High School Students

Given the vast diversity of life on earth, it comes as no surprise that the study of biology has opportunities for every inquiring mind.  At the University of Utah, an education in biology exposes undergraduate students to everything from the miniature molecular motors that power bacteria to whale conservation and the biology of global change.

Biology professors and instructors are recognized for their excellence in teaching. Several have won distinguished teaching awards and they bring energy, enthusiasm and creativity to the classroom.

Careers with a Biology Degree

An undergraduate degree in Biology is ideal preparation for a wide range of careers including:

  • Health & Medicine: physician, dentist, optometrist, veterinarian, medical technologist, biomedical & pharmaceutical sales.
  • Federal & State Agencies: National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service, Environmental Protection Agency, Centers for Disease Control, wildlife & natural resource management, recreation, non-profit agencies.
  • Biology graduates also go on to successful careers in academic research, teaching, business, and the legal profession.

The School of Biological Sciences offers the following undergraduate degrees Bachelor of Science/Arts in Biology, Bachelor of Science/Arts in Biology Teaching (major or minor).

Frequently Asked Questions:

Does the University of Utah Biology program offer a major in cell biology, genetics, ecology, botany or physiology, etc.?

The University's School of Biological Sciences offers a single major: Biology. The curriculum, of course, includes rigorous rnstruction in cell biology, genetics, ecology, evolution, biochemistry and organismal biology.

Our faculty believes that the most appropriate and useful undergraduate education should provide a broad and robust framework in the biological sciences. Students are then encouraged to use biology electives to pursue specific topics more intensively. Most biology students are then well prepared to select specializations for graduate school.

Is biology an appropriate major if I am interested in a career in the health professions, such as medicine, dentistry, nursing, pharmacy, etc.?
Yes. Of all of the majors offered at the University of Utah the biology curriculum more closely correlates to the course requirements needed for application to most U.S. health profession programs, including medical school, dental school, nursing school, pharmacy school, graduate school for physician's assistant, etc.
How do I know which classes to enroll in for my first semester?

All biology students must consult with the School of Biological Sciences' Academic Adviser before registering for classes. This may occur during a freshman orientation session or by phone or office visit scheduled with the adviser.

All freshman are required to attend an orientation session on campus (for Utah residents) and online (for out of state students).

For students entering in the fall semester orientation sessions typically occur in mid July.

At the orientation advising session, the student and the adviser will select a set of courses that is most appropriate for each student's background and academic goals.

Are there scholarships for biology freshmen?

Scholarships for biology freshmen include the merit-based "Honors at Entrance Scholarships" and the "Presidential Scholarships". Both of these are merit-based and use a freshman's high school grade point average and ACT (or SAT) scores. Both require Utah residency.

In February of the first year of study, a freshman in biology may apply for the "Biology Continuing Student Scholarship", and the "Biology Student Advisory Committee Book Scholarship". These are merit-based awards that require an application and Utah residency. Both are awarded for use in the sophomore year, and both are renewable upon re-application/re-evaluation.

How do I learn about Freshman Orientation sessions?

The University's orientation office invites each admitted student to an orientation session prior to the student's first semester.

In-state students (Utah residents) are "required" to attend an on-campus orientation session. During the visit, students learn about University resources and meet with the Biology Academic Adviser to plan the first semester schedule of classes.

Out of state students (non-residents) may complete orientation online. These students must then contact the Biology Advisor to plan their first semester schedules.

What are the requirements for "in-state residency"?
This information is available from the University's website. Click on the "A to Z" tab and scroll down to "residency", or enter "residency" in the "search" tab.
How can I contact the Biology Advisor?

Denise Brenes,
Director Undergraduate Advising

E-mail: Email Advisor
Phone: 801-581-6244

Mailing address:
School of Biological Sciences, University of Utah,
257 South 1400 East, Salt Lake City, UT 84112-0840


Biology faculty have received numerous prestigious awards for their research which have included most recently the 2007 Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology, the Novitzski prize in genetics, and an NIH Director's award. Research activities in the School of Biological Sciences are supported by more than $12 million annually. Many research faculty have funding to support and train undergraduates in their labs. To give precollege students some exposure to a research environment and prepare them for their undergraduate degree we have developed a summer research program.

Science Day at the U

Each fall the Colleges of Science and College of Mines & Earth Sciences host a day-long event of workshops and provide information to high school students about the various opportunities for incoming undergraduates in science. For more information visit the College of Science.