquire, to pursue these options. They will develop and implement an action plan during the course of the module, and participate in the APS careers fair. Teaching methods will include seminars, group work and portfolio development.

    This module will introduce students to the fundamental principles of conservation biology that influence conservation programmes around the globe. Following a brief examination of the rationales for conservation the course discusses some of:(i)the fundamental issues in conservation planning, such as selecting appropriate units for conservation and priority assessment(ii)the research tools commonly used by conservationists, such as population viability analysis(iii)the ways in which ecological theory guides conservation action. These topics are illustrated using case studies of animal and plant conservation in both terrestrial and marine ecosystems from temperate and tropical regions.

    This course will: provide experience of work in the laboratory and in the field provide an introduction to the techniques employed in the study of plants in relation to their habitats and the vegetation in which they occur develop skills in record keeping, observation, sampling, identification, problem solving, task-oriented team work, data interpretation, communication and the application of biological principles and help develop an understanding of aspects of the plant environment and the importance of environmental variables and plant traits in controlling species distributions. This course consists of an integrated series of 12 sessions which include lectures and practical work relevant to understanding controls on plant distributions and community composition. The course includes 2 field excursions (soil and vegetation sampling), 7 practical classes (soil chemical analysis, experimental ecology, vegetation data analysis and vegetation processes), 8 lectures and 1 session for synthesis, interpretation and presentation of the data for the module as a whole.

    This unit will examine major themes in population and community ecology, across plants, animals and their interactions with each other and their environment. It focuses on cross-cutting themes in ecology and evolution including life history, predation, competition, disease and biodiversity. It builds deep, conceptual and theoretical understanding of life cycles, population growth, and species interactions. It provides insight into common patterns and unique properties among plants and animals of the factors that determine the abundance, diversity and distribution of species. It provides insight into the role of species interactions and the environment in controlling biodiversity and ecosystem function.

    This course will examine the major animal phyla that make up the animal kingdom. It will discuss their structure and how this is related to function and way of life. The major invertebrate groups will be considered including the Porifera, cnidarians, protostomes and deuterostomes. The unique features of the vertebrates and the constituent vertebrate classes will be examined. The biology of the fishes, the evolution of the jaw, the colonisation of the land, the origins of flight and the evolutionary innovations of the mammals will be addressed. The emphasis throughout will be on natural history, development, behaviour, ecology and evolutionary relationships.

    This module will provide introduce animal behaviour through lectures and a Student Centred Learning Exercise (SCLE). The focus will be on answering questions in animal behaviour, through testing hypotheses about the adaptive significance and mechanism of behaviours. The main areas studied will be foraging, reproductive behaviour, mating systems, cooperative breeding and communication. The course will also introduce the use of theory and mathematical modelling (game theory and optimisation modelling). This will involve simple mathematics and the analysis of simple figures and tables showing the costs and benefits of behaviours. The SCLE is based on short research papers on animal behaviour.The course will provide an introduction to animal behaviour through lectures, SCLEs and the course textbook. The main focus will be on answering questions in animal behaviour through testing hypotheses about the adaptive significance (“why”) and mechanism (“how”) of particular behaviours. More specific focus will be made on feeding, reproductive behaviour, eusociality and communication. The course will also introduce the use of game theory and optimisation modelling. This will require simple mathematics, and the analysis of simple figures and tables showing the costs and benefits of particular behaviours. There will be an SCLE which will involve special readings in animal behaviour.

    This module will enable students to gain experience in the communication of biology to a non-scientific audience, including the preparation of teaching/public engagement materials and the planning and execution of a teaching/engagement programme either in a local school or as part of the departmental outreach programme. Students will be responsible for formulating and delivering an educational project about some aspect of biology. In the school context students will work under the supervision of a class teacher at all times.

    This course will consider agricultural productivity, crop protection, breeding and genetic engineering of plants in four blocks of lectures. These emphasise the production of both forest and agricultural crops, the biotic and abiotic factors which can affect productivity and the use of breeding and genetic manipulation to improve crop performance. Biotic factors include such topics as weeds, insect pests and pathogens and sink-source relationships in crop plants. Abiotic factors include economic constraints, the structure of canopies and light interception, effects of pesticides on the environment, genetic manipulation to provide resistance to pests and pathogens and the use of fertilisers and other chemicals.

