BS in Biological Sciences: General (BSG) Track

We require students to maintain a 2.0 grade point average (GPA) in the major, excluding allied field courses. See the advising page for information on how to declare your major, who your program advisor is, double majors, double degrees, petitioning for exceptions and more.

Information regarding preparing for a medical or health profession can be found on the advising page.

To begin the major declaration process for BS in Biological Sciences: General Track, please use this link to access our departmental form.

Major Requirements

Students planning to major in the biological sciences should take BIOL 110L and 111L (or 112L and 113L), and CHEM 131-132 in their first year, and BIOL 198 or 190 and CHEM 203/207 in the fall of their second year.

Introductory Courses (Three Courses)

Select one of the following:

  • BIOL 110L: Principles of Biology I with Lab
  • BIOL 110: Principles of Biology I
  • BIOL 112L: Perspectives of Biology I with Lab (pre-requires AP biology exam score of 4 or 5)

Select one of the following:

  • BIOL 111L: Principles of Biology II with Lab
  • BIOL 113L: Perspectives of Biology II with Lab (pre-requires AP biology exam score of 4 or 5)

Select one of the following:

  • BIOL 198/198P: Principles of Genetics with Lab
  • BIOL 190/198P: The Human Genome with Lab

Laboratory Experience (Two Courses)

BIO 198P: Principles of Genetics Lab

Plus, one of the following:

  • BIOL 225: Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Lab
  • MBI 221W: Microbiology Lab
  • BIOL 268: Lab in Molecular, Cell & Developmental Biology
  • BCH 308: Biochemistry Lab and Critical Analysis
  • NSCI 203: Lab in Neurobiology
  • #### 395: Independent Research (requires track coordinator approval)

Core Courses (Three Courses)

Select one of the following Biochemistry courses:

  • BIOL 250: Introduction to Biochemistry
  • BIOL 250L: Introduction to Biochemistry with Lab
  • BIOL 252: Principles of Biochemistry

Select one of the following:

  • BIOL 205: Evolution
  • BIOL 260: Animal Behavior
  • BIOL 263: Ecology
  • BIOL 267: Human Evolutionary Genetics

Select one of the following:

  • BIOL 204: Principles of Physiology
  • BIOL 210: Cell Biology
  • BIOL 226: Developmental Biology

Advanced Electives (Three Courses)

Select three courses from the BSG advanced electives list. At least one of the advanced electives or core courses must have a strong emphasis on reading and analyzing articles from the primary literature, as determined by the track coordinator. Visit the Primary Research Literature-Based Course Website for current examples of such courses. This list is not exhaustive and will continue to be a work in progress due to new course offerings. Students are encouraged to ask the track coordinator about courses that are not on the list they are interested in taking.

Ancillary Requirements (Nine Courses with Indicated Labs)

The following general chemistry I course

  • CHEM 131: Chemical Concepts I with Lab

One of the following general chemistry II courses:

  • CHEM 132: Chemical Concepts II with Lab
  • CHEM 171: First Year Organic Chemistry I

One of the following organic chemistry I courses:

  • CHEM 171/173: First Year Organic Chemistry I with Lab
  • CHEM 203/207: Organic Chemistry I with Lab

One of the following physics I or programming courses:

  • PHYS 113: General Physics I with Lab
  • PHYS 122: Electricity and Magnetism with Lab
  • PHYS 142: Electricity and Magnetism (Honors) with Lab
  • CSC 161: The Art of Programming
  • CSC 171: The Science of Programming
  • BIOL 208: Intro to Programming for Bio
  • BIOL 259L: Applied Population Bio with Lab

One of the following calculus I courses:

  • MATH 141: Calculus I
  • MATH 161: Calculus IA
  • MATH 171: Honors Calculus I

One of the following calculus II courses:

  • MATH 142: Calculus II
  • MATH 162: Calculus IIA
  • MATH 172: Honors Calculus I

One of the following statistics courses:

  • STAT 180: (formerly STAT 212) Introduction to Applied Statistical Methodology
  • STAT 190: (formerly STAT 213) Introduction to Statistical Methodology

Select two of the following ancillary electives:

  • Math: MATH 150, 164, or 165
  • Computer programming: BIOL 208, CSC 161, 170, or 171
  • Organic chemistry: CHEM 204 with associated lab, 208, or 172/210
  • Physics: PHYS 114, 122, or 142 or 113, 122, or 142 if not already taken)
  • Statistics: STAT 201, 216, or 277
  • Earth and environmental science: EESC 201

Upper-Level Writing (ULW) Requirements (Two Courses)

All biology majors must complete two ULW courses. Although students are strongly encouraged to complete both ULW requirements by taking biological sciences courses (BIOL, BCH, MBI, NSCI), an upper-level writing course within a natural sciences discipline may also be used to meet one of the requirements.

