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College of Science

Biological Sciences

General Degree Requirements

Students should check the College of Science website and speak with an academic advisor for the most up-to-date information and requirements.

The Biology Core consists of courses taken during a sequence of four semesters required of all undergraduate majors. The sequence begins with an overview of the evolutionary development of organismal diversity and ways organisms interact with their environment and each other; it is followed by a course that introduces the principles of plant and animal development and explores the relationship between their structure and function. The third course includes the study of how cells are structurally organized and how they function. Finally, students are introduced to the principles of genetics and the molecular mechanisms of gene expression, mutation and replication.

In addition to the core and elective biology courses, students majoring in biology must take certain courses in chemistry, mathematics and physics, as well as English, foreign language, humanities and the social sciences. In meeting the various requirements (in the following summary), a student automatically fulfills the College of Science graduation requirements.

A student wishing to graduate with a degree from the Department of Biological Sciences must have a 2.0 grade point average in all biology and biology elective courses required for his or her major. This may include courses outside the Department of Biological Sciences if such courses fulfill biology or biology elective requirements for that major.

Additionally, each student wishing to graduate with a degree from the Department of Biological Sciences must also complete a 50000-level biology course other than BIOL 54200. This course may be a required course, a biology elective or a free elective.

Students have the choice of focusing or broadening their education by the selection of electives. These elective courses are offered in many aspects of biology. Usually, they take these specialized courses after the sophomore year. It is advantageous for a student to decide by the end of the sophomore year what aspect of the biological sciences he or she wants to emphasize in order to begin the correct sequence of courses required by each major. The majors described on the following pages build on the biology core courses.