Which Schools Have Biology Degrees & Majors in California?

Learn about biology programs in California. See degrees, specialization options and course offerings, as well as career and salary info for the state. Schools offering Biology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

Biology majors in California might consider attending the University of California at Los Angeles or various state universities to earn their 4-year bachelor's, 2-year master's or 5-year doctorate degrees. Through the study of ecology, botany and plant, human and stem cell biology, they could prepare for careers such as zoologists or researchers. Programs conclude with final projects or the presentation and defense of theses or dissertations.


Bachelor's Degree Programs in California

San Diego State University

  • Program Name: Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) and Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Biology
  • Specialization Areas: B.S.: cellular and molecular biology, evolution and systems, ecology, zoology, marine biology and bioengineering
  • Program Length: Four years, full-time
  • Tuition: $3,538 for in-state students; out-of-state students pay an additional $372 per unit (fall 2012)
  • Prerequisites: You must complete pre-major required courses with a minimum of a C in each class for admission to the major, an emphasis in bioengineering has a different set of pre-major courses
  • School Type: 4-year, public; about 26,000 undergraduate and 4,500 graduate students
  • Address: 5500 Campanile Dr., San Diego, CA 92182
  • Phone: (619) 594-5200

To graduate with a B.A. from this school, you complete 24 credit hours in biology-related courses, whereas you complete 36 to earn the B.S. degree. Core courses in either program cover topics like ecology and the environment, genetics, evolution, biochemistry and molecular biology. Instruction is delivered in both lab and lecture formats.

San Francisco State University

  • Program Name: Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science in Biology
  • Specialization Areas: B.S.: cellular and molecular biology, botany, ecology, marine biology, microbiology, physiology, zoology and clinical science
  • Program Length: Four years, full-time
  • Tuition: $3,469 per term for in-state; out-of-state students pay an additional $372 per unit (fall 2012)
  • School Type: 4-year, public; about 25,000 undergraduate and 4,500 graduate students
  • Address: 1600 Holloway Ave., San Francisco, CA 94132
  • Phone: (415) 338-1111

This school's B.A. program includes a general curriculum focusing on the biological sciences. Along with required education coursework, it can prepare you to teach biology at the high school level. Required classes in either biology degree program include human biology, plant biology, stem cell biology, human anatomy and local ecology.

University of California - Los Angeles

  • Program Name: Bachelor of Science in Biology
  • Specialization Area: Computing
  • Program Length: Four years, full-time
  • Tuition: $13,910 for in-state and $36,788 for out-of-state students per year (2011-2012)
  • School Type: 4-year, public; about 27,000 undergraduate and 12,000 graduate students
  • Address: 405 Hilgard Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90095
  • Phone: (310) 825-4321

This B.S. program is designed for students wanting to study a broad range of biological subjects. It prepares you for careers in the healthcare, agriculture or biological industries. Classes include ecology and evolutionary biology, atmospheric science, microbiology, field biology and marine biology. The optional specialization in computing includes classes in organismic biology, computer science, geography and psychology.


Master's Degree Programs in California

California State University - Fresno

  • Program Name: Master of Science (M.S.) in Biology
  • Field of Study Option: Certificate program in biotechnology
  • Program Length: About two years
  • Tuition: $4,074 per term for in-state students; out-of-state students pay an additional $372 per unit (2012-2013)
  • Requirements: A bachelor's degree from an accredited 4-year institution with at least a 2.5 GPA, Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores and two letters of recommendation
  • School Type: 4-year, public; about 19,000 undergraduate and 3,000 graduate students
  • Address: 5241 N. Maple Ave., Fresno, CA 93740
  • Phone: (559) 278-4240

In this program, you take classes in molecular evolution, cell cultures and botany. You also write a research thesis. The university also offers a 1-year certificate program in biotechnology that can be pursued at the same time as the master's degree. The certificate program includes coursework in gene splicing, cloning and hybridoma production.

San Francisco State University

  • Program Name: Master of Science in Biology
  • Specialization Areas: Ecology, evolution and conservation biology; cell and molecular biology; cell and molecular biology with stem cell research; physiology and behavior; ecology and systematic biology; conservation biology; marine biology; microbiology; a professional science master's degree
  • Program Length: About two years
  • Tuition: $4,162 per term for in-state students; out-of-state students pay an additional $372 per unit (fall 2012)
  • Requirements: A bachelor's degree with a 3.0 GPA, submission of GRE test scores and two letters of recommendation
  • School Type: 4-year, public; about 25,000 undergraduate and 4,500 graduate students
  • Address: 1600 Holloway Ave., San Francisco, CA 94132
  • Phone: (415) 338-1111

SFSU offers classes on five campuses located around the San Francisco Bay area. Graduate students in the biology department perform research that is frequently published and presented. Classes in this program generally depend on your area of concentration. While in the program, you must complete either a final project or write a thesis prior to graduation.


Doctoral Degree Program in California

University of California - Los Angeles

  • Program Name: Doctor of Philosophy in Biology
  • Specialization Areas: Research concentrations in biochemistry, geology, microbiology and molecular biology
  • Program Length: Typically 4-5 years
  • Tuition: $14,618 per year (2011-2012)
  • Requirements: Submission of GRE test scores and three letters of recommendation
  • School Type: 4-year, public; about 27,000 undergraduate and 12,000 graduate students
  • Address: 405 Hilgard Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90095
  • Phone: (310) 825-4321

In this program, in addition to the four on-campus concentrations offered through the biology Ph.D. program, you can choose to pursue marine biology, field biology or tropical biology concentrations at various off-site locations. All biology students take classes in ecology, evolutionary biology, statistics and biomathematics or bioinformatics. During your studies, you work for three terms as a teaching assistant and write a dissertation in your area of concentration.


Career Information for Biology Professionals in California

A bachelor's degree in biology can lead to a career as a biological technician, while a master's degree could lead to working as an environmental scientist, zoologist or wildlife biologist. Many aspiring biology researchers or individuals interested in teaching in the field have a master's or Ph.D. degree.

Salary and Job Prospects

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) as of May 2011, nearly 11,000 biological technicians worked in California and earned annual average salaries of about $48,000. The BLS also reported that, at that time, the average annual income for California's roughly 2,200 zoologists and wildlife biologists was about $70,000, while almost 12,500 scientists and specialists in the state earned a mean annual income of nearly $78,000.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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