College of Science and Mathematics

B.A., Biology

Requirements for the Bachelor of Arts Degree

Each student is required to complete the Core Program plus all of the requirements in the Selective Program.

A. Core Program

1. Lower Division Courses (26 units)

2. Upper Division Courses (17 units)

3. Mathematics Requirement

All biology B.A. students are required to demonstrate proficiency in mathematics equivalent to a passing grade in MATH 105 (or MATH 102 and 104). They may do this by receiving a passing score on the Math Placement Test sufficient for admission to MATH 255A.

B. Selective Program (20 units)

Students must take a minimum of 20 units of specialized coursework in addition to the Core courses. With the approval of a faculty advisor and the concurrence of the Department Curriculum Committee, students may create their own program. Approval for such individualized programs must be obtained before enrollment in the last 12 units of Biology courses. By appropriate choice of courses, students may obtain the equivalent of a traditional degree in Botany or Zoology.

1. Molecular, Cellular and Physiological Biology

Take at least 7 units from the following, including at least one course that has a bench lab designated by an “L” and at least one course that is at the 400-level or above:

This requirement assures that the student will study 2 examples of the molecular and functional mechanisms that occur within individual organisms.

2. Systematics and Comparative Biology

Choose one from the following list. Either the course chosen here in List 2 (Systematics and Comparative Biology) or the one chosen in List 3 (Ecology and Environmental Biology) must have a field studies component, as designated by an asterisk (*).

BIOL 432/L Comparative Anatomy and Lab (2/2)

BIOL 433/L Biology of Marine Tetrapods and Lab (2/1)

This requirement assures that the student will have the opportunity to study biodiversity closely in one group of organisms from the points of view of adaptive diversification, phylogeny, biogeography and classification.

3. Ecology and Environmental Biology

Choose one from the following list. Either the course chosen here in List 3 (Ecology and Environmental Biology) or the one chosen in List 2 (Systematics and Comparative Biology) must have a field studies component, as designated by an asterisk (*).

  • BIOL 407/L/492N Plant Ecology* (2/1/1)
  • BIOL 419/L/492C Microbial Ecology and Lab and Field Studies* (2/1/1)
  • BIOL 421/L/492B Marine Biology* (2/1/1)
  • BIOL 422/L Physiological Ecology (2/2)
  • BIOL 423/492F Field Ecology* (2/2)
  • BIOL 424/L/492G Ecological Modeling (2/1/1)
  • BIOL 426/L/492P Biology of Deserts* (2/1/1)
  • BIOL 427/L/492H Principles of Ecology* (2/1/1)
  • BIOL 428/L/492W Wildlife Ecology and Management (2/1/1)
  • BIOL 507/L/592S
  • or 492S Tropical Ecology and Conservation* (2/1/2)
  • BIOL 514/L/592A Avian Ecology* (2/1/1)
  • BIOL 524/326 Tropical Biology/Regional Excursions* (3/1)
  • BIOL 525/592D Animal Behavior with Field Studies* (3/1)
  • BIOL 527/L/592L Biology of Pelagic Organisms* (2/1/1)
  • BIOL 528/L/592B Behavioral Ecology* (2/1/1)
  • BIOL 529/L/592I Marine Ecology* (2/1/1)
  • BIOL 531/L/592Q Ecology of Marine Fishes* (2/1/1)
  • BIOL 533/592C Conservation Biology* (3/1)

This requirement assures that the student will study some aspect of the interactions between organisms and their environment.

4. Elective Requirement

Electives should be taken to bring the total beyond the Core courses to 20 units, including at least 17 Upper Division units. No more than 3 units of BIOL 490, 495, 499 and 526 combined may be used, and they may not be used to satisfy either lab or field requirements. Electives may include any Upper Division biology course (except those explicitly excluded in their description) or the following:

Unit Totals
Program Component Units
Total Units in the Option 63
General Education Units 39
Additional Units 18
Total Units Required for a B.A. Degree 120

Honors Program

This program provides an opportunity for outstanding Biology majors to gain research experience with individual faculty guidance and may be of value for research-minded Pre-Medical students. The designation “Honors” will be added to the academic record of any student who completes the program.

Admission to the program is granted by approval of the Department Honors Committee. Students in the B.A. degree program or in any of the B.S. options are eligible provided they have: 1) completed 90 units of college work; 2) maintained a 3.50 GPA overall and in the Biology major; and 3) obtained the approval of a faculty sponsor who will supervise their research. Interested students should contact the Biology Department office.

Graduation with Honors requires:

1. Completion of the following courses.
BIOL 330/L Design and Analysis of Experiments and Lab (2/1)
BIOL 495 Directed Research (3)
BIOL 498 Senior Thesis (2)

All 8 units must be in addition to those completed for the major.

2. Maintenance of a GPA of 3.50 overall and in all courses in the Biology major completed at CSUN.

3. Approval of a senior thesis by the Honors Committee, including a presentation of the research.