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College of Science and Mathematics





Credential Information

Admission to a CSU credential program or University intern program requires demonstration of subject matter competence in biological science, and there are several ways of completing that requirement. The most common is passage of a set of state-administered California Subject Examinations for Teachers (CSET), with six testing dates per year (www.cset.nesinc.com). The exact subtests to be taken depend on the teaching authorizations desired, but for grade 9-12 classroom teaching the requirements usually include general science (subtests 118 and 119) as well as biological sciences (subtest 120). Completion of a B.A. degree in Biology should be adequate preparation for the exams, but candidates may wish to speak to the Biology Credential Advisor to discuss course options. A course-based waiver from one or more of the CSET is possible for certain students who completed a degree in Biology prior to July 1, 2009. Current students who have an undergraduate degree in the field and at least 30 post-baccalaureate units in the field, or a post-baccalaureate degree in the field, should also consult the Biology Credential Advisor about a “Specialized” waiver of the CSET through the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing. Students interested in becoming public school science teachers should discuss their plans with the CSUN Credential Office (www.csun.edu/education/cred), as it is sometimes possible to combine preliminary credential coursework with a baccalaureate degree program.

Academic Advisement

Advisement is required of Biology undergraduate and graduate students annually. Undergraduate advisement can be obtained at the Biology Student Advisement Center or from any Biology faculty member in the student’s option. The Biology Student Advisement Center is located in Chaparral Hall 5104 and can be reached at (818) 677-2675 or by email at biologyadvisors@csun.edu. For graduate students seeking advisement, contact Graduate Coordinator Tim Karels (email: biograd.coordinator@csun.edu).

Contact Jim Dole, Daniel Odom or Terri Richardson for undergraduate advisement and Graduate Coordinator Tim Karels for questions about graduate study.

Contact the following option advisors: Stan Metzenberg (Biotechnology), Daisy Kuhn and Terri Richardson (Medical, Dental, Pharmacy, Optometry, Physician Assistant, Veterinary and Podiatry), Sean Murray (Medical Technology), and Jennifer Matos and Stan Metzenberg (Teacher Preparation).

Pre-Medical and Pre-Professional Information

The B.A. degree is recommended for all pre-professional students; however, any of the B.S. options may be followed by students with special interests. Pre-medical, pre-dental and other students pursuing health-associated professional careers should consult with the Pre-Professional advisors, Terri Richardson or Daisy Kuhn.

The Major

Biology is the study of life, its variety and processes. The discipline is dynamic and its intellectual framework is expanding rapidly. In one direction, the study of organisms is the basis for the understanding of how populations of organisms interact among themselves and with their environment. This includes a consideration of the distribution and abundance of organisms, change in organisms over time, energy flow among organisms and cycling of inorganic and organic resources. In another direction, the study of biological molecules is the basis for understanding cell structure and function, including metabolism, growth, development and reproduction in organisms. Additional information about the Biology program, faculty interests and the like can be found at: www.csun.edu/biology.


Many career opportunities are available to the student majoring in biology. The undergraduate program provides an excellent background for further work in medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, optometry, veterinary medicine, biotechnology, clinical laboratory science and graduate programs. It also can serve for direct entry into teaching and a variety of positions in industrial, research and governmental organizations. Graduates of our program have been very successful in gaining admission and to successfully completing advanced degrees at high -quality universities.

Bachelor of Arts Program

The B.A. degree is designed for students seeking a broad foundation in biology as part of a liberal education in the arts and sciences. Provided that careful attention is paid to the requirements for advanced (post-baccalaureate) and professional programs, the B.A. degree is appropriate for those students (1) preparing for dentistry, medicine, optometry, pharmacy or veterinary medicine; (2) seeking a teaching credential (see above); or (3) intending to enter a graduate program. The B.A. degree is also suitable for careers in such areas as pharmaceutical sales and medical illustration (see Pre-Medical and Pre-Professional Information).

Bachelor of Science Programs

  • Cell and Molecular Biology (Option I) of the B.S. degree prepares students for work in private or government labs where modern cellular and molecular techniques are used. This option also prepares the student for advanced graduate study.
  • Environmental Biology (Option II) of the B.S. degree prepares graduates for employment in positions such as ecologist or wildlife preserve manager; for positions with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Land Management, National or State Parks and other government agencies and private organizations; or for consulting positions in formulating environmental impact reports. A modified version of this option is appropriate for students seeking a teaching credential. This option also prepares the student for advanced graduate study.
  • Microbiology (Option III) of the B.S. degree prepares students for employment in microbiology labs, both government and private, and meets the requirements of the California Department of Health Services. This option also prepares the student for advanced graduate study.
  • Biotechnology/Medical Technology (Option IV) of the B.S. degree is designed to (1) meet the state academic requirements for Clinical Lab Science (Medical Technology) or Public Health Microbiology; or (2) prepare a student for a career in biotechnology. Students who complete the course sequence for Medical Technology will be prepared to apply for the clinical year of training in Clinical Lab Science or to begin a career in industry or government. Students completing the Biotechnology course sequence will be well prepared for an entry-level biotechnology position in industry or government or for graduate programs in biotechnology. Students choosing either track of this option should consult an advisor as early as possible concerning the proper course sequence to be followed and other requirements in each field.
  • Marine Biology (Option V) of the B.S. degree prepares graduates for advanced graduate study and for employment in the marine sciences.