All Majors & Minors

Biology Requirements

  • The underlying philosophy of the departmental curriculum is to provide a balanced and current biological education within the broader context of the liberal arts. The curriculum has been designed to keep pace with new developments in the field and to afford students as broad a base as possible for understanding the principles governing life processes. Coursework provides a firm foundation of knowledge in the various sub-disciplines, fosters the scientific attitude, and familiarizes students with current research methods. A capstone course, coupled with oral and written experiences within the department, helps to develop and reinforce the ability to think clearly, critically and independently. In the junior and senior years, students have the opportunity to pursue an independent project, which may include research with a faculty mentor.

    Successful completion of the curriculum prepares students for graduate work, for employment in a biologically oriented profession, or for admission to professional schools in the several fields of medicine and related health services. The department also participates in a program leading to teacher certification in secondary schools as described below.

    Requirements for Majors

    To fulfill the requirements of the major, all students must complete 36 semester hours of biology as outlined in the departmental core and the ancillary requirements listed below. Biology majors can fulfill the requirement for an oral presentation and the capstone requirement in the major by taking BIO-415W (or ENV-415W), 425W, 426W (or BCMB-426W), 429W (or BCMB-429W), 431W, (or NEUR-431W), 433W (or BCMB-433W or NEUR-433W), 435W (or NEUR-435W), 442W, 444W, 449W, 455W (or ENV-455W), 459W, 492W (or BCMB-492), BCMB-452W.

    I. Required Courses:

    BIO-101Q, 102Q, 201W and one of the following capstone courses: BIO-415W (or ENV- 415W), 425W, 426W (or BCMB-426W), 429W (or BCMB-429W), 431W (or NEUR-431W), 433W (or BCMB-433W or NEUR-433W), 435W (or NEUR-435W), 442W, 444W, 449W, 455W (or ENV-455W), 459W, 492W, BCMB-452W. At least 24 of the 36 biology credits for the major must have a laboratory or be a four-credit lecture/laboratory combination course.  These courses are: BIO-101Q, BIO-102Q, BIO-201W, BIO-224, BIO-305, BIO-306, BIO-310, BIO-320, BIO-325, BIO-328, BIO-330, BIO-334, BIO-335, BIO-336, BIO-345, BIO-346, BIO-349, BIO-359, BIO-365, BIO-415W, BIO-426W, BIO-429W, BIO-431W, BIO-433W, BIO-435W, BIO-442W, One research course from: BIO-481, 485, 491, or 492W may be used as part of this requirement.

    II. Distribution Requirements:

    1. Molecular/Cellular Biology. At least two courses must be completed from the following: BIO-224, 225 (or NEUR-225), 306, 328, 335, 345, 346, 349, 425W, 426W (or BCMB-426W), 429W (or BCMB-429W), 431W (or NEUR-431W), 433W (or BCMB-433W or NEUR-433W), 435W (or NEUR-435W), 444W, 449W, 459W, BCMB-351, 452W.
    2. Organismal/Population Biology: At least two courses must be completed from the following: BIO-305, 310, 320, 324, 325 (or ENV-325), 330, 336 (or ENV-336), 334, 359, 365 (or ENV-365), 415W (or ENV-415W), 442W, 455 (or ENV-455).

    Note: Students must take both BIO/HEP-205 and 206 for either course to be counted for the biology minor.

    III. Electives:

    Chosen in accordance with the major area of interest and bringing the total to a minimum of 36 credit hours in biology (excluding BIO-205 and BIO-206).

    Note: A maximum of 10 credit hours of research (BIO-391, 392, 481, 485, 491, 492W), including no more than 3 credit hours from among BIO-391 and 392, may be applied to the major. A maximum of 12 credit hours of research may be applied to graduation.

    IV. Required of all majors:

    1. Chemistry: CHEM-105/105L and a choice of 106/106L or 206/206L.
    2. Mathematics/Computer Science: Any two of the following: MATH-111, 112; MATH/STAT-141Q, 242, 243; CS-173.

    V. Recommended of all majors:

    1. One year of physics
    2. A second year of organic chemistry

    Requirements for Minors

    A minor concentration in biology consists of BIO-101Q, 102Q, 201W, and at least 12 additional elective credits in biology including at least one course from each of the two distribution categories (Molecular/Cellular and Organismal/Population) and exclusive of internships or research.

    Special Career Interests

    I. Students seeking admission to graduate programs in biologically related fields should note the following:

    1. A second year of chemistry is strongly recommended.
    2. A fifth course in chemistry is recommended.
    3. MATH/STAT-141Q, 242 or 243 and CS-173 are recommended.
    4. Additional coursework in mathematics/computer science is recommended.

    II. Prospective secondary school teachers whose interest is biology and who wish to be certified in biological science should note the following:

    1. PHYS-111Q is required; a year of physics is recommended.
    2. GEOL-105Q is required.
    3. Two mathematics courses are required from among MATH-111, 112, MATH/STAT-241Q, 242, 243, and CS-173.
    4. CHEM-105/105L and a choice of 106/106L or 206/206L are required.
    5. It is highly recommended that prospective teachers serve at least one semester as departmental assistants.
    6. Dual certification in general science is highly recommended.
    7. The curriculum beyond the first year must be arranged in consultation with the chairman of the department of education or with the departmental teacher education adviser. Students and their advisers should consult the Ursinus College Education Department.

    III. Students seeking admission to schools of medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, optometry and podiatry should note the following:

    1. Two years of chemistry and one year of general physics for science majors are required by all of the above schools.
    2. Many schools also require one full year of English and some specify one or two semesters of calculus.
    3. Students and their advisers should consult the premedical handbook or one of the premedical advisers for requirements of specific schools.

    IV. Students seeking admission to other health science programs, such as physical therapy, should consult the departmental allied health adviser.

    V. Students who seek employment in a biologically oriented profession should note the following:

    1. MATH/STAT-141Q, 242, and CS-173 are strongly recommended.
    2. ACCT-140 and ECON-102 are recommended.
    3. Additional coursework in Media and Communication Studies is recommended.
    4. Additional courses that emphasize writing are recommended.