2018-2019 Catalog


Biology Program Learning Outcomes

College of Natural and Behavioral Sciences

Department of Biology

Bachelor of Arts

Degree Roadmap

Bachelor of Science

Cellular and Molecular Biology Option

Ecology and Environmental Biology Option

Microbiology Option




Subject Matter Preparation Program

Specific Biological Sciences Subject Matter Authorization 

Master of Science


John Thomlinson, Department Chair

Fang Wang, Graduate Program Coordinator

H.K. Choi, Helen Chun, Karin Kram, Thomas Landefeld, Terrence McGlynn, Sonal Singhal, Davood Soleymani, Kathryn Theiss, John Thomlinson, Fang Wang
Department Office: NSM A-143, (310) 243-3381
Emeriti Faculty
David E. Brest, Lois W. Chi, Evelyn Tutt Childress, Robert V. Giacosie, Carol Guze, Catherine Jacobs, Gene A. Kalland, Getachew Kidane, Richard Kuramoto, Francis McCarthy, Laura M. Phillips, John Roberts, Laura Robles

Program Description

The Biology Program at CSU Dominguez Hills is designed to provide students with intensive, progressive and balanced learning experiences in cell and molecular biology, organismal biology, population and community biology, and environmental science.
The Biology Department offers students eight programs from which to choose: 1) An undergraduate program which awards the Bachelor of Arts Degree; 2) Three undergraduate major options that award the Bachelor of Science Degree: a Cellular and Molecular Biology Option, an Ecology and Environmental Biology Option and a Microbiology Option; 3) Two minor programs: a General Minor and a Microbiology Minor; 4) A Biological Science Subject Matter Preparation Program for students pursuing a secondary teaching credential; 5) A graduate program which awards the Master of Science Degree.

Subject Matter Preparation Program

The Subject Matter Preparation Program is authorized by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing. This course of study includes a number of prescribed courses that address proficiency standards for content knowledge required for the Single Subject credential in Biological Sciences. Interested students should contact the departmentally designated advisor for current information.

Specific Biological Sciences Subject Matter Authorization (32 units)

Holders of a Single Subject or Multiple Subject credential issued by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing may secure an additional Specific Biological Sciences Subject Matter Authorization that allows the holder to teach the specific subjects in grades preschool, K-12, and classes organized primarily for adults. 

For other requirements governing issuance of this authorization, consult the Teacher Education section of this catalog or contact the College of Education Student Services Center.


The most important feature of the Biology Department is its excellent faculty, of which all full-time and most part-time members hold a doctoral degree. They are dedicated to excellence in teaching and are active in basic and applied research and other scholarly activities. The department currently has more than $1.5 million in private foundation, federal and international research grants. Another attractive feature of the department is its small class size. This allows students to interact frequently and effectively with instructors both within and outside of class. It also permits instructors to easily identify students in need of additional assistance, and to supply such assistance.
The Biology Department's teaching and research facilities are modern and well equipped. Special facilities and equipment that are available for student use include a tissue culture laboratory, a next-generation sequencer, a greenhouse and a nature preserve. In addition to on-campus facilities, students may study marine biology and desert biology through the use of facilities available in the Southern California Ocean Studies Consortium and the Desert Studies Consortium. Excellent computer and library facilities also are available.
Since the Biology faculty maintain several diverse research programs that are well supported with public and private funds, the department can provide both undergraduate and graduate students with opportunities to actively participate in research. Biology students have been successful, not only in conducting research, but in presenting reports at scientific meetings, publishing their findings, and in receiving national recognition for the high quality of their work.

Academic Advisement

The Biology Department requires that each semester prior to or during registration, students meet with their biology advisor to review their progress, select new courses, update their advisement file (departmental files are maintained for all majors and graduate students), and to discuss any special problems they may have encountered.


Students who plan to enter the biology program directly from high school should prepare by completing four years of English, including composition; algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and pre-calculus if available; and at least one year each of biology, chemistry and physics.

