College of Natural Sciences

BS in Natural Sciences


The BS in Natural Sciences degree with the Option in Science Education is designed for students preparing to be middle school science teachers or seeking a career as an informal science educator in a museum or outdoor setting such as state parks, environmental camps, or nature centers. Successful completion of the program fulfills one of the requirements for admission into a single subject teaching credential program.

The B.S. in Natural Sciences supports the CSU Chico's Strategic Plan for the Future by fostering a future generation of science teachers who are committed to implementing high-quality instruction in formal and informal settings. Our program addresses science, as a way to support the development of more sustainable communities by serving the educational, cultural, and economic needs of Northern California. Our approach to teaching and learning science fosters the recognition of students as a whole person who can use sciences as a way to respond to the needs of our current and future society.

Our program supports the commitment of the University to areas it has identified as “new opportunities” for the future, specifically in academic and career readiness and citizenship and social responsibility. Science Education focuses on the development of future science teachers who are ready to work with the public in a diversity of settings. Our faculty believes in the power of science to address social and environmental issues through creative problem solving and civic action and incorporate this belief in course content and pedagogical strategies.

Our program offers small enrollment courses, which lends to opportunities for one-on-one interaction with faculty, class embedded early teaching experiences, and research opportunities with faculty mentors that can lead to conference presentations and publications. The long-term career outlook for our majors shows a critical demand for educators, particularly in high need subject areas like science and math. "California is projected to need upwards of 33,000 new mathematics and science teachers in the next ten years" – (California State University, Math and Science Teacher Initiative).


The BS in Natural Sciences is designed to develop students’ scientific knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge required to be effective and ethical future science educators. Central to these activities are the development of skills to analyze oppressive practices and policies while raising awareness of social and ecological injustices through science education.


  • To produce graduates who have a strong foundational knowledge base in the general sciences, under and can apply the crosscutting concepts across the scientific disciplines as represented by the four Disciplinary Core Ideas (DCIs) outlined in the Next Generation Science Standards.

  • To produce graduates who can use the science and engineering practices necessary for scientific literacy in the 21st century as outlined in the Next Generation Science Standards. (Science and Engineering Practices)

  • To produce graduates who can teach science for all learners, as well as acknowledge and honor the contributions made by oppressed peoples in the field of science and education.


  • When compared to the previous year baseline the number of new students admitted to the program will increase by 10%
  • At least 20% of students will report on their exit survey that they participated in a pre-professional organization (e.g. student chapter of the National Science Teacher Association)
  • At least 20% of the BA students will identify with a race/ethnicity or gender that is often underrepresented in the STEM teaching fields
  • Over a five-year period, at least 60% of graduates will obtain employment in a science education field within 12-24 months of their graduation date.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of the program, students will be able to:

1.1 Demonstrate an understanding of the Disciplinary Core Ideas (DCIs) in Physical Science (PS), Life Science (LS), and Earth and Space Science (ESS)

1.2 Demonstrate an understanding of the DCIs in Engineering, Technology and the Application of Science (ETS)

2.1 Apply the science and engineering practices to answer questions (science) and come up with solutions (engineering)

3.1 Create lesson plans that are standards-based and/or aligned with social and eco-justice practices

3.2 Facilitate equitable teaching and learning practices that acknowledge, honor, and respect oppressed communities

3.3 Engage in evidence-based reflective teaching practices while being mindful of biases and assumptions

Curriculum Matrix (PDF)

Assessment Plan (PDF)

Closing the Loop: Assessment Summary Update

Program Highlights