Emphases and Concentrations

Students may construct an individual program to meet the Biology major requirements, or they may choose an emphasis in Cell and Molecular Biology or Marine Biology, or the Environmental Science Concentration in Biology.

Cell and Molecular Biology Emphasis

This emphasis is designed for students who are interested in pursuing a career in the health professions or graduate school in cellular or molecular biosciences. Cell and Molecular Biology encompasses a wide range of studies, including: gene expression and regulation, transmission of genes between generations, cell-to-cell communication, cell physiology, the biochemistry of DNA and RNA, the development of a fertilized egg into a multi-cellular organism, the biology of microbes, the cellular and molecular mechanisms that drive the specialized functions of the immune system, the nervous system and other organs and tissues. All requirements for the Biology major apply, with the addition that students must take two of the three courses at the 200 level as part of their program of study: Bio 221, 224, and 226 as part of their program of study. At least two of the required three courses at the 300 level must be chosen from the following list: Bio 320, 322, 323, 325, 326, 330, 333, 340, 349 and 350. Students are strongly encouraged to participate in research with faculty (Biology 395). Courses in organic chemistry and physics are strongly recommended for students planning to attend graduate and professional schools.

Cell and Molecular Biology Faculty

  • Renee Baran
  • Shana Goffredi
  • Cheryl Okumura
  • Roberta Pollock
  • Joseph Schulz
  • Kerry Thompson
  • Gary Schindelman
  • Karen Molinder

Marine Biology Emphasis

The marine emphasis is designed for biology majors who are interested in pursuing careers or graduate school in the marine sciences. Marine science is one of the most integrative fields in biology with research topics ranging from molecular methods for the classification of marine bacteria to the effects of global warming on fisheries. Students are required to satisfy all the requirements for the biology major and must take four of the following upper-division courses: Biology 260, 344, 356, 368, 369, or Geology 245. These courses may also satisfy biology major requirements. In addition to the coursework, students are encouraged to participate in as many of the following activities as their schedules allow: 1) independent or collaborative research with faculty (Bio 395), 2) scuba diving as part of a club or research team, 3) participation in programs (academic year and/or summer) at marine science institutions, 4) participation in faculty led field trips, and/or 5) attendance at seminars on marine topics at Oxy and other nearby campuses. Students graduating with a marine emphasis will have strong lab/field research experience, know the common local marine organisms (plankton to mammals), and be able to discuss the pertinent physical and biological processes affecting the southern California marine area. Students interested in joining this emphasis should contact one of the marine biology faculty to discuss their course of study.

Marine Biology Faculty

  • Shana Goffredi
  • Gary Martin
  • Dan Pondella
  • Joseph Schulz
  • Amber Stubler
  • Mia Adreani
  • Jonathan Williams
  • Laurel Zahn

Environmental Science Concentration in Biology

Environmental Science is a concentration that explores earth processes and ecosystems and develops skills that students need for environmental analysis and problem-solving. The Environmental Science concentration is designed for students who want to more fully understand the biological and geologic foundation of Environmental Science and provides them with a shared academic experience and expertise within a specific scientific field. Participation in a core of introductory courses establishes the interdisciplinary breadth necessary for understanding complex environmental problems. Further specialization gives students a strong background in biology or geology, preparing them to become involved in research projects, fieldwork, internships, and environmental studies. Students will receive their Bachelor of Arts in biology or geology with an Environmental Science concentration, enabling them to pursue graduate work in biology, geology or Environmental Science, and professional careers in these and related fields.

Environmental Science Biology Faculty

  • Beth Braker
  • Shana Goffredi
  • John McCormack
  • Gretchen North
  • Dan Pondella
  • Amber Stubler
  • Amanda Zellmer
  • Mia Adreani
  • Jonathan Williams
  • Laurel Zahn