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Overview of Bachelor’s Degree Programs in Biology

Majors Overview April 26, 2014

Electives chosen and bachelor’s degree program offered are factors that affect the coursework required for majors in Biology. Some Biology bachelor’s degree programs need more coursework than others. This article expands on the coursework needed for a Biology bachelor’s degree.

Required Coursework for Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) Programs in Biology

Those enrolled in Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) programs in Biology usually take more liberal arts classes and fewer science classes than those in Bachelor of Science (B.S.) programs. BA students also take additional coursework that may include a foreign language, oral communication, social sciences, humanities and arts. This program is more suitable for individuals who aspire to become biology teachers than for those seeking careers in medicine or research. Required science coursework for BA programs may include genetics, zoology, physics, chemistry, and biology. Electives also have to be taken by students, and they are given a choice of electives, such as molecular genetics, marine biology, microbiology, physiology and anatomy. Additionally, math courses and science labs have to be completed by students.

Required Coursework for Bachelor of Science (B.S.) Programs in Biology

Coursework is less science-intensive in Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) programs in Biology than in Bachelor of Science (B.S.) programs. Required coursework for BS programs could include subject areas such as quantitative biology, physics, chemistry, and genetics, along with labs, computer science, and various math courses, including linear algebra, statistics, and calculus. Students can choose electives from topic areas such as organismal biology, population biology, ecology, and molecular and cellular biology.

Completion of a research project is additionally required in some programs. A faculty member from the biology department sponsors the project, which can be completed in the student’s senior year. Concentration areas for the project can include parasitology, botany, physiological ecology, or fisheries and wildlife biology.

Selecting a Biology Concentration

Beyond a major in General Biology, students can also select a concentration from among numerous choices such as environmental biology, integrated health promotion, or cell and molecular biology.

Evolution, Environmental Biology and Ecology

Coursework for this concentration may include animal behavior, zoology, plant and insect interactions, and botany. Field-based programs and labs may also be completed by students. Students who select the ecology, evolution and environmental biology concentration can prepare for entry-level careers in organismal biology, environmental studies and related fields.

Integrated Health Promotion

Coursework in this concentration typically includes topic areas such as nutrition, spirituality, kinesiology, exercise physiology and wellness. Electives are also taken by students in areas such as sports nutrition and gerontology.

Molecular and Cell Biology

Coursework in this concentration includes cells, their structure, and the way they work. Students are also taught about correction of disease states. Students who receive this training can seek entry-level careers as research associates or laboratory technicians for biotechnology industry research firms, government agencies, universities, and medical schools.

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