Students pursuing a degree in biology typically have interests in science, the environment and/or the health professions. High school preparation should include a solid background in mathematics, introductory biology and/or chemistry.

Admission into the Major

Students are expected to formally declare a major no later than the fourth semester of full-time enrollment (or at 61 semester hours for transfer students). Students can declare a major by completing the Change of Major/Minor Application online under the Student tab of myBama.

Special Opportunities

The department of biological sciences offers an abundance of special opportunities for students, including an honors program, a scholars program and a number of special areas of concentration.

Honors Program

The Biological Sciences Honors Program is available to students majoring in either biology or microbiology after the completion of 16 hours of biological science courses with at least a 3.4 grade point average overall and in BSC courses. Admission into the program is made through an application that is submitted to the Undergraduate Program Coordinator. Requirements for the program include: four to eight hours of BSC 390 Honors Thesis Research, maintenance of a 3.4 GPA in BSC courses and overall, and submission and defense of an acceptable honors thesis. Additional details are available in the office of the Department of Biological Sciences.

Accelerated Masters Program

The Department of Biological Sciences also participates in the Accelerated Masters Program, which allows highly motivated students to pursue closely integrated undergraduate and graduate programs that may lead to the simultaneous completion of requirements for both master's and bachelor's degrees. Students usually apply for admission prior to the junior or senior year. For more information about the Accelerated Masters Program visit graduate.ua.edu or consult The University of Alabama graduate catalog.

Students earning the bachelor of science (BS) degree with a major in biology must complete all University, College and departmental degree requirements. These include the general education requirements, the following major requirements and other sufficient credits to total a minimum of 120 applicable semester hours.

More InformationHours
Major Courses
Select one of the following: 4
Principles Of Biology I
and Laboratory Biology I
Honors General Biology I
Select one of the following: 4
Principles Biology II
and Biology II Laboratory
Honors Gen Biology II
BSC 300Cell Biology3
BSC 315Genetics3
BSC 385Ecology and Evolution3
Credit Hours Subtotal: 17
Electives
Select 19 hours of BSC or MS electives above 25019
Credit Hours Subtotal: 19
Ancillary Courses
Grades in ancillary courses are not computed into the major GPA. The major in biology requires the successful completion of the following courses outside the major:
CH 101 or General Chemistry4
CH 117 Honors General Chemistry
CH 102 or General Chemistry4
CH 118 Honors General Chemistry
CH 231Elem Organic Chemistry I3
CH 232Elem Organic Chem II3
CH 237Elem Organic Chem Lab2
MATH 125 or Calculus I4
MATH 145 Honors Calculus I
Select one of the following:4
General Physics I
General Physics W/Calc I
Honors Gen Ph W/Calculus
Select one of the following:4
General Physics II
General Physics W/Calc II
Honors Gen Ph W/Calculus II
Credit Hours Subtotal: 28
Additional Major Requirements
The department offers a number of courses designed to enrich the learning experience of students beyond the traditional classroom setting. Four hours of the courses below may be applied to the major:
Tutorial In Biol Science
Biology Outreach
Resident Study
Undergraduate Research
Presentation of UG Research
Intro To Bsc Instruction
Honors Intro To Bsc Instruction
Honors Seminar In Bsc
Total Hours64
1

Beyond specific restrictions listed for each course, a total of four hours from this group may be applied to the requirements of the biology major or minor. An additional four hours may be applied as electives to the requirement for 120 hours for the degree. BSC 409 Pre-Health Apprenticeship I and  BSC 410 Pre-Health Apprenticeship II are not applicable to the major in biology.

A maximum of 12 hours of 100-level biology courses (BSC 108 Intro Biology Non Maj I, BSC 109 Intro Biology Non Maj II, BSC 114 Principles Of Biology I, BSC 115 Laboratory Biology I, BSC 116 Principles Biology II, BSC 117 Biology II Laboratory, BSC 118 Honors General Biology I or BSC 120 Honors Gen Biology II) may be applied to degree requirements.

Students are responsible for ensuring that they have met all University, College, major and minor requirements. However, each student must meet with an adviser in the major department for academic planning and to be approved for registration each semester. College advisers are also available for additional assistance with minor, College, and University requirements.

