Programs of Study
The Biological Sciences impact almost every aspect of modern life, and interface with a multitude of fields and disciplines including the basic sciences and medicine, social sciences, law, and engineering. The study of biology thus provides an ideal preparation for a wide range of careers.
With more than 40 faculty members and approximately 800 majors, the Department of Biology ranks among the largest undergraduate departments at the University of Utah.
The Department of Biology offers four undergraduate degrees: Bachelor of Arts in Biology, Bachelor of Science in Biology, Bachelor of Arts in Biology Teaching, and Bachelor of Science in Biology Teaching. A Biology bachelors degree prepares students for postgraduate education in the health sciences and allied fields, graduate school leading to advanced degrees in the Biological Sciences, and employment in a variety of health- and science-related job opportunities. The Bachelors of Biology Teaching degrees prepare students for a career in teaching biology in secondary schools.
University General Education & Bachelors Requirements
Biology majors (BA/BS and teaching degrees) are required to complete all of the University's intellectual exploration and Bachelor degree requirements for science majors (see General Education and Bachelors degree requirements).
Science Core (effective spring 2012)
In addition to the University’s general education requirements, Biology majors (Biology BA/BS) must complete 72 credits of science, including a “Science Core” (math, physics, and chemistry) consisting of:
- 2 semesters of Calculus [(Math 1170 and 1180) or (Math 1210 and 1220) or (Math 1250 and 1260)]
- 2 semesters of General Physics [(Phys 2010 or 2110 or 2210) and (Phys 2020 or 2120 or 2210)]
- 2 semesters of General Chemistry with labs (Chem 1210, 1215, 1220, and 1225)
- 1 semesters of Organic Chemistry (Chem 2310)*
Note: some professional schools require completion of 2 semesters of organic chemistry with labs prior to admission. Students planning to apply to those programs are encouraged to take Chem 2315, 2320, and 2325, which will count towards the requirement for 72 cr of science.
Ancillary science reqmts for the Biology Teaching degrees differ slightly. See Biology Teaching Worksheet.
The Biology Curriculum
Biology 1210: Principles of Biology
We recommend that Biology majors take Biol 1210, which serves as an introduction to the breadth of Biology. Biol 1210 is a pre-requisite for many Biology courses. This recommendation is waived for students who receive a 4 or 5 on the Biology AP exam.
The Biology “core”
Biology majors (Biology BA/BS)* must complete 36 credits of approved Biology courses, including a "core" curriculum consisting of six courses (18-20 cr):
- Biol 2010: Evolution and Diversity of Life (3 cr)
- Biol 2020 (3 cr) or Biol 2021 (4 cr): Principles of Cell Biology/Science
- Biol 2030: Principles of Genetics (3 cr)
- Biol 3410: Ecology and Evolution (3 cr)
- Biol 3510: Biochemistry I (3 cr)
- Biol "Form and Function:" Choose one of several "F&F" courses (3-4 cr)
In addition to their core classes, Biology majors (Biology BA/BS)* complete at least 18 credits of electives selected from a catalog of over 100 courses (see Biology Master Course List), with topics spanning the breadth of Biology from atoms to ecosystems. Students may select their Biology electives to suit their individual interests and career goals, with the following restrictions. Electives must include:
- At least 12 cr of upper division Biology courses (numbered 3000-level or higher);
- At least two 5000-level Biology courses (≥ 2 cr ea); and
- Four courses with approved laboratory component, totaling 5 lab units (see approved lab courses).
*Biology elective reqmts for the Biology Teaching degrees differ slightly. See Biology Teaching Worksheet.
Three new "emphases" added to Biology BA/BS....
Students graduating in or after spring 2012 may elect to complete one of three EMPHASES in different fields of Biology. These emphases will be designated on diplomas and/or transcripts as BA/BS in Biology with emphasis in:
Environmental & Organismal Biology, or
Cell & Molecular Biology, or
Students electing to complete an emphasis must fulfill all requirements for a Biology BA or BS (including Gen Ed and Bachelors requirements, the Science Core, Biology Core, and Biology elective requirements; see the majors worksheet) but choose their Biology electives to fulfill requirements of their emphasis (Download a checklist for the three Biology emphases).
Students who want to design a more flexible degree program can still pursue a BA/BS in Biology without emphasis.
The IHB minor is an interdisciplinary minor offered jointly by the Departments of Anthropology and Biology. Students completing the IHB minor acquire the broad but rigorous background in human biology they will need as professionals in the 21st-century health sciences and many other fields that engage directly with aspects of human adaptation and welfare.
The IHB minor has recently been updated to make it more accessible to students. For more information, see the IHB minor worksheet or contact the Anthropology or Biology advisor.
Biology students are encouraged to participate in faculty-sponsored independent research projects. Students participating in research can register for Biol 4955: Independent research, which can be applied to their electives and lab requirements (a maximum of 3 cr and 2 lab units). Independent student research is also the cornerstone of the Biology Department's Honors program. See the exceptional Biology Undergraduate Research Program for information about research opportunities.
Pre-medicine and other pre-professional programs
The Biology major requirements include many courses in the recommended curricula for pre-professional students (including pre-medicine, pre-dental, and pre-veterinary requirements). Pre-professional students are advised to consult the Biology advising office and Pre-professional advising office for assistance in planning their curriculum.
Biology Departmental Scholarships
Several scholarships are available to declared Biology majors. Scholarship information and applications can be obtained from the Biology Advising Office or on-line via the Biology Scholarship information page. Applications are typically due in mid-February.
Biology Advising Office
The links below can be used to download information about requirements for the major in Biology, emphases, course offerings, research opportunities, and sources of scholarship support. However, these documents are no substitute for direct personal interaction with the staff of our Undergraduate Advising Office, which is located on the first floor (rm 135) of Building 44. If you are thinking about majoring in Biology, you should drop in and talk with the Biology Advisor early in your freshman year, and once each year thereafter. Good planning will speed your progress and greatly enhance your educational experience.
Dr. David Gard,
Director of Undergraduate Advising
Room 135, Building 44
Mailing address: 257 South 1400 East, Salt Lake City, UT 84112-0840
Phone: (801) 581-6244, fax 581-8571
Ms. Theresa Nydam
Useful Links for Biology Majors
Worksheets and requirements for biology majors/emphases/minors
- Biology Majors worksheet effective spring 2012 (PDF)
- Biology Teaching Major/Minor worksheet (PDF)
- Biology Emphases worksheet and checklist effective spring 2012 (PDF)
- Integrative Human Biology Minor (Program description and worksheet (PDF)
- Math and chemistry sequences for Biology Majors (PDF)
Biology honors requirements and application
Lists of approved biology courses and labs
- Master list of Biology courses (PDF)
- List of Biology courses with approved lab components (PDF)
- Upcoming, current and archived schedules of Biology courses by semester:
Spring 2012, Fall 2011, Spring 2011, Fall 2010, Summer 2010