    Human impacts on the world¿s ecosystems are profound and without precedent in Earth's history. The urgent need to understand the impacts of overexploitation, land-use change and anthropogenic climate change has meant that ecosystem science has become one of the most important biological disciplines. This module will introduce students to the fundamental principles of ecosystem science by exploring human impacts on key marine and terrestrial ecosystems and their feedbacks on global climate. In doing so, it will cover the interacting roles of (1) climatic tolerance, trophic interactions, carbon sequestration and fire on land, and (2) biodiversity, energy, nutrients and extinction in the sea.

    In this practical module students will examine the effects of environmental factors on plant growth and development. Students will work in small groups to design, set up and execute an investigation of aspects such as growth and the carbohydrate and protein content of plants (using gel electrophoresis), in plants grown under different conditions, including among others, light intensities and nutrient regimes. The practical write-up will be aided by a group discussion of the interpretation of the results obtained by the whole class.

    This module provides interdisciplinary training in skills for environmental interpretation and assessment through field work, lectures and mini-projects. It will include studies of botany, geology, geography, history and environmental science. It will provide an in-depth study of some important habitats, major rock types and landscape processes. It will provide training in methods for description, sampling, quantification and data analysis in the environmental sciences. The field studies will be complemented by lectures that explain key concepts and techniques, together with an overview of regional, historical, political and economic factors governing land usage and the impact of human occupation on the landscape.

    This module will provide insights into major concepts in evolutionary biology, illustrated with a wide range of examples that cut across taxa. The course will cover the origins of variation, adaptation, and natural selection. Population genetics concepts will be briefly summarised, with particular attention to the persistence of genetic variation. Examples of microevolution will be used to show that evolution is a continuous and ongoing process. Species concepts and theories of speciation will be discussed and illustrated by examples of adaptive radiation. The evolution of sex and sexual selection, and the evolution of cooperation under kin selection, genomic conflict and coevolution will also be discussed.

    This unit will introduce students to a range of genomic and molecular technologies including DNA sequencing, transcriptomics and metagenomics and illustrate how they can be used to address questions in ecology, environmental biology, medicine, and forensics sciences. The course will consist of eight lectures, and five practical classes during which students learn how to apply molecular techniques to answer questions in the field of wildlife forensics.

    In this module students will examine insect behaviour and some of its underlying mechanisms. Each practical will consist of a set exercise, a taxonomic demonstration and a class discussion of results. Students will investigate insect locomotion, feeding, sexual behaviour, grooming and gas exchange.

    This unit will introduce students to molecular evolutionary genetics. Students will investigate how DNA sequences evolve and how they can be used to reconstruct phylogenetic history. They will also examine some of the genes underlying phenotypic variation and adaptation. Through a mixture of lectures and practical classes students will learn how bioinformatics can enhance our understanding of the evolution of species genomes and will acquire skills in analysing DNA sequence data and identifying whether genes have evolved adaptively.

    The task of palaeobiology is to provide greater integration between palaeontology and biology. This course examines recent developments in the field of palaeobiology, and demonstrates how fossils are used to generate testable theories about pattern in the history of life. This course will begin with 9 lectures outlining modern concepts in palaeobiology, and demonstrated using examples from all aspect of palaeontology, but concentrating on dinosaur palaeobiology. These same principles will then be explored using human evolution as a case study (9 lectures).

    Plants differ from many other organisms in that their growth and development is highly tuned to the environment. This course examines how plants respond to diverse environmental factors (focussing on light, water, temperature and disease) integrating developmental, biochemical and physiological studies. We explore the processes that control photomorphogenesis from seed germination through to flowering, responses to extremes of temperature and defence responses to pests and disease.Plants differ from many other organisms in that their growth and development is highly tuned to the environment. This course examines how plants respond to environmental factors.

    In this module, we will explore the nature of symbiosis between plants, animals, bacteria and fungi. We will investigate the 'continuum of symbiosis' from parasitism to mutualism using specific examples drawn from natural and agricultural ecosystems to demonstrate how symbionts regulate the structure and function of host communities and the challenge their control poses. We will investigate methods of controlling parasites as well as how symbionts may be harnessed to regulate host communities in restoration ecology, for biological control and ecosystem service provision (e.g. pollinators) using an integrated teaching approach employing lectures and guest seminars from specific experts in the field.

    This intensive, week-long module (run during the Easter vacation) covers an introduction to science communication using the medium of video- making. The focus will be to turn technical scientific information into a form accessible to multiple audiences, working within the confines of a brief. A key feature will be developing a project as a group: recognising strengths and appropriate division of labour to implement innovative ideas. Individually, it will develop strengths in presenting ideas and technical skills in shooting footage and editing. The module will be delivered in collaboration with staff from the University of Sheffield Creative Media Team and industry professionals.