Biochemistry majors are also welcome to take CHEM 210W: Organic Chemistry Lab II to fulfill part of this requirement. All other majors need permission from their biology advisor.

Writing courses within the humanities and social sciences cannot be applied to the biology major. See the upper-level writing requirement page for more information on which courses satisfy this requirement.

Preparing for Medicine/Health Professions

Graduate and medical degree programs in the health professions frequently have admissions requirements that include two semesters in general chemistry, organic chemistry, general physics, and calculus. Some programs may have additional requirements such as biochemistry and/or microbiology.

For detailed information on premed course requirements, academic planning, and the MCAT, visit the Health Professions Advising website.

Advanced Electives List

Check the course schedules/descriptions available via the Registrar's Office for prerequisites and official course descriptions and required prerequisites.

NOTE: Courses in the core electives lists may either be used to satisfy an advanced elective or core requirement but not both.

Can’t find what you are looking for? Contact your major advisor for consultation on course selections and approval of other biological sciences courses not listed.

Courses with “*” notation indicate an upper-level writing course is offered.

  • BIOL 202: Molecular Biology*
  • BIOL 204: Principles of Human Physiology (may be used for either the advanced or diversification elective but not both)
  • BIOL 206: Eukaryotic Genomes*
  • BIOL 220: Advanced Cell Biology*
  • BIOL 222: Biology of Aging*
  • BIOL 225: Lab in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology*
  • BIOL 226: Developmental Biology* (may be used for either the advanced or diversification elective but not both)
  • BIOL 257L: Applied Genomics*
  • BIOL 259L: Applied Population Biology*
  • BIOL 260: Animal Behavior*
  • BIOL 399 Communication Engagement Practicum (4 credit version only)
  • IND 408: Advanced Biochemistry
  • MBI 220: Introduction to Microbiology
  • MBI 221W: Microbiology Laboratory*
  • MBI 473: Immunology
  • NSCI 201: Basic Neurobiology
  • NSCI 243: Neurochemical Foundations of Behavior
  • NSCI 251: Neurobiology of Sleep
  • BIOL 205: Evolution
  • BIOL 210: Cell Biology*
  • BIOL 217L: Principles of Human Anatomy with Lab (do not enroll if BME 258 was already taken)
  • BIOL 219L: Genomics of Quantitative Traits
  • BIOL 243: Eukaryotic Gene Regulation*
  • BIOL 253L: Computational Biology*
  • BIOL 255: Behavioral Endocrinology (check availability)
  • BIOL 261W: Genetic Research A*
  • BIOL 263: Ecology*
  • BIOL 268: Lab in Molecular, Cell and Developmental Bio*
  • BIOL 267: Human Evolutionary Genetics
  • BIOL 278: Biochemical Mechanisms of Cellular Processes
  • BCH 308: Biochemical and Molecular Biology Techniques*
  • BCH 412: Advanced Topics In Biological Macromolecules
  • BME 258: Human Anatomy (do not enroll if BIOL 217L was already taken)
  • BME 468: Intro to Structure and Biomolecules
  • EESC 201:Evolution of the Earth
  • EESC 220: Geobiology (Even year rotation)
  • IND 447: Signal Transduction
  • MBI 404: Intro to Emerging Pathogens
  • MBI 414: Pathogenesis of Microorganisms
  • MBI 421: Microbial Physiology and Genetics
  • MBI 456: General Virology
  • NSCI 203: Lab in Neurobiology
  • NSCI 244: Neuroethology
  • NSCI 245: Sensory and Motor Neuroscience
  • NSCI 246: Biology of Mental Disorders
  • NSCI 249: Developmental Neurobiology
Special Programs (Ask advisor about possible applications to major)
  • BIOL 228A&B iGems I&II International Genetically Engineered Machines Competition (spring/summer/fall)
  • BIOL 290 Solomon Islands (summer)
  • BIOL 291, 292, 293 Galapagos Study Abroad Program (fall)