Jay P. Christofferson earned his Bachelor of Science degree in zoology from the University of Utah in 1961, a master's degree in 1964 and Ph.D. in 1970 in zoology from the University of Hawai'i.
Jay was employed at California State University, Stanislaus (CSUS) from 1970 to 1996, where he was promoted from Assistant Professor to Professor. He served as the Biology Department Chairman for three years, Associate Dean of the College of Arts, Letters, and Sciences (ALS) for four years and the interim Dean of the College of ALS for two years. He left CSUS to become the Dean of the School of Science and Natural Resources at Lake Superior State University, where he served until accepting the position of Vice President, Academic Affairs at the California Maritime Academy, a campus of the California State University system. He retired from this position June 30, 2004.