Program of Study
Biology is the study of living processes from the interaction of species with each other and their environment to the operant molecular mechanisms. The California State University San Marcos Biological Sciences Department presents a broad program of courses that deal with life on the ecosystem, population, organismal, and molecular levels. Life is a complicated series of chemical reactions and interactions, and we seek to understand the relationship of organisms to each other, to their environment, and within themselves in biochemical terms. Biological Sciences majors may choose between: 1) a general concentration, 2) a molecular and cellular biology 3) an ecology concentration and 4) a physiology concentration. The general concentration provides wide exposure to the range of biological sciences while the cell/molecular, ecology, and physiology concentrations offer majors the opportunity to focus their studies. With an appropriate choice of biological sciences electives and General Education electives, graduates can meet the requirements of admission to graduate, medical, dental, optometry, veterinary, and other professional schools.
Modern biological science has progressed from the purely analytical to now include manipulative capability. Recombinant DNA techniques enable the investigator to generate specified changes in components of organisms for the purpose of better understanding some process, and in some cases to introduce new traits that will be of practical usefulness to society. The Cal State San Marcos program in biological sciences exposes students to cloning techniques, illustrates the techniques involved as part of their general education, and trains them for research positions.
Society is the beneficiary of modern technology and is also at its mercy. Products of the industrial process and of our use of natural resources can perturb the dynamic balance in the environment, and by leading to the extinction of species, reduce the diversity of living forms. The Biological Sciences Department addresses fundamental problems in the ecological and environmental sciences.
The Biological Sciences Department has well-equipped, modern laboratories. The academic atmosphere is enriched by a close faculty/student interaction (reminiscent of prestigious, small liberal arts colleges), and by numerous field trips to research facilities and sites in the area. Students receive training that will enable them to gain rewarding employment in a number of areas, including teaching, research, the health sciences, biotechnology, ecology, and environmental science.
Program Student Learning Outcomes
Students who graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences will:
- Use the scientific method to ask testable questions and to design and conduct laboratory, field, or theoretical investigations to address these questions.
- Apply knowledge of the major principles from the fundamental areas of 1) cellular and molecular biology, 2) genetics, 3) physiology, and 4) ecology and evolution to biological questions.
- Employ mathematical and computational skills to organize, analyze, and evaluate biological data.
- Locate, determine the reliability of, critically evaluate and summarize scientific literature and other sources of biological information.
- Communicate biological information in an appropriate written and/or oral format to both scientific and general audiences.
The laboratory-intensive curriculum in the Biological Sciences prepares graduates for a wide variety of career paths. Biological Science majors can pursue a career in the teaching of biology at the college, high school or middle school levels. Graduates of our program are also extremely qualified to pursue advanced degrees in the fields of allied health, environmental and patent law, and all areas of biology. Employers in fields such as biotechnology, natural resources management, environmental monitoring, and research branches of the U.S. Government also seek graduates in biological sciences. The biological sciences degree program at Cal State San Marcos prepares its graduates to successfully pursue any of these opportunities and more.
First-time freshman applicants must complete, with a grade of C (2.0) or better, a comprehensive pattern of college preparatory study totaling 15 units. For more details, see the section on Admission and Application .
Transfer students entering the program at the junior and senior levels will be expected to have completed the equivalent of lower-division requirements elsewhere during their first two years, including three semesters of chemistry, two semesters of physics, one semester calculus, and one semester of statistics.
Pre-health professions students (pre-chiropractic, dental, medical, optometry, osteopathic, pharmacy, and veterinary) are recommended to take BIOL 210 , BIOL 211 , BIOL 351 , BIOL 352 , BIOL 353 , two semesters of physics, and several chemistry courses.
Special Conditions for the Bachelor of Science and the Minor in Biological Sciences
All courses counted toward the major and the minor, including Preparation for the Major courses, must be completed with a grade of C (2.0) or better. No more than a total of eight (8) units of any combination of BIOL 488 (4 units only), BIOL 489 (4 units only), BIOL 495 (3 units only), BIOL 496 (2 units only), BIOL 498 (2 units only), and BIOL 499 (2 units only) may be applied toward the major. A minimum of eighteen (18) units in biology must be completed at Cal State San Marcos.
Preparation for the Major (41 Units)
Lower-Division Biology Courses (15 Units)
Non-Biology Supporting Courses (26 Units)
Choose One of the Following Course Sequences:
*Nine (9) lower-division General Education units in Area B (Math and Science) are automatically satisfied by courses taken in Preparation for the Major.
Core Requirements (17 Units)
Molecular and Cellular Biology Concentration Requirements (19 Units)
Select Three of the Following Courses: (10-12 Units)
(At least one must have a lab)
+ With consent of faculty advisor.
++ Only one of these courses may be used to fulfill the Molecular and Cellular Biology Concentration Requirements.
Upper-Division Science Electives (7-9 Units)
From any biology courses numbered 355-599. In addition, with consent of advisor may include PSYC 461 (no BB credit) or one course from the following list which will count for BB and elective credit:
Other courses may be approved with faculty consent.
Minimum Total (120 Units)
Students must take a sufficient number of elective units to bring the total number of units to a minimum of 120**
**Students who plan on applying to graduate or professional school are strongly recommended to take MATH 162 as an elective.