• Biology Major (BA or BS)

    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 interested in a particular field of biology may decide to pursue one of two concentrations: Genetics, Molecular, and Cellular Biology; or Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. Students should consult with a biology faculty member to determine which path is most appropriate for their goals and whether adding a concentration to their biology major will be beneficial for their career path.

    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; Organic Chemistry I and II, Physics I and II, Calculus I, and one course with a quantitative emphasis from the list below.
    • 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


    Quantitative Emphasis

    • Another quantitative course with department approval

    Elective Courses:

    Six elective courses are required from the lists below. At least one course must be taken in each category. Inquire with the Biology department chairperson about which category other upper-level Biology major courses may fit (for example, BIOL 3980 special topics).

    Biology of Molecules and Cells

    Biology of Organisms

    Biology of Populations

    Biology Seminar:


    Optional Concentration:

    Students may choose to pursue a concentration as part of the biology major. The concentration is completed as part of the six-course elective requirement. Each concentration is comprised of four focused courses; the two remaining electives must be chosen from the elective categories above (Biology of Molecules and Cells, Biology of Organisms, and Biology of Populations) to ensure the student has at least one course in each category. 

    Concentration in Genetics, Molecular, and Cellular Biology

    Four courses are required from the list below.

    Concentration in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

    Four courses are required from the list below.

    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.