Jul 24, 2024  
2015-2016 University Catalog 
2015-2016 University Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Biological Science, Department of

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Department Chair

Sean Walker

Department Office/Website

McCarthy Hall 282


Joel Abraham, Catherine Brennan, Jennifer Burnaford, Merri Lynn Casem, Esther Chen, Amybeth Cohen, Math Cuajungco, Joshua Der, Kathryn Dickson, David Drath, Douglas Eernisse, Kristy Forsgren, William Hoese, Michael Horn, Hope Johnson, Robert Koch, Alison Miyamoto, Nikolaos Nikolaidis, Veronica Jimenez Ortiz, E. Misty Paig-Tran, Nilay Patel, William Presch, M. Soledad Ramirez, Melanie Sacco, Darren Sandquist, H. Jochen Schenk, Parvin Shahrestani, Paul Stapp, Marcelo Tolmasky, Christopher Tracy, Sean Walker, Ryan Walter, Danielle Zacherl


Biology is the branch of science concerned with the study of life. The discipline is dynamic, diverse and expanding with the integration of molecular approaches, information technology and concerns for the environment. Through the study of biology students will: learn principles that govern the function of their own body and those of other organisms; explore how complex organisms develop from a single cell and how genes and the environment govern these events; and learn how plants capture the energy from the sun and, ultimately, sustain almost all life on Earth through intricate relationships with other organisms, including humans. In addition, in Southern California, proximity to a variety of businesses, ranging from biotechnology and biomedical companies to environmental consulting firms, provides biology majors with diverse employment opportunities.

The department has designed a curriculum that builds on a core of biology and supporting courses for students who: (1) seek careers in industry and state or federal agencies; (2) wish to prepare for secondary school teaching; or (3) desire to enter graduate and professional schools. The curriculum beyond the basic core experience will be developed through individual advising. Each semester, students are required to meet with their designated faculty adviser in order to develop an appropriate program of study. After discussion with their adviser, students will elect upper-division courses in one of the concentrations that will satisfy their individual interests and professional goals.

Learning Goals and Student Learning Outcomes

Bachelor of Science in Biological Science

The following goals and learning outcomes have been established for students pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Biological Science:

Content Knowledge

  • Explain (i.e., expound, explicate, elucidate, and interpret) fundamental concepts and principles in the following areas of biological knowledge: biodiversity, cell biology, developmental biology, ecology, evolution, genetics, molecular biology, organismal biology, and physiology
  • Interpret the following unifying themes in the context of the above areas of biological knowledge: complexity of biological systems, cycles, feedback loops, energy flow, homeostasis, information flow, networks, and structure-function relationships
  • Demonstrate specialization and thus be able to explain advanced concepts in one or more of the areas of biological knowledge in the first bullet above
  • Interpret connections between science and technology, past scientific discoveries and current scientific progress, academic requirements and careers or professional advancement, the scientific method including its limitations and the discovery of new knowledge, and bioethics/scientific integrity and the advancement of science


  • Communication - Communicate effectively orally; communicate effectively in writing; write in scientific format acceptable by scientific journals
  • Teamwork - Work cooperatively to solve problems in a group of diverse composition
  • Finding biological information - Find, evaluate, use, and integrate published information; use databases and information technology
  • Critical thinking and problem solving - Make an argument and support it; recognize and use deductive and inductive reasoning; integrate concepts within and among disciplines; recognize patterns; identify unifying principles; solve problems; distinguish between data and inferences based on data; distinguish information from scientific versus pseudo- and non-scientific sources and methods
  • Use of the scientific method - Use deductive methods of inquiry; apply the scientific method to problems by generating hypotheses and designing experiments to test these hypotheses
  • Analytical and quantitative skills - Create data sets from observations; objectively analyze data; interpret data; use quantitative methods for the analysis of data
  • Lab and field work - Use appropriate technology; use equipment properly; follow safety procedures; apply government regulations


  • Embrace lifelong learning by being capable of self-directed learning, having a continual interest in biology, and having confidence in one’s knowledge, skills and abilities
  • Value learning by being open-minded, appreciating the value of knowledge, appreciating and respecting alternative possibilities and explanations, and experiencing the joy of discovery
  • Demonstrate knowledge of careers by defining potential career paths and being aware of the requirements for career or professional advancement
  • Be aware of impacts of biological issues on society by valuing the support of science by society, appreciating the relevance of biology to society and recognizing the connectedness of science, society and history
  • Demonstrate an awareness of bioethics by identifying and evaluating ethical issues in biology, appreciating the value of integrity and valuing ethical behavior
  • Demonstrate appropriate stewardship and advocacy by respecting biodiversity, contributing to the understanding of true science, helping the public make informed decisions and being responsible stewards of biological resources
  • Demonstrate biological literacy by distinguishing science from pseudoscience, recognizing that science is a way of viewing the world and is not just a collection of facts, understanding the limitations of science, applying scientific thinking to everyday problems and recognizing the impermanence of “truths”

All students will progress through lower-division core courses and select an upper-division concentration. Details of learning goals for the core and each concentration may be found at https://www.fullerton.edu/biology.

