Sep 29, 2023  
Undergraduate Catalog 2018-2019 
Undergraduate Catalog 2018-2019 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Biology (B.S.)

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Beth Cantwell, Assistant Professor of Biology
Health and Life Sciences Building, Room 345, (540) 665-4802,​

The Biology major offers a wide variety of opportunities for students to develop both fundamental and in-depth knowledge within the disciplines of the biological sciences. Students will participate in comprehensive, hands-on, laboratory-based activities that will promote the development of technical skills used in biological science investigations.

The Biology major allows students to pursue specialized interests in secondary Biology education, microbiology and clinical laboratory sciences, cell and molecular biology, and the health-related professions including medicine, dentistry, physician assistant, pharmacy, physical therapy and other fields at the graduate level.

There are two degrees offered by the Department of Biology: a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree and a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree.

The Bachelor of Science degree provides comprehensive coverage of the biological sciences, as well as Mathematics and Chemistry courses that complement the Biology curriculum. This degree is the most appropriate path for students considering study in research-based graduate programs or technical careers upon graduation. It also includes courses that will prepare students for application to graduate health professions programs. The increased course load of the B.S. makes it more challenging to double-major in any discipline other than Chemistry. Therefore, students seeking to double-major with a B.S. in Biology should discuss it with their advisor early in their academic career.

Total 40 credits

Biology Electives (Three Courses)

Take three courses from any non-core course in the BIO offerings.

One must be at or above the 200-level
Two must be at or above the 300-level

Maximum of 2 credits may count from the following courses:

Total: 8-12 Credits

Biology Elective with Lab (One Course)

Must be at or above the 300-level
May be fulfilled by completing both BIO 491  and BIO 492 *

Total: 4 credits

Chemistry Electives (Two Courses)

Must be at or above the 300-level

Total: 7-8 credits

Program Total: 60-64 credits

Collateral Recommendation:


*BIO 491  and/or BIO 492  may only be used to fulfill one Biology elective requirement

**The requirement for MATH 102  may be waived if a student: 1) has completed one year of Calculus in high school, 2) has completed one year of Precalculus in high school with an earned grade of “B” or higher or 3) places out of MATH 102  on a diagnostic test.

Total 40 credits

Course Map

This course map is provided to help you plan your progress to a B.S. in Biology. This is a blueprint for students who plan to complete their degree in four years. This course map does not include prerequisite courses for graduate programs, which vary significantly between different programs at different universities. Students who wish to complete the requirements for a B.S. in Biology in fewer than four years, or who have additional prerequisite courses to consider, should meet with their advisor. Students who wish to prepare for admission to medical school should contact their advisor immediately.

1st Year

Total: 29-35 credits

2nd Year

Total: 29-34 credits

3rd Year

  • Credit(s): 3 (Fall, if not already taken)
  • Credit(s): 4 (Fall)
  • Credit(s): 3 (Fall)
  • Biology elective 300-level or higher Credit(s): 3-4
  • Two chemistry electives 300-level or higher Credit(s): 7-8
  • Gen Ed, second major, minor and professional school prerequisite courses or general electives (including Physics if it is a prerequisite for a graduate program) Credit(s): 9-12

Total: 29-34 credits

4th Year

  • Credit(s): 4 (Fall, if not already taken)
  • Credit(s): 3 (Fall, if not already taken)
  • Credit(s): 4 (Fall or Spring)
  • Biology electives 300-level or higher Credit(s): 6-8
  • Remaining Gen Ed, second major, minor and professional school prerequisite courses variable

Total: Variable

Requirement for Graduation: at least 120 credits

A 2.0 GPA in major and minor courses is required for graduation.
24 of a student’s last 30 credits must be earned at SU to earn a degree

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