Newly Admitted Students

Front of Rock Hall

Welcome to the College of Biological Sciences!

On behalf of our faculty, staff and students, welcome to the College of Biological Sciences at UC Davis. We are excited to have you join our college and want to make every effort to facilitate your transition to the university and to ensure your success as a student. We are all privileged to be part of this highly respected institution, and you have made an excellent decision to enter this environment of academic excellence.

Many opportunities are available that will allow you to enrich your academic career here. Your willingness to engage fully in the academic experience and your involvement in the opportunities available are critical factors in determining your success at the university.


Decision Day

Bring your friends and family and join us April 7, 2018 for a fun and informative day, and get to know UC Davis!

The College of Biological Sciences has a lot to offer! Check out the student lab spaces and the state-of-the-art equipment that our undergraduates use every day to learn the basic principles of biology; learn more about each of our majors and find out which ones are most interesting to you; and chat with our advisors and faculty and get your questions answered.

The schedule of events hosted by the College of Biological Sciences all take place on the west side of the Sciences Laboratory Building. Make sure to check out the general Decision Day events as well!

Listen to our Audio Tour to explore the Sciences Laboratory Building, and see what it's like to be a College of Biological Sciences Student here at UC Davis.


Freshman Orientation

Upon admission to UC Davis, all incoming freshmen and transfer students are expected to attend Orientation. The Orientation program provides essential information and guidance for incoming students and special registration sessions to assist students with course selection for their first quarter at UC Davis.

2018 Freshman Orientation presentation to students by Associate Dean Susan Keen [PDF]

2018 Freshman Orientation Presentation to students, presented by BASC Advisors [PDF]

2017 Freshman Orientation Presentation to Families by Associate Dean Susan Keen [PDF]


Course Planning

The average workload for freshmen students is 12-15 units. After freshman year, 15-16 units per quarter is considered typical for a continuing UCD student.  You will want to balance your schedule – for your first quarter, this will consist of two major (STEM) courses, at the most, and one to two additional non-science courses. We do not advise that you start with more than two major (STEM) courses. 

The two major (STEM) courses can be chosen from: Chemistry (WLD 41C, CHE 2A, CHE 3A, or CHE 2AH), Mathematics (pre-17A, MAT 12, 17A or 21A) and Introductory Biology (BIS 2B).  It is not recommended to take all three major courses together, during your first quarter.

A non-science course can be a general education (GE) class, a freshman seminar (FRS), or a physical education (PHE) class, for example. 

Having a balanced schedule will allow you to adjust and transition successfully to being a student at UC Davis. 


Graduate in Four

This workload represents the level required to graduate in 4 years. Many students prefer a slightly lighter workload their first quarter and registering in 12 units is acceptable. To graduate in four years, students are expected to complete 15 units per quarter on average (but minimally averaging 12 units/quarter per academic year). 


Doing Well Takes Time and Effort

Doing well takes time and effort. The UC Davis academic experience can be very different from your high school academic experience. It is recommended that you study 2-3 hours for every unit of coursework you are enrolled in per week. For example, a 13 unit courseload will equate to 26-39 hours of study, which does not include the time you spend in class.  To do well, you should plan to spend at least 40+ hours a week attending classes and studying, i.e., a full-time job!