Majoring & Minoring

The Biology Department offers majors and minors for the Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts degrees. The Department also supports the Environmental Studies Program and provides core natural science laboratory courses for all students.

Every year, multiple students in our department pursue further education (either a Master’s or a Ph.D.) in various graduate school programs.  Others go on to get professional degrees in the medical, dental or veterinary fields.  We support these professional goals through curriculum planning assistance, testing information, and career guidance.

MAJOR - Click for basic degree plans

Requirements for a major in Biology for the BS and BA degrees are:

A. Introductory Courses: Living Systems (50-123) accompanied by Investigations into Living Systems (50-121) and Molecular and Population Genetics (50-133) with Investigations into Genetics (50-131).

B. Methods Courses: Ecology and Evolution (50-222) and Cell and Molecular (50-232).

NOTE: Note that 50-123 and 50-133 courses replace the previous mini-course structure (BIO50-102, 112, 122, and 162).  Biology majors must have completed with a grade of at least C- before enrolling in any additional above-introductory level Biology course.


C. Any five (BA) or six (BS) upper levels with the additional requirements that: (a) a minimum of three (BA) or four (BS) of the courses selected must include a laboratory component and (b) at least one course must be taken from areas of cellular/molecular and ecology and evolution.

D. Upon recommendation of your advisor, up to two of the following courses may be substituted for courses in B above. Four credit hours of Introduction to Research may substitute for only one of the required laboratory courses in B above. These courses do not count under any specific subdiscipline.

50-303, 304 Selected Topics

50-973 Introduction to Independent Research

50-983 Honors Biology

E. The capstone experience includes successful completion of integrative courses across the curriculum and participation in the Biology Senior Assessment.  As a content assessment of the major, seniors take the Major Field Test in Biology as part of the Biology Senior Assessment.  At this time, the Biology Department pays for the students to take this test.


In addition to A, B, and C above, those taking the BS degree must also complete:

  • Mathematics: 52-154 (Calculus I) and 52-114 (Statistics)
  • Chemistry: First-year (51-154 and 51-164 or 51-174 and 51-214)
  • Both semesters of Organic Chemistry (51-544 and 51-554)
  • Along with a year of Physics (53-154, 53-164)

In addition to A, B, and C above, those taking the BA degree also must complete:

  • Chemistry: First-year sequence (51-154 and 51-164, or 51-174 and 51-214), and First-semester Organic Chemistry 51-554 and 52-114 (Statistics)

A minor in Biology must include: 50-121/3 and 50-131/3; and enough courses from “B” above to total 12 semester hours above the introductory level. Methods classes for a particular area (Ecology and Evolution or Cell/Molecular) are required for upper-level courses. At least one of these courses must include a laboratory component.