The biology major is designed to give a broad pre- professional background for students interested in careers in biology, molecular biology, biomedical science, environmental science, and related fields.

Biology majors are required to demonstrate basic knowledge in important areas of the life sciences from the cellular and molecular level through the ecosystem level. They learn how to conduct scientific studies to test appropriate hypotheses, collect and analyze data, and synthesize the information obtained. Students will demonstrate knowledge of skills and laboratory techniques necessary for investigative research. Through this program, students also have the opportunity to develop their writing and speaking skills. Students earn a biology degree by completing the requirements for a B.S. or B.A. as indicated below.

For the B.S. degree, students must complete the following:

Transfer students and students participating in off-campus programs may petition for alternatives to these specifications. A grade of C- or better is required in the following biology courses: BI 111N Ecology and Evolution, BI 112N Cells and Genes, BI 212 Genetics and Molecular Biology, and BI1/BI2 498 Senior Capstone course.

Students will take eight biology courses including the following five courses and three courses in one of the tracks listed below:

BI 111N Ecology and Evolution
BI 112N Cells and Genes
BI 212 Genetics and Molecular Biology
one organismal course (BI 221 Plant Biology, BI 222 Principles of Zoology, BI 200 Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy, MS 289 Marine Invertebrate Biology, or BI 204 Microbiology) or the equivalent as determined by biology faculty,
one physiology course (BI 308 General and Molecular Physiology or BI 314 Comparative Physiology) or the equivalent as determined by biology faculty

In addition to the five courses above, three courses in one of the following tracks are required:

MOLECULAR BIOLOGY track - CH 415 Biochemistry I and any two of the following Upper-level Molecular Synthesis Courses: BI 397 Neuroscience, BI 412 Receptor Pharmacology, BI 422 Advanced Molecular Topics, BI 424 Developmental Biology, or CH 417 Biochemistry II.

ECOLOGY track - BI 301 Principles of Ecology and any two of the following Ecological Synthesis Courses: BI 351 Plant Ecology, BI 352 Behavioral Ecology, BI 371N Conservation Biology, or BI 373 Restoration Ecology.

INTEGRATIVE track - BI 301 Principles of Ecology and one course from two of the three following Upper-level Synthesis sets:

Molecular Upper-level Synthesis Set
BI 397 Neuroscience
BI 412 Receptor Pharmacology
BI 422 Advanced Molecular Topics
BI 424 Developmental Biology

Organismal Upper-level Synthesis Set
MS 302 Biology of Fishes
MS 311 Marine Mammalogy
MS 315 Elasmobranch Biology and Management
AN 448 Human Osteology and Anthropology
BI 362 Biology of Amphibians and Reptiles
BI 372 Parasitology

Ecological Upper-level Synthesis Set
BI 351 Plant Ecology
BI 352 Behavioral Ecology
BI 371N Conservation Biology
BI 373 Restoration Ecology

For the B.A. degree, students must fulfill the requirements and track options as listed for the B.S. degree above except that Organic Chemistry I and II and Fundamental Physics I and II are not required. Because Organic Chemistry I and II are prerequisites for Biochemistry I, it is anticipated that the B.A. option for the molecular track will be very rarely used.

Students who major in biology may not also major in marine science (biology track) or biochemistry.

MA 131M Calculus I
MA 133M or any approved statistics course
CH 121N and CH 122 General Chemistry I & II
CH 221 and CH 222 Organic Chemistry I & II
PH 241 and PH 242 Fundamental Physics I & II
Eight biology courses as prescribed b
BI1/BI2 498 Two semester Senior Capstone course

Sample course sequence:


    Fall semester
    Cells and Genes or Ecology and Evolution
    General Chemistry I
    Spring semester
    Cells and Genes or Ecology and Evolution
    General Chemistry II


    Fall semester
    Calculus I
    Organismal course
    Organic Chemistry I
    Spring semester
    Genetics and Molecular Biology
    Organic Chemistry II
    Statistics course


    Fall semester
    Principles of Ecology (Integrative and Ecological tracks) or
    Biochemistry (Molecular track)
    Fundamental Physics I
    Spring semester
    General and Molecular Physiology or
    Comparative Physiology
    Fundamental Physics II


    Fall semester
    Synthesis course in your track (see above)
    Biology Capstone 1 - Exploration
    Spring semester
    Synthesis course in your track (see above)
    Biology Capstone 2 - Synthesis

The biology minor requires five biology courses, two of which must be BI 111N and BI 112N or the equivalent. Additional 100 level courses, perspective courses, or directed/independent studies may not be included in the minor. At least one of the five courses must be at the 300 level or above.