Biology Department

Biology Degree Requirements


  • 10 or 11 courses* plus 3 seminars (which together count as one course credit) distributed as follows:
    • BIOL 150 Cell Biology
    • BIOL 190 Botany
    • BIOL 220 Zoology
    • BIOL 250 Genetics
    • BIOL 365 Ecology and Evolution
    • CHEM 110 and CHEM 120 General Chemistry I and II
      CHEM 150 Accelerated General Chemistry
    • 4 BIOL electives at the 300 or 400 level, one of which may be CHEM 330 Biological Chemistry
    • BIOL 221 Seminar: Biological Communication and BIOL 222 Seminar: Biometry (to be taken in the sophomore year)
    • BIOL 497 Biology Seminar, which requires completing BIOL 221 and BIOL 222

* The Biology Department strongly encourages students to design and carry out independent research for course credit. However, this credit will not count toward the four required electives.

Senior Capstone Experience

The Senior Capstone Experience for the biology major consists of a comprehensive examination and participation in the senior seminar course BIOL 497 Biology Seminar. The comprehensive examination is the standardized Major Field Test (MFT), or the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) in biology. During the course each senior presents a formal seminar. The grade for the Senior Capstone Experience is based on both the standardized test score and the BIOL 497 Biology Seminar grade.


Any five biology courses (with laboratories) numbered 150 or above, at least two taken at the 300 or 400 level, one of which may be CHEM 330 Biological Chemistry. The Biology Department highly recommends that all students pursuing a biology minor take at least CHEM 110 General Chemistry I: Chemical Structure & Properties and CHEM 120 General Chemistry II: Chemical Analysis & Reactivity.

Students planning to certify to teach biology should contact their major advisors and the Education Department for a list of courses required within the major and by the professional societies for licensure.

The following are general guidelines for courses required by many graduate and professional schools. Students should refer to the Guide for Academic Planning and work closely with their academic advisors to ensure adequate course preparation for specific post-graduate programs.

Medical School, Dental School, and Veterinary Medicine programs expect:
  • Preparation for qualifying examinations (MCAT, DAT, VCAT) is minimally achieved by completing at least BIOL 150 Cell Biology, BIOL 320 Animal Physiology, and BIOL 250 Genetics.
  • Two courses in general chemistry and two courses in organic chemistry
  • At least one course in mathematics
  • Two courses in physics
  • Two to three courses in English
Graduate Schools in general expect:
  • Biology major
  • Two years of chemistry through organic chemistry
  • One year of physics
  • At least one calculus course
  • At least one statistics course
  • Competency in a foreign language

Experience with experimental design (such as through independent research), and in some cases, computer programming is highly desirable. Most graduate schools require a reading knowledge in at least one foreign language and/or basic programming skills.