Subject Matter Program (Biology)

Units required for Subject Matter Program: 61-65

Program Description

The Science Subject Matter Program (in biology, chemistry, physics, or foundational level general science) is designed to meet the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) subject matter requirement for students to enter a California Single Subject teaching credential program. Meeting the subject matter requirement is a credential program admission requirement, and can be met either through a subject matter program (such as those described below) or by taking a state approved content exam (currently the California Subject Exam for Teachers, the CSET). In order to meet the subject matter program requirement, all courses must be completed with a grade of "C-" or better.  In order to teach public school in California, you must also complete a teaching credential program.

Subject matter programs are not degrees or concentrations; instead they are a series of courses that allow a student to meet the requirements for admission to a teaching credential program. Students must also complete a BA or BS degree (with any major) to fulfill the credential requirements.

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 early as it is critical that their science coursework be carefully planned and coordinated to include the required subject matter program courses. In addition, students are encouraged to become involved with education related activities like grading, assisting in labs, tutoring K-12 students, and visiting schools; please speak with the subject matter advisors in your area for more information.

Program Requirements

ASTR 4AIntroduction to the Solar System3
ASTR 4BIntroduction to Stars, Galaxies, and Cosmology3
Biodiversity, Evolution and Ecology
Cells, Molecules and Genes 1
CHEM 1AGeneral Chemistry I 15
CHEM 1BGeneral Chemistry II5
ENVS 10Introduction to Environmental Science 13
GEOL 10Physical Geology 13
Select one of the following:8 - 12
General Physics: Mechanics, Heat, Sound
General Physics: Light, Electricity and Magnetism, Modern Physics 1
General Physics: Mechanics
General Physics: Heat, Light, Sound, Modern Physics
General Physics: Electricity and Magnetism 1
Required Upper Division Core Courses (21 Units)
BIO 121Molecular Cell Biology3
BIO 131Systemic Physiology4
BIO 139General Microbiology4
BIO 160General Ecology3
BIO 184General Genetics4
BIO 188Evolution3
Total Units61-65


  • BIO 195T is highly recommended for students interested in pursuing a biology credential in the CSU system; 45 hours of documented work with the target school age is required prior to admission in a credential program.