The Undergraduate Biology Program

Biology is the study of organisms, including the molecular and cellular basis of life, development of the individual and its genetic basis, maintenance of the individual, and interaction of organisms with their biotic and physical environment.

The Biology (BIO) major builds on a strong foundation in chemistry, mathematics and physics to introduce students to the concepts and methodologies associ­ated with multiple levels of biological complexity. Students explore the Fundamentals of Biology through three foundational courses that provide a thorough introduction to organisms, ecosystems, cellular and molecular biology, and physiology. These courses are complemented by an innovative two semester, inquiry-based biology laboratory curriculum designed to develop skills in the collection and analysis of data from biological experiments, including explorations into the primary scientific literature and capstone student-designed experiments on human physiology. This core foundation is followed by advanced course and laboratory work with an opportunity to specialize in any of several areas, including: Developmental Genetics, Ecology and Evolution, Environmental Biology, Neuroscience, Interdisciplinary Biological Sciences, Quantitative Biology and Bioinformatics, and Bioengineering. Biology majors are encouraged to explore research opportunities in biology, typically beginning in their second or third year.

Information related to the BIO major and minor is available from the Undergrad­uate Biology Office and website: The office processes completed forms and petitions concerning the Biology major and minor and all requests for evaluations of transferred biology courses. The Undergraduate Biology office also coordinates advising, BIO course administration and registration and processes graduation clearances for BIO major and minor requirements.

Most students majoring in biology prepare for professional study in the biological or health sciences. Some prepare for secondary school teaching, and others for technical positions in industry, including biotechnology, government agencies, and research institutes. Students may not declare a double major among Biology, Biochemistry, Pharmacology, Marine Sciences and Marine Vertebrate Biology.