Sep 27, 2023
The general education, writing, foreign language and diversity requirements for a degree in the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences apply. All students take foundational courses in biological sciences, chemistry, math, statistics and physics. Marine biology is the study of life in oceans and other saltwater environments. The marine biology emphasis focuses on the biology of marine organisms, their interactions with the environment and emergent properties of the ecosystems that arise from these interactions. The program addresses this field across multiple levels of organization, from the ecology of microbial populations and their role in the cycling of nutrients and energy in the ocean, through to the physiological and genetic mechanisms that enable marine organisms to adapt to the dynamic and often extreme environments in the ocean. The conditions in the oceans are also changing at an unprecedented rate because oceans play a critical role in climate change, absorbing much of the anthropogenic carbon dioxide and associated heat from global warming. The emphasis enables students to understand the biological effects that warming, ocean acidification and deoxygenation will have on marine biodiversity and the ecosystem services that the oceans provide the planet.
Lower-Division BISC Core Courses (8 units)
Collateral Sciences Courses (32 units)
General Chemistry Requirement: 8 units
Organic Chemistry Requirement: 8 units
Calculus Requirement: 4 units
Statistics Requirement: 4 units
Physics Requirement: 8 units
Introduction to Research-Active Faculty (1 to 2 units)
Enroll in one or both courses.
Upper-Division Core Courses (12 units)
Research-Based Learning Requirement (2 to 8 units)
Select at least one course from the course options listed below. Courses cannot count for more than one degree requirement.
Marine Biology Seminar Requirement (2 units)
Enroll in a marine biology emphasis-relevant section of the seminar course.
Marine Biology Capstone Course Requirement (4 units)
Select one capstone course from the options listed below. Courses cannot count toward more than one degree requirement.
Upper-Division Electives (8 to 12 units)
Select two to three electives from the course options listed below. Courses cannot count toward more than one degree requirement.
Scholarship in Major Subject
The department requires that students receive a grade no lower than C- in the five lower- and upper-division core courses. Students must maintain a 2.0 GPA in the upper-division course work required for the major, as well as an overall 2.0 GPA. All major core courses must be taken on a letter grade basis
Honors Program in Biological Sciences
The department offers an honors program to outstanding students already pursuing studies for the BA or BS degree in Biological Sciences. This program offers students an opportunity to participate in undergraduate research, experience in writing an honors thesis summarizing the completed research, and experience in an honors seminar. Honors students are required to take two semesters of BISC 493x Honors Seminar (1 unit/ - semester) and one semester of BISC 494x Honors Thesis (2 units) in addition to fulfilling all requirements of the BA or BS degree. Honors students must also choose BISC 490x as one of their upper division electives. This program leads to the designation on the transcript of Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences with Honors.
Honors Admission Requirements
Students may apply to the department for admission to the honors program after having completed at least one year of work at USC with a minimum GPA of 3.5 in all science and math courses required for the major.
Honors Scholarship Requirements
For continuation in the honors programs, students must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.5 in the sciences and mathematics courses required for the major.