Biological Sciences

A biology student inside a lab holds up a dish filled with clear liquid as she takes a closer look.


The Department of Biological Sciences is committed to becoming Northern California's premier facility for the education of students, the creation of insightful researchers, skilled professionals, and knowledgeable citizens who will have the capacity to meet biological challenges of the future and will continue contributing towards our understanding of life. We introduce our majors to current research and techniques in biological sciences and prepare them for employment opportunities, graduate education, or professional programs of study.


Students are strongly encouraged to become involved in faculty research projects in the laboratory and the field.

The faculty represent diverse academic backgrounds and are vitally interested in their students. In addition to teaching and advising, faculty are actively involved in research and scientific publication and encourage undergraduates to be involved in their research programs. Natural research sites such as Big Chico Creek Ecological Reserve provide year-round research opportunities to undergraduates and graduate students. 

The department has many well-equipped teaching and research facilities including scanning electron, confocal, and fluorescence microscopy. Other resources include the natural history museum, herbarium, and several greenhouses.

The objectives of the graduate program are to develop research and analytical skills so that students are equipped to conduct independent research and teach as professional biologists upon graduation. The MS in biological sciences combines coursework and satisfactory completion of an original thesis.


The organizational, data-gathering, and written communication skills acquired by biology majors prepare students for a wide variety of careers. Students may prepare themselves for employment in laboratories, business, or teaching. Laboratory positions are available in university and governmental research centers, pharmaceutical and biological product manufacturers, biotechnology firms, and agricultural/food processing companies. The teacher shortage in the United States is critical, so a teaching career, especially in the sciences, has a bright outlook.

Students who emphasize field studies may prepare themselves for positions in private companies as well as state and federal agencies. Participation in internships or cooperative education programs enhances employability in these areas.