Bachelor of Science in Biology Program Page

Bachelor of Science in Biology

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Home » Programs » Bachelor of Science in Biology

Program Overview

Become equipped to stake your claim in the worlds of emerging diseases, genetic studies, physiology and biodiversity, threats to species and ecosystem functioning, and global population increase and sustainability with a Bachelor of Science in Biology. The vocational choices for BS in Biology degree holders are broad and fascinating. Careers include those in medical professions, genetics, molecular and cell biology, biotechnology, microbiology, conservation biology, evolutionary biology, ecology, animal and plant science, as well as science writing, editing, and education.

If you’d like to include an interdisciplinary approach to your academic training, this degree allows for the integration of study in the life sciences, with coursework in the physical and earth sciences, as well as applied fields such as forensics. You can also consider the Bachelor of Science in Biology to Master of Forensic Science Transition program for your future.

Please note that this program has requirements that can only be satisfied on-site in San Diego, CA. Students must be able to attend these requirements in-person, onsite.

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Course Details

Preparation for the Major

  • 16 courses; 57 quarter units

Prerequisite: MTH 12A and MTH 12B, or Accuplacer test placement evaluation

An introduction to statistics and probability theory. Covers simple probability distributions, conditional probability (Bayes Rule), independence, expected value, binomial distributions, the Central Limit Theorem, hypothesis testing. Assignments may utilize the MiniTab software, or text-accompanying course-ware. Computers are available at the University’s computer lab. Calculator with statistical functions is required.

Prerequisite: MTH 12A and MTH 12B, or Accuplacer test placement evaluation

The first part of a comprehensive two-month treatment of algebra and trigonometry preliminary to more specialized study in mathematics. The course covers higher degree polynomials, rational functions, exponential and logarithmic functions, transformations and the algebra of function, matrix algebra and basic arithmetic of complex numbers.

Prerequisite: MTH 216A

The second month of a comprehensive two-month treatment of algebra and trigonometry; this course is a continuation of MTH 216A. Topics include trigonometric functions, analytic trigonometry and application, parametric equations, matrix algebra, sequences and series, and applied problems. Graphing calculator may be required.

PrerequisiteMTH 215 or equivalent

General chemistry topics important for higher level chemistry and science courses: thermodynamics, reaction kinetics, and quantum mechanics. Successful completion of a college algebra course is required for enrollment in this course.

PrerequisiteCHE 141

Second course of general chemistry, covering: bonding, solutions, chemical kinetics, chemical equilibrium, acids/bases, and thermodynamics.

CorequisiteCHE 149A; PrerequisiteCHE 142

Third course of general chemistry, covering: electro, nuclear, organic, bio, and coordination chemistry. Chemistry of metals and non-metals is also covered.

Fundamental concepts of biochemistry, cell biology, genetics. Concepts include important organic molecules, cell structure and function, metabolism and enzyme activity, cellular respiration and photosynthesis, DNA structure, meiosis and mitosis, Mendelian genetics. Intended for science majors.

PrerequisiteBIO 161

Evolution, taxonomy, biodiversity, ecology. Concepts include evolutionary processes, taxonomy and phylogeny of the kingdoms of life, and ecological processes at the levels of the population, community and ecosystem. Intended for science majors.

CorequisiteBIO 169A; PrerequisiteBIO 161; BIO 162

Morphology and physiology of multicellular organisms, particularly plants and animals. Concepts include plant structure and physiology, and comparative animal morphology and physiology. Intended for science majors.

PrerequisiteMTH 215, or MTH 216A and MTH 216B

Non-calculus based general physics course. Intended for Science majors. Study of one-dimensional and two – dimensional kinematics, dynamics, statics, work, energy, linear momentum, circular motion and gravitation.

PrerequisitePHS 171

Non-calculus based general physics course for Science majors. Study of temperature, kinetic theory, gas laws, heat, oscillatory motion and waves, and electricity.

CorequisitePHS 179A; PrerequisitePHS 171; PHS 172

Non-calculus based general physics course intended for Science majors. Extended study of magnetism, electromagnetic induction and waves, optics, relativity, quantum physics, nuclear reactions and elementary particles.

PrerequisiteCHE 101 and CHE 101A, or CHE 141 and CHE 142 and CHE 143 and CHE 149A

Introduction to the fundamentals of organic chemistry. This course covers the properties and reactions of hydrocarbons and their functional groups, aromatic compounds, and biological molecules. Special efforts are made in demonstrating the interrelationship between organic chemistry and other areas of science, particularly biological, health, and environmental sciences.

