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Department of Biology

Undergraduate Degrees

Two undergraduate degrees are offered through the Department of Biology. Generally, students who have chosen to pursue a career in the Life Sciences (including graduate school) will work toward the Bachelor of Science in Biology. Students hoping to earn a teaching credential in Biology will work toward the Bachelor of Arts in Natural Science with a Biology Option. The Department of Biology also offers a Minor in Biology. 

The Bachelor of Science in Biology is a 120-unit program. Of the total, 48 units are required to satisfy the university's General Education Program and 21 units are required by the Department of Biology to complete the biology core courses. 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 for the major include 21 units of elective Biology coursework and 30 units of required coursework in chemistry, mathematics, and physics.

The elective biology major requirements allow flexibility and tailoring of a student's experience to his/her interests. As a result, virtually any career goal in the life sciences and related fields can be accommodated.

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

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 adviser should be consulted for specific information on graduate and professional school requirements.

Core Courses (21 units)
The biology core is required of all majors.

BIOL 1A, 1B, 1BL, 101, 102, 103, 105, and 101L or 104

Electives (21 units)
These 21 units must include a minimum of three upper-division biology (BIOL) courses that include a laboratory. Of these, one must be a diversity course, and one must be a physiology course. The third laboratory course may be any other laboratory course, identified below. 

1. Diversity Courses: BIOL 120 and 120L, 122, 123, 124, 125, 130, 131, 132, 133, 134, 135, 136, 137, 140, 143, 178
2. Physiology Courses: BIOL 155, 156, 157 and 157L, 160, 161, 162 and 162L
3. One Additional Lab 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, 182

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 six units of 190.

Required Courses from other Disciplines (30 units)
Chemistry: CHEM 1A and 1AL, 1B and 1BL, either 8 or 128A, 129A, and either 150 or 155A (18 units)
Calculus: MATH 70 or 75 (4 units)
Statistics: MATH 101 or MATH 102 (4 units)
Physics: PHYS 2A (4 units)
University General Education Requirements (48 units)

See the University Catalog for additional advising notes.

University Catalog

Bachelor of Arts Degree Requirements Natural Sciences Major - Biology Option
The B.A. in Natural Sciences Biology Option serves to establish subject matter competency through coursework as approved by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC), which waives the California Subject Exam for Teachers (CSET), and streamlines the process for students to enter the Single Subject Teaching Credential program in Science. This degree program is primarily designed for students who plan to become middle or high school science teachers; however, the program is also suitable for students who have interest in other science career options.

Please contact CSM Advising and Resources Center (ARC) at 559.278.4150 for advising and more information.  

View the University Catalog for additaional advising notes. 

University Catalog


Minor in Biology

The Minor in Biology may be earned by completing the 21-unit biology core courses:
BIOL 1A, 1B, 1BL, 101, 102, 103, 105, and 101L or 104

Note: The Biology Minor also requires a 2.0 GPA and 6 upper-division units in residence.

Contact the Biology Department Office (559.278.2001) to make an appointment with the Undergraduate Coordinator or to identify an advisor for your area of concentration.