Subject Matter Program (Biology)

Units required for Subject Matter Program: 62-63
Total units required for BA: 120

Program Description

The Science Subject Matter Program (SSMP), with emphases in Biological Sciences, Chemistry, and Physics, leads to a BA degree in the area of emphasis. It also meets the latest California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CCTC) subject-matter requirement to enter a teaching credential program in California. In order to obtain a California K-12 Teaching Credential, a program of professional education preparation (a teaching credential program) is required in addition to completing the SSMP. Completing the SSMP and teaching credential program allows graduates to teach all four sciences (biology, chemistry, geoscience, and physics) at the general/integrated 7th-12th grade science level, in addition to the student's area of concentration at the advanced high school level. A typical credential might read, for example, SCIENCE: Chemistry.

The Biology SSMP 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-" in all required Science Subject Matter Program courses is necessary in order to meet subject matter requirements for admission to a teaching credential program. If a grade of "C-" is not achieved in all SSMP courses, then the current CTC approved subject matter exam must be successfully passed in order to be eligible for admission to a teaching credential program (the current exam is the CSET, tests I, II, and III). 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).

Special Features

  • At Sacramento State all of the departments in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics have strong BA and BS programs supported by an active faculty and with modern laboratory facilities. The College is 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 sciences.
  • requires depth of study in one of the natural sciences. All credential candidates must complete the BA requirements in one of the emphases. 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 College recognizes the need for programs that   address the needs of underrepresented groups in science.


  • Credential candidates who complete the SSMP will have gained the confidence and ability to do science. They will understand that science is 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, and visiting schools; all experiences that can be arranged through your advisor.

Program Requirements

Required Lower Division Core Courses (36-37 Units)
ASTR 4AIntroduction to the Solar System 13
or ASTR 4B Introduction to Stars, Galaxies, and Cosmology
or ASTR 4C Introduction to Astrobiology
BIO 1Biodiversity, Evolution and Ecology 15
BIO 2Cells, Molecules and Genes5
CHEM 1AGeneral Chemistry I 15
CHEM 1BGeneral Chemistry II5
CHEM 20Organic Chemistry Lecture--Brief Course3
ENVS 10Introduction to Environmental Science 13
GEOL 10Physical Geology 13
GEOL 10LPhysical Geology Lab 11
Select one of the following:3 - 4
Calculus I for the Social and Life Sciences 1
Calculus I 1
General Physics: Mechanics, Heat, Sound 1
General Physics: Light, Electricity and Magnetism, Modern Physics
Required Upper Division Core Courses (26 Units)
BIO 100Introduction to Scientific Analysis2
BIO 121Molecular Cell Biology3
BIO 131Systemic Physiology4
BIO 139General Microbiology4
BIO 160General Ecology3
BIO 184General Genetics4
BIO 188Evolution3
CHEM 161General Biochemistry 23
Total Units62-63


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

General Education Requirements1

Area A: Basic Subjects (9 Units)
A1 - Oral Communication3
A2 - Written Communication3
A3 - Critical Thinking3
Area B: Physical Universe and Its Life Forms (3-6 Units)
B1 - Physical Science 20
B2 - Life Forms 20
B3 - Lab (Note: Lab experience to be taken with one of the following: B1, B2 or B5) 20
B4 - Math Concepts 30 - 3
B5 - Additional Course (Any B to reach 12 units) - Take upper-division course to complete Area & upper division requirements.3
Area C: Arts and Humanities (12 Units)
C1 - Arts3
C2 - Humanities3
C1/C2 - Area C Course3
C1/C2 - Area C Course - Take upper-division course to complete Area & upper division requirements.3
Area D: The Individual and Society (12 Units)
Area D Course3
Area D Course3
Area D Course3
Area D Course - Take upper-division course to complete Area & upper division requirements.3
Area E: Understanding Personal Development (3 Units)
Area E Course3
Total Units39-42

Graduation Requirements1

Graduation Requirements (required by CSU) (9 Units)
American Institutions: U.S. History3
American Institutions: U.S. Constitution & CA Government3
Writing Intensive (WI)3
Graduation Requirements (required by Sacramento State) (12 Units)
English Composition II3
Race and Ethnicity in American Society (RE)3
Foreign Language Proficiency Requirement 26