May 19, 2024  
2023-2024 Academic Catalog 
2023-2024 Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Biological Sciences, BA

The BA Biological Sciences degree, offered by the Department of Biological Sciences , provides a fundamental biology background while affording ample electives for students that desire a high degree of flexibility. This degree program is desirable for careers involving some aspect of biology such as preparation for K-12 teaching programs, pre-professional programs for pharmacy, optometry and dental schools, government fields related to biology, science writing, science illustration, or patent agent.

Summary of Degree Units

University Graduation Requirements 38
Major Preparation 35-41
Major Requirements 34-35
University Electives 6-13
Total 120

Program Roadmaps

The 4-Year Roadmap is available online. Roadmaps should be used in consultation with the catalog and your advisor to identify additional requirements for completing the major (for example, course grade minimums). Associate Degrees (ADT) Pathways are also available online.

Major-Specific Graduation Requirements

Students in this major must complete all lower division courses in the Requirements of the Major with a “C- or better” to graduate.

Prerequisite Requirements

Enrollment in any chemistry course requires that the prerequisite courses be passed with a grade of “C or better” (C- not accepted). Exceptions may be made only with instructor consent or if not explicitly stated in the course description. Refer to the SJSU Course Catalog for specific information regarding course prerequisites.

University Requirements

Students must satisfy all of the major and Undergraduate University Graduation Requirements , which includes unit, GPA, and residency requirements as well as the below identified General Education , American Institutions, Graduation Writing Assessment, and Physical Education requirements. Courses that meet Undergraduate University Graduation Requirements are noted with an area designation (see Course Abbreviations ).

Exceptions for University Graduation Requirements  apply to this major. 

Core Lower Division General Education (24 units)

Of the 39 units required by the university, 15 units may be satisfied by coursework outlined below. Courses that meet GE Areas A1, A2, A3, B4, or F must be passed with a “C-” or better to meet the requirement. Consult with a major advisor for details.

Note: Students who have completed the ADT Transfer degree (under SB 1440) for this major will have completed all lower division GE requirements (except for 1 course in GE Area C and 1 course in GE Area D) and should follow the 60 unit guarantee roadmap (which include the missing GE in Area C and D). Meet with an advisor prior to registering for your first semester for the 60 unit roadmap or specific questions.

Upper Division General Education (6 units)

Of the 9 units required by the university, 3 units may be satisfied by coursework outlined below. Consult with major advisor for details.

American Institutions (6 units)

Complete one 6-unit sequence of American Institutions (US123) courses, which also satisfies GE Area D. Students may also satisfy the American Institutions Requirement  with other courses, but these may not satisfy other GE areas.

The American Studies sequence (AMS 1A /AMS 1B ; 12 units) or Humanities Honors course (HUM 2B ; 6 units) satisfies the American Institutions Requirement and additional GE Areas (see course descriptions for details).

Consult with a major advisor to select the appropriate sequence.

Physical Education (2 units)

All SJSU undergraduate students, regardless of major, have an opportunity to expand their knowledge and skills in physical activities. To accommodate students’ needs and interests, the university offers a diverse selection of activity courses .

Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement

At SJSU, students must pass a Writing in the Disciplines (100W) course with a  grade of C or better (C- not accepted) to meet graduation requirements. For this major, the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR)  is satisfied by a course in the major.

Organic Chemistry (4-8 units)

Complete the Organic Chemistry A or B course sequence: 

Biochemistry (4 units)

Complete one course: 

Calculus (3-5 units)

Complete one course:

Major Requirements (34-35 units)

Core Courses (15-16 units)

Major Electives (19 units)

Major electives selected in consultation with major advisor. BIOL 115 , BIOL 118 , BIOL 159 , and/or BIOL 160  may be used as electives if they are not used to satisfy a requirement in Core Courses. The following courses may be taken as electives in the major for a combined total of 4 units: BIOL 180 , BIOL 182 , BIOL 184 , BIOL 186 , BOT 180 , BOT 186 , ENT 180 , ENT 186 , MICR 180 , ZOOL 180 , ZOOL 186 , and CHEM 180 .

University Electives (6-13 units)

University electives selected in consultation with major advisor. 

Total Units Required (120 units)