    This module will provide students with an understanding of tropical forest ecology, from species to ecosystem levels, and of the suite of conservation threats that tropical forests face. This will be achieved through lectures, independent reading, and a fieldtrip to a zoo or museum. Topics covered may include: How species coexist in tropical forests how hyperdiversity evolved and is maintained how species interact in food-webs and mutualistically how tropical trees survive and forests regenerate how forest clearance, forest degradation and hunting threaten tropical biodiversity, and the role of ecosystem services in tropical conservation.

    In your third year, you'll complete a research project and dissertation in an area of ecology and conservation biology, conducted under the supervision of one of our world experts. You'll work in a small group to define questions, develop experimental protocols, conduct the research, analyse the data and ultimately produce a written report in the form of a scientific publication.

    In this module students will consolidate the skills and knowledge they have gained in earlier levels of study and apply these in a research project. Students will work in small groups, guided by a member of staff, to identify and plan a biological study. They will collect and statistically analyse data, interpret their results and set them in the context of related studies identified from the literature. They will then present their project in the format of a scientific paper. The project may be lab, field or computer based.

    Field research is an essential component of the biological sciences. The module starts prior to entering the field, with students considering risk assessments and preparing talks on the concepts to be studied. Students will then enter one of a range of environments, which may include inter alia the Peak District, North Wales, Portugal or Borneo. Following a period of familiarisation with the habitat and wildlife, students will identify a biological question, design a field research study, collect observational data, design and carry out experiments, analyse data and present their findings in a series of talks. On returning from the field, students will develop their writing and analytical skills and prepare a report on their field projects. The module will develop skills in specific areas of the biological sciences, such as tropical ecology and conservation, behavioural ecology, population and community ecology, and coastal and marine ecology.

    This module aims to provide the opportunity for students to develop (i) their knowledge of topical issues in conservation, (ii) their ability to identify potential solutions to real-world conservation problems and assess the likely effectiveness of these (iii) their skills in accessing, interpreting and synthesising the primary scientific literature in the field of conservation and (iv) their ability to think independently. This will be achieved by introducing students, through lectures and independent reading, to a range of topical issues in conservation biology, by showing how research can inform the development of action plans and by illustrating how the success of applied measures to mitigate conservation problems can be assessed. Students will then apply their learning by developing action plans for specific conservation problems.

    In this module students will consolidate the skills and knowledge they have gained in earlier levels of study and use these to produce a dissertation. Students will work individually, guided by a member of staff, to identify and plan a biological study based on a literature review. They will collect and synthesise information from a variety of sources, interpret and critically assess their findings. They will then present their dissertation in the format of a review paper.

    This module provides students with the opportunity to develop their knowledge of topical issues in modern ecology. Students will be introduced, through lectures, independent reading, discussion and problem solving to a core set of topical questions in pure and/or applied ecology, and they will explore how data and theory combine to inform our understanding of these topics. Students will apply their learning by developing and critically evaluating research or management proposals that will address for specific real world ecological questions and problems.

    As the pace of biological research continues to increase, society and scientists are continuously faced with ethical issues which, in many cases, we are ill-prepared to consider. This course examines areas where biology and ethics interact using a series of topical examples including medicine, agriculture, industry and the environment. In each case ethical concepts will be examined and discussed in the context of the right to privacy, ownership, current regulation, historical perspectives and the public understanding of science.

    This module aims to provide the opportunity for students to develop (i) their knowledge of cutting-edge research in behavioural ecology, (ii) their skills in understanding and interpreting the primary scientific literature in this field and (iii) their ability to think independently and synthesise information. This will be achieved by introducing students to a range of issues and topics of central theoretical importance in the field of behavioural ecology and by showing how a combination of observation, and field and laboratory experimentation can be used to test hypotheses originating from theory. Specifically, the characteristics and implications of cooperation and conflict among animals will be studied in a variety of contexts.

    This module examines the evolution of terrestrial ecosystems, from the invasion of the land by plants and animals in the Ordovician (475 million years ago) up to the present day. All of the major events will be covered: the origin of land plants the invasion of the land by invertebrate animals (worms, insects, etc) the first forests the origin of amphibians, reptiles, mammals and birds beginnings of phtogeographical differentiation origin of the flowering plants etc. Throughout the course the evolution of terrestrial ecosystems will be considered in light of: (i) the interrelationships between global change and evolving terrestrial ecosystems (ii) plant-fungal-animal interactions and coevolution.