CorequisiteCHE 150

This course is designed to introduce students to the practical aspects of organic chemistry. This course covers basic techniques for handling, analyzing, and identifying organic compounds. In addition, students will learn how to synthesize simple and practical small organic molecules.

CorequisiteBIO 163; PrerequisiteBIO 161; BIO 162

Laboratory course in general biology intended for science majors. Topics include the application of the scientific method, examination of cellular processes (eg. respiration, photosynthesis, mitosis, meiosis), Mendelian genetics, operation of basic laboratory equipment, taxonomic classification, and investigations of structure and function of prokaryotes, protists, fungi, plants, and animals.

CorequisiteCHE 143

Augments student understanding of important concepts in chemistry through hands-on experiments. Students will become proficient in advanced chemistry laboratory techniques, will learn how to operate modern instruments, will acquire the necessary skills to collect data accurately and to perform error analyses.

PrerequisitePHS 171 and PHS 172 and PHS 173, or PHS 104

General physics lab course for science majors. Includes lab practicum in major concepts of general physics: one and two-dimensional kinematics, work and energy, electric current, oscillations, and geometric optics.

*May be used to meet General Education requirements

Requirements for the Major

12 courses; 42 quarter units

PrerequisiteBIO 161; BIO 162; BIO 163; BIO 169A; CHE 141; CHE 142; CHE 143; CHE 149A

A study of the relationship of plants and animals to their environment and to one another. Emphasizes populations, the population-community interface and community structure and interactions within the ecosystem.

PrerequisiteBIO 163; BIO 169A; CHE 143; CHE 149A

Principles of genetics and heredity. Topics include linkage and pedigree analysis, DNA replication and repair, gene expression and regulation, inheritance of traits, genetic engineering, relationship of genetics to human health, and application of genetics to understanding the evolution of species.

PrerequisiteBIO 161; BIO 162; BIO 163; BIO 169A

Evolutionary biology. Topics include the history of life, fossil record, causes of microevolution (including natural selection and mutation), macroevolutionary processes (including speciation and extinction), evolutionary genetics and developmental biology (“evo-devo”), phylogeny construction and taxonomy.

PrerequisiteBIO 161; BIO 162; BIO 163; BIO 169A; CHE 141; CHE 142; CHE 143; CHE 149A; CorequisiteBIO 406A

Introduction to cellular biology, including fundamentals of cell structure and function, inter- and intracellular communication through signaling and signal transduction, cell growth and energy generation through aerobic respiration and photosynthesis. Examination of cellular events and analysis of specific case studies in cell biology.

CorequisiteBIO 406; PrerequisiteBIO 161; BIO 162; BIO 163; BIO 169A; CHE 141; CHE 142; CHE 143; CHE 149A

This course emphasizes techniques essential to cellular biology, including cell culturing, Western blotting, ELISA, and DNA, RNA, and protein extractions.

PrerequisiteBIO 161; BIO 162; BIO 163; BIO 169A; CHE 141; CHE 142; CHE 143; CHE 149A; CorequisiteBIO 407A; PrerequisiteBIO 305

An introduction to molecular biology focusing on gene structure, organization, regulation and expression. Topics in genetic engineering and genome evolution are covered, as well as DNA replication, recombination, transcription and post-transcriptional mechanisms in both eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells.

CorequisiteBIO 407; PrerequisiteBIO 161; BIO 162; BIO 163; BIO 169A; CHE 141; CHE 142; CHE 143; CHE 149A; BIO 305

This course emphasizes techniques essential to molecular biology including DNA extraction, purification and quantification; polymerase chain reactions; and restriction enzyme digestion.

PrerequisiteBIO 161; BIO 162; BIO 163; BIO 169A; CHE 141; CHE 142; CHE 143; CHE 149A; CorequisiteBIO 414A

Comparative study of invertebrates: taxonomy, structure, physiology, reproduction, evolution, and behavior.

CorequisiteBIO 414

Laboratory complement of invertebrate zoology, involving specimen investigations, demonstrations, and experiments. Contact hours (45.0) are based on a 3:1 ratio; i.e., 3 lab hours = 1 lecture hour equivalent.

