The fundamental mission of the Biology Department is to provide an intensive, progressive, and balanced learning experience in cell and molecular biology, organismal biology, and environmental biology to serve a student population that is highly diverse, both in educational and ethnic background, and in academic and career goals. To accomplish this mission, the department offers three baccalaureate programs, an M.S program, and two Minor programs. Recognizing the crucial role of research in science education, the Biology Department is committed to offering research opportunities to all interested and qualified students. The department also offers courses that satisfy General Education Section B2B, and service courses for majors in Clinical Sciences, Health Sciences, Liberal Studies, Physical Education, and Human Services.
The mission of the B.A. program is to provide balanced learning experiences, in theory and basic laboratory skills, in cell and molecular biology, organismal biology, population and community biology, and environmental science. Elective courses and the requirement for a minor in another discipline allow maximum flexibility to fit student needs and career goals.
B.S. (General Option)
The mission of the B.S. program is to provide the same basic learning experiences as the B.A. program and, in addition, to provide more intensive and extensive depth of knowledge in at least one area of specialization in modern biology. Since many students in the B.S. program plan further study in graduate programs, the Biology Department is committed to offering research opportunities to all interested and qualified B.S.students as part of their undergraduate education.
B.S. (Microbiology Option)
The mission of the B.S. in Microbiology program is to provide basic education in core subjects of modern biology and advanced and intensive training, with an emphasis on laboratory methodology, in microbiology, immunology, parasitology, and related areas for students planning careers in applied biology.
The mission of the M.S. Program is to provide advanced training in modern biology through lecture, seminar, and independent research as a preparation for further study in a doctoral program or professional school or for a career in teaching or laboratory research. Since research experience plays a crucial role in science education, and in acceptance to doctoral and professional programs, all students are required to conduct independent research, with faculty supervision, leading to a thesis.
Minor in Biology (General Option)
The mission of the Minor in Biology (General Option) is to provide maximum flexibility to satisfy the needs of a highly disparate population of students with majors in other departments, who, nevertheless, need enough biology coursework to constitute a Minor.
Minor in Microbiology
The mission of the Minor in Microbiology is to provide intensive training in microbiology, immunology, and biochemistry, with fewer overall units than a baccalaureate program, for majors in sciences other than biology, who have career goals in clinical microbiology, food science, or biotechnology laboratories.
Service and General Studies Courses
The mission of Biology 102 and 103L is to provide a detailed overview of modern thought in the life sciences, the scientific method as applied to biology, and the implications of modern biology for society. Service courses are designed to satisfy requirements of other departments, and may also be used as electives for the Minor in Biology (General Option).
According to the University Mission, CSUDH is “…a multicultural, multiethnic teaching and learning community dedicated to excellence and committed to educating a student population of unprecedented diversity for leadership roles in the global community of the 21 st century.”
The programs offered by the Biology Department are designed to serve a student population that is highly diverse, both in educational and ethnic background, and in academic and career goals. In terms of ethnicity, undergraduate and graduate biology students are representative of the CSUDH student body. Many are the first generation in their families to attend college. Finally, many undergraduate and graduate biology students have family responsibilities and work at least part-time; this is particularly true of graduate students, a significant fraction of which are K-12 teachers. Consequently all courses are offered in the evening at least once per year, consistent with the University Mission, “These programs are offered at times and locations convenient for the students we serve.”
A baccalaureate in biology is the gateway to a career in a medical profession, or in biomedical research at the Ph.D. level. Almost 3/4 of all biology majors come from ethnic groups traditionally underrepresented in these fields. Thus, an implicit mission of the Biology Department is to provide opportunities for these students to enter professions from which they have been historically excluded.
Experience in independent research is a very important factor in acceptance into medical schools and doctoral programs in biology. Hands-on training in research is also crucial for K-12 teachers to be able to convey to their students how science works and how to distinguishing science from pseudo-science. Thus, an essential mission of the Biology Department is to provide opportunities for independent research for all graduate students and all interested and qualified undergraduate biology majors. To accomplish that mission, we have cooperative relationships with Harbor-UCLA, King-Drew, USC and several local agencies like the Orange County Water Quality District, to allow expanded research and service opportunities for our students. This is consistent with the University Mission , “…pursues productive relationships with educational, public sector, and business communities….”
The Minor in Biology programs, service courses, and General Education courses serve a very broad population of students. Since Biology 102 and 103L are the only life science courses many of these students, including Liberal Studies majors, will ever take, we take our mission of providing a high quality experience in these courses very seriously. As an example, we have developed sections of Biology 103L specifically designed for Liberal Studies majors and taught by practicing teachers.