Catalog 2023-2024

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Ecology, Biodiversity and Conservation

Associate in Science Degree

The goals of the Ecology, Biodiversity and Conservation Associate degree are to educate students in diverse areas of ecological and environmental science in order to understand conservation of the biodiversity found in the natural world. Students will receive a broad overview of topics such as ecological patterns, biodiversity, extinction, conservation, and evolution. The degree may exceed 60 units if students select higher unit courses. Through this associate degree, the student will develop the ability to think logically, analyze data, apply critical thinking and scientific methodology, and develop problem-solving skills necessary for success in any field of study. The coursework exposes students to the stunning biological resources and deep interconnections of natural systems. This degree is designed for students who have a passionate interest in the natural world who wish to pursue employment opportunities in natural resources within the parks, open space and land management fields. These positions include field research assistants, open space technicians, park interpreters or maintainers, natural resource managers or environmental advocates with governmental and non-governmental organizations. The Ecology, Biodiversity and Conservation degree can also be used for transfer to four-year universities (with the appropriate course selection) where students will have the opportunity to complete a Bachelor’s degree in Biology, Environmental Biology, Ecology, and Evolutionary Biology, Marine Biology, Evolution and Ecology, Integrative Biology, Evolution, Ecology & Biodiversity, Environmental Science, Ecology, Behavior and Evolution, Conservation Biology, Wildlife Management, Conservation, and Resource Studies. Career Options: Agricultural Biologist, Biochemist, Biologist, Botanist, Entomologist, Environmental Specialist, Fish and Game Technical Aide, Fish and Game Warden, Park Ranger, Conservation Science, Forester, Horticulturist, Habitat Restoration, Ecologist, Laboratory Technician, Marine Biologist, Citizen Science Coordinator, Climate Change Biology, Environmental Lawyer, Environmental outreach and education, Park Naturalist/Ranger, Research Assistant, Conservation Biologist/technician, Conservation Researcher, Trail Docent, Researcher, Scientific Illustrator, Educator, Technical/ Science Writer, Naturalist, Park Management, Veterinarian, Wildlife Biologist/consultant, Wildlife technician, Zoo Curator, Zoologist, Field Biologist, Nature Interpreter, Environmental Consultant, Environmental Technician, Environmental Policy and Management, Green Technology.

Major Core Requirements (14-21 units)

Course NumberCourse TitleUnits
Select one:

Environmental Biology
Evolution - Life on Earth
Biodiversity and Extinction: Hotspots, Crisis and Conservation

3 units
3 units
3 units
BIOL012Introduction to Ecology and Wildlife4 units
Select one:

Natural History of California
California Plants and Animals

3 units
4 units
Students must take either BIOL 040 OR both BIOL 041 AND BIOL 042.

Organismal Biology
Principles of Animal Biology
Principles of Plant Biology

4 units
5 units
5 units

Major Electives List A: Select 2 courses different from above (6-9 units)

Course NumberCourse TitleUnits
BIOL002Environmental Biology3 units
BIOL013Natural History of California3 units
BIOL014California Plants and Animals4 units
BIOL018Marine Biology4 units
BIOL024Bio in the News3 units
BIOL035Biology of Birds4 units
BIOL036Animal Behavior3 units
BIOL037Evolution - Life on Earth3 units
BIOL038Biodiversity and Extinction: Hotspots, Crisis and Conservation3 units
BIOL043Principles of Cell Biology5 units
BIOL055Biology of Sex3 units
Only one:

Ecology of the Sierra Nevada
Field Ecology

3 units
3 units
BIOL059Climate Change3 units

Major Electives List B: Select a minimum of 2 courses from below (one course may be from List A) (5-10 units)

Course NumberCourse TitleUnits
ANTH001Introduction to Physical Anthropology3 units
Only one:

Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
Honors Introduction to Cultural Anthropology

3 units
3 units
ARCH060Green Building & Sustainable Design3 units
BIOL002LEnvironmental Biology Laboratory1 unit
BIOL027Scientific Literacy and Technical Writing1 unit
CHEM001AGeneral Chemistry5 units
CHEM001BGeneral Chemistry5 units
CHEM012AOrganic Chemistry5 units
CHEM012BOrganic Chemistry5 units
CHEM030AFundamentals of Chemistry4 units
CHEM030BFundamentals of Chemistry3 units
COMM008Interpersonal Communication3 units
GEOG001Intro Physical Geography 3 units
GEOL001APhysical Geology4 units
GEOL015Geology of California3 units
GEOL020Field Geology2 units
GIST016AIntroduction to Geospatial Technology3 units
GIST016BMobile GIS3 units
HIST014History of the Native North Americans3 units
Only one:

Calculus and Analytical Geometry
Honors Calculus and Analytical Geometry

5 units
5 units
Only one:

Elementary Statistics
Honors Elementary Statistics

4 units
4 units
OCEA010Introduction to Oceanography4 units
PHIL003Introduction to Ethics3 units
PHIL017Logic & Critical Reasoning3 units
PHYS004AEngineering Physics - Mechanics5 units
PHYS004BEngineering Physics - Electricity and Magnetism5 units
PHYS004CEngineering Physics - Light, Heat, and Waves5 units
PMGT011Park Communications2 units
PMGT014Conservation of Our Natural Resources3 units
PMGT015BNatural and Cultural Resource Interpretation3 units
PMGT017Basic Horticulture for Parks3 units
Only one:

General Psychology
Honors General Psychology

3 units
3 units
PSYC017Introduction to Social Psychology3 units
SOCI001Introduction to Sociology3 units
Only one:

Social Problems
Honors Social Problems

3 units
3 units

Total Major Units: 25-40 units

To be awarded an Associate Degree, a student must:

  1. Achieve a grade of “C” or better in the major requirements.
  2. Completion of WVC, CSU-Breadth, or IGETC General Education patterns. Students whose goal is to obtain a bachelor’s degree should complete the CSU-Breadth or IGETC General Education pattern.
  3. Complete additional degree applicable units to meet the minimum 60-unit Associate Degree requirements.

Upon successful completion of this program a student will be able to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of the scientific method by applying to a laboratory problem.
  • Evaluate and demonstrate ability to make informed decisions pertaining to the environment.
  • Apply proper use of laboratory equipment, techniques and/or technology commonly employed in the field of biology.
  • Demonstrate critical thinking and/ or observational skills by applying knowledge of biological principles and concepts to a novel problem.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the relationship between the structure of a biological component (such as an organism or ecological system) and its function.
  • Analyze and illustrate how evolution by natural selection can be seen at every level in the hierarchy of life.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of how biological systems depend on obtaining, converting and releasing energy and matter.
Last Updated 7/19/23