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Evolution and Ecology

Undergraduate Advising and Planning Information for Evolution, Ecology & Biodiversity (EEB) Students

Advising Staff

To help you meet your EEB program goals, there are many levels of advising available to you: from our Master and Faculty Advisors, to Peer and Undergraduate Advisors.

  • Master Advisor, Dr. Arthur Shapiro

    6347-49 Storer Hall, 752-2225,

    Office Hours: MWF 9-10 a.m. or by appointment. Usually also at the MU Coffee House 7:30-8:30 a.m., M-F, just east of the coffee bar (and available for consultation).

    The Acting Master Advisor for the EEB major is Dr. Art Shapiro. He is knowledgeable in the material taught in the major and in the courses offered. Dr. Shapiro can also assist students with study plans and recommend courses they should take depending on their interests. Courses taken abroad or in other universities are approved by the master advisor as well. He has the authority to assign a faculty advisor for undergraduates, too.

  • Undergraduate Advisor, Mary Aften

    1023 Sciences Lab Building, 752-6717,,

    Mary Aften is the undergraduate advisor for students in the Evolution, Ecology & Biodiversity major. She also provides advising for those Biological Science students who have declared the Evolution, Ecology & Biodiversity or Marine Biology Area of Emphasis. She can evaluate study plans for proper course sequences, perform major degree checks, and provide general information on graduate school and various careers. You can either set up an appointment or just drop in during those hours. It is essential that you meet with the undergraduate advisor at least well before the quarter in which you plan to graduate. You will be able to go over a final degree check and confirm that all major requirements will be fulfilled. You may also like to periodically meet with your faculty advisor (see below) to further discuss any course particulars as well as post-graduation topics such as graduate school or careers.

  • Faculty Advisors

    Faculty Advisors are assigned on a rotating basis, unless a student indicates a particular area of interest within Evolution, Ecology and Biodiversity. When you inquire about declaring the major, the undergraduate advisor will assign a faculty advisor. (You may request a particular advisor if you prefer, but that advisor may not be available if they’re not in the current rotation or are overloaded). The advisor you are assigned to will be your permanent advisor, through to graduation, unless a change in advisor assignment is approved. It is especially important to meet with your faculty advisor at your mid-career point, i.e., end of the second year or beginning of your third year. The faculty advisor and undergraduate advisor can both ensure that you are on track to graduate, and can provide some much-needed advice on planning your courses to meet major requirements and your goals after graduation.

Other Advising Resources

Declaring the Major

Students may be admitted to UCD in the Evolution, Ecology and Biodiversity major if they so indicate on their applications. Many students will have to file a change of major to be considered Evolution, Ecology and Biodiversity major. Even if you are admitted in the major, it would be a great idea to make an appointment with the undergraduate advisor (Mary Aften; 530-752-6717,, or via the website, to discuss major requirements, and to be assigned a faculty advisor. The declaration/change of major form is a single sheet. It is signed by the new advisor, the previous advisor, and the Colleges involved. The colleges will notify you if only if there are questions; otherwise you will note the approved change of major in SISWEB. The change of major form is available from BASC, 1023 Sciences Lab Building, or online at

Continuing students may declare a major at any time but must declare by the time they reach 90 units in the College of Biological Sciences (CBS). Of course, you may change your major later if you like. Transfer students may not change majors during their first quarter as registered UCD students.

Planning Your Program

Evolution, Ecology and Biodiversity is a demanding major. You should plan ahead as far as possible, noting in which quarters your required courses will be offered. Remember, not all courses are offered each quarter or even each year! Many upper division courses are offered on an alternate year basis.

Plan your program by noting all your requirements, for your major and for graduation, and tick them off one by one as you schedule the appropriate courses in the appropriate quarter. Keep in mind flexibility in scheduling courses… there may not be enough room in a particular course, they might be canceled or shifted to another quarter, or there might be a time conflict. If in doubt about when a course will be offered, verify this with the office of the department offering the course.

Check in with the Undergraduate Advisor frequently to be sure you are on track toward graduation. Remember, your advisor does your EEB major degree check and must know your schedules and plans. In especially difficult cases, or where there is a dispute about interpretation of the rules, consult the EEB Master Advisor.

Major Modifications

Contact the Undergraduate Advisor if you’d like to:

  • substitute a course for a required course in the Evolution, Ecology and Biodiversity major

  • satisfy a requirement with a course not listed as satisfying that requirement

  • intend to undertake any education abroad and wish to have it count toward the EEB major

Your advisor can approve these changes if they are in your best interest, but we do not provide outright waivers of course requirements. Lower-division courses are normally waived ONLY if the equivalent material has been taken elsewhere or the student has Advanced Placement Credit. Immediately upon matriculating, transfer students should have courses taken elsewhere validated in the major by the undergraduate advisor. Contact Mary Aften by phone (530-752-6717), email, or via the website to make an appointment.

Special Study for Undergraduates: Research Units (EVE 99 and 199)

These are EVE courses that put you together with a professor and/or graduate student. You can assist a professor or graduate student with their research, or perhaps do individual study in the lab, in the library, or in the field on a topic of special interest to you. To help you find a willing professor, we’ve included a list of the faculty and their own research interests on our website. The EVE 99 or 199 courses offer a unique opportunity to acquire special knowledge or skills and to establish a personal working relationship with a faculty member. They may be taken for up to 5 units each quarter, however, only 4 units total of this sort count toward your EEB upper division requirements. (See the General Catalog for credit limitations on special study courses in the College of Biological Sciences.) EVE 199 units may not be applied to the upper division laboratory requirement in the B.S. program.

Internships (EVE 92 & 192)

The Department of Evolution and Ecology offers unit credit for internships under the Internship and Career program. Such internships are arranged jointly through the Departmental Office and the Internship and Career Center. The following guidelines apply to all 92 and 192 courses:

  1. All internships must be of demonstrable intellectual merit and must supplement regular course work and be consistent with a reasonable definition of the discipline of Evolution, Ecology and Biodiversity.

    Thus, museum or aquarium internships will usually merit credit. Work in the Vet School, Vet Med Teaching Hospital, or Primate Center is potentially appropriate if it involves intellectual content, i.e., routine maintenance of lab animals or performance of simple research procedures should not get credit, but reading in the primary literature or carrying out actual research with exposure to methods of experimental design and data interpretation may. Work such as volunteer time at a hospital emergency room or as a “veterinary assistant” does not qualify.

  2. Whether on or off campus, all 92’s and 192’s must include some form of written work. This may take the form of a paper, a daily journal, etc.

  3. Indirectly-sponsored internships must incorporate some formal basis for credit. Your immediate on-site supervisor should provide your faculty sponsor with a written evaluation of your performance and what you got out of it. You may request that this evaluation become part of your advising file.

  4. Unit credit may not be figured as more than 1 unit per 3 hours/week for work, and will normally be less.

  5. 192 units may not be applied to the upper division laboratory requirement in the B.S. program.

Honors in the Major

You may be eligible for Honors, High Honors, or Highest Honors at graduation. CBS requires a minimum GPA that changes quarterly (based on previous graduating classes and the amount of units completed at UCD).

Additionally, the Department of Evolution and Ecology awards citations to graduating seniors who have demonstrated extraordinary achievement in the major. Students must have a GPA of 3.6 or higher and have completed undergraduate research of some kind. An EVE committee will nominate appropriate recipients of this award.