Choosing HumBio

Why do students choose HumBio? 

HumBio allows you the flexibility to create a rigorous, unique course of study that includes a wide variety of a students' academic interests. Alumni often reminisce about the life-long friends and supportive community found in the HumBio Major.

What is the difference between HumBio and Biology?

The Human Biology curriculum provides an interdisciplinary approach to understanding the human being from biological, behavioral, social, and cultural perspectives. The Biology curriculum focuses on understanding life, from molecules to cells, and organisms to ecosystems.

What can I do with a degree in HumBio?

HumBio majors have incredibly diverse interests and go on to careers in fields such as medicine, technology, public service, education, community law, allied health fields, and much more. The curriculum is designed to equip you with skills in Communication, Scientific Literacy, and Data Analysis that prepare you well for future pursuits.

Find out more about what previous students have done at our Alumni Stories.

Does HumBio have a minor?

Yes, the HumBio minor offers students the option to focus on a specific subplan. To declare a HumBio minor, students should complete the minor plan form once they have declared a major.

Minor forms and requirements are detailed here

HumBio Core

Am I prepared for the Core?

Yes. The HumBio Core is designed to prepare all students to succeed. There are no prerequisites for the Human Biology Core except for Winter quarter in HumBio 3A which requires college chemistry or completion of the HumBio Core online chemistry lecture series during fall quarter. Our expectations may differ from those you have encountered in prior academic experiences. We ask you to go beyond simply absorbing basic facts, to analyze evidence and apply your knowledge. Students in the core engage with the material through problem sets, discussion sections, papers, and exams. Over the course of the year, the mission is to further develop students' communication, data analysis, and scientific literacy skills in the process of exploring Human Biology.

What is the HumBio Core?

The Human Biology Core delves into the natural and social sciences and, most importantly, the relationship between the two. It is a year-long sequence of six courses for a total of 30 units typically started in the Fall of Sophomore year. In general, the "A-side" focuses on the biological sciences such as Human Genetics, Evolution, Ecology, Cellular Development, and Human Physiology, and the "B-side" focuses on Human Culture, Society, Environmental & Health Policy, Behavior, and Development.

Do I have to take the A-side and B-side of the Core at the same time?

If you are planning to be a major, we highly recommend taking both sides concurrently. Students however can take them separately; there is not a petition or waiver needed to do so. Majors should indicate in SFACT their plans to complete the Core. 

When can I start the Core?

Students should start the core in Autumn Quarter of the sophomore year. Freshmen are strongly advised to wait to start the HumBio Core Sequence until the Autumn of sophomore year. If you are starting the Core as an upperclassman, we recommend meeting with student services to notify them of your academic plans.

Advising & Declaring

How do I start the declaration process? When can I declare?

Students can start the declaration process with our student advisors. Once they have completed two core courses, students have access to SFACT, our course planning tool.

For more details and the declaration policy, visit: Declaring the Human Biology Major.

How do I know if a course is Breadth or Depth eligible?

First, a course in Breadth or Depth must be related to the student's chosen area of concentration. Beyond that, Human Biology is unique because every class used in the Depth requirement has been reviewed for its eligibility. Each Depth class must be 3 or more units. If it is listed under Human Biology’s Program, you will know it is Depth eligible if it is a 100+ number.

You can find a list of depth-eligible courses on the Finding Courses page. If a course is not listed, ask a Student Advisor or Student Services Officer to verify its eligibility. Our advising team will need a syllabus of the class if it has not been reviewed before.

Can I make changes to my course of study after I declare?

Yes. Any changes you make require approval from Student Services, though. Student Advisors are excellent resources to get preliminary approval, but Student Services Officers give final approvals.

Where can I find the deadline information?

You can find details about advising and deadlines on our advising page here.


Can I do research in HumBio?

Absolutely! HumBio offers a research exploration program for rising Juniors who have completed all of or part of the Core. You do not need to have a pre-existing relationship with a lab to participate! In fact, this program is a great opportunity for students with no prior research experience.

Do I have to be declared to participate in HB-REX?

It is expected that you declare the major in Human Biology prior to starting HB-REX if you are eligible. HB-REX is only open to majors and minors in HumBio.