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    Irvine Valley College
    Jun 14, 2024  
2022-2023 Catalog: September 2022 Edition 
2022-2023 Catalog: September 2022 Edition [ARCHIVED]

Biological Sciences

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Dean: Lianna Zhao, MD
Academic Chair, Biological Sciences, Environmental Studies: Devon Bradley, PhD 
Faculty: Devon Bradley, PhD; Meredith Dorner, PhD; David Fretz; Diana Hurlbut, PhD; Jefferey Kaufmann, PhD; Emalee Mackenzie; Amy McWhorter, PhD; Pierre Nguyen; Roland Rodriguez; Katherine Schmeidler, PhD; Justin Wright


The School of Life Sciences at Irvine Valley College offers a wide range of courses in the biological sciences as well as courses in environmental studies. Introductory courses focus on theories and concepts in five primary areas: cellular and molecular biology, genetics, evolution, ecology, and whole organism biology. More specialized courses examine extensions of these basic principles as they relate to a variety of specific areas of study, including botany, zoology, human anatomy, human physiology, cellular biology, microbiology, natural history, and marine biology. Students may complete courses within the department in order to fulfill general education requirements, to satisfy prerequisites for health-related programs such as nursing, to meet graduation requirements at prospective transfer institutions, or to complete either the Associate in Science (AS) degree with a major in biology or health sciences or the Associated in Science for Transfer (AS-T) in biology.


The requirements for majors in the life sciences are intended to provide a solid foundation for the student who wishes to pursue further study at the baccalaureate level and for some graduate-level programs. They are also intended for students who plan to enter a preprofessional or professional program in a health-related field. The faculty strongly recommends that students without a firm foundation in basic biological principles complete both BIO 1  or both BIO 81  and BIO 80  in preparation for the more specialized courses. In addition to the core courses for the major or health-related fields, an introduction to other sciences is usually recommended and necessary for more advanced study. The biology faculty therefore suggests that students complete appropriate courses in chemistry, physics, and mathematics concurrently with biology core courses. Students should refer to the requirements of prospective institutions or seek advice from a member of the biology faculty or a counselor before choosing electives. As the job market in the biological sciences and related fields changes, the faculty recommends that students also seek guidance as they select their electives.

Program Student Learning Outcomes


Upon completion of the biology program, students will be able to

  • Communicate scientific processes and ideas effectively in written and oral forms.

  • Demonstrate understanding of the mechanisms driving evolution, the role of evolution as the central unifying concept of biology and describe similarities and differences of the major taxonomic groups.

  • Effectively apply current technology and scientific methodologies for problem solving.

  • Identify and explain relationships between form and function of biological structures at the molecular cellular, organismal, and ecosystem levels.

  • Locate and evaluate various types of scientific information including primary research articles, mass media sources and world wide web.

  • Recognize and apply basic ethical principles to biological practices and understand the role of scientists and biological science in society.

  • Demonstrate understanding of how organisms interact with one another and with their environment, and explain interactions at the population and community levels.

  • Demonstrate understanding of the fundamental biological processes of metabolism, homeostasis, growth, reproduction, development, genetics and whole organism physiology.

  • Apply the metric system using standard laboratory equipment to systematically collect, organize, interpret, and assess data in graphs, tables or figures then integrate the acquired knowledge to make informed judgments and conclusions.

Potential Careers

An AS degree in biology will prepare students for entry into certificate or technical training programs in:

  • Nursing
  • Biotechnology
  • Dental Assisting/Hygiene
  • Emergency Medical Technology
  • Paramedic Training
  • Laboratory Research
  • Physical Therapy Assisting

An AS or AS-T degree in biology will also allow students to continue their education at a four-year institution, where earning a BA degree in biological sciences can prepare them for careers in:

  • Public Health
  • Nutrition
  • Biotechnology
  • Laboratory and Field Research
  • Pharmaceutical Sales
  • Land Management
  • Environmental Studies
  • Entry into professional schools that provide training in medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, optometry, physician’s assistant, and veterinary medicine


    Associate in ScienceAssociate in Science for TransferCertificate of AchievementCertificate of Proficiency

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