Major

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:

  • 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 241N and PH 242 Fundamental Physics I and II
  • Eight biology courses as prescribed below
  • BI498: Biology Senior Capstone

Transfer students and students participating in off-campus programs may petition for alternatives to these specifications, including credit for AP Biology (AP score of 4 or 5), IB-HL Biology (IB score of 5 or higher), or college level general biology may be used as a credit for one of the introductory courses. Please consult the Biology faculty to determine where the credit is best applied.. A grade of C- or better is required in the following biology courses: BI 111N Ecology, Evolution, and Diversity, BI 112N Cells and Genes, BI 212 Genetics and Molecular Biology, and BI498: Biology Senior Capstone.

The eight biology courses must include the following five courses and three courses in one of the tracks listed below:

  • BI 111N Ecology, Evolution and Diversity
  • BI 112N Cells and Genes
  • BI 212 Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • BI 212 Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • one organismal course (BI 221 Plant Biology, 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

Molecular Biology track

  • CH 315 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
  • BI 373 Restoration Ecology.

Integrative track

BI 301 Principles of Ecology and any two Upper-level Synthesis courses from this list:

  • AN 448 Human Osteology and Anthropology
  • BI 342 Field Botany
  • BI 344 Cases in Neuropathology
  • BI 351 Plant Ecology
  • BI 352 Behavioral Ecology
  • BI 362 Biology of Amphibians and Reptiles
  • BI 372 Parasitology
  • BI 371N Conservation Biology
  • BI 373 Restoration Ecology
  • BI 397 Neuroscience
  • BI 412 Receptor Pharmacology
  • BI 422 Advanced Molecular Techniques
  • BI 424 Developmental Biology
  • CH 315 Biochemistry 1
  • MS 302 Biology of Fishes
  • MS 311 Marine Mammalogy <
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  • MS 315 Elasmobranch Biology and Management
  • MS 322 Coral Reefs
  • MS 310 Marine Conservation Ecology

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

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.

Sample course sequence for students:

First Years

Fall semester
  • Cells and Genes or Ecology, Evolution & Diversity
  • General Chemistry I
Spring semester
  • Cells and Genes or Ecology, Evolution & Diversity
  • General Chemistry II

Sophomores

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

Juniors

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

Seniors

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

For the biology minor students must complete 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.