The major consists of at least 40 biology credits that include a core sequence:

  • BIO 104
  • BIO 105
  • BIO 210
  • BIO 214
  • BIO 220
  • BIO 224
  • BIO 240
  • BIO 260 or 333/334

BIO 111, 140, 150, 170, and 290 do not count toward the 40-credit requirement.

In addition, a minimum of 14 credits at the 300 level, including one seminar and at least one three-hour laboratory course, are required. The laboratory courses that fulfill this requirement are:

  • BIO 324L
  • BIO 328
  • BIO 334
  • BIO 341
  • BIO 343L
  • BIO 354L
  • BIO 363
  • BIO 378L
  • BIO 390-399

To count toward the major, students must receive a grade of at least a C- in all the biological sciences courses. The 300-level courses must represent at least two biological disciplines. A maximum of one seminar can count toward the 300-level requirement. CHE 341 (Biochemistry I) or CHE 345 (Biochemistry of Gene Expression) (but not both) with a grade of C- or better may be counted toward the 300-level requirement. Students planning to major in biological sciences should elect BIO 104 and BIO 105 and CHE 111/CHE 112 (or CHE 112H) and CHE 151/CHE 152 (or CHE 152H) in their first year and BIO 210/BIO 214 and BIO 220/BIO 224 in their sophomore year. CHE 235 and MA 170 or MA 171 are required and should be completed as soon as possible, preferably by the end of the sophomore year. MA 180 is strongly recommended.

The biological core is completed in the junior year by taking BIO 240 and either plant or principles of physiology. All students, especially those contemplating graduate school, are urged to take both BIO 260 and BIO 333/334. The last three semesters may be devoted to specialization at the 300 level and independent research.

Click here for a pdf of examples of possible ways to complete a biology major.


Concentration in Dance Science

This concentration focuses on knowledge and technique in the new field of dance science. Study of the sciences is combined with technical and theoretical dance training to provide a basis for understanding problems in dance performance, nutrition, and care and prevention of injuries. With additional course work, this concentration provides preparation for graduate studies in physical therapy, sports medicine, dance medicine, and related fields. In addition to fulfilling all requirements for a major in the biological sciences, requirements for a concentration in dance science are:

  • DAN 218(117)/DAN 221(127)
  • DAN 260(252)
  • DAN 393(360)
  • PHY 115
  • An internship or research in dance science

Concentration in Secondary Education with Certification in Biological Sciences

Students planning to teach biology in secondary schools must major in biology and complete the required education courses. See the teaching certification requirements under secondary education certification requirements in the Education Department.

Honors in the Major

Biological sciences majors are encouraged to strive for honors in the major at graduation. Departmental honors will be awarded on the basis of exemplary performance in both course work at the 200 and 300 levels and an independent laboratory or field research project. The results of this research must be presented at an open seminar attended by students and faculty near the end of spring term.


  • A minimum overall grade point average of 3.5. (Summer school classes taken at another institution are not included in this calculation)
  • A minimum grade point average of 3.5 for all courses taken in the Department of Biological Sciences exclusive of 100 level courses. (In the case of transfer students, this includes courses counting toward the major which were taken at the previous institution in the regular academic year)
  • Outstanding performance in 200- and 300-level courses. A minimum of 32 credits (200 and 300 level) counting toward the major must be graded.
  • A high level of achievement in two semesters (or summer plus one semester) of independent research project, the results of which are presented at an open seminar and submitted as a written report in a format suitable for publication in a research journal in the field of study.

Final selection requires approval by a majority of the faculty members in the department.