PrerequisiteBIO 161; BIO 162; BIO 163; BIO 169A; CHE 141; CHE 142; CHE 143; CHE 149A; CorequisiteBIO 416A

Study of the life of Vertebrates integrating the anatomy, physiology, ecology, evolution and behavioral adaptations that enable them to survive effectively in their natural environment.

CorequisiteBIO 416

Laboratory complement of vertebrate zoology, involving specimen investigations, anatomical examination, and live observations when feasible.

PrerequisiteBIO 305, or BIO 310, or BIO 330

Examination of current topics in biology. Emphasis on evaluation, discussion, and analysis of peer-reviewed literature.

Upper-Division Electives

  • 7 courses; 31.5 quarter units

Students may select only 300, 400, or 500 level in the College of Letters and Sciences to complete the total of 76.5 quarter units of upper division for the degree. Suggested upper-division courses are given below.

PrerequisiteBIO 161; BIO 162; BIO 163; BIO 100A

Study of animal behavior, integrating genetic, physiological, ecological, and evolutionary perspectives.

Recommended PreparationBIO 203, or BIO 406, or equivalent courses.

Examination of the structure and function of the immune components, including the complement system, innate and adaptive responses, and immune cell signaling. Analysis of fundamental concepts such as antibodies, antigens, antigen-antibody complexes, allergic reactions, lymphatic and hematopoietic systems, cancer, and autoimmune and immunodeficiency diseases.

PrerequisiteBIO 161; BIO 162; BIO 163; BIO 169A; CHE 141; CHE 142; CHE 143; CHE 149A

Plant biology, including structure, function, evolution, taxonomy, and diversity of major groups of plants.

PrerequisiteBIO 161; BIO 162; BIO 163; BIO 100A, or BIO 100; BIO 100A

Study of the flora, fauna, and biomes of California. This course includes field trips, with sites selected for each academic center within the University.

PrerequisiteBIO 161 with a minimum grade of C. Student must have taken General Biology or equivalent ; BIO 162 with a minimum grade of C. Student must have taken General Biology or equivalent ; BIO 163 with a minimum grade of C. Student must have taken General Biology or equivalent

Global approach to the science of marine biology. Study of life in the marine environment and the structure and function of various marine ecosystems such as coral reefs, mangroves, and estuaries. Analysis and evaluation of the human impact on ocean ecology.

Recommended PreparationBIO 162 with a minimum grade of C. Student must have a grade of C or higher

Survey of marine habitats for fish species identification and quantification; survey of marine mammal (dolphins and manatees) ecology and behavior; identification of sea turtle species nesting and ecology; assessment of sea grass health and species identification; coral identification and health; ecosystem health and methods of monitoring. Species list composition, biopsying techniques, and basics of biological field work. Taught in a field laboratory in Turneffe Atoll, Belize; requires international travel. Contact instructor for approval and additional requirements.

CorequisiteBIO 470A; PrerequisiteBIO 161 with a minimum grade of C-. Student must have passed the class with a C- or better; BIO 162 with a minimum grade of C-. Student must have passed the class with a C- or better; BIO 163 with a minimum grade of C-. Student must have passed the class with a C- or better

Analysis of biotechnology-related information using software tools to store, manipulate, and extract information from protein and nucleic acid sequence data. Topics include genome annotation, gene and protein prediction, sequence alignment, and analysis of aligned sequences in the description of patterns of protein or species relationships and gene expression.

CorequisiteBIO 470

Techniques essential to bioinformatics. Topics include practical knowledge of databases, basic commands in Unix and R, sequence alignment and annotation, and gene-expression quantification.

Project-based study in biology under the individual direction of the faculty. Topics and sites are specifically designed in collaboration with teachers and students. Units can be taken separately or cumulatively; this course can be repeated depending upon the needs of individual students.

PrerequisiteCHE 142

Introduces students to the chemistry of carbon compounds and their properties, structures and reactions. It emphasizes the study of the properties and reactions of aliphatic, halides, alcohols, esters, thiols and sulfides, and aromatic compounds, which in conjunction with selected experiments, gives an understanding of the mechanisms of organic reactions.

CorequisiteCHE 350 Minimum C

Students will learn how to apply common laboratory techniques to determine the structure and the chemical properties of alkanes, alkenes, alcohols, alkyl halides, acids and esters. The experiments will be done on a small scale approach or microscale. Contact hours for this laboratory course (45) are based on a 3:1 ratio, i.e. 3 Lab hours= 1 lecture hour equivalent.

