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Daniel Shain

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Janet Caruso
(856) 225-6497

Undergraduate Biology
Kwangwon Lee

Graduate Biology
William M. Saidel

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Home » Undergraduate Program » Undergraduate Degree Requirements

Undergraduate Degree Requirements

The major in biology is designed for students interested in biology, premedicine, predentistry, and preveterinary medicine. All current biology majors have an assigned advisor. Students interested in biomedical technology should consult the webpage that deals specifically with that program.

Requirements of Biology Major

A useful form for summarizing progress through biology major requirements is here:

Download Senior Review Form (PDF File)

The requirements for the biology major fall into three categories. Basic courses provide the academic foundation of the major. Electives allow in-depth examination of areas of particular individual interest and the associated laboratories provide hands-on experiences. A senior course provides an opportunity to critically analyze the primary research literature of the discipline and to present results publicly in oral and written form.

Basic Courses
The following courses are required of all biology majors.

50:120:101, 107 General Biology I (3) and Laboratory (1)
50:120:102, 108 General Biology II (3) and Laboratory (1)
50:160:115-116, 125-126 Chemical Principles I,II (3,3) and Laboratory (1,1)
50:160:335-336, 339-340 Organic Chemistry I,II (4,4) and Laboratory (1,1)
50:640:130 Calculus for Business, Economics, and Life Sciences (3) or 50:640:121 Unified Calculus I (4)*
50:750:203-204, 205-206 General Physics I,II (3,3) and Laboratory (1,1)

Elective Courses
All biology majors must take at least nine elective courses (and five or more of the attendant laboratories) from the 300-400 level biology or biochemistry course offerings (3-4 credits each).

Some biology graduate courses (500 level) may be taken as electives by advanced undergraduate students provided they have a minimum grade-point average of 3.0, have completed the necessary prerequisites, and have the permission of the instructor.

The following 200-level biology course will also fill this requirement, but only if both semesters are completed:

50:120:253-254, 256-256 Anatomy and Physiology (3,3) and Laboratory (1,1)

Senior Course
All biology majors admitted Fall 2008 and thereafter must complete the following course before graduating:

50:120:399 Current Topics in Biology (3)
Students are encouraged to take this course in either the fall or spring of the final year of study.

* Although either 50:640:130 or 121 will satisfy the mathematics requirement, a year of calculus (50:640:121-122) is recommended for students who plan to pursue graduate studies in the biological sciences.

**These courses can be used as an elective only if you are not already using this course to fulfil the Core Requirement.

Degree Navigator (DN)

DN does not always work well for Biology majors in three common ways: 1) It can’t handle both Anatomy and Physiology 120:253/255 and 120:254/256 courses as satisfying 2 upper division courses with labs, which is allowed. 2) If you transfer in a 4 credit lecture and lab from another institution DN may report the lab as missing. 3) Biology grad courses (500 and above) may not be reported as filling an elective without lab requirement.

Because of these and other issues with DN, for Biology Majors, the department recommends you follow your progress through our major requirements by using the Senior Review Form below. The Senior Review Form is not just for seniors, but should be used by all Biology students to track their progress through the degree. The form is fillable, so it can be electronically completed and sent to your advisor with questions, to confirm your efficient progress toward your Biology degree.

DN is not sufficient to clear you for graduation. Only the Biology Department Chair can clear you to graduate. If all the courses on the Senior Review Form are filled in (completed), the chair will be able to write an official statement for your records that all Biology requirements have been met and you are cleared to graduate, or identify specific courses that still need to be completed before clearance to graduate is granted.

Advising Tips

Welcome to the Biology Department: Advising tips for new majors on how to more easily navigate the Biology Major

  1. There are a lot of required lab courses for the bio major, so try to schedule 2 labs a semester.
  2. Never take 3 labs with a full load of other courses (16 credits). You might be able to finish quicker, but your grades may suffer.
  3. Get Organic out of the way as soon as possible because some advanced biology courses have it as a prerequisite.
  4. If you don’t have Chem. Principles yet, take it this year and Organic in the summer. Another course commonly taken by bio students in the summer is Physics
  5. The popularity of bio courses is rising, so competition for space is intense. Always register as early as possible.
  6. No course is ever absolutely closed, only instructors can close a course. All instructors have Special Permission Numbers that can override the registrar limits (class size). If a course appears closed, email or phone the instructor, effectively and politely explain your problem and request a Special Permission Number override. Except #9 below
  7. Even if a course is closed and the instructor won’t let you in, check back frequently with the online registration site during the semester break, because if another student drops, a slot will open that you can take.
  8. If all else fails, ask if there is a waiting list, then show up on the first day of class. Persistence pays off!!
  9. Missing Pre-requisites can be a big problem. You cannot get into a class without your prereq being correctly transferred to your official Transcript. You must complete the DEPARTMENT EVALUATION/REVISION OF TRANSFER CREDIT FORM at: