Biology gives you the key to understand the foundations of life and relationships between ecosystems. Use that knowledge as a foundation for a career in medicine, research, teaching and more.
Why Study Biology?
To understand biology is to understand life itself — and the endless ways all life on the planet is connected.
Every day, biologists explore those connections, solve mysteries, and help build a better planet. Some use biology as a stepping stone to a medical degree or work in a clinical laboratory. But you could also do fieldwork, where you'll explore the relationship between disease and environment. You could study how climate change affects not just individual species, but entire ecosystems. You might even find more efficient ways to grow crops.
The experience you get in the classroom and in the laboratory will sharpen your powers of observation as well as your analytic skills. When you graduate, you'll be prepared to enter the workforce or pursue an advanced degree.
Why Study Biology at CSUN?
Once you master basic laboratory techniques, special programs at CSUN let you explore the biggest lab of all: Nature itself.
Marine Biology Semester: Conduct research and get your feet wet — literally— on Santa Catalina Island. Study pristine waters in this 15-week program.
Tropical Biology Semester: Go from the cloud forests of the Andes to the Amazon basin in Ecuador. You'll spend six weeks exploring before returning to campus to analyze your findings.
Frontiers of Science
Undergraduates in our exclusive Stem Cell Training Program train in the emerging fields of stem cell biology and regenerative medicine. A 10-month internship at UCLA opens doors to graduate study and careers.
And our Center for Cancer and Developmental Biology provides research opportunities for hundreds of students every year. The center's director, Steven Oppenheimer, has co-authored papers with more than 700 students, most of whom are undergrads. That kind of commitment earned him the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Mentoring.
Research that Counts
Ancient human genomics. The evolution of genetic networks in plants. The ecology of marine algae. Our faculty interests are diverse. As an undergraduate, you'll have the chance to participate in their work.
What You'll Learn
All Biology majors at CSUN receive a foundation in biology, chemistry, physics and math. You'll master basic lab techniques while learning to think and write scientifically.
As a Biology major, you can choose from a bachelor of arts (B.A.) or bachelor of science (B.S.) degree. While the B.A. provides a broad foundation, the B.S. choices go more deeply into specific fields — ideal if you're looking for an entry-level job in a particular discipline.
The Biology B.A. is a flexible program that gives you a broad foundation in biology while you pursue a liberal education in the arts and sciences. It's ideal if you're planning to enter a health profession, such as dentistry, medicine, or veterinary medicine, or to teach. The B.A. can also prepare you for a career in pharmaceutical sales or medical illustration.
The Cell and Molecular Biology option prepares you for graduate study or a career as a research associate in academic, government or industrial labs, or in fields such as medicine or biotechnology. Many of your classes will include laboratory work, as you focus on biochemistry, cells and tissues, and molecular genetics.
Study tropical habitats, venture into the desert or explore many other ecosystems in the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology option, which combines extensive fieldwork with classroom study and lab work. Classes focused on zoology, botany and ecology will prepare you to work in national or state parks as ecologists, wildlife preserve managers, consultants, or other positions.
In the Microbiology option, your classes will delve deep into the world of viruses, bacteria and other microorganisms. Extensive laboratory work will prepare you for the rigors of graduate study or careers in a wide variety of fields: You could work in academic, governmental, or industrial labs or become a research assistant in fields such as medicine, biotechnology, medical device manufacturing, cosmetics, food and water quality testing, and more.
Biotech is a fast-growing field that can lead to new discoveries in medicine, genetics, agriculture and other fields. You can choose from two tracks: The Biotechnology track will prepare you for graduate study or careers in a range of fields. The Medical Technology track will prepare you for a year of clinical training and to take the California License exam in Clinical Laboratory Science, or for training and certification as a Public Health Microbiologist (PHM).
Your work in the Marine Biology option will include a semester on Catalina Island, where you'll get an up-close look at plant and animal life in an unspoiled ecosystem an hour off the coast of Southern California. Graduates are ready for advanced study or careers in the marine sciences.
Careers & Outcomes
Graduates of CSUN's biology program are positioned to pursue advanced degrees in the sciences or enter the workforce directly.
Graduates of the biology program find jobs in fields including:
- Veterinary medicine
- Clinical laboratory science
Out of the lab and into the field.
CSUN students have access to ecosystems as diverse as oceans and deserts within driving distance of campus. Marine biology classes, for example, often go to the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach and to Santa Catalina Island.