Jul 13, 2024  
2023-2024 University Catalog 
2023-2024 University Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Biological Science website

Biological Science, Department of

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Department Chair

Merri Lynn Casem

Department Office/Website

McCarthy Hall 205


Joel Abraham, Catherine Brennan, Jennifer Burnaford, Merri Lynn Casem, Esther Chen, Amybeth Cohen, Math Cuajungco, Joshua Der, Douglas Eernisse, Kristy Forsgren, William Hoese, Hope Johnson, Alison Miyamoto, Nikolaos Nikolaidis, Jeffrey Olberding, Veronica Jimenez Ortiz, E. Misty Paig-Tran, Nilay Patel, M. Soledad Ramirez, Melanie Sacco, Darren Sandquist, H. Jochen Schenk, Parvin Shahrestani, Paul Stapp, Marcelo Tolmasky, 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 organisms that capture the energy from the sun 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.

Degree Descriptions

The Bachelor of Science in Biological Science is designed to provide students with broad exposure to fundamental biological principles and depth of knowledge in one of five concentrations chosen by the student. The concentrations are Cell and Developmental Biology, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Marine Biology, Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, and Plant Biology. The program provides opportunities for faculty-mentored undergraduate research and is committed to integrating teaching and research. The curriculum provides excellent preparation for entry to health professions schools and graduate school in the life sciences; for laboratory and field research, secondary school teaching, and for jobs in conservation and environmental biology with government and private agencies; for careers in sales of research and pharmaceutical products, and in the biotechnology industry.

The Master of Science in Biology is designed to provide students the opportunity to contribute original research and share this knowledge through teaching, or to apply it in public service or private industry. The program is distinctive in offering a strong, research-focused and thesis-based M.S. degree with graduate students working closely with their faculty mentor from their first day of entry into the program. The program prepares students for: 1) admission to Ph.D. programs in the biological and biomedical sciences; 2) professional careers with governmental agencies and in the private sector; 3) technical work in education, medical, and environmental settings; and 4) teaching at the two-year college level. Additionally, the program provides opportunities for students to enhance their knowledge of science and the scientific process for teaching at the secondary level and for professional work in other fields. 

Learning Goals and Student Learning Outcomes

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 (CABS); California State University Program for Education and Research in Biotechnology (CSUPERB); 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 Biological Science 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 advising 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 the 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.

Programs and Courses Offered


    Bachelor of ScienceMaster of ScienceNon-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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