Major in Biology

Biology majors study organisms and how they function in the natural world. You can be a general biology major or focus your studies by choosing a concentration in one of five specialty areas: Cellular and Molecular Biology, Ecology, Marine Biology, Microbiology, or Science Education.

Cal Poly Humboldt is a place where you can immerse yourself in the natural world and be inspired. Instructors and staff who are dedicated to teaching excellence and hands-on learning provide unique opportunities that utilize our amazing museum collections, accessible research facilities and specialized equipment like electron microscopes. The practical skills you will acquire are fundamental to a wide range of careers in biology.

Where You’ll Learn

Humboldt is in the perfect environment for both laboratory and field research. Our university has accessible research facilities surrounded by ancient redwoods and near the Pacific Ocean, pristine rivers, mountains, and wetlands. Let our diverse, multi-disciplinary environment inspire you and guide your learning.

Personal Attention

The Biology department is a community of learners dedicated to supporting student excellence through hands-on learning.  There are many opportunities to work with faculty, staff, and students to get involved in research and other co-curricular activities related to your major.

Our Facilities

Humboldt is home to extensive natural collections and accessible research facilities. As a student in our department, your education will be enhanced by all of these resources, which include an herbarium, vertebrate museum, herpetology and entomology collections, two greenhouses, environmental growth chambers, cell culture laboratories, biotechnology facilities, and specialized advanced equipment like electron microscopes.
View our Facilities

Catalog Information

Biology Major Concentrations

and Major Academic Plans (MAP) 

General Biology

This concentration is designed to allow a wide range of flexibility in designing a program to meet an individual student’s needs.


Cellular and Molecular Biology

This concentration is designed for biology majors interested in understanding the cellular and molecular processes that govern biological form and function. The coursework includes training in the questions and experimental methods required to study organisms at the genetic, molecular, and cellular levels. Our laboratory facilities provide unique hands-on training that prepares students for graduate studies, medical school, and jobs in scientific laboratories.



This concentration is designed for students who are interested in a hands-on approach to understanding how living organisms interact with one another and the environment, and the consequences of these interactions for biodiversity and ecosystem function.  


Marine Biology

The Marine Biology concentration provides students with a fundamental background in the biological sciences and emphasizes application of coursework to the study of marine organisms and ecosystems. It is one of the Marine Science programs associated with Cal Poly Humboldt's Telonicher Marine Lab. Our curriculum takes advantage of the R/V Coral Sea as well as numerous local tidepools where our students learn about marine animals and run-experiments through hand-on research.



This concentration provides a broad, laboratory-oriented background in the study of microorganisms of all kinds (bacteria, algae, fungi, protozoa, viruses, etc.), including structure, identification, physiology, genetics, ecology and parasitism, artificial culture, and experimental technique.


Science Education

This concentration is for students who want to teach biology at the secondary (high school) level. One additional year of courses (after the B.S.) can lead to a teaching credential. 


Career Options

Our Biology Alumni have had successful careers as

Field Biologists
Marine Biologists
Cell Biologists
Developmental Biologists
Biotechnology Researchers
Taxonomist Science Educators
Physician’s Assistants
Scientific Writers
Scientific Illustrators
Marine Biologists

More Career Options