Academic Programs

The Department of Biology offers undergraduates two broadly based bachelor's degree programs within which there are opportunities for selecting a special concentration. The department also offers a Master of Arts degree in biology. A congenial atmosphere allows students to develop a close relationship with peers, graduate students, and faculty. An emphasis is placed on laboratory and field courses, to give students practical experience, and on participation in research.

Laboratory courses are designed to focus on structure, development, physiology, microbiology, genetics and DNA recombination. Laboratory instruction provides students with hands-on opportunities with physiological equipment, ultracentrifugation, PCR, electrophoresis, light microscopy, immunofluorescence microscopy and microbiological techniques. Excellent laboratory and greenhouse facilities, such as the Raymond Burr Greenhouse and orchid collection, exist for maintaining live material for classroom use and research. A radioisotope laboratory is also available.

Field courses draw upon an unparalleled diversity of habitats: streams, lakes, estuaries, bays, open coasts, marshes, grasslands, vernal pools, oak woodlands, redwood groves, thermal springs and geothermal steam fields &emdash; all in close proximity to the campus. In addition, the department maintains extensive museum collections of local plants (North Coast Herbarium of California), algae, fungi, invertebrates (including insects) and vertebrates.

Biology graduates are prepared to enter the job market in a variety of careers, including government agencies, park service, biological research, teaching, and medical technology. Students seeking a teaching credential may elect biology as their major within the teaching credential preparation program in science (see page 73). Graduates from the department have an outstanding record of acceptance in advanced degree programs at technical, dental, veterinary, medical and graduate schools, as well as in fifth-year hospital traineeships in medical technology.

The biology curriculum, supported by physical sciences and mathematics, is designed to provide students with a strong background in the principles of biology and rigorous upper-division instruction. This combination of breadth and in-depth instruction allows students to develop the intellectual foundations and the skills necessary to deal with the specific biological concerns of today and the flexibility to meet the needs of the profession.