Mathematics Requirements for Life Science Majors
Starting with the Fall 2011 catalog, the required courses for Biology majors are MATH 204 (Applied Calculus I) and MATH 205 (Applied Calculus II). Microbiology majors are required to take MATH 204 (Applied Calculus I). The prerequisites for MATH 204 are MATH 104A (Precalculus: Algebra) and MATH 105 (Introduction to Mathematical Models in Biology). Also, MATH 104A is a corequisite for BIOL 100A (Introductory Biology I) and a prerequisite (with a grade of C or better) for BIOL 100B (Introductory Biology II). MATH 105 is also recommended for BIOL 100B. Note that the MATH 104A and MATH 105 prerequisite courses can be met by exit exams (University Testing Center in Library South).
The following chart summarizes the sequence:
MATH 104A | BIOL 100A corequisite; MATH 105 & BIOL 100B prerequisite |
↓ | |
MATH 105 | MATH 204 prerequisite & recommended for BIOL 100B |
↓ | |
MATH 204 | MATH 205 prerequisite; requirement for BIOL BS & MICR BS |
↓ | |
MATH 205 | Requirement for BIOL BS |
Freshmen students starting at CSULA in Fall 2011 or later must follow the new program requirements. The only exception is for students who also minor in a program that requires the calculus sequence MATH 206-MATH 209. For these students, MATH 206 and MATH 207 can substitute for MATH 204 and MATH 205, respectively. You'll need to see an advisor in biology for the necessary course substitution. Note that for students pursuing a Minor in Bioinformatics, MATH 105 and MATH 204 can substitute for the MATH 104B and MATH 206 prerequisites for the CS 201 and CS 202 courses.
Information for Students Entering CSULA Before Fall 2011
Students who have entered under an old catalog (before Fall 2011) are strongly encouraged to transition to the new sequence. This new sequence was designed jointly by mathematics and biology faculty to better prepare majors in the life sciences for coursework in their majors and for continuation to graduate or professional programs. As a result, you will
- see applications of the mathematics to biology and microbiology,
- learn mathematics that is used by biologists and microbiologists,
- learn useful skills such as Excel that can be used in your lab courses,
- be prepared to take the new upper division modeling course BIOL 480.
The chart below shows how a student who has completed some mathematics courses already at either CSULA or at a community college can transition into the new sequence:
Highest Course Completed | Next Course | Comments |
---|---|---|
MATH 91 | MATH 104A | |
A College Algebra Course articulated with MATH 102 or MATH 104A taken within a year | MATH 105 | A community college course articulated with MATH 102 will usually substitute for MATH 104A. See a mathematics advisor for course substitution and prerequisite clearance. |
A College Algebra Course articulated with MATH 102 or MATH 104A taken more than a year ago OR MATH 102 at CSULA at any time |
Take MATH 104A exit exam to enroll in MATH 105 | Due to the one-year rule for prerequisites, knowledge of MATH 104A needs to be proven by passing the MATH 104A exit exam. Students who changed majors and have taken MATH 102 after Fall 2010 at CSULA will have to study additional topics for MATH 104A no longer covered in MATH 102. |
A Trigonometry Course articulated with MATH 104B taken within a year | MATH 206 OR MATH 204 |
Students who want to enroll in MATH 204 need to pass the MATH 105 exit exam. If the grade in the trigonometry course is B or higher students may be exempt from the MATH 105 exit exam. (See Dr. Heubach in Mathematics to obtain clearance.) MATH 204 is recommended for students who want to pursue advanced degrees in biology that involve mathematical modeling. Specifically, BIOL 480 has MATH 205 as a prerequisite. |
A Trigonometry Course articulated with MATH 104B taken more than a year ago | Take MATH 104B exit exam to enroll in MATH 206 OR Take MATH 105 exit exam to enroll in MATH 204 |
Due to the one-year rule on prerequisites, the respective exit exam needs to be passed. If you passed the trigonometry course with a grade higher than B and plan to take Math 204 you should see Dr. Heubach in Mathematics to obtain clearance. MATH 204 is recommended for students who want to pursue advanced degrees in biology that involve mathematical modeling. Specifically, BIOL 480 has MATH 205 as a prerequisite. |
MATH 206 or equivalent community college course or AP credit for MATH 206 | MATH 207 OR MATH 205 |
Students who want to enroll in MATH 205 should be aware that they will need to make up a few topics on their own with assistance from the instructor. MATH 205 is recommended for students who have completed MATH 206 or equivalent with a grade of B+ or better. See an advisor in mathematics for clearance of prerequisite and an advisor in biology before enrolling. |
If you are unsure about which math courses to take, you should see a faculty member for academic advisement. You can make an appointment with any of the full-time faculty members through the Biological Sciences Department Office in person or over the phone.
Math Exit Exams
Students who wish to test out of MATH 89, 90, 91, 104A, or 105 may take an exit exam at the University Testing Center. This may be a viable option for students who want to demonstrate competency in the material covered by one of these classes because of previous coursework at a community college or elsewhere. The Math Department provides study guides and other information on their Math Exit Exams web page.
General Math Advisement
The Cal State LA Center for Interdisciplinary Quantitative Analysis (CINQA) promotes the importance of quantitative analysis in the life sciences. CINQA has posted an informative web page on General Mathematics Advisement for all Majors. This page provides information on the ELM requirement, alternatives to remedial math courses, college level math requirements, and the calculus sequence.
Quantitative Resources for the Life Sciences
The Cal State LA Center for Interdisciplinary Quantitative Analysis (CINQA) has collected links to a variety quantitative resources for students in the life sciences. This page provides links to information on graphs and tables, laboratory skills, genetics, ecology, statistics, bioinformatics, and phylogenetics.