Undergraduate Frequently Asked Questions


  • What is Biological Systems Engineering?
  • In the simplest terms, Biological Systems Engineering is the combination of engineering and non-medical biology. Biological systems engineers use biology to solve today’s big problems, like developing renewable biofuels and bioenergy, creating sustainable biomaterials and bioproducts, improving sustainable agricultural practices and more. Click here to learn more about biological systems engineers.
  • What jobs are available to students who graduate in Biological Systems Engineering?
  • The breadth of our curriculum allows graduates to find employment in a variety of positions and industries, including biotech, medicine, government, bioscience, diagnostics, academia, energy, business, veterinary medicine, material design, and more. Click here to learn more about the many careers biological systems engineers go into.
  • How do I remove my annual advising hold?
  • Once a year, students are required to meet with the Undergraduate Program Advisor to discuss their educational, professional, and personal goal and challenges. To remove the hold...
    1.  Visit students.ucdavis.edu and click Forms & Petitions > Submit a New Form > Academic Plan
    2. Create a 3-quarter Academic Plan to the best of your abilities
    3. Make an advising appointment with the Undergraduate Program Advisor in the Biological and Agricultural Engineering office
    4. Make an appointment with your assigned faculty mentor
  • How do I meet with my faculty mentor?
  • After meeting with the Undergraduate Program Coordinator, you will be assigned a faculty mentor to further discuss your academic and professional goals. Faculty mentors can help you determine which electives to take, find a lab internship, decide if graduate school is right for you, and more. You will need to reach out directly to your faculty advisor to schedule an appointment.
  • What courses can I take for elective credit?
  • Always check the UC Davis General Catalog for the most up-to-date requirements.

    Biological System Engineering electives - 4 upper-division units from any EBS course EXCEPT those already required by the major and EBS 189-199.

    Engineering electives - 3 upper-division units from any ENG, EBS, BIM, ECM, ECH, EMS, ECI, ECS, EEC, EME, or EAE course EXCEPT those already required by the major, ECI 123, ECI 188, ENG 160, and all courses numbered 191-198. ENG 190 can only be used for 2 engineering elective units.

    Biological Sciences electives - 4 upper-division units from any BIS, MCB, EVE, EXB, MIC, NPB, or PLB course EXCEPT BIS 132; EVE 175; EXB 102, 112, 115, 120, 121, 124, 125, 148; and all courses number 190-199. The following courses may also be taken as biological sciences electives: ABT 161; ANS 118, 143, 144, 146; ATM 133; AVS 100; CHA 101, 101L; ENT 100; ENH 102; ESM 120; ESP 100, 110, 155; ETX 101, 131; FST 102A, 104L, 119, 128, 159; IDI 141; SSC 100; WFC 121.
  • What if I want to use an unlisted course for a biological sciences elective?
  • If you would like to take a class not approved in the catalog for biological sciences elective credit, please submit the following:

    1.  A syllabus for the course. This can be obtained from the instructor or department offering the course.
    2. A brief letter describing (a) why you believe this course should count as a biological science course, and (b) why you would like to use this course as a biological sciences elective rather than an approved course in the catalog.

    Please email both of these documents as Word or PDF files to BAEAdvising@ucdavis the quarter before you intend on taking the course. Petitions can take up to one month to process. Retroactive petitions will not be accepted.
  • How can I get GE credit for a transfer course?
  • Many transfer courses come to UC Davis as TR1s or TR2s (check OASIS for this notation). What this means is that the course did not transfer as a direct UC Davis course but is still eligible for transfer--and GE--credit. To receive GE credit for the course...

    1. Check Assist.org. If the course has a direct transfer in Assist, but not on your academic record, email BAEAdvising@ucdavis.edu to have your record corrected.
    2. If the course does not have a direct transfer in Assist, bring the course syllabus to the department that would offer the course at UC Davis (ex: bring a MUS course to the Music Dept.) with a Request for Transfer Credit form.
    3. The department will determine how the course should transfer and let you know when to pick up the form. Bring the completed form to 1050 Kemper for processing.

    If the department determines there is no direct course equivalent, submit a GE petition through OASIS with the course syllabus attached.
  • I want to take courses at a community college over summer. What will they transfer as?
  • Assist.org has all current transfer agreements with California Community Colleges.

    If you would like to take a course at an institution not listed on Assist.org, email BAEAdvising@ucdavis.edu with a copy of the course syllabus or course description for preliminary transfer equivalency determination.
  • How do I get course credit for interning in a lab?
  • Complete the Variable Unit Course Request form with your supervising faculty member. Return the completed form to 2030 Bainer for a CRN. Forms are due by the 10th day of instruction.
  • I’m having trouble with some of my classes. Where can I go for help?
  • First, make sure you are attending lectures and taking effective notes.

    If you have one (or a few!) specific questions about course material, TA or professor office hours can be extremely beneficial.

    The UC Davis campus also has free tutoring available for many lower-division major requirement.

    If you feel that you need more help with study skills than specific course materials, consider meeting with a Learning Strategist or attending a Success Workshop.
  • I’m stressed out and there’s a lot going on in my personal life. Is there help on campus?
  • YES! UC Davis offers free and low-cost counseling options for students. It can sometimes take 2-3 weeks to get an appointment, so schedule an appointment as soon as you think you may benefit from one. You can always cancel later if you decide you do not want to go.

    For 24/7 help, text “Relate” to 741741.

    If your academic performance is beginning to suffer because of something happening in your personal life, contact the Undergraduate Program Coordinator to determine what academic options are available to you (late drops, withdrawals, incomplete, etc.). Many options are time sensitive, so reach out as soon as you think you are having difficulty.
  • I want to find an internship or job but don’t know where to start. Where do I go?
  • The Internship and Career Center can help you with every step of the internship or job hunt -- from drafting your first resume to negotiating salary. This service is available to all students and recent graduates (up to one year after graduation). There website has helpful information on a variety of topics to get your started, and career advisors are available for more specific assistance and resume/cover letter editing.