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Biology

As a biology major, you will engage in scientific investigation of nature, from the molecular level to entire ecosystems, developing skills to address the challenges related to the natural world.

In addition to classroom instruction, our curriculum emphasizes firsthand observation and experimentation in both the laboratory and the field. You’ll have the opportunity to work closely with faculty mentors who are active scholars, publishing research that spans a broad range of biological subdisciplines, including marine, cell and molecular biology. You’ll learn how to critically assess a scientific problem, collect and analyze data, and write and speak about biology for general and technical audiences while taking advantage of Oxy’s unique location at the nexus of three distinctive ecosystems—the Pacific Ocean, the San Gabriel Mountains, and the Mojave Desert.

International opportunities for field research also are plentiful, including study at in Costa Rica, where students have the chance to conduct research alongside professors and scientists each summer. Our forthcoming Genomics Center in the Anderson Center for Environmental Science will unite new DNA sequencing technologies with museum specimens from our world-renowned biodiversity collections, including the largest collection of Mexican birds in the world housed in the Moore Lab of Zoology and the stunning 117,000-piece Cosman Shell Collection. Our Vantuna Research Group features both the longest continual time series studies of rocky reefs in the world and the largest spatial scale studies of reefs in the Southern California Bight.

After studying the evolutionary unity, diversity, and complexity of biological systems, you will be prepared for a variety of postgraduate options, including medicine, public health, ecology, environmental science, education, health communication, and graduate work in the sciences. Biology also opens the door to many other possibilities not traditionally associated with the sciences, such as government, business, policy and industry work.

Meet Our Faculty

What Our Graduates Are Doing

Pulmonologist, Huntington Memorial Hospital

Magdalena Arenas
1992

Research Associate, genetics, City of Hope

Hannah Munkasci
2016

Dean, Keck School of Medicine of USC

Laura Mosqueda
1981

DDS program, UCLA

Stephanie Peacock
2017

MD, USC Keck; resident in orthopedic surgery

Brandon Ortega
2012

Ph.D. program in ornithology, Louisiana State University

Jessie Salter
2014

Assistant National Tribal Affairs Officer, FEMA

Margeau Valteau
2013

Veterinary School, UC Davis

Caitlyn Lara
2016

Data Scientist, Adaptive Biotechnologies

Madeline Gillman
2018
Contact Biology
Bioscience Building Room 200