There are two undergraduate degree programs offered in the Biology Department, a Bachelor of Arts in Biology and a Bachelor of Science in Biology. Within the BS degree, three tracks are available: Cell/Physiology, Cell/Genetics, and Ecology. A minor in Biology is also available to students seeking a degree in other departments.
The BA degree is a more general degree than the BS. It is a liberal arts degree designed for those students who desire a broad education in a variety of disciplines. This degree requires more foreign language and social science and/or humanities courses than the B.S. degree. There are also more hours of free electives that can be used to tailor a program to fit individual needs, desires, and interests. Students in this program can select a variety of electives in order to acquire a broad base in biology; alternatively, they can choose biology classes from areas of interest, giving them a more narrowly focused degree. The BA differs from the BS degree in that it does not require physics or geology courses (though note that physics is generally required by professional schools), requires one more semester of foreign language, and requires fewer hours in biology, making this a more flexible degree. It is a good degree for students interested in taking a diversity of courses outside the sciences. This degree is also suitable for someone planning to be a teacher. A student planning on applying to professional schools can do so with this degree, as long as the student takes all the prerequisites for admission to the desired program. The total number of credit hours required for the B.A. degree is 121 of which a minimum of 38 hours are biology major courses. (No more than 40 hours in Biology may be included in this major.)
The B.S. Biology degree is an intense scientific degree program with two tracks from which to choose:
- Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology
These programs require fewer hours in social science and/or humanities than the B.A. degree, and there are fewer free electives available within the 121-hour degree. BS degrees are designed so that students get a particularly strong background in their area of interest in biology, but still have some flexibility to take courses of interest. Compared to the BA degree, the BS degree requires more science, both in biology and in another field (physics or geosciences), a specific calculus course, and one less course in a foreign language. Each of the tracks in the BS degree also requires courses specific to the field of interest.
BS degrees are valuable for students wanting to find employment in a biological field without further formal education, for students planning to attend graduate or professional school, and for students who hope to become teachers. A good GPA in the more rigorous BS degree provides solid evidence of your abilities to potential graduate or professional schools.
Minor in Biology
The Minor in Biology offers a strong foundation in the field to students with primary goals in other areas.