Bachelor of Science Degree Requirements
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)
- Other major requirements (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.
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.
2. General Education requirements (49 units)
3. Other requirements (6 units)
Upper-division writing and Multicultural and International (MI)
4. Sufficient elective units to meet required total units (varies) (See Degree Requirements); may be used toward a double major or minor
5. Total (120 units)**
* See Advising Note 3.
** G.E. and MI courses can be double counted with major requirements. The writing requirement may be met by taking the upper-division writing exam. See advisor for details. See Advising Note 1.
Advising Notes for B.S. in Biology
- 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.
- 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.
- Please note that CHEM 128B is a prerequisite for CHEM 150 and 155A.
- Premedical, prepharmacy, preveterinary, and preclinical laboratory sciences 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.
- CR/NC grading is not permitted in the biology major.
- General Education, additional, and elective requirements may be used toward a double major or minor (see Double Major or departmental minor). Consult the appropriate department chair, program coordinator, or faculty advisor for additional information.
Suggested Sequence of Courses for B.S. in Biology
The following comments on timing and sequence are intended for full-time students who plan to complete the B.S. in four years. Students with extensive extracurricular obligations should make appropriate timing adjustments to avoid overloads. See your advisor for assistance.
A total of 120 units must be completed for the B.S. in Biology. In addition to courses required for the major, full-time students should add General Education requirements and electives to bring semester totals to 15-17 units.
During the first two years, resident students should complete some General Education requirements, BIOL 1A and 1B/1BL, all lower-division additional requirements, and any lower-division electives that might be selected. Students are advised to keep some General Education coursework for their junior and senior years. BIOL 101, 102, 103, and statistics should be completed as early as possible in the degree program and preferably no later than the end of the third year. The remainder of the third and fourth years should be spent completing requirements for the major, for General Education, and for the electives in biology and other fields. BIOL 105 must be taken after the other core courses.
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.
Please note: Roadmaps are not a guarantee of course availability.
If you are looking for archived roadmaps, please click here.
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