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Degrees & Certificates


Certificate of Proficiency

The Natural History certificate program consists of a selection of natural history lecture and field courses which, when completed, will give students both a broad and basic, as well as specific knowledge of the physical and biological components of selected ecosystems at local, regional and global levels. Students will attain basic and specific knowledge and understanding of the following subject areas in each course: Geography, climate and weather, geology, geologic history, geomorphology, flora, fauna, plant and animal communities, ecological interactions and processes, conservation, history and culture. A Certificate of Proficiency will be awarded upon satisfactory completion of the requirements specified below. The Certificate of Proficiency is not indicated on the student’s transcript.

Note: Students should see a counselor at least once each semester to plan for their educational goal(s).

Program Learning Outcomes
Students who complete the certificate will be able to:

  • Contrast and compare climates in local, regional and global settings and predict the characteristics of the ecosystems, both their physical and biotic components, which these climates produce.
  • Explain the origins of an extant landscape based on knowledge of the geology and geologic processes which exist and have been in effect in an ecosystem during geologic time, such as plate tectonics.
  • Elucidate ecological relationships between the various members of the biota of any ecosystem under consideration, both in food chains and webs and in biogeochemical cycles.
  • Evaluate conservation strategies in different regional and global ecosystems based on both the resources and the cultural characteristics of the people involved.

Students must complete 10 units from the following list of courses for the Certificate:      Units

California Courses:

 BIOL 062K Natural History of the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest                                                    1.5-2

BIOL 062R Ecology of Yosemite Valley                                                                                                  1.5

BIOL 062S Natural History of the Islands of California                                                                          2

BIOL 062U Natural History of the Giant Sequoia in Yosemite and Sequoia/Kings Canyon               1.5

BIOL 062V Ecology of the Mammoth Lakes Sierra and the Ritter Range                                           1.5

BIOL 062X Natural History of Headwaters Forest                                                                                 1.5

Other States Courses:

BIOL 062Y Natural History of Arches National Park                                                                              1

BIOL 062W Nat. Hist. of the Ice Age Nat. Scenic Trail and Ice Age Nat. Scientific Reserve              1

International Courses:

BIOL 065C Natural History and Gaucho Culture of Uruguay                                                                  1

BIOL 065D Natural History of New South Wales, Australia                                                                    1

BIOL 065F Natural History of Tahiti (French Polynesia)                                                                         1

Indians and the Environment:

NATAM 076E California Indian Ecology of the Central Coast                                                                1.5

(Past active courses, now deactivated, but still acceptable for the Certificate, are BIOL 062E, Natural History of the Sutter Buttes; BIOL 062L, Ecology of Redwood National and State Parks; BIOL 062M, Natural History of the Warner Mountains; BIOL 062N, Natural History of the Carrizo Plain; BIOL 062P, Ecology of Mineral King, Sequoia National Park; BIOL 062Q, Ecology of the California Cascades and Mount Shasta; BIOL 062T, Ecology of Mono Lake and the Mono Craters; BIOL 080D, Ecology of the California Condor; BIOL 065B, Natural History of Iceland; and BIOL 070D, Natural History of the Owyhee River and the High Desert of Eastern Oregon.)

(Approved, but deactivated courses, to be offered in the future are BIOL 065A, Natural History of Taiwan; BIOL 065E, Natural History of the Japan Alps; BIOL 070E, Natural History of the Ozark National Scenic Riverways and Ozarks of Missouri.)