    Why do some organisms weigh a fraction of a milligram and others many tons? Why do some organisms mature in a few days and others need several years? Why make a myraid of tiny eggs rather than few large offspring? This module will address these, and other questions in life history evolution, using a range of modern approaches. All the main approaches of studying evolutionary ecology will be taught (optimality models, evolutionarily stable strategies, quantitative genetics, comparative methods) and their strengths and weaknesses explored. Equal weight will be given to plant and animal systems.

    This module explores current research themes in plant biology, examining how fundamental plant science, often using model organisms, can be translated into real-world applications. The course will highlight different research areas encompassing plant development and productivity, responses to environmental stresses and interactions with other organisms (beneficial or pests and diseases). Students will be introduced to the science that underpins these processes in plants and how this knowledge can be exploited to address problems such as food security, sustainability and environmental change.

    This course will provide a framework for understanding the causes of climatic changes and the nature and scale of evolution, adaptation and ecological responses of plants to these changes. The course will describe the nature of controls of past, present and future climatic change. This provides a framework for understanding the types and scale of evolution, adaptation and ecological responses of plants to changes in climate and atmospheric CO2. The course will address land plant evolution over the last 400million years responses to geological extinction events and global to local space scales of plat responses to past, present and likely future carbon dioxide concentrations and climate. The view of the Earth System is introduced, with examples of feedbacks between climate, the cryosphere, the oceans and the terrestrial biosphere.

    This module will provide students with an understanding of how genomics has shaped our understanding of the evolution of modern humans. This will be achieved through lectures, independent reading and a computational biology practical. Topics covered will include: the evolution of modern humans the history of how humans colonised the world how the Neanderthal genome has revealed hybridisation between Homo sapiens and Neanderthal man how human genomes can tell us about the history and causes of modern genetic disorders how our genomes reveal past episodes of selection and how life history theory is used to study natural selection and evolution in pre-industrial humans.

    This module highlights the threats to global sustainability, with a particular focus on food production and ecosystem functioning, being caused by human impacts on the environment. The module considers how we have got into the present unsustainable mess ¿ of poor land and natural resource management, under valuing of farmers, life-threatening soil degradation causing flooding, pollution of fresh water and soil insecurity, as well as large numbers of people overconsuming and wasting food whilst others don¿t have enough. It shows that how we sustainably manage agro-ecosystems now, and in the immediate future, will determine the fate of humanity. Soils are the foundations of terrestrial ecosystems, food and biofuel production, but are amongst the most badly abused and damaged components of the ecosphere. Climate change, agricultural intensification, biofuels and unsustainable use of fertilizers and fossil fuels pose critical threats to global food production and sustainable agro-ecosystems - and their impacts on soil ecosystems are central to these threats. The module considers soil ecosystems function in nature and the lessons that we can then apply to develop more sustainable agriculture and ecosystem management.

    This course aims to provide the opportunity for students to develop (i) their knowledge of current leading-edge research areas in evolutionary genetics and (ii) their skills in accessing, interpreting and synthesising the primary scientific literature in this field. This will be achieved by examining three areas of current research activity in evolutionary genetics though detailed analysis of the questions, methods and interpretations in groups of recent publications.

    The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it's up-to-date and relevant. Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research funding changes professional accreditation requirements student or employer feedback outcomes of reviews and variations in staff or student numbers. In the event of any change we'll consult and inform students in good time and take reasonable steps to minimise disruption. We are no longer offering unrestricted module choice. If your course included unrestricted modules, your department will provide a list of modules from their own and other subject areas that you can choose from.

    Certificates and Certifications of Professional Achievement

    Certifications of Professional Achievement are an ideal entry point to pursuing a subject of interest or for career development or advancement. Certificates, which are appropriate for graduate school preparation and career advancement, offer a focused form of advanced study that can be as intensive as a degree program.

    These Certifications of Professional Achievement can be completed in one 12-week Summer term — or more than one term, if desired.

    Critical Issues in International Relations*

    Offered by the School of Professional Studies and Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs, this program provides understanding of the basic analytical issues, theoretical approaches, history, and policy debates in international relations.

    Human Rights*

    The study of human rights at Columbia University emphasizes the interaction between human rights theory and practice, and requires you to approach the issues from multiple angles. You will have the opportunity to explore human rights both inside and outside the classroom. Classes focus on economics, gender, and legal issues relating to the international struggle for human rights. It is offered by the Institute for the Study of Human Rights at Columbia University through the School of Professional Studies.