Master of Biotechnology (MBt)

The following goals and learning outcomes have been established for students pursuing a Master of Biotechnology (MBt):

Content Knowledge

  • Demonstrate knowledge in a primary area of expertise
  • Identify and critically evaluate the literature in the primary area
  • Understand the basic processes of product life cycles

Information Literacy Skills

  • Determine what kind of information is needed to solve a problem
  • Identify how to obtain the relevant information from literature/information databases
  • Critically assess the information for its rigor
  • Cite the information gathered appropriately in written and oral formats

Communications Skills

  • Work effectively as a member of an interdisciplinary team
  • Converse with colleagues in all disciplines related to the mission of PABS
  • Write and present project proposals and technical reports that communicate effectively with all levels of an organization
  • Communicate effectively with individuals at governmental and public entities


  • Demonstrate mastery of basic application skills in biotechnology disciplines
  • Develop experimental or practical designs for solving problems in product or process development
  • Analyze the driving forces for product development
  • Use knowledge effectively in new situations and diverse contexts

Biotechnology Industry

  • Demonstrate knowledge of commercialization of biotechnology in pharmaceuticals, biomedical devices, diagnostics/assays systems, clinical trials management and related applications
  • Understand the essential processes of project management
  • Understand the essential processes of regulatory affairs and clinical trials management

Master of Science in Biology

The following goals and learning outcomes have been established for students pursuing a Master of Science in Biology:

Content Knowledge

  • Demonstrate knowledge in a primary area of expertise and place the thesis research in the context of the current state of knowledge of the field
  • Critically evaluate the primary and secondary literature in a primary area of expertise
  • Gain an appreciation for the diversity and multidisciplinary nature of biological science through participation in workshops, seminars and small working groups

Information Literacy Skills

  • Use library and electronic resources to obtain virtually all of the literature sources published in a primary area of expertise in biology
  • Cite the information gathered appropriately in written and oral formats

Scientific Research Skills

  • Work independently to conduct and complete original research
  • Demonstrate mastery of research approaches and techniques appropriate to a primary area of expertise
  • Demonstrate mastery of key elements of research and study design and apply them to an independent research project
  • Analyze and interpret data appropriately and present results properly in written, tabular and graphical formats

Communication Skills

  • Write a thesis proposal that contains the key elements of a competitive grant proposal
  • Prepare and give high-quality, professional presentations (oral and poster) about the results of independent research
  • Write a scholarly thesis containing key elements of a published article in one’s primary area of expertise

Special Programs

In addition to the usual course offerings, the Department of Biological Science participates in consortial programs with other California State University campuses. These are: the Center for Applied Biotechnology Studies (PABS); CSUPERB (California State University Program for Education and Research in Biotechnology); the CSU Council on Ocean Affairs, Science & Technology (COAST); the Ocean Studies Institute (part of the Southern California Marine Institute); and the California Desert Studies Consortium. Each of these centers is described in this catalog under “Research Centers.”

Single Subject Teaching Credential Information

The Bachelor’s Degree in Biology may be effectively combined with subject matter studies necessary for the Single Subject Teaching Credential in Biological Sciences. Contact the Center for Careers in Teaching (657-278-7130, http://ed.fullerton.edu/cct) for early advisement and to plan efficient course selections for general education, the major and credential program coursework.

Recommendations for Transfer Students

Students planning to transfer from another college or university should take biology, chemistry, mathematics and/or physics courses that are equivalent to those required for the B.S. in Biological Science (refer to assist.org). Prospective transfer students should contact the Biology Department as soon as possible prior to transfer to select appropriate courses.

Upper-Division Baccalaureate Writing Requirement

To meet the upper-division baccalaureate writing requirement, students must pass with a “C” (2.0) or better ENGL 301 , ENGL 363 or six units from the following: BIOL 411 , BIOL 414 , BIOL 417 , BIOL 422 , BIOL 426 , BIOL 427 , BIOL 446  , BIOL 447 , BIOL 449 , BIOL 465 , BIOL 466 , BIOL 468 , BIOL 470 , BIOL 495 , BIOL 498 .

Programs and Courses Offered


    Bachelor of ScienceMaster of ScienceMaster of BiotechnologyNon-Degree


      Biological Science

      Courses are designated as BIOL in the class schedule. Unless otherwise designated, prerequisites may be waived by the instructor of the course if the instructor is satisfied that the student is qualified for the course.

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