Academic Catalog 2021-2022


This is an archived copy of the 2021-2022 catalog. To access the most recent version of the catalog, please visit

College of Natural and Behavioral Sciences
Department of Biology

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.

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.

Pre-Health Professions in Biology

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 chose 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 Principles of Biology I/BIO 122 Principles of Biology II, General Chemistry (CHE 110 General Chemistry I/CHE 112 General Chemistry II), Organic Chemistry (CHE 310 Organic Chemistry I/CHE 312 Organic Chemistry II) and Physics (PHY 120 Elements Of Physics I/PHY 122 Elements Of Physics II), 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 Biochemistry I) 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 there 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.