BS in Biological Science (General Biology)

Units required for Major: 73-85, includes units of study in chosen concentration (see below).

Program Description

The general biology concentration is intended to give students a broad training in the Biological Sciences and an opportunity to explore a wide range of elective courses. It also provides necessary preparation for most graduate programs and selected entry level technical positions in industry and government.  The BS in Biological Sciences meets requirements leading to the Biology Subject Matter Competency Teaching Credential (with three supplemental geoscience and environmental studies courses) and also satisfies requirements for admission to health professional schools (with additional coursework in Math and Chemistry). 

Pre-Major Requirements

The Biological Sciences program at Sacramento State is one of the most highly sought after programs in Northern California. Due to the large number of applications, the program is now officially impacted. Students wishing to become Biological Science majors must complete a series of required lower division and then must apply for admission to the program. Check the department website for requirements, and it is highly recommended that interested students speak with an advisor at the Natural Sciences Advising Center (NSAC) as soon as possible.

Freshmen interested in the major are admitted as pre-Biological Science majors.

To change to the Biological Sciences major, pre-major students are required to complete the following courses and grade requirements and submit a Declaration of Major form to the Biological Science Department Office along with transcript copies.

  1. Completion of the following lower division "pre-major" courses with a minimum "C" or better. Only first or second attempt will be considered:
BIO 1Biodiversity, Evolution and Ecology5
BIO 2Cells, Molecules and Genes5
CHEM 1AGeneral Chemistry I5
STAT 1Introduction to Statistics3
ENGL 5Accelerated Academic Literacies3
  1. Overall GPA of 2.5 based on the pre-major courses listed above.
  2. Minimum of 30 units completed at the college level.

Program Requirements

Required Lower Division Core Courses (37-41 Units)
BIO 1Biodiversity, Evolution and Ecology5
BIO 2Cells, Molecules and Genes5
CHEM 1AGeneral Chemistry I5
CHEM 1BGeneral Chemistry II5
Select one of the following:3 - 6
Organic Chemistry Lecture--Brief Course 1
Organic Chemistry Lecture I
Organic Chemistry Lecture II
Select one of the following:3 - 4
Calculus I for the Social and Life Sciences
Calculus I
PHYS 5AGeneral Physics: Mechanics, Heat, Sound4
PHYS 5BGeneral Physics: Light, Electricity and Magnetism, Modern Physics4
STAT 1Introduction to Statistics3
Required Upper Division Core Courses (6 Units)
BIO 100Introduction to Scientific Analysis2
BIO 184General Genetics4
Concentration (30-38 Units)
Select from the following concentrations:30 - 38
General Biology
Biomedical Sciences
Cell and Molecular Biology
Clinical Laboratory Sciences
Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation
Forensic Biology
Total Units73-85

CHEM 24 and CHEM 124 may be taken in lieu of CHEM 20. (CHEM 124 is not counted toward the 36 upper division unit requirement in the major except in the Biomedical Sciences Concentration.)


  • Pre-Health Professional students should take the Chemistry and Math requirements as stated in the Pre-Health Professional Program section of this catalog.
  • With approval, up to six units of upper division coursework from related fields may be applied as electives in the major.
  • No more than 2 units from the following combined can be applied to the Biological Sciences upper division major requirement.
    BIO 195Biological Internship1 - 2
    BIO 197ALaboratory Teaching Assistant1 - 2
    BIO 197BLaboratory Techniques1 - 2
    BIO 197CCo-curricular Activities in Biology1 - 2
    BIO 199AIntroductory Undergraduate Research1 - 2
    BIO 199BDirected Readings1 - 2

Concentration in General Biology (30 units)

Required Courses (16 Units)
BIO 121Molecular Cell Biology3
BIO 139General Microbiology4
BIO 160General Ecology3
BIO 188Evolution3
CHEM 161General Biochemistry 13
Elective Courses (14 Units)
Select one of the following Structure and Function electives:3
Physiology of Human Reproduction
Advanced Human Anatomy
Comparative Vertebrate Morphology
Developmental Biology
Plant Anatomy and Physiology
Systemic Physiology
Cardiovascular, Respiratory and Renal Physiology
Select additional upper division elective courses in consultation with an advisor to total 14 total upper division elective units.11
Total Units30

CHEM 160A and CHEM 160B may be taken in lieu of CHEM 161. Only three units of the package may be counted toward the upper division requirement.