Major in Biology

If you’re fascinated by the origins and functions of animals, plants and microbes, a B.A. or B.S. in biology is a great choice for you.

A major in biology provides an excellent foundation for careers in everything from medicine to public health to environmental and industrial applications.

At Elmhurst, you’ll learn to solve problems and make discoveries. In collaboration with Ph.D.-level faculty, you’ll conduct cutting-edge research, present at national conferences and even co-author papers that contribute to scientific knowledge. And you’ll graduate as a broadly trained biologist.

Choose Your Bachelor’s Degree

Biology majors at Elmhurst choose between the bachelor of science (B.S.) degree and the bachelor of arts (B.A.).

  • The B.S. incorporates more coursework in science and math, making it a good choice for students who plan to pursue graduate work in biology or a career in the health sciences.
  • The B.A. offers more flexibility in choosing electives.

Preparing for Professional and Graduate School

If you plan to go on to medical school, dental school or another professional or graduate programs, we’ll help you choose elective courses best suited to your goals. See your adviser for details.

Major Requirements

To earn a bachelor of arts degree in biology, you will need to complete the following course requirements.

Core Biology Courses

(required)

  • BIO 200 General Biology I
  • BIO 201 General Biology II
  • BIO 315 Genetics
  • BIO 498 Capstone Seminar (note prerequisite)

Electives

Five elective courses at the 300/400 level, including at least one from each of the following categories (the remaining two electives are chosen at your discretion):

Cellular/Molecular-Level

  • BIO 319 Plant Genetics and Biotechnology
  • BIO 341 Immunology
  • BIO 342 Molecular and Cellular Biology of Cancer
  • BIO 413 Molecular Genetics
  • BIO 443 Advanced Cell Physiology

Organismal-Level

  • BIO 321 General Microbiology
  • BIO 330 Comparative Chordate Anatomy
  • BIO 331 Developmental Biology
  • BIO 332 Plant Anatomy and Morphology
  • BIO 333 Paleontology
  • BIO 334 Invertebrate Zoology
  • BIO 430 Advanced Human Anatomy
  • BIO 441 Plant Physiology
  • BIO 442 Animal Physiology

Population/Ecosystem-Level

  • BIO 350 General Ecology
  • BIO 351 Conservation Biology
  • BIO 353 Animal Behavior
  • BIO 355 Evolution of Vertebrates
  • BIO 356 Evolution and Population Genetics
  • BIO 451 Microbial Ecology
  • BIO 453 Systematics and Phylogenetics
  • BIO 454 Aquatic Biology

Courses in Chemistry, Physics and Mathematics/Statistics

  • CHM 211 Chemical Principles I
  • CHM 212 Chemical Principles II
  • CHM 311 Organic Chemistry I
  • CHM 312 Organic Chemistry II
  • One term of math chosen from MTH 132 Elementary Functions, MTH 151 Calculus I or MTH 152 Calculus II
  • One term of statistics chosen from MTH 345 Elementary Statistics, MTH 346 Statistics for Scientists or PSY 355 Statistics for Scientific Research

We strongly encourage you to complete mathematics and statistics requirements by the end of second year.

To earn a bachelor of science degree in biology, you will need to complete the following course requirements.

Core Biology Courses

  • BIO 200 General Biology I
  • BIO 201 General Biology II
  • BIO 315 Genetics
  • BIO 498 Capstone Seminar (note prerequisite)

Electives

Five elective courses at the 300/400 level, including at least one from each of the following categories (the remaining two electives are chosen at your discretion):

Cellular/Molecular-Level

  • BIO 319 Plant Genetics and Biotechnology
  • BIO 341 Immunology
  • BIO 342 Molecular and Cellular Biology of Cancer
  • BIO 413 Molecular Genetics
  • BIO 443 Advanced Cell Physiology

Organismal-Level

  • BIO 321 General Microbiology
  • BIO 330 Comparative Chordate Anatomy
  • BIO 331 Developmental Biology
  • BIO 332 Plant Anatomy and Morphology
  • BIO 333 Paleontology
  • BIO 334 Invertebrate Zoology
  • BIO 430 Advanced Human Anatomy
  • BIO 441 Plant Physiology
  • BIO 442 Animal Physiology

Population/Ecosystem-Level

  • BIO 350 General Ecology
  • BIO 351 Conservation Biology
  • BIO 353 Animal Behavior
  • BIO 355 Evolution of the Vertebrates
  • BIO 356 Evolution and Population Genetics
  • BIO 451 Microbial Ecology
  • BIO 453 Systematics and Phylogenetics
  • BIO 454 Aquatic Biology

Courses in Chemistry, Physics and Mathematics/Statistics

  • CHM 211 Chemical Principles I
  • CHM 212 Chemical Principles II
  • CHM 311 Organic Chemistry I
  • CHM 312 Organic Chemistry II
  • One term of math chosen from MTH 151 Calculus I, or MTH 152 Calculus II
  • One term of statistics chosen from MTH 345 Elementary Statistics, MTH 346 Statistics for Scientists, or PSY 355 Statistics for Scientific Research
  • Two terms of physics: either PHY 111 Elementary Physics I and PHY 112 Elementary Physics II, or PHY 121 General Physics I and PHY 122 General Physics II

Suggested Course Sequence

  • First year: BIO 200 and BIO 201, CHM 211 and 212
  • Sophomore year: BIO 315 and one biology elective, CHM 311 and 312, mathematics, statistics
  • Junior year: Two biology electives, one year of physics (for B.S.)
  • Senior year: Two biology electives, BIO 498

Minor in Biology

A minor in biology provides an excellent foundation for a career in education, pharmaceuticals, health-care businesses and much more.

Many students choose a biology minor as a complement to a science-related major, like chemistry or nursing. It’s also a great choice for students in unrelated majors who simply want to pursue an interest in plant and animal life.

The minor consists of five courses with a grade of C- or better in each course:

  • BIO 200
  • BIO 201
  • Three electives at the 300 or 400 level

At least three of the five courses must be taken at Elmhurst College. BIO 100, 104, 105, 107, 108, 221, 300, 301 and 449 may not be applied toward the minor. One year of chemistry (CHM 211 and CHM 212) is also recommended.

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