Electives

Other BSC courses numbered 250 and above, including two laboratory courses from the following list of laboratory courses (also see the Additional Major Requirements section):

Hours
BSC 303Field Zoology3
BSC 313Gen Bacteriology Lab3
BSC 314Dendrology3
BSC 320Freshwater Studies4
BSC 360Plant Biology4
BSC 373Vertebrate Zoology4
BSC 376Invertebrate Zoology4
BSC 390Honors Thesis Research1-8
BSC 396Resident Study1-6
BSC 398Undergraduate Research1-4
BSC 400Vertebrate Funct Morphol4
BSC 425Human Physiology Lab2
BSC 428Biology Of Fishes4
BSC 432Pathogenic Mibrobiol Lab3
BSC 434Plant Systematics4
BSC 439Bch/Molecular Biology Lab3
BSC 442Integrated Genomics4
BSC 460Human Developmental Biology4
BSC 464Biology Of Algae4
BSC 469Histology Of Vertebrates4
BSC 472Mycology4
BSC 475General Entomology4
BSC 476Aquatic Insects4
BSC 490Stream Ecology4
MS 306Marine Biology4
MS 408Marine Invertebrate Zoology4
MS 419Marine Ecology4
MS 452Marine Vertebrate Zoology4
MS 453Marine Botany4

The two laboratory courses may not be fulfilled by BSC 390 Honors Thesis Research AND BSC 398 Undergraduate Research.

Grade Point Average

A 2.0 grade point average in the major is required for completion of the degree. Please see the Grades and Grade Points section of this catalog for an explanation on grade point average calculations.

Upper-level Residency

A minimum of 12 hours of 300- and 400-level courses in the major must be earned on this campus.

Required Minor

The biology major does not require a minor.

Prerequisites

Prerequisites for all BSC courses at the 300- and 400-level must be passed with a minimum grade of C-.

Restrictions on course attempts

No course may be attempted more than three times. Mid-semester withdrawal (any withdrawal that results in a final grade of W) is considered an attempt. Students who, in three attempts, fail to pass a required course or fail to make a C- or better in a Biology course that is a prerequisite for a required upper level course may no longer major in Biology.

Optional Major Concentrations

Students who wish to enhance their knowledge in a particular area of study within biological sciences may elect to organize their coursework around the three concentrations listed below. Though not required, these concentrations allow the student to develop an area of specialization within the major.

Molecular/Biotechnology Biology Concentration

Students who are pursuing a major in biology and are interested in specialized biology can choose a sequence of courses in the molecular/biotechnology concentration. These students should choose the first two classes, BSC 439 Bch/Molecular Biology Lab and BSC 451 Molecular Biology, and other biology electives from the following courses:

Hours
BSC 439Bch/Molecular Biology Lab3
BSC 451Molecular Biology3
BSC 310Microbiology3
BSC 311Gen Bacteriol & Physiol3
BSC 312Microbiology Lab2
BSC 313Gen Bacteriology Lab3
BSC 435Immunology4
BSC 441Developmental Biology3
BSC 442Integrated Genomics4
BSC 444General Virology3

Ecology and Systematics Concentration

Students who are pursuing a major in biology and are interested in specialized biology can choose a sequence of courses in the ecology and systematics concentration. These students should choose the biology electives from the following courses:

Hours
BSC 360Plant Biology4
BSC 373 or Vertebrate Zoology4
BSC 376 Invertebrate Zoology
Select one of the following:2-4
Field Zoology
Freshwater Studies
Limnology
Wetland Ecology
Environmental Modeling
Principles Of Systematics
Plant Systematics
Microbial Ecology
Biology Of Algae
Plant Physiology
Plant Ecology
Conservation Biology
Stream Ecology
Total Hours10-12

Health Professions Concentration

Students who are pursuing a major in biology and are interested in a career in health professions such as medicine, dentistry, optometry pharmacy or veterinary medicine can choose a sequence of courses in the health professions concentration. The concentration also provides in-depth exposure to subject material found on the MCAT, DAT and OAT. These students should choose the biology electives from the following courses:

Hours
BSC 310Microbiology3
BSC 312Microbiology Lab2
BSC 400Vertebrate Funct Morphol4
BSC 409Pre-Health Apprenticeship I2
BSC 410Pre-Health Apprenticeship II2
BSC 424Human Physiology3
BSC 425Human Physiology Lab2
BSC 431Pathogenic Microbiology3
BSC 432Pathogenic Mibrobiol Lab3
BSC 435Immunology4
BSC 449Endocrinology3
BSC 450Fundamentals of Biochemistry3
BSC 460Human Developmental Biology4
BSC 469Histology Of Vertebrates4

Note that hours earned in BSC 409 Pre-Health Apprenticeship I and BSC 410 Pre-Health Apprenticeship II may not be applied to the Biology elective requirement.

A major in biology prepares students for a wide range of employment opportunities in the medical fields (medicine, dentistry, pharmacy), research, pharmaceutical sales and education.

Types of Jobs Accepted

Recent graduates have worked in entry-level positions in research laboratories, medical equipment and pharmaceutical sales and K-12 education. A large number of graduates enter professional school (e.g. medicine, dentistry, veterinary, optometry, pharmacy, physical therapy) or graduate school (Master’s degree, Doctor of Philosophy [Ph.D.]).

Jobs of Experienced Alumni

physician, dentist, optometrist, veterinarian, pharmacist, physician’s assistant, physical therapist, laboratory technician, teacher, university professor, pharmaceutical representative, medical equipment sales representative

Learn more about opportunities in this field at the Career Center