2023-2024 Cal Poly Humboldt Catalog 
    Dec 10, 2023  
2023-2024 Cal Poly Humboldt Catalog

Biology, Microbiology Concentration, B.S.

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Humboldt’s program emphasizes hands-on learning. Our diverse facilities include the largest greenhouse in the California State University system, a vertebrate museum containing mammals, reptiles, and amphibians from around the world, and a vascular plant herbarium with almost 100,000 specimens. Near the campus are many parks, forests, and undisturbed habitats for studying plants and animals in their natural surroundings.

Humboldt’s marine laboratory, located on the coast in the nearby town of Trinidad, gives students outstanding opportunities for marine biology projects. The research vessel, the Coral Sea, is used for seagoing field trips. Several smaller boats are used in nearshore waters, coastal lagoons, and Humboldt Bay.

Our well-equipped biotechnology laboratory, cell culture facility, and College Core facility allow modern work in molecular and cellular biology. Scanning and transmission electron microscopes are also available for student use.

Humboldt biology graduates have many job opportunities: teacher, field biologist, marine biologist, museum curator, science librarian, clinical lab technologist, laboratory technician, environmental consultant, microbiologist, and biotechnology research technician. Graduates may also pursue advanced study in biology or a professional degree.

Additional information is available on the Department of Biological Sciences website.

Preparation: In high school take biology, chemistry, and physics (with labs, if possible); beginning and intermediate algebra; geometry; and trigonometry.  

Requirements for the Bachelor’s Degree

A bachelor’s degree requires a total of 120 units. Students must fulfill General Education & All-University Requirements , residency, unit, and GPA requirements as outlined in the Bachelor’s Degree Requirements . This major does not include a Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR) certified course. Students must take a GWAR certified writing intensive course to fulfill the requirement. 

Requirements for the Major (64-76 Units)

Students who receive a grade below a C- in any prerequisite course will require instructor approval for enrollment.

Core Courses (41-42 Units)

The following core courses are required for all biology majors. Take all lower division courses before beginning upper division work.


Microbiology Concentration Courses (23-34 Units)

Complete the following concentration specific coursework to fulfill the requirements of the major.

Lower Division

Take all lower division courses before beginning upper division work.

Organic Chemistry Option

Complete either the one-semester course or the two-semester series.

Upper Division Restricted Electives

Complete 6 units from the courses listed below.

Program Learning Outcomes

Program Learning Outcomes identify what a student will learn or be able to do upon completion of their program.

  1. Apply the scientific method to questions in biology by formulating testable hypotheses, gathering data that address these hypotheses, and analyzing those data to assess the degree to which their scientific work supports their hypotheses 
  2. Present scientific hypotheses and data both orally and in writing in the formats that are used by practicing scientists 
  3. Access the primary literature, identify relevant works for a particular topic, and evaluate the scientific content of these works 
  4. Apply fundamental mathematical tools (statistics, calculus) and physical principles (physics, chemistry) to the analysis of relevant biological situations
  5. Identify the major groups of organisms and be able to classify them within a phylogenetic framework. Students will be able to compare and contrast the characteristics of organisms that differentiate the various domains and kingdoms from one another 
  6. Use the evidence of comparative biology to explain how the theory of evolution offers the only scientific explanation for the unity and diversity of life on earth. They will be able to use specific examples to explicate how descent with modification has shaped organismal morphology, physiology, life history, and behavior
  7. Explain how organisms function at the level of the gene, genome, cell, tissue, organ and organ-system. Drawing upon this knowledge, they will be able to give specific examples of the physiological adaptations, development, reproduction and behavior of different forms of life 
  8. Explicate the ecological interconnectedness of life on earth by tracing energy and nutrient flows through the environment. They will be able to relate the physical features of the environment to the structure and dynamics of populations, communities, and ecosystems 
  9. Demonstrate proficiency in the experimental techniques and methods of analysis appropriate for their area of specialization within biology.

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