A letter from the Dean

Paul Koch, Dean of the Physical & Biological Sciences

Dear Students:

Welcome to UC Santa Cruz! The Division of Physical and Biological Sciences offers academic programs and opportunities that make this an outstanding place to study science. We provide students a chance to learn in a dynamic environment of discovery from world-class scientists in the classroom, the laboratory, and the field. Our faculty are working at the cutting edge of research in their fields, redefining our understanding of the world in which we live and focused on solving important problems that face our society. The interdisciplinary approach we take to teaching and research helps develop critical thinkers and engaged citizens.

Regardless of where a student’s scientific interest lies, we have a major or a concentration to satisfy it. We offer traditional fields of study: Biology; Chemistry; Earth Sciences; Ecology & Evolutionary Biology; Mathematics; Molecular, Cell & Developmental Biology; Neuroscience; and Physics; and innovative majors that bridge fields, like Astrophysics, Applied Physics, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, and Human Biology.

We also offer numerous areas of concentration within the broader majors, like Planetary Sciences, Mathematics Education, and Environmental Geology. There are also several combined major options, such as pairing Environmental Studies with Earth Sciences or Environmental Studies with Biology, or Earth Sciences with Anthropology. We have also recently added a combination undergraduate-graduate degree program in Physics in which students who excel can stay on an additional year to complete a Physics MS.

UCSC has always been a leader in undergraduate research and internships. The undergraduate research experience in the Physical and Biological Sciences provides students the rare opportunity to engage in supervised research with professors who are leaders in their fields and in collaboration with graduate students and other undergraduates. Field study programs provide students the opportunity to gain research experience and access to our natural laboratories throughout central California, such as the point at Año Nuevo Reserve just north of Santa Cruz, Younger Lagoon on the coast just two miles from campus, and Big Creek, south of Monterey in Big Sur.

Faculty and staff contribute time and expertise to programs that provide academic support to current students. They also engage in educational outreach programs that encourage greater participation in the sciences and help prepare students to succeed at UCSC.

If you are ready to dedicate yourself to pursuing a major in the sciences at UC Santa Cruz, we’ll dedicate ourselves to your success.

Paul Koch
Dean, Division of Physical and Biological Sciences
Professor of Earth & Planetary Sciences