IB Major FAQ

What are the differences between the 2 emphases?

  • All lower division requirements are the same for both emphases.
  • Each has a specific area of concentration: Ecology, Evolution and Organismal Biology (EEOB or Emphasis 1) and Integrative Human Biology (Hum Bio or Emphasis 2).
  • Each emphasis has slightly different upper division requirements.
  • Students in both emphases must earn and maintain a 2.0 GPA in the major and in all upper division IB-required coursework.

Under the IB curriculum:

  • All students are required to take ONE course from Requirement Group A (Evolution & Genetics), regardless of which emphasis they intend.
  • All students must take at least ONE course from both Requirement Group B (Ecology, Behavior and Diversity) and Requirement Group C (Structure, Function and Human Health), but the number of courses required in each group differs between the two emphases.
  • All IB majors must also complete TWO labs (these may be taken with a Requirement Group course), with Emphasis 1 students required to take at least one field lab. See the table below for details.
  • Lastly, IB students declared under one of these emphases must complete a minimum of 24 UD units in the major in order to graduate from IB.

Please consult the table below for a breakdown of the requirements for each curriculum.

Lower Division Requirements

IB 77A or 77B; Math 10A/10B or Math1A/1B; Chem 1A/1AL, 3A/3AL, 3B/3BL, Bio 1A/1AL, 1B; Physics 8A, 8B

Upper Division Requirements

Requirement Group Emphasis 1:
Ecology, Evolution and Organismal Biology
Emphasis 2:
Integrative Human Biology
A. Evolution & Genetics 1 from Requirement Group A List 
B. Ecology, Behavior, & Diversity 2 from Req. Group B List 1 from Req. Group B List
C. Structure, Function & Human Health 1 from Req. Group C List  2 from Req. Group C List
one course must be IB 131 or 132
Electives Enough units to bring student up to 24 required UD units.
Max. of 2 elective courses may be taken outside of IB
Lab/Field 2 Labs; one must be field-based 2 Labs
Research or honors Research is NOT required but up to 3 credits of research-based IB H196A, H196B, or IB 191 may count towards UD unit requirement
UD Units 24 minimum


Will my emphasis show up on my transcript or diploma?

No.  Your diploma will read “Bachelor of Arts in Integrative Biology.” The emphases are not official designations; they are intended to provide our students more clarity while pursuing the topics most interesting to them, and while preparing for graduate or professional schools.


Why am I earning a B.A. instead of a B.S.?

The word "Arts" in Bachelor of Arts does not mean arts in the modern sense. You are receiving a "liberal arts" degree in the classical sense: the term refers to those subjects that in were considered essential for a free citizen to study in ancient Rome–and those subjects included mathematics and astronomy! Like Harvard undergraduates, who also earn a BA degree, you attend a liberal arts college. A liberal arts education will ensure that you graduate with both a depth of knowledge in your major and a breadth of knowledge across the disciplines, making you well prepared or a range of future graduate school and career options.

Specifically, the Integrative Biology major is housed within the College of Letters & Science, and designed to balance depth in the science, and breadth and knowledge of more than just your major, such as anthropology, legal studies, economics, etc. Many students use this opportunity to declare a minor and/or demonstrate success in multiple subject areas. Students earning the BA in IB have been successful in medical/health-related programs, graduate school, and work in the a multitude of areas.