About the Department of Biology

The Department of Biology offers undergraduates two broadly-based bachelor's degree programs and a Master of Science degree. Within each undergraduate degree program, there are opportunities for selecting a concentration. 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 and on participation in research.

The Biology undergraduate 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.

The Biology Master's program is comprised of an active cohort of graduate students engaged in original research with faculty members in all areas of research specialization covered in the department. Graduate research is often supported by external funding and graduate student support includes teaching assistantships that involve close mentoring relationships with instructional faculty. Many graduates of the masters program go on to pursue doctoral degrees, and others continue in research, biotechnology, resource management, and education.

Biology undergraduates have an outstanding record of acceptance in advanced degree programs at medical, dental, veterinary and graduate schools. Other graduates pursue diverse career paths related to biology. Students seeking a teaching credential may elect biology as their major within the teaching credential preparation program in science.

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 the unparalleled diversity of habitats in the North Bay region. They also capitalize on two spectacular nature preserves: Fairfield Osborn Preserve, and Galbreath Wildlands Preserve, administered by Sonoma State University. In addition, the department maintains museum collections of local plants, algae and fungi (North Coast Herbarium of California), vertebrates (Jack Arnold Vertebrate Collection), insects and other invertebrates.