PrerequisiteCHE 350

Study of the properties and reactions of aromatic compounds, aldehydes, ketones, carboxylic acids, amines, and amides. In addition, students are introduced to the use of modern spectroscopic techniques to analyze and predict structures of organic molecules.

CorequisiteCHE 351 Minimum C

Students will apply laboratory techniques learned in CHE350A to synthesize , purify and identify organic compounds including alcohols, aldehydes, aromatics, ketones, ethers, esters, amides and amines. The experiments will be done on a small scale approach or microscale. Contact hours for this laboratory course (45) are based on a 3:1 ratio, i.e. 3 Lab hours= 1 lecture hour equivalent.

PrerequisiteCHE 350; CHE 350A; CHE 351

Study of the structures and functions of important classes of biological molecules: proteins, carbohydrates, nucleic acids, and lipids. A strong and current background in chemistry is required to successfully complete this course.

PrerequisiteCHE 360

A continuation of CHE 360. This course concentrates on the principles of cellular regulatory processes and synthesis of biological molecules.

Examination of the interactions between oceanographic, geological and astronomical processes on the physical and living components of the world’s oceans. Includes interactions between the ocean and the atmosphere and how these interactions affect currents, weather and biological activity.

PrerequisiteMTH 215, or MTH 216A and MTH 216B and MTH 210

An introductory to mathematical modeling, utilizing a variety of diverse applications from physical, biological, business, social, and computer sciences. Discuss the limitations, as well as the capabilities, of mathematics as applied to understanding of our world. Teaches problem identification, models of solutions and model implementation. Graphing calculator is required.

Interdisciplinary features in Geographic Information Systems. Aspects include geography, cartography, and computer science for scientific, business, and environmental applications. This will include teaching the student how to input spatial data into the computer, organize the data and perform basic spatial operations.

Individual study under direction of instructor. Requires prior approval of appropriate academic department.

*Enrollment in this course requires Instructors permission

Degree and Course Requirements

To receive a Bachelor of Science, Major in Biology, students must complete at least 180 quarter units as articulated below, 45 of which must be completed in residence at National University, 76.5 of which must be completed at the upper division level, and a minimum 69 units of the University General Education requirements.  In the absence of transfer credit, additional general electives may be necessary to satisfy total units for the degree.  Refer to the section on undergraduate admission requirements for specific information regarding admission and evaluation. All students receiving an undergraduate degree in Nevada are required by State Law to complete a course in Nevada Constitution.

* Completion of BIO 100, 100A, 201, 201A, 202, 202A, 203, 203A is equivalent to the course sequence BIO 161, 162, 163, 169A for fulfillment of the BS Biology degree.


The BS Biology to MFS transition program allows students who are enrolled in the BS Biology with a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0 and who are within completing their last six courses to register for two courses in the MFS program as electives for the bachelor’s degree. Students may choose from the following courses: FSC 630, FSC 633, FSC634, FSC 635 or FSC 642. The two graduate courses are restricted to those that do not require a prerequisite. Students must complete all transition program coursework with a grade of B or better. The number of courses required to earn an MFS degree for transition program students is reduced from 12 to as few as 10 courses. Graduate-level coursework taken as part of the Biology program cannot be applied as graduate credit to the Master of Forensic Science program, nor will it transfer as graduate level credit to any other university because it becomes part of the undergraduate degree program. Students must enroll in and complete the first class in the Master’s degree within 6 months of the conferral date of their undergraduate degree. The MFS program must be completed within 4 years with no break in enrollment of 12 months or more. Further rules and requirements for Transition programs are located in the university catalog.

Learn More

Program Learning Outcomes

  • Discuss biological processes at all of levels of organization: molecular, cellular and microbial, organismal, population, and ecosystem.
  • Explain the importance of unifying concepts in biology, including cell theory, genetics, and evolution.
  • Describe the structure and function of Earth’s organisms, as well as their roles in the natural world.
  • Apply the scientific method in laboratory-based and field-based inquiry.
  • Demonstrate effective oral, visual, and written communication and quantitative skills, including the critical analysis of data and scientific literature.
  • Evaluate historical developments and research in biology, as well as current and contemporary research and challenges.
  • Demonstrate computer and technology literacy, including the ability to access databases within the context of course research and project development.


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