This is an archive of the 2020-2021 University Catalog.
To access the most recent version, please visit

This is an archive of the 2020-2021 University Catalog.
To access the most recent version, please visit


Mission Statement

In congruence with the mission of the College of Science and Mathematics, the Department of Biology teaches students to become more scientifically literate citizens; prepares students to enter graduate programs; generates a pool of local and national scientists capable of assuming leadership roles in industry and education; trains K–12 teachers to become competent educators in the sciences; and produces students for biomedical programs, such as medicine, dentistry, veterinary science and pharmacy.

About the Department

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, function and diversity, including metabolism, growth, development, genetics and reproduction in organisms. Visit the Biology department website for additional information about the program, faculty interests and more.

Academic Advisement

Advisement is required annually of Biology undergraduate students. Undergraduate advisement can be obtained at the Biology Student Advisement Center, which is located in Chaparral Hall (CR) 5104. Contact Dani Amoroso or Terri Richardson at (818) 677-2675 or for undergraduate advisement.

Graduate students who are seeking advisement should contact the graduate coordinator, Dr. Rachel Mackelprang, at (818) 677-4589.


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 the program have been very successful in gaining admission and completing advanced degrees at high-quality universities.


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 coordinator. 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.
  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 an Honors Committee made up of the faculty supervisor and two other faculty members.
  4. An oral presentation of the research.

Clubs and Societies

Academic Clubs

  • Biology Club
  • Behavior, Ecology, and Evolution Research Club
  • CSUN Women in Science
  • Genetics Club of CSUN
  • Marine Biology Graduate Student Association
  • Microbiology Student Association
  • Student Marine Conservation Society 

Pre-professional Clubs

  • American Medical Student Association (AMSA)
  • Chicanos for Community Medicine
  • Coalition of Physician Assistants
  • Phi Delta Epsilon
  • Pre-Dental Club
  • Pre-Optometry Student Association (POSA)
  • Pre-Pharmacy Club
  • Veterinarians of Tomorrow

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 advisor, Terri Richardson. For more information, please see Pre-Professional Advisement, Health Professions in this Catalog.


Department of Biology
Chair: Tim Karels
Chaparral Hall (CR) 5101
(818) 677-3356