This is an archive of the 2015-2016 University Catalog.
To access the most recent version, please visit

This is an archive of the 2015-2016 University Catalog.
To access the most recent version, please visit


Program: B.A., Biology


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 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).

Program Requirements

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)

BIOL 106/L Biological Principles I and Lab (3/1)
BIOL 107/L Biological Principles II and Lab (3/1)
CHEM 101/L General Chemistry I and Lab (4/1)
CHEM 102/L General Chemistry II and Lab (4/1)
PHYS 100A/AL General Physics I and Lab (3/1)
PHYS 100B/BL General Physics II and Lab (3/1)

2. Upper Division Courses (18 units)

BIOL 322 Evolutionary Biology (3)
BIOL 360 Genetics (3)
BIOL 380 Cell Biology (3)
CHEM 333/L Organic Chemistry I and Lab (4/1)
CHEM 334/L Organic Chemistry II and Lab (3/1)

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. 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:

BIOL 315/L Principles of Microbiology and Lab (2/2)
BIOL 316/L Plant Biology and Lab (3/1)
BIOL 381 Cell Biology Lab (1) (not an “L” course)
BIOL 382/L Human Anatomy and Physiology I and Lab (3/1)
BIOL 383/L Human Anatomy and Physiology II and Lab (3/1)
BIOL 408/L Applied Microbiology and Lab (2/2)
BIOL 411/L Animal Histology and Lab (2/2)
BIOL 417/L Microbial Physiology and Lab (2/2)
BIOL 441/L Embryology and Lab (2/2)
BIOL 468 Human Genetics (3)
BIOL 470 Biotechnology (3)
BIOL 476 Topics in Stem Cell Biology (3)
BIOL 481/L Plant Physiology and Lab (2/2)
BIOL 482/L Animal Physiology and Lab (2/2)
BIOL 485/L Immunology with Serology Lab (2/2)
BIOL 487/L Hematology and Lab (2/2)
BIOL 536 Medical Mycology (3)
BIOL 542/L Developmental Biology and Lab (3/1)
BIOL 544 Biology of Viruses (3)
BIOL 551/L Computer Modeling in Biology and Lab (2/2)
BIOL 561 The Molecular Genetics of Microorganisms (3)
BIOL 562 Molecular Genetics of Eukaryotic Organisms (3)
BIOL 563 Cytogenetics (3)
BIOL 564 Human Biochemical Genetics (3)
BIOL 566 Genetics of Bacteria and Their Viruses (3)
BIOL 567 Medical Genetics (3)
BIOL 568 Clinical Cytogenetics and Cancer Genetics (3)
BIOL 571 Molecular Diagnostics (3)
BIOL 572/L Recombinant DNA Techniques and Lab (2/2)
BIOL 575/L Biological Imaging and Lab (2/2)
BIOL 577/L Cell and Tissue Culture and Lab (2/2)
BIOL 580/L Cellular Physiology and Lab (2/2)
BIOL 581 Endocrinology (3)
BIOL 582/L Principles of Neurophysiology and Lab (3/1)
BIOL 585 Mechanisms of Bacterial Pathogenesis (3)
BIOL 589 Cellular Immunology (3)

This requirement ensures that the student will study two 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 312/L/392F Vertebrate Biology (2/1/1)*
BIOL 313/L/392B Invertebrate Zoology (2/1/1) *
BIOL 403/L Plant Morphology and Lab (2/2)
BIOL 406/L/492K Flowering Plant Systematics (2/1/1)*
BIOL 409/L/492J Non-Flowering Plants (2/1/1)*
BIOL 410/L Medical Microbiology and Lab (2/2)
BIOL 415/L/492M Mammalogy (2/1/1)*
BIOL 418/L Bacterial Diversity (2/2)
BIOL 432/L Comparative Anatomy and Lab (2/2)
BIOL 433/L Biology of Marine Tetrapods and Lab (2/1)
BIOL 435/L Parasitology and Lab (2/2)
BIOL 437/L/492V Biology of Fungi and Field Studies (2/1/1)*
BIOL 504/L/592P Phycology (2/1/1)*
BIOL 506/L/592R or 492R Tropical Botany (2/1/2)*
BIOL 508/L/592T or 492T Biology of Tropical Vertebrates (2/1/2)*
BIOL 509/592U Tropical Biodiversity and Field Study (2/1)*
BIOL 511/L Molecular Markers in Evolutionary Studies and Lab (2/2)
BIOL 512/L/592E Herpetology (2/1/1)*
BIOL 513/L/592F Entomology (2/1/1)*
BIOL 530/L/592J Ichthyology (2/1/1)*

This requirement ensures 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 and Lab (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 ensures 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:

BIOL 330/L Design and Analysis of Experiments and Lab (2/1)
BIOL 431/L Food Microbiology and Lab (2/2)
BIOL 447/L Full Immersion Research Experience (FIRE) and Lab (2/2)
BIOL 490, 495, 499, 526 (no more than 3 units combined)
BIOL 502/L Biometry and Lab (3/1)
BIOL 503/L Bioinformatics and Lab (3/1)
BIOL 510 Seminar on Topics in Tropical Biology (3)
BIOL 560 Advanced Topics in Evolution (3)
CHEM 461 Biochemistry I and Lab (3/1)
CHEM 464 Principles of Biochemistry (4)
GEOL 322/L Introductory Oceanography and Lab (3/1)
GEOL 351/L Fundamentals of Paleontology and Lab (3/1)
MATH 255A Calculus for the Life Sciences I (3)

This requirement gives additional opportunity for student choices in the program while guaranteeing that students are exposed to biological concepts and practices.

C. General Education (48 units)

Undergraduate students must complete 48 units of General Education as described in this Catalog. Basic Skills Mathematics and the entire Natural Sciences section are fulfilled by required courses in the major.

Total Units in the Major: 64

General Education Units: 39

Additional Units: 17

Total Units Required for the B.A. Degree: 120


Chair: Larry Allen
Chaparral Hall (CR) 5101
(818) 677-3356

Student Learning Outcomes

The Biology department has identified five learning outcomes to be achieved by its students as a result of completing one of its baccalaureate degree programs.

  1. Students will demonstrate knowledge of (a) the structure and metabolism of cells, (b) the transmission and expression of genetic information and (c) the immediate and long-term (evolutionary) consequences of interactions between organisms and their environment.
  2. Students will demonstrate specialized knowledge in one or more disciplines of biology.
  3. Students will be aware of and/or capable of using new and existing methods and technologies in these disciplines.
  4. Students must demonstrate facility in applying the methods of scientific inquiry, including observation, hypothesis testing, data collection and analysis.
  5. Students will have the ability to engage the biology literature and to communicate scientific information verbally and/or in writing.