Students transferring from a community college should have completed one semester of calculus or, if not taken in high school, algebra, geometry and trigonometry, and one year each of introductory chemistry and biology (3 semester course) designed for the transfer major.

Career Possibilities

A student in the Biology Department will be prepared to pursue a variety of career opportunities, depending on the curricular program chosen. An undergraduate major may choose any of the options. The Cellular and Molecular Biology Option can fulfill the major entrance requirements for professional schools of medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, pharmacy, optometry, podiatry and medical technology, or prepare the student for further graduate study in biology. Biology graduates from CSU Dominguez Hills have competed successfully for admission to professional and graduate schools in California and elsewhere. Students also may use the Cellular and Molecular Biology Option to prepare for careers in teaching, research, government, academia or the biotechnology industry. The Ecology and Environmental Biology option will prepare students for graduate studies or careers with federal, state, and local agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and consultants, and careers in teaching, among others. The Microbiology Option provides training in microbiology, medical microbiology, immunology and related courses (virology, mycology and parasitology) for students interested in a career in applied biology, biomedical research or allied fields.
Students may prepare for a career in teaching science at the secondary level (junior high or high school) by completing an approved "Subject Matter Preparation Program." Completion of such a program is the first step in meeting the state requirements for a teaching credential. Interested students should consult the departmentally designated advisor for current information.

The Master of Science program in Biology will provide students with an in-depth background suitable for pursuing a career in biological research, teaching or in a related field such as public health, psychology and human services. Students may develop a program of courses and research that is tailor-made to their individual needs within the areas of expertise of their advising faculty. The graduate program also can establish a strong foundation for professional training in medicine, dentistry, paramedical areas and Ph.D. programs.

Graduation with Honors An undergraduate student may be a candidate for graduation with Honors in Biology provided the following criteria are satisfied:

A minimum of 36 units in residence at CSU Dominguez Hills; A minimum grade point average of 3.5 in all courses used to satisfy the upper division requirements in the major; Recommendation by the Biology Department faculty.

Students who achieve Honors in Biology will have the information recorded on their transcripts and diplomas.

Students who choose a career in the health professions, e.g. medicine, pharmacy, dentistry, physician assistant, veterinary medicine, etc. must satisfy certain pre-requisites for entry into those schools/programs that offer those degrees. Very often, these students choose biology as a major since many of the prerequisites are required courses in biology; however, any major will work as long as the prerequisites are met. Regardless of their major, students choosing to become a health professional need to meet with a CSUDH Pre-Advisor. Currently these individuals are Dr. Thomas Landefeld (Biology) and Dr. Patrick Still (Chemistry).

In general, the courses required for these schools/programs include General Biology (BIO 120/BIO 121/BIO 122/BIO 123), General Chemistry (CHE 110/CHE 112), Organic Chemistry (CHE 310/CHE 312) and Physics (PHY 120/PHY 122), all with laboratories. As it turns out, not all programs have the same course requirements. For example, for medicine, due to the new MCAT, in addition to the prerequisites already mentioned, one semester of biochemistry (CHE 450) is strongly recommended whereas for other programs, e.g. pharmacy, two semesters of biochemistry with laboratory may be required. Also some of the programs require courses that are not offered at CSUDH, e.g. human anatomy with lab and human physiology with lab. (Many students take these at community colleges). The important point is that different programs require different prerequisites so the student must work closely with a Pre-health Advisor for each program as well as each institution.

In addition to the prerequisite courses, most programs require other components for their application, e.g. 1) a standardized test such as the MCAT, DAT, OAT, etc. 2) GPAs, both the overall and BCPM (biology, chemistry, physics and math); 3) a personal statement; 4) letters of recommendation and finally 5) experience associated with the eventual health profession, e.g.  some exposure to clinical situations such as volunteering, internships, etc. All of these aspects of the applications are looked at “en masse” to determine those individuals who are to be interviewed for available positions. Again, working with a Pre-health Advisor will serve to greatly enhance one’s application. Call 310-243-3381.