Biology

Bachelor's Program

Read Biology's entry in the University Catalog. This is the most definitive source of information. It is the student's contract with the major and the details of one's options are worth scrutinizing.

myCSUNtablet

The undergraduate Biology major requires students to have an iPad, usually starting with BIOL 106/107. The Biology major is one of seven programs leading the campus' myCSUNtablet initiative. The initiative generally aims to improve teaching and learning with new academic technology, which is best used on a tablet. Perhaps eventually we will not specify which kind of tablet, but when the first cohort started with BIOL 106/107 in Fall 2013, iPads were the best platform with the longest expected time to obsolescence and the most available apps. Moreover, specifying one platform allows us to make sure instructional materials work correctly, and it streamlines use of technology, allowing us to get to the biological content as fast as possible. Professors vary in how much they use the tablets in class. For some, it has released them into a new, more active, collaborative classroom. For others, the tablets are just a way to read and markup eTexts; eTexts are becoming much more than text and images. They capitalize on multimedia and interactive exercises. The cost of the tablets is generally less than the costs that students in the past paid for paper texts over the length of the major. Another benefit of tablets is that they allow students to quickly submit work to Moodle paperlessly. New students entering the major who do not have an iPad should buy one. Once we have few students who took BIOL 106/107 before F13, most upper division Biology classes will use tablets. It is generally our desire that our students become technologically competent workers.


Biology Major Options

California State University, Northridge offers a number of options for Biology Majors. The Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) option is designed for students seeking a broad foundation in biology as part of a liberal education strong in the natural sciences. It is appropriate for students who do not want to specialize in a research field and are instead planning to enter a health profession or teach at the K-12 level. This is our most popular option. It has the largest number of units that students are entirely free to choose, thereby allowing them to explore what interests them in biology or further afield.

The Environmental Biology option (B.S. Option II) offers students a rich selection of field courses, studying both the diversity of organisms and their ecological interactions. Each year, around twenty such courses are taught using Northridge as a home base, but with many short excursions into the varied environs of southern California. Students may also elect to take the Tropical Semester and/or the Marine Biology Semester. Option II students may use terrestrial courses, marine courses, or a mixture. The Marine Biology option (B.S. Option V) is similar, but marine courses are stipulated. Both Option II and V require less chemistry than other options. These field programs have been extremely successful at placing students in graduate schools specializing in ecology, evolution or marine biology, as well as at initiating careers working in parks and similar governmental agencies.

Students in the Cell & Molecular option (B.S. Option I) and the Biotechnology track (B.S. Option IV, first track) select freely from a long list of courses on how organisms work and laboratory methods for studying those mechanisms. CSUN is very proud of its hands-on wet lab courses. Students who want to specialize on bacteria should take the similar but more specialized Microbiology program (B.S. Option III), bacteriology being a subject in which CSUN has a critical mass of faculty and coursework. Students who are aimed at an applied career as a medical lab technician should take the Medical Technology track (B.S. Option IV, second track).

Honors Program

The Biology Honors program provides an opportunity for outstanding Biology majors to gain research experience with individual faculty guidance and may be of value for research-minded premedical students. The designation "Honors" will be added to the academic record of any student who completes the program. The university catalog at the bottom of the page on the B.A. lists the conditions for being in the Honors program.

For more information, go to Student Advisement.