Required Classes for Biology Majors
All biology majors usually start by taking introductory courses that provide a general overview of cells and organisms. All biology bachelor's degree programs also include key science-related courses. Courses usually fall under the categories of cell and molecular biology, population biology and ecology, organismal biology, genetics, chemistry, and physics. Specific course titles include microbiology, immunology, vertebrate biology, human anatomy, evolution, organic chemistry, and general physics. These courses are common for both Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts degree programs in biology. However, the exact curriculum requirements may vary depending on which program type a student chooses. Additionally, biology may be offered as part of a concentration within another major; students who choose a biology concentration as part of their major may take different science classes.
Bachelor of Science Courses
Bachelor of Science (B.S.) programs in biology often include more science courses in areas like physics and geosciences. Some programs require that students take advanced mathematics classes in areas such as calculus, statistics, and linear algebra, as well as a courses in computer science or computer programming. Many B.S. programs require students to complete a research project. This project may take place during the student's senior year and is sponsored by a faculty member from the biology department.
Bachelor of Arts Courses
Students in Bachelor of Arts in Biology programs often take fewer biology classes and more liberal arts courses compared to students in B.S. programs. Liberal arts coursework usually covers humanities, social sciences, and foreign language. B.A. students also have the option to take more non-science elective classes to tailor their degree. This program is often targeted toward those who wish to become biology teachers, as opposed to those who wish to work in research or medicine. Some of the courses found in a biology teacher licensure program include earth and planets, physical geology, animal behavior, and aquatic biology.
Biology Degree Concentrations
Rather than just majoring in general biology, students at some schools also have the option of selecting a concentration. Concentrations are numerous and include cell and molecular biology and environmental biology.
Cell and Molecular Biology
Students in a cell and molecular biology concentration learn about cells, their structure, and how they work. They also learn how to correct disease states. Classes cover topics such as animal and plant physiology, cellular neuroscience, and microbial genomics. This training opens the doors to careers as laboratory technicians or research associates at medical schools, universities, government agencies, and biotechnology industry research firms.
Course topics for an environmental biology concentration include plant physiology, microbial ecology, zoology, and animal behavior. Students also complete labs and field-based courses. The environmental biology concentration prepares students for careers in environmental studies, organismal biology, and related fields.
There are certain standard courses within bachelor's degree in biology programs, but there are also some differences depending on whether the student is enrolled in a B.S. or B.A. program, as well as whether or not they choose a concentration in a particular field.