Subject Matter Program

Units required for Subject Matter Program: 65-66

Program Description

This subject matter program provides the minimum preparation for biology students interested in the single subject teaching credential in the sciences with a concentration in biology. This program meets the standards for academic preparation set by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing and qualifies students to teach general science covering all four natural sciences and biology at the high school level.

A grade of at least a "C-" and an overall GPA of 2.7 in all courses in the Science Subject Matter Program are required for admission to the Teacher Education Program. It is recommended that all coursework for the Subject Matter Program be completed before starting the Teacher Education Program. At least 15 units of the coursework or equivalent work experience must be current, i.e., completed within the past six years.

It is also possible to obtain admission to the Professional Education Program by passing a series of subject-matter examinations specified by the CTC in lieu of this Science Subject Matter Program. For information about this option contact the Teacher Preparation Program Office, Eureka Hall 216, (916) 278-6403).

Note: Due to policy changes from the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing and the federal No Child Left Behind mandate, the Science Subject Matter program was under review at the time of this catalog printing and is subject to revision. As a result it is important to consult a credential advisor for current details.

Special Features

  • At Sacramento State all four science departments have strong BA and BS programs supported by an active faculty and with modern laboratory facilities. The departments are committed to the education and development of new science teachers and have a solid record of providing professional activities and support for local experienced teachers through the work of the Center for Mathematics and Science Education.
  • This subject matter program is based on the concept that, if well-educated science majors pursue teaching careers in K-12 education, science instruction will improve. To this end, the Sacramento State Science Subject Matter Program embodies the following features. The program:
  • emphasizes breadth in all four of the sciences. All credential candidates will complete a full year or more of laboratory-based science in each of the natural sciences.
  • requires depth of study in one of the natural sciences. All credential candidates must complete the BA requirements in one of the natural sciences. Through deeper study of science, credential candidates become learners in the discipline and develop the ability to be creative teachers and models for their students.
  • emphasizes laboratory and field work so that credential candidates learn to use the many tools of science including computers. This will enable them to develop laboratory programs and structure field experiences for students in their schools.
  • emphasizes science for all students. The departments recognize the need to have programs which address the needs of underrepresented groups in science; women, African-Americans, Native Americans, and Hispanics. The SEE (Science Education Equity) Office and the Center for Mathematics and Science Education encourage and enable these student groups to be successful in science and to consider careers in education.


  • Credential candidates who complete this subject matter program in the sciences will have gained the confidence and ability to do science. They will understand that science is not just a collection of facts to be memorized but a creative and dynamic process which when applied can lead to understanding and appreciation of the natural world. This attitude will be reflected in their classrooms and will make them good models for pre-college students.
  • Science majors who intend to pursue a teaching credential should see a faculty advisor or the department chair in the department of their academic major. It is recommended that they do so as early as it is critical that their science coursework be carefully planned and coordinated with the professional teacher preparation program. In addition, students are encouraged to become involved with education related activities like grading, assisting in labs, tutoring K-12 students, visiting schools, and actually teaching; all experiences that can be arranged through your advisor and the Center for Mathematics and Science Education.

Program Requirements

Required Lower Division Core Courses (29-30 Units)
ASTR 4BIntroduction to Stars, Galaxies, and Cosmology3
BIO 10Basic Biological Concepts3
CHEM 1AGeneral Chemistry I5
CHEM 1BGeneral Chemistry II5
CHEM 20Organic Chemistry Lecture--Brief Course3
GEOL 10Physical Geology3
GEOL 10LPhysical Geology Lab1
GEOL 12Historical Geology3
Select one of the following:3 - 4
Calculus I for the Social and Life Sciences
Calculus I
General Physics: Mechanics, Heat, Sound
General Physics: Light, Electricity and Magnetism, Modern Physics
Required Upper Division Core Courses (17 Units)
BIO 121Molecular Cell Biology3
BIO 139General Microbiology4
BIO 160General Ecology3
BIO 184General Genetics4
CHEM 161General Biochemistry 13
Upper Division Electives (11 Units)
Select 11 upper division biology units in consultation with an advisor 211
Total Units57-58

CHEM 161 is not counted toward the 24 upper division unit requirement in the major. CHEM 160A and CHEM 160B may be taken in lieu of CHEM 161. Three units may be counted toward the 24 upper division unit requirements for the major.


Upper division electives in biological sciences must include one course in plant biology and one course in animal biology.

BIO 106 is not acceptable toward a BA in biological sciences.