Biology Undergraduate Scholars Program (BUSP)

Academic Level
Issue Area
Academic Program
Key Personnel
Program Focus
First Year Support,
Undergraduate Research


The Biology Undergraduate Scholars Program (BUSP) is a large-scale, professional development program for underrepresented minority (URM), socio-economically disadvantaged, and disabled students in life sciences majors. The program takes a holistic approach to assisting students to thrive academically and personally through supplemental education in chemistry, calculus, and biology; through sound academic and personal advising by experienced professional staff and faculty advisors; and, through practical experience in the discipline afforded by internships in research laboratories.

Program Description

The program was initiated with the goal of increasing the performance and persistence of URM, disadvantaged, and disabled students in biology majors at the University of California -- Davis (UCD). Over time, BUSP goals have evolved to include preparing students to pursue post-baccalaureate programs, such as doctoral studies and/or human and veterinary medicine studies.


BUSP students significantly out-persist and out-perform their majority group peers (MGPs) in foundational courses (Introductory Calculus, Chemistry and Biology). BUSP students who entered the College of Biological Sciences (CBS) between 2010 and 2014 persisted in the foundational courses at a rate of 77% (compared to their MGPs at 61%), and achieved a mean GPA in these courses of 3.21 (compared to their MGPs at 2.98). BUSP students (2002-2005 and 2006-2009 entrants) were retained to graduation at a higher rate (72% and 58%, respectively), and graduated with comparable total GPAs (3.12 and 3.04, respectively) in comparison to all CBS entrants (2002-2009) (who were retained at 50% with a mean total graduating GPA of 3.12). For a more relevant comparison all CBS entrants (2002-2010) who were URM, disadvantaged, or URM & disadvantaged had graduation rates of 43.2%, 47.8%, and 27.1%, respectively. Since its inception in 1988, BUSP has provided academic enrichment activities to over 1,400 students. The incoming 2017 cohort consists of 59 student, of whom 81.4% are Hispanic. Up to 60 freshmen are admitted annually.