Undergraduate Majors & Minors
Scroll down to read about the three bachelor's degree programs and three minors offered by the department.
Bachelor of Science Degree in Biological Sciences
This degree program offers students a broad education in biology, from molecules to ecosystems. It prepares students for a wide variety of careers in such fields as biomedical, for teaching, for certification as an Associate Ecologist, Fisheries Biologist, or Associate Wildlife Biologist. The B.S. in Biological Science degree gives students technical competency in the six concentrations outlined below, and is an excellent base for graduate school studies.
Our Biology major students may select one of our five concentrations: anatomy and physiology, ecology, marine biology and conservation, molecular and cellular biology, and wildlife and biodiversity, or they may pursue the General Biology curriculum.
Bachelor of Science Degree in Marine Sciences
Cal Poly has an ideal geographic location for training future marine scientists. Importantly, Cal Poly is situated near diverse ecosystems that are incorporated into the teaching and research programs, including the Center for Coastal Marine Sciences pier marine laboratory facility in Avila Beach.
The B.S. in Marine Sciences degree program is designed to provide students with a broad foundation in multiple areas of marine sciences, including ample opportunities for active application of knowledge-based projects to the lab and field. In addition, students will be required to engage in community-oriented outreach activities to promote ocean literacy. We have included flexibility in the degree to allow students to focus on one of the sub-disciplines including marine biology, chemistry, oceanography, or the more technical and instrumentation-focused areas in engineering.
The degree includes lower division coursework across all scientific disciplines to provide a balanced education for students. In addition, the degree includes upper-division experiences in our core marine courses (Marine Ecology, Biological Oceanography, Marine Chemistry and Ocean Sampling) as well as courses focusing on diversity of marine organisms, conservation and community involvement.
Through the use of experience-based learning including faculty-led research projects, the Marine Sciences BS students will develop critical thinking and analytical skills in areas such as physiology of marine organisms, conservation, fisheries, oceanographic sampling and data networks. This degree curriculum will prepare students to enter and lead the workforce or to matriculate in premier graduate programs in the interdisciplinary field of marine sciences.
Cal Poly is one of the few California State University or University of California campuses offering a laboratory-intensive Bachelor of Science degree in Microbiology.
The microbiology major prepares students for graduate school, professional studies or post-baccalaureate careers in industrial microbiology, food and dairy microbiology, and biotechnology, as well as in public health microbiology, epidemiology, or clinical laboratory scientist programs.
The major consists of a core of freshman courses that provide students with a basic foundation in key biological principles, including an introduction to organismal, cellular, and molecular biology, as well as evolution, ecology and biodiversity. In their sophomore year, students receive hands-on training in manipulation of microorganisms, as well as an understanding of microbial cell structure and function, metabolism, genetics, and ecology.
In their junior and senior years, students take specialized courses in medical microbiology, immunology, microbial physiology, genetics, virology, and cell biology. Under the direction of their faculty advisors, students also choose elective courses related to their career goals or plans.
The Biological Sciences Department offers the following minors: