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GDB Courses and Degree Requirements

The Global Disease Biology (GDB) academic major provides students with broad preparatory scientific course work, GDB core courses, flexibility in upper division electives, and a strong research experience. The GDB core courses (GDB 90, SAS 13, PMI 129Y, VME 158, GDB 101, GDB 102, and GDB 187) are intended to be transdisciplinary and focus on concepts that cut across human, animal, and plant diseases offering a unifying ecological and quantitative perspective on disease. Students will also be required to take a minimum of two pathogen courses, although they can certainly take more as restricted electives.

These classes provide depth on specific pathogen groups (e.g., bacteria, viruses, fungi, macroparasites) or diseases of specific hosts (e.g., plants, animals). Students prepare for their GDB junior and senior year through a required discussion course (GDB 187) and are encouraged to customize their GDB experience by putting together, in consultation with their faculty advisor, an interest-driven set of GDB restricted electives. Students may draw from many undergraduate and even graduate-level courses currently offered on disease and health in a way that compliments the core courses required for the GDB major.

The major also includes a senior research project (GDB 189) that involves 1 or 2 quarters of independent study or research under the guidance of a faculty mentor. Projects may be off campus with a non-UC Davis mentor, but students must also have an on campus faculty member as a co-mentor.

GDB Core Course Descriptions

GDB 90: Introduction to Global Disease Biology (1 unit)
Seminar - 1 hours. Introduction to the Global Disease Biology major, research and internship opportunities, and potential career paths in human, animal, and plant health. Communication, ethics and the nature of science.
SAS 13: Disease and Society (3 units)
Lecture - 3 hours. Limited enrollment. Introduction to the concept of disease, the societal and personal impacts of past, present and future diseases, and the science behind disease discoveries, causes, evolution, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention. GE credit: SciEng or SocSci
PMI 129Y: One Health: Human, Animal & Environment Interfaces (3 units)
Lecture - 1 hours, Discussion (online) - 2 hours. Introduction to fundamentals, challenges, and opportunities in One Health using local and global health case studies. Animal, human, plant, and environmental health problems, along with tools and transdisciplinary approaches, will be introduced to foster innovative thinking that addresses complex issues. This is a hybrid course with both classroom meetings and online discussions. GE credit: SciEng or SocSci, Oral Skills, Scientific Literacy
VME 158: Infectious Disease in Ecology and Conservation (3 units)
Lecture - 3 hours. Introduction to the dynamics and control of infectious disease in wildlife, including zoonotic diseases and those threatening endangered species. Basic epidemiological models and application to field data. Scientists' role in developing disease control policies.
GDB 101: Epidemiology (4 units)
Lecture - 3 hours, Lab - 3 hours. Principles and practice of epidemiology as applied to human, animal, and plant populations and the environment in which these populations co-exist. Quantitative analysis of both infectious and non-infectious disease. Inter-dependence between epidemiological analysis, decision-making and policy formulation will be highlighted.
GDB 102: Disease Intervention and Policy (4 units)
Lecture - 3 hours, Discussion - 1 hour. Examination of the prevention and treatment of diseases affecting humans, animals, and plants. Case studies will illustrate the merits of a unified approach to promoting health at local, regional, and global scales.
GDB 187: Global Disease Biology Seminar (3 units)
Seminar - 1 hour; discussion - 1 hour; term paper. Prerequisite: GDB 90, SAS 13. Open to junior standing; Global Disease Biology majors. Seminar leading to development of the research proposal and academic plan for the Global Disease Biology major.

Requirements for a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree in Global Disease Biology

The GDB degree requirement includes 64-66 units of Preparatory Subject Matter, 44-47 units of Depth Subject Matter, and at least 25 units of Restricted Electives, for a minimum total of 133-138 units. Students transferring from a community college, state college, or another university are encouraged to contact our GDB academic staff (gdb-advise@ucdavis.edu) with questions about if and how their UC-transferable units might waive one or more GDB course requirements. A degree in GDB from UC Davis covers the standard prerequisites for many health profession schools (e.g. medical school, veterinary medicine, physician assistants, nursing, dental school, physical therapy, clinical lab sciences), but additional requirements may exist, for example additional quarters of Organic Chemistry and Physics; we recommend that students wanting to follow these career paths plan accordingly and check with individual schools and consult campus resources (e.g. http://hpa.ucdavis.edu/prehealthrequirements/index.html). Students may also chose to minor in GDB; requirements are listed at the bottom of this page.

Preparatory Subject Matter (64-66 units)

Class Units Offered
GDB 90 Introduction to Global Disease Biology 1 F,S
SAS 13 Disease and Society 3 W
BIS 2A/B/C Introduction to Biology 15 F,W,S
CHE 2A General Chemistry 5 F,W
CHE 2B General Chemistry 5 W,S
CHE 2C General Chemistry 5 F,S
ONE of the following course combinations: 6-8
CHE 8A/B Organic Chemistry: Brief Course (6) F,W(8B),S(8A)
CHE 118A/B Organic Chemistry for Health and Life Sciences (8) F,W,S
PHY 7A/B General Physics 8 F,W,S
MAT 17A/B Calculus for Biology and Medicine 8 F,W,S
MAT 17C Calculus for Biology and Medicine 4 S
ONE of the following courses: 4
STA 13 Elementary Statistics (4) F,W,S
STA 100 Applied Statistics for Biological Sciences (4) F,W,S
PLS 120 Applied Statistics in Agricultural Science (4) F

Depth Subject Matter (44-47 units)

