Biology Major

See Also:

Biology Minor

Biology Major Learning Outcomes:

Students who successfully complete a major in Biology are expected to be able to:

  1. Demonstrate a general understanding of the central features of the extraordinarily diverse and expanding landscape of modern biology;
  2. Demonstrate a general understanding of the standard laboratory tools, methodology, and process of biological research, and the basics of scientific writing;
  3. Demonstrate a thorough understanding of important principles and laboratory techniques in at least three different biological sub-disciplines within the general areas of (1) cellular and molecular biology, (2) organismal biology and physiology, and (3) population biology and ecology;
  4. Demonstrate the ability to locate, critically analyze, interpret, and discuss primary research literature in one or more sub-disciplines within the biological sciences;
  5. Design and conduct independent laboratory or field research that is consistent with the highest standards and practices of research in the relevant biological sub-discipline;
  6. Present the results of their independent research clearly and effectively in both written and oral forms;
  7. Be well prepared for post-graduate education and diverse and meaningful careers in and out of the biological sciences.

The Biology Major

The major in Biology leads to the Bachelor of Science degree and requires the successful completion of 34 semester credit hours in Biology, including the following:

Three 300-Level Biology Courses:

One from each of the three areas defined below:

Area A - Cellular and Molecular Biology:

BIO 300 - Bioinformatics OR
CMPSC 300 - Bioinformatics
BIO 305 - Molecular Biology
BIO 320 - Cell Biology
BIO 325 - Genetics
BIO 350 - Immunology Appropriate courses at the Duke University Marine Laboratory (e.g., Biochemistry of Marine Animals, Molecular and Cellular Processes in Marine Organisms) may also be used to satisfy the Area A requirement.

Area B - Organismal Biology and Physiology:

BIO 310 - Microbiology
BIO 360 - Plant Physiology
BIO 365 - Comparative Anatomy
BIO 367 - Human Anatomy
BIO 375 - Medical Entomology
BIO 380 - Animal Physiology Appropriate courses at the Duke University Marine Laboratory (e.g., Marine Invertebrate Zoology, Physiology of Marine Animals, Coastal Ecotoxicology, Environmental Biochemistry) may also be used to satisfy the Area B requirement.

A Major Must Also Complete:

To obtain the necessary prerequisites for required Biology courses as well as to gain an adequate understanding of modern Biology.

MATH 141 - Calculus I with Precalculus, Part 2 OR
MATH 151 - Calculus I
CHEM 120 - Chemical Concepts 1
CHEM 122 - Chemical Concepts 2
CHEM 231 - Organic Chemistry I: Form and Function

Two Additional Four-Credit Courses:

In cognate disciplines in the sciences that complement the student's subdisciplinary interest in Biology and are determined in consultation with a Biology academic advisor. Courses numbered in the 190's may not be used to fulfill the two-course requirement. The following courses may be used in fulfilling the two-course requirement: 

In addition, BIO 385 (or another course in statistics) is highly recommended for Biology majors.


All courses required for the major must be taken for a letter grade. Biology courses exceeding the minimum requirements for the major may be taken on a Credit/No Credit basis, but the department recommends that the number of Credit/No Credit courses be kept to a minimum. Majors are required to have a GPA of at least 2.0 in Biology at graduation. All Biology courses taken for a letter grade at Allegheny, including FSBIO 201, are included in the calculation, with the exception of repeated courses for which only the most recent grade counts.

Academic Bulletin

Visit the Academic Bulletin for information on all majors, minors, and other programs at Allegheny college.

Visit the Allegheny College Academic Bulletin