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Biology Department


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Students who major in biology must meet the college requirements for the degree, complete the general biology requirements, and complete the requirements for one of the intradepartmental concentrations. Each concentration requires fourteen courses.

General requirements for all biology majors or concentrations


  1. Core courses: BI 105 and BI 106. BI 105 introduces the biological sciences by focusing on those structures and processes shared by all of life. The course explores evolutionary theory, cell structure and function, molecular genetics, biochemistry, and population ecology. BI 106 extends this exploration to consider how the diversity of life is manifest in the reproduction, development, physiology, and functional morphology of multicellular organisms. These two courses constitute a core curriculum for the major and should be completed by the end of the first year. BI 105 is taken in the fall semester, followed by BI 106 in the spring.

  2. Chemistry courses: a sequence of two CH courses, beginning with CH 125CH 115 may be taken in preparation for CH 125, but it does not count toward the sequence of two CH courses required for the major.

  3. Mathematics course: MA 111 (usually taken in the first year)

  4. Capstone courses: BI 377 and BI 378 (taken in the senior year)

  5. Writing: Successful completion of BI 105, BI 106, and any two 4-credit 200-level courses in Biology.  Students will learn to write concise, well-reasoned, and properly referenced summaries of their inquiry in the form of a formal scientific paper.


Concentration Requirements

Integrative Biology


  1. The general requirements

  2. Seven additional courses at the 200 or 300 level. At least two courses must be at the 200 level; at least four courses must be at the 300 level. BI 385 or BI 371C or BI 375C can substitute for one of these courses at the 300 level. Students may take additional BI 385 or BI 371 or BI 375 courses as electives, but they do not substitute for 300-level biology courses.

Molecular Biology, Cell Biology and Genetics


  1. The general requirements

  2. Foundation courses: two courses selected from BI 242 - Molecular Cell Biology, BI 245 - Principles of Genetics, and BI 247 - Cell Biology

  3. Supportive courses: four courses selected from BI 235, BI 246, BI 251, BI 251M, BI 252M, BI 252, BI 309, BI 311, BI 337, BI 338, BI 341, BI 342, BI 351, BI 351M, BI 352, BI 352M, BI 360, BI 361, BI 362, BI 363, BI 368, BI 370; CH 340, CH 341, CH 342. BI 242, BI 245, or BI 247 may be taken as a supportive course if not taken to fulfill the statistics requirement (#5). Three of the four supportive courses must be at the 300 level.

  4. One additional 200- or 300-level course in CH

Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior


  1. The general requirements

  2. Foundation courses: BI 241 (Ecology) and either BI 316 (Animal Behavior) or BI 324 (Evolution)

  3. Supportive courses: three courses selected from BI 251, BI 251E, BI 252, BI 252E, BI 302, BI 307, BI 325, BI 327, BI 338, BI 339, BI 344, BI 351, BI 351E, BI 352, BI 352E, and BI 370. BI 316 or BI 324 may count as a supportive course, if not already taken as a foundation course. BI 235 may be taken as a supportive course if not taken to fulfill the statistics requirement (#5). Two of the three supportive courses must be at the 300 level.

  4. One other biology course at the 200 level

  5. MS 104  or EC 237 or BI 235 


HEALTH PROFESSIONS: Students who major in biology and plan to attend professional schools (medical, dental, veterinary, and others) are encouraged to take two semesters of organic chemistry (CH 221 and CH 222) and two semesters of calculus-based physics (PY 207 and PY 208). See Preparation for Profession: Affiliated Programs and Other Agreements (Health Professions).

See Biology