Barry S. Rothman, Ph.D. { Health Professions Home Page}

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Bachelor of Science in General Biology (BA)

The curriculum in general biology provides students with exposure to a broad spectrum of biological sciences including genetics, cell biology, physiology, ecology, organismal and evolutionary biology. Since basic principles of physical science are central to many biological concepts, course work in physics and chemistry is included in the lower division requirements. The B.A. program is suited for students preparing for professional schools, including teacher credentialing programs, or careers that require students to be versed in diverse areas of biology.


See the Undergraduate Degree Programs in Biology section for general information for all biology students. Students preparing to become teachers should note that additional science preparation beyond the major is required; thus, it is important to consult early and often with a credential adviser in the Biology Department to plan the major and keep abreast of any state mandated changes in requirements.



I strongly suggest that pre-health students not take the General Biology major leading to a BA degree. This major is well suited for students who want to become high school biology teachers. Unfortunately, it attracts many other students because it requires about 10 fewer units, allowing graduation in less time. However, the General Biology requirements are so diffuse and have so little depth that they make a considerably less impressive health profession school application.


Lower Division Requirements (32-33 units)
BIOL 230 Introductory Biology I
BIOL 240 Introductory Biology II
CHEM 115 General Chemistry I: Essential Concepts of Chemistry
CHEM 130 General Organic Chemistry
CHEM 215 General Chemistry II: Quantitative Applications of Chemistry Concepts (CHEM 216 is recommended)
PHYS 111/ 112 General Physics I/Laboratory (3/1)
PHYS 121/ 122 General Physics II/Laboratory (3/1)
MATH 124 or MATH 226 Elementary Statistics Calculus I (4)
Total lower division requirements
Upper Division Requirements (24-25 units)
BIOL 355 Genetics
One physiology course from the following:
BIOL 525 Plant Physiology
BIOL 612 Human Physiology
BIOL 630 Animal Physiology
One cell biology course from the following:
BIOL 350 Cell Biology
BIOL 401 General Microbiology
BIOL 435 Immunology
BIOL 450 Biology of the Protozoa
BIOL 524 Plant Molecular Biology
CHEM 349 General Biochemistry
One physiology or cell biology laboratory course associated with course choices listed above (substitutions allowed upon signed adviser consent)
One ecology course from the following:
BIOL 482 Ecology (4)
BIOL 529 Plant Ecology (4)
BIOL 534 Wetland Ecology (4)
BIOL 580 Limnology (3)
BIOL 582 Biological Oceanography (4)
BIOL 585/586 Marine Ecology/Laboratory (3/2)
One evolutionary or organismal biology course1 from the following (substitutions allowed upon signed adviser consent):
BIOL 328 Human Anatomy (4)
BIOL 337 Evolution (3)
BIOL 380 Comparative Embryology (3)
BIOL 453/454 General Parasitology/Laboratory (3/1)
BIOL 459 Arthropod Biology (4)
BIOL 460 General Entomology (4)
BIOL 461 Insect Taxonomy (4)
BIOL 475 Herpetology (3)
BIOL 478 Ornithology (4)
BIOL 480 Mammalogy (4)
BIOL 500 Evolution and Diversity of Plants (4)
BIOL 502 Biology of the Algae (3)
BIOL 504 Biology of the Fungi (4)
BIOL 505 Comparative Anatomy of Vascular Plants (4)
BIOL 514 Plant Taxonomy (5)
BIOL 555 Marine Invertebrate Zoology (4)
BIOL 570 Biology of Fishes (4)
Upper division electives selected in consultation with an adviser 2
Total upper division requirements
Total for major

1 Students planning to earn a teaching credential must take an evolution course and an organismal biology course. SCI 510 (Search for Solutions), an interdisciplinary science capstone course, is accepted and recommended as an elective.

2 BIOL 652 Science Education Partners in Biology and BIOL 699 Special Study in Biology can be taken to fulfill elective units.

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