The undergraduate programs in biology provide excellent preparation for graduate or professional school programs and for careers in industry and governmental agencies. Students who graduate from these programs are well prepared for medical, dental, or veterinary schools, or to enter the many specialized graduate programs in the biological sciences.

Increasingly, career opportunities are opening up in the developing fields of biotechnology, both in industry and government. Elective sequences of courses in areas of biotechnology within the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees in biology are an excellent preparation for such careers.

Major programs share a core of foundation courses and provide options for specialization in a variety of areas, including biotechnology and genetic engineering, molecular and cellular biology, genetics, immunology, chemical biology, physiology and biophysics, neurobiology and animal behavior, developmental biology, population biology, ecology, and environmental science.

Theoretical, mathematical, and computational approaches to these fields are emphasized in the Systems Biology BS program. Individual research projects form a significant part of the curriculum for many undergraduates in all programs, and are specifically required for students in the Biology BS program. Advanced biology majors may register, with permission, for graduate-level courses in the department and in the School of Medicine.

The department offers programs leading to the BA and BS degrees. Thirty hours of biology are required for the Biology BA, 39 hours for the Biology BS, and 30 hours for the Systems Biology BS. Ordinarily, all students begin their biology programs in the freshman year.

All students must complete the SAGES seminar and General Education Requirements (GER) of the College of Arts and Sciences. While some BIOL courses serve as SAGES Departmental Seminars or SAGES Capstones, none of these are required courses for biology degree candidates, with the specific exception of BIOL 388S Undergraduate Research – SAGES Capstone for the Biology BS degree. A Biology BA student, for example, is free to take a non-BIOL SAGES Departmental Seminar or SAGES Capstone course, assuming that prerequisites are met (or waived by the instructor).