Class Units Offered
BIS 101* Genes and Gene Expression 4 F,W,S
BIS 105 Biomolecules and Metabolism 3 F,W,S
EVE 100 Introduction to Evolution 4 F,W,S
MIC 102* Introductory Microbiology Lecture 4 F,W,S
MIC 103L* Introductory Microbiology Lab 2 F,W,S
PMI 129Y One Health: Human, Animal & Environment Interfaces 3 F
VME 158 Infectious Disease in Ecology and Conservation 3 W
GDB 101 Epidemiology 4 W
GDB 102 Disease Intervention and Policy 4 S
TWO of the following pathogen/disease courses: 6-9
PLP 120 Introduction to Plant Pathology (4) F,S
PMI 127 Medical Bacteria and Fungi (5) S
PMI 128 Biology of Animal Viruses or MIC 162 General Virology (3-4) S or W
ENT 153 Medical Entomology (3) W
ENT 156 Biology of Parasitism (ENT 156L is optional) (3-4) S
GDB 103 The Microbiome of People, Animals and Plants (3) F
GDB 187 Global Disease Biology Seminar 3 F,S
GDB 189 Global Disease Biology Senior Research 3 F,W,S,Su
GDB 189D Global Disease Biology Research Discussion 1 F,W,S

*These classes may be taken as summer courses abroad, see http://studyabroad.ucdavis.edu/programs/summerabroad/index.html for details.

Restricted Electives - Minimum 25 units

These are typically upper division courses that are identified by the student with help of their faculty research mentor and with approval from GDB Academic or Master Advisors. Restricted Electives offer the student an opportunity to specialize and to personalize their GDB degree. Below are some examples of restricted electives taken by current or past GDB students. Depending on interest, many other courses not listed below could serve as electives; see the UC Davis General catalog (http://catalog.ucdavis.edu/programs.html). The courses below are grouped into broad areas only as examples; there would be no requirement to take a certain number of classes from each group. Before enrolling, students chould check any prerequisites of their restricted electives.

Examples of disease/microbe courses:

  • ENT 100: General Entomology (4)
  • ENT 100L: General Entomology Lab (2) Lab
  • ETX 101: Principles of Environmental Toxicology (4)
  • ETX 146: Exposure and Dose Assessment
  • EVE 161: Microbial Phylogenomics
  • FST 104: Food Microbiology (3)
  • FST 104L: Food Microbiology Lab (4)
  • IDI 141: Infectious diseases of humans (1)
  • MMI 115: Ecological parasitology (3)
  • MMI 116: Parasitology for wildlife biologists (3)
  • MMI 130: Medical mycology (3)
  • NEM 110: Introductory Nematology (2)
  • NPB 107: Cell Signaling in Health and Disease (3)
  • PLP 123: Plant-virus-vector interactions (3) (alternate years)
  • PLP 130: Fungal Biotechnology and Biochemistry (3)
  • PLP 148: Introductory Mycology (4) Lab
  • PLP 150: Fungal Ecology (3)
  • PLS 174: Microbiology and safety of fresh fruits and vegetables (3)
  • SAS 110: Application of evolution in medicine, human behavior, and agriculture (4)

Examples of host courses:

  • BIS 104: Cell Biology (3)
  • BIS 181: Comparative Genomics
  • CHA 101: Human Gross Anatomy
  • ESP 100: General Ecology (4)
  • EVE 101: Introduction to Ecology (4)
  • MCB 182: Principles of Genomics
  • MMI 188: Human Immunology (3)
  • NPB 101: Systemic Physiology (5)
  • NPB 102: Animal Behavior
  • NPB 107: Signaling Health/Disease
  • PLB 111: Plant Physiology (3)
  • NPB 123: Comparative Vertebrate Organology (4) Lab
  • PMI 126: Fundamentals of Immunology (3)
  • PSC 126: Health Psychology
  • WFC 130: Physiological Ecology of Wildlife

Examples of social/policy courses:

  • ANT 129: Health and Medicine in a Global Context (4)
  • FAP 195: Hlth Care Und Pop
  • HIS 109B: Environmental Change, Disease and Public Health (4)
  • PLP 140: Agricultural Biotechnology and Policy
  • SAS 121: Global poverty: Critical thinking and taking action (4)
  • SOC 154: Health and Illness
  • SPH 101: Perspectives in Community Health (3)
  • SPH 101: Intro to Public Health
  • STS 121: Medical Anthropology

GDB Minor

Listed below are the requirements for an academic minor in Global Disease Biology. Some of these courses have prerequisites that are not included as part of the minor, and students should plan accordingly. Total number of units: 20-22.

Class Units Offered
SAS 13 Disease and Society 3 W
PMI 129Y One Health: Human, Animal & Environment Interfaces 3 F
VME 158 Infectious Disease in Ecology and Conservation 3 W
GDB 101 Epidemiology 4 W
GDB 102 Disease Intervention and Policy 4 S
ONE of the following pathogen/disease courses: 3-5
PLP 120 Introduction to Plant Pathology (4) F,S
PMI 127 Medical Bacteria and Fungi (5) S
PMI 128 Biology of Animal Viruses (3) S
MIC 162 General Virology (3-4) W
ENT 153 Medical Entomology (3) W
ENT 156 Biology of Parasitism (ENT 156L is optional) (3-4) S
GDB 103 The Microbiome of People, Animals and Plants (3) F


Contact GDB Advising

(530) 754-4131 or gdb-advise@ucdavis.edu

Other Degree Requirements

To earn a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree in Global Disease Biology, a student must satisfy not only the GDB major requirements (as explained on this page), but also these others:
Link to GDB Facebook page


Contact GDB Advising

(530) 754-4131 or gdb-advise@ucdavis.edu

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