Mission & Student Learning Objectives


To be nationally recognized as one of the premier undergraduate biological programs with a masters level graduate program; one in which students are consistently prepared to go on to successful and productive careers.


  1. To provide a foundation in life sciences for all Cal Poly students
  2. To provide life science students with a broad background in the life sciences at all levels of biological organization (from molecular, cellular, and organismal biology, to populations, communities and ecosystems)
  3. To prepare life science students for careers and graduate work
  4. To provide education in life science technologies and applications 
  5. To engage students in scientific inquiry and foster life-long learning
  6. To prepare students to make informed political and societal decisions relative to the life sciences
  7. To be a life science resource for the community, state, nation and the biosphere!

Program Learning Objectives for the Bachelor of Science Programs
(Biological Sciences and Microbiology)

  1. Students will demonstrate a writing style appropriate for communicating scientific results to a diverse audience.
  2. Students will integrate math, physical sciences and technology to answer biological questions using the scientific method.
  3. Students will demonstrate proficiency of lab and field techniques in their area of specialization.
  4. Students will master and retain fundamental concepts in biology (atom to ecosystem).
  5. Students will demonstrate the skill to assess and analyze data with objectivity.
  6. Students will demonstrate proficiency in searching, reading and evaluating the scientific literature.

Program Learning Objectives for the MS Program in Biological Sciences

  1. Students will demonstrate a broad basic knowledge of the biological sciences.
  2. Students will demonstrate a thorough understanding and competency in a specific discipline within the biological sciences.
  3. Students will be able to communicate scientific ideas effectively in both oral and written formats.
  4. Students will be able to think critically and evaluate, design, conduct and quantitatively assess innovative research in a biological discipline.
  5. Students will have acquired the skills and knowledge needed for employment or advanced graduate or professional study in discipline related areas.


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