• Biology Major

    Major Program

    Biology students may choose to pursue a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in Biology. Students preparing for graduate or professional schools are strongly encouraged to pursue the BS degree. Students should consult with a biology faculty member to determine which track is most appropriate for their goals.

    The biology program starts with a two course sequence that provides an overview of biologically related fields, emphasizes connections between biological concepts, as well as relevance and social implications of biological research, and helps students navigate the broad field of biology. Biology majors draw basic theoretical and practical tools from allied sciences by completing required courses in mathematics, chemistry, and physics. Collaboration and research as a learning process is a pervasive theme of the biology major. Many biology courses feature independent or team original research projects as the focus of the laboratory. During the junior and senior years, students participate in the biology seminar program, and in the senior year they present a seminar drawn from their research. Internships that introduce students to careers in the basic biological sciences, health sciences, and industry are emphasized.


    Biology Major Requirements

    The BS and BA degrees require the same Foundations, Elective, Seminar, and Capstone course work. The Supporting Courses requirement is different for the two degrees. Please refer to the Supporting Courses section below for specific detail.

    Foundation Courses:


    General chemistry

    • or

    Statistics (choose one)

    Supporting Courses (dependent on chosen degree):

    Supporting course requirements are dependent on a student's chosen degree path.

    • BS degree: Six courses are required from the lists below, two each from Chemistry, Physics, and Math.
    • BA degree: Two courses are required from the lists below, they may be from the same or different subject areas.

    Organic chemistry

    General physics

    • or


    Elective Courses:

    Six elective courses are required from the lists below. At least one course must be taken in each area.

    Biology of Molecules and Cells

    Biology of Organisms

    Biology of Populations

    Biology Seminar:


    Research Experience

    Although not required, the Biology department strongly encourages students to participate in Research in Biology (BIOL 5700), Collaborative Research (BIOL 4010), or an internship. Collaborative research and internships are not counted as electives within the major.