Biology, B.S.


Department of Biology

Bachelor of Science Degree Requirements in Biology 

The Bachelor of Science in Biology is a 120-unit program. Of the total, 49 units are required to satisfy the university's General Education Program and 21 units are required by the Department of Biology to satisfy the biology core. The core curriculum is a sequence of courses required for all biology majors. The core curriculum builds the foundation upon which further learning in biology will be based. Additional requirements are listed below.

The biology degree program prepares students for entry into a wide range of careers, for further academic study at the graduate level, including the department's own M.S. in Biology, and for entrance into professional degree programs. Within the scope of the major requirements and electives, students may focus their studies in areas that best meet their future career needs. Students must consult an advisor for help in selecting courses appropriate to their interests and career objectives. An emphasis on cellular and molecular processes prepares students for the department's professional science Master of Biotechnology.

Students planning for graduate and professional schools should be aware that entrance requirements for those programs will often exceed the minimal requirements for a Biology B.S., particularly in the ancillary fields of chemistry, physics, and mathematics. An advisor should be consulted for specific information on graduate and professional school requirements.

Students should meet with an advisor a minimum of once a semester so the advisor can review the student's program and progress.

1. Major requirements (42 units)

Biology Core (21 units)
The biology core is required of all majors (see Advising Notes.)
BIOL 1A, 1B and 1BL, 101, 102, 103, 105, and 101L or 104 (21 units)

Other major requirements (21 units)
In addition to the core, all majors must complete major and additional requirements described as follows:

All students must take a minimum of three upper-division biology (BIOL) laboratory courses. Of these, at least one must be designated as a diversity course, and one must be designated as a physiology course, both identified below. The third course may be any other laboratory course, also identified below. All other courses taken as part of the major requirements are the choice of the student. One of these additional courses may be either BIOL 67A or BIOL 67B, but no other lower-division course may be used.

1. Diversity Courses:
BIOL 120, 122, 123, 124, 125, 130, 131, 132, 133, 134, 135, 136, 140, 143, 178; MSCI 112, 113, 124, 125, 131

2. Physiology Courses:
BIOL 155, 156, 157 and 157L, 160, 161, 162 and 162L; MSCI 135

3. Third Laboratory Course:
BIOL 120, 122, 123, 124, 125, 130, 131, 132, 133, 134, 135, 136, 140, 141, 142, 143, 144, 151, 152, 153, 155, 156, 157 and 157L, 160, 161, 162 and 162L, 170, 171, 172, 174, 176, 178; MSCI 112, 113, 124, 125, 131, 135

Options for Completing the 21-unit requirement:
You may take additional laboratory courses from line 3 above, BIOL 67A or 67B, 110, 119, 121, 150, 158, 163, 164, 165, 166, 173, 175, 189T, up to 6 units of 190.

Additional requirements (30 units)
CHEM 1A1AL, 1B, 1BL, 8 or 128A, 129A, and 150 (see note 3) or 155A (18 units)
MATH 70 or 75 (4 units)
MATH 101 or PSYCH 42 (4 units)
PHYS 2A (4 units)

2. General Education requirements (49 units) (see note 1)

3. Other requirements (9 units)
American Government and Institutions (PLSI 2), Multicultural and International (MI), and Upper-division writing. 

4. Sufficient elective units to meet required total units (varies) 

5. Total (120 units)**

Advising Notes 

  1. The total of 120 units assumes biology majors will maximize the 10 units of General Education requirements that also may be applied to major and additional required courses as follows: 4 units of CHEM 1A/1AL in G.E. Breadth B1; 3 units of BIOL 1A in G.E. Breadth B2; and 3 units of MATH 70 or 75 in G.E. Foundation B4. Consult your major academic advisor for details.
  2. B.S. biology majors who have taken introductory sequences other than BIOL 1A and 1B /BL must consult with their faculty advisor or department chair for equivalency evaluation prior to beginning their upper-division coursework.
  3. Please note that CHEM 128B is a prerequisite for CHEM 155A.
  4. Premedical, prepharmacy, preveterinary, and preclinical laboratory science students are required to take CHEM 128B in addition to CHEM 128A, and PHYS 2B in addition to PHYS 2A. Prepharmacy students are required to take, and most premedical and preveterinary students should take, CHEM 129B. Preclinical laboratory sciences students are required to take CHEM 105. Some prepharmacy and premedical students should take MATH 76.
  5. CR/NC grading is not permitted in the biology major.
  6. General Education, MI, and elective requirements may be used toward a double major or minor (See Degree Requirements). The writing requirement may be met by taking the upper-division writing exam. Consult the appropriate department chair, program coordinator, or faculty advisor for additional information.


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.


Bachelor of Science in Biology

A Roadmap identifies the specific set of courses students must complete in their major in sequential order. Information on corequisites or prerequisites is listed along with other pertinent information to assist students in completing courses towards the major.

Click here for roadmap.

Please note: Roadmaps are not a guarantee of course availability.

If you are looking for archived roadmaps, please click here.


Students relaxing in front of the fountain

...innovative and state of the art education and research in Ecology, Evolution, and Cellular and Molecular Biology

Biology is the scientific study of life: its processes, complexity and incredible diversity. The Department of Biology at California State University, Fresno offers diversified undergraduate and graduate education that spans the breadth of modern Biology - from the inner workings of cells to the structure of whole ecosystems.

The Department of Biology is a vibrant group of tenure-track faculty members; excellent teachers with active and externally funded research programs. Fresno State biologists are investigating the molecular mechanisms of cellular processes, the ecology of Sierra Nevada forests and watersheds, and evolution of life in the world's oceans. The Department offers a diverse graduate and undergraduate curriculum to prepare students for an array of carreer paths in the biological sciences. Motivated students have a wealth of independent research opportunities with Biology faculty.

What You Can Earn

High School Biology Teacher
$56,101 (in our region)

Source: HR Data from as of December 2012

What You Can Do

Prepare for graduate programs in medicine, destistry, pharmacy, veterinary medicine, optometry, and doctoral programs

Interesting Classes You Might Take

  • Human Anatomy and Physiology
  • General Ecology
  • Evolution
  • Plant Taxonomy

What You Can Learn

  • The role of microorganisms in causing infectious disease
  • Ecology, evolution, and diversity of the fish of the world
  • Macroscopic and microscopic study of the structure and functional relationships of the human nervous system
  • The role of evolution in environmental relationships

About the College

The College of Science and Mathematics provides professional training at the undergraduate and graduate levels to serve as a foundation for a career in science or mathematics, to provide preprofessional training in preparation for careers in medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, veterinary medicine and other professions or for continued study at the graduate level.

College Contact Info

The office of the Dean is located in Science II, Room 301.
Telephone: (559) 278-3936

Department Contact Information

The Department of Biology is located on the ground floor of the Science Building, Room 106, on the California State University, Fresno campus.

Mailing Address

2555 East San Ramon Ave MS/73
California State University, Fresno
Fresno, California USA 93740

Phone: 1+559-278-2001
Fax: 1+559-278-3963