Undergraduate Programs & Degrees

Biology Degree Concentrations

Most students are well served by the basic B.A. plan, without a concentration. Some however, select one of the following concentrations for a B.A. or B.S. degree. These degrees share a common lower-division core, hence beginning students need not select a plan immediately. The B.A. program leaves more flexibility for electives and a minor. The B.S. requires more physical science, mathematics, and total units. Upon completion of specified course work, a concentration will be designated on the transcript and diploma. Students should contact the department for specific requirements.

Biology Degree Concentrations
Bachelor of Arts Bachelor of Science
Botany Marine Biology
Zoology Molecular and Cell Biology
  Ecology, Evolution and Conservation

Preparing for Applying to Health Professions

Students majoring in biology intending to pursue careers in the allied health fields may follow the guidelines for a B.S. degree of a B.A. degree (with the addition of MATH 161, CHEM 335B, and PHYS 210AB and 209AB). They are encouraged to enroll in SCI 150, Introduction to Careers in the Health Professions, during their first fall semester.

For admission to most health profession schools, regardless of major, it is typically recommended or required that specific biology courses be incorporated into the B.A. or B.S. degree. These include:

Recommended Pre-Health Courses
  Premedical Prevet Predental
BIOL 342 Molecular Genetics (4)
BIOL 472 Developmental Biology (4)
BIOL 349 Animal Physiology (4)
BIOL 328 Vetebrate Evolutionary Morphology
BIOL 344 Cell Biology (4)
BIOL 340 General Bacteriology
BIOL 307 Human Nutrition
BIOL 480 Immunology

Secondary Education Teaching Credential Preparation in Life Science

Contact the department chair for information on completing a biological sciences concentration for a Single Subject Credential Preparation Program.

Lower-Division Core Requirements

An introduction to the unifying principles of biology, to all kingdoms of living organisms, to evolution, genetics and ecology, and to the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying the fundamental processes of life. The intention of this core is to develop an awareness of the broad scope of modern biology.

Lower Division Core Requirements
Course Units
MATH 165 Elementary Statistics (applies in GE) 4
CHEM 115AB/116AB General Chemistry (5 units apply in GE) 10
BIOL 121 Diversity, Structure and Function (applies in GE) 4
BIOL 122 Genetics, Evolution and Ecology 4
BIOL 123 Molecular and Cell Biology 4
Total units in lower-division core 26
Additional required natural sciences support courses
Course Units
CHEM 335A Organic Chemistry 5
GEOL 102 (Intro Geology) or PHYS 210A/209A (General Physics with laboratory) 3-4
Total units in natural sciences support courses 8-9

Biology majors are expected t complete all of the loer-division core requirements before attaining junior standing (60 units). This maximizes flexibility in upper-division course selection by ensuring that essential prerequisites will have been completed.

BIOL 121, 122 and 123 should be completed before taking any upper-division course.

Upper-Division Core Requirements

Complete one course from each of the following groups (additional courses from each group may be used as electives or may be required for particular concentrations.

Organismal Biology (4 units minimum)

  • BIOL 322 Invertebrate Biology(4)
  • BIOL 323 Entomology (4)
  • BIOL 327 Vertebrate Biology (4)
  • BIOL 329 Plant Biology (4)
  • BIOL 340 General Bacteriology (4)

Physiology (4 units minimum)

  • BIOL 328 Vertebrate Evolutionary Morphology (4)
  • BIOL 347 Environmental Physiology (4)
  • BIOL 348 Plant Physiology (4)
  • BIOL 349 Animal Physiology (4)

Molecular and Cell Biology (4 units minimum)

  • BIOL 342 Molecular Genetics (4)
  • BIOL 343 Molecular Microbiology (4)
  • BIOL 344 Cell Biology (4)
  • BIOL 383 Virology (4)

Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (4 units minimum)

  • BIOL 333 Ecology (4)
  • BIOL 335 Marine Ecology (4)
  • BIOL 337 Behavioral Ecology (4)
  • BIOL 341 Evolution (4)

Major Electivees

Biology major electives are upper-division courses beyond those used to fulfill the upper-division core and the B.A. or B.S. concentrations. Major Electives are used to meet the total upper-division unit requirement for the B.A. (31 units) or B.S. (36 units). Major electives are chosen from among the following:

  1. Additional courses from the upper-division core groups and alternative courses in a concentration.
  2. Any biology course numbered greater than 320. This list is subject to revision following this catalog edition. Students should check with their academic advisor forupdates. Seniors may also take graduate courses (500 level) with permission of the instructor.
  3. Supervisory courses in biology, leading t hands-on experience, extension of knowledge, or research experience. these courses are : BIOL 495, 496, 498, and 499 (see Restrictions, below, for unit limits for these courses).
  4. Biology colloquium, BIOL 390, may be taken twice (2 units) for major credit.
  5. A maximum of four units from courses related to biology from other departments or from the department's non-majors courses unless specified in an approved concentration. To apply the units to the major, students are required to obtain written permission from their advisor before taking these courses, unless the course is listed as part of a concentration. (Obtain forms in department office.) The following is the current list of acceptable courses: ANTH 301, 302, 318, 345, 414; BIOL 220, 224, 243, 307; CHEM 441, 445, 446; ENSP 315, 321, 322, 323; GEOG 416; GEOL 413; KIN360; PSY 451.


  1. A maximum of four units taken in the Cr/NC grading mode may be applied to the major from the following courses: BIOL 390, 498, 499.
  2. All other courses in the biology major must be taken in the traditional grading mode (A-F).
  3. A m,aximum of seven units from the following list of courses may be applied to the major: BIOL 390, 495, 498, and 499.