Department of Biology
John V.H. Constable, Chair
Science Building, Room 106
Degrees and Programs Offered
BS in Biology, B.S.
CERT in Biotechnology, Certificate of Adv. Study
CRED in Professional Clear Foundation Level General Science
CRED in Single Subject Credential - Biological Science
MBT in Biotechnology, M.Bt.
MN in Biology, Minor
MS in Biology, M.S.
The Department of Biology offers diversified undergraduate and graduate programs that matches the breadth and excitement of modern biology and prepares students for the hundreds of career opportunities that use biology as a foundation. The Bachelor of Science degree is awarded to those students who successfully complete the biology core and additional requirements and electives.
The undergraduate biology major we offer has three programmatic goals:
- To provide students with a solid foundation in all aspects of modern biology and also the intellectual skills that will serve as the basis for a lifetime of future achievement.
- To provide students with the specialized educational opportunities that will allow them to compete successfully for careers in the biological sciences or for advanced studies in major doctoral programs.
- To provide preprofessional students with the knowledge needed for advanced study in the many fields that build upon a biological foundation.
Our undergraduate biology major is excellent preparation for graduate programs in clinical laboratory science, medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, veterinary medicine, optometry, doctoral programs, and many others. The department offers a Master of Science (M.S.) in biology and a professional science Master of Biotechnology for qualified students who wish to explore some part of biology in greater depth.
The department is housed in a well-equipped science building. Among the specialized equipment and technologies available for students are Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) thermocyclers; apparati for conducting molecular and immunological analysis of nucleic acids and proteins; genetic recombination, including use of electroporation and gene guns; a bioinformatics computing laboratory; a proteomics work station; cell and tissue culture facilities; fermenters and bioreactors; fluorescence, confocal and 4-D microscopes; ultracentrifugation; radioactive materials methodologies; and metabolic studies on all types of life forms. Excellent greenhouse and animal care facilities, as well as media/reagent production complexes, support the instructional and research programs.
Fresno’s proximity to both the Sierra Nevada and the Pacific coast provides a natural
laboratory with numerous field trip opportunities that are rarely equaled at other
institutions. High Sierra, Mediterranean, desert, foothill, coastal, and forest environments
are all within a three-hour drive of the campus. The department maintains a wealth
of field equipment to observe and collect wild organisms. A self-contained pond ecosystem
offers a unique, on-campus study resource. The department also maintains extensive
collections of museum specimens of insects, vertebrates and a herbarium.
Master of Biotechnology Requirements
The Master of Biotechnology offers students who are fundamentally educated in varied scientific disciplines the opportunities to advance their scientific skills. It allows them to acquire the business knowledge and skills necessary to commercialize emerging technologies or their products. Offered as a two-year program, it is representative of a unique interdisciplinary degree concept, the Professional Science Master's (PSM) degree, designed for students interested in entering the workforce in leadership roles to promote the development and production of new products and processes.
Admission Requirements for the M.Bt.
Students must complete university graduate division admission requirements and must possess an appropriate four-year undergraduate science degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA. There are six categories of specific course prerequisites; completion of three categories constitutes the minimum for classification, but five categories must be completed prior to award of degree. Fresno equivalent courses are indicated in parentheses.
Prerequisite courses are as follows:
General Genetics (BIOL 102, 103) Microbiology with Lab - BIOL 120) Biochemistry with Lab (CHEM 150/155A & 156) Immunology with Lab (BIOL 157 and 157L) Analytical Chemistry (CHEM 102/105) Statistics (MATH 101)
Master of Biotechnology Degree Requirements
I. Core Curriculum (23 units)
A. BIOL/CHEM 241A-B (3-3 for a total of 6 units)
B. BIOL/CHEM 248 (1 unit)*
C. BIOL 250 or CHEM 260 (3 units)*
D. MBA 270 (3 units)
E. MBA 272 or 273 (3 units)
F. BIOTC 275 (3 units)
G. BIOTC 298 or 299 (4 units)
II. Electives (9 units)
Minimum of three courses in separate categories A-L; only one may be undergraduate.
A. BIOL/CHEM 242 (3 units)
B. BIOL/CHEM 243 (3 units)
C. BIOL/CHEM 244 (3 units)
D. BIOL 245 (3 units)
E. AGRI 200 or BIOL 274 (3 units)
F. PLANT 108 (3 units)
G. CSCI 101 (3 units)
H. CHEM 106 (4 units)
I. FSC 120 (4 units)
J. FSC 178 (2 units)
K. MBA 272 or 273 ** (3 units)
L. PHIL 123 (3 units)
Total (32 units)
* The Graduate Writing Requirement (GWR) is completed concurrently or after enrollment of BIOL/CHEM 248 and BIOL 250 or CHEM 260 (writing course). Consult advisor for details.
** Only the course not taken to fulfill Core Curriculum category E is allowed for credit.
Faculty expertise spans the range of biology from the molecular to the ecological, with a broad representation of taxonomic specialties. Laboratories in most upper-division majors’ courses are taught by faculty, and individualized student/faculty research participation through independent study is strongly encouraged.
Faculty members have garnered independent research funding from various agencies including the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Environmental Protection Agency, and National Sea Grant. Faculty and students also participate in collaborative studies on, for example, medical and clinical topics with local physicians and hospitals; agricultural topics with the University of California Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center, Agricultural Research Service San Joaquin Valley Agricultural Sciences Center in Fresno/Parlier; ecological and environmental topics with California Department of Fish and Wildlife, U.S. Forest Service and Endangered Species Recovery Program; and science educational topics with regional school districts and state and national credentialing agencies.
For faculty phone numbers and e-mail, see the campus directory.
For more on the faculty, see the faculty pages.
The faculty pages are updated by the department or program.