Computational and Systems Biology B.S.

College of Letters and Science

Interdepartmental Program

About the Major

The major in Computational & Systems Biology is designed primarily for highly motivated undergraduates interested in interdisciplinary activities in life sciences, behavioral sciences, and the computational, control, communication and information branches of engineering and computer science. Primary emphasis is on integrative computational and systems biology studies. Preparation for the major consists of a broad foundation in basic sciences -- chemistry, biology, physics, and mathematics, plus an introduction to computing. The major itself provides foundations in mathematical modeling, simulation, computational and information analysis, with an emphasis on quantitative ideas, integrative systems concepts and methodologies. Mathematical, computational and other analytical skills are central to the major.

Students in the Major have several options for in-depth studies: a coherent integration of courses selected from one of five designated concentrations in systems biology, bioinformatics, neurosystems, biomedical systems or computer systems; or from the broader concentration areas of life sciences, behavioral sciences, engineering and applied mathematical sciences, or an integration of courses from these areas.


Computational and Systems Biology Interdepartmental Program in the General Catalog
Computational and Systems Biology Interdepartmental Program website

Contact Information

Computational and Systems Biology Interdepartmental Program
102 Hershey Hall
Box 951600

Choosing Your Course of Study at UCLA

Making the Right Decision

One of the most important decisions you will make in college is your choice of major — the field of study that represents your principal interest and that will likely contribute to your career goals. Some students select their major at the time they fill out the University’s application for admission, although a far greater number are undecided about their major.

Students in the College of Letters and Science do not need to declare their major in their freshman year. In fact, you can be an “undeclared major” until the end of your sophomore year, which is particularly advantageous if you are not certain of your specific academic goals. It is wise to wait and explore the diversity of subject areas offered at UCLA through taking introductory courses in a variety of disciplines. It would not be unusual for you to become enthusiastic about disciplines previously unfamiliar to you. With careful planning, these courses may also apply toward fulfilling your university and college requirements.

To narrow your choice of study, carefully consider the general college requirements, the description of courses offered in the major, and the departmental requirements for completing the program of study. Look at the books required for each course. Sit in on a few classes and talk with professors during their office hours. Discuss interests and plans with a departmental counselor or faculty adviser, a college counselor, or advisers in the UCLA Career Center.

Certain majors, especially in the arts, engineering, the sciences, and theater, film, or television require early declaration. Some have enrollment quotas and allow application by new majors only during a specified term. Students should check with the departmental adviser for the majors that interest them.

In addition, UCLA undergraduate students are limited to between 208 and 216 quarter units, depending on the college or school, to complete the academic program and fulfill all degree requirements. So, if you wait to declare a major, you should not wait too long. In any case, you must declare your major by the beginning of your junior year (90 quarter units).

When you are ready to declare your major, you should obtain a Petition for Change of Major from your college or school office.