BA in Biology


students and professor having a discussion


The Bachelor of Arts in Biology prepares students for careers in the life sciences, biotechnology and advanced study. Majors learn the range of concepts and techniques used by modern scientists.

From ecology to taxonomy, the BA track lays the groundwork for a well-rounded biological education.



In the Undergraduate Classroom

Amy Zanne in the GW Greenhouse

Students Exploring Evolution Firsthand

Associate Professor Amy Zanne teaches Comparative Plant Structure and Function in the Wilbur V. Harlan Greenhouse. Students learn how the structure of plants equips individual species for survival in particular settings and how that has changed over time. “I try to show them how plants are relevant to their everyday lives and why they should be interested,” Zanne says. “I try to get them out here touching, seeing, smelling and tasting them so they can experience these evolutionary steps firsthand.”


Program Requirements

Students wishing to prepare for medical school should also take biochemistry (BISC 3261 or CHEM 3165) plus two physics courses (PHYS 1110, 1121 or 1125 and 1012, 1022 or 1026) in addition to the required courses for the BA in Biology. While the Department of Biological Sciences does not offer a pre-med track, CCAS Undergraduate Advising also provides pre-health advising guidance.

The following requirements must be fulfilled:

The general requirements stated under Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, Undergraduate Programs.

Program-specific curriculum:

BISC 1115
BISC 1125
Introductory Biology: Cells and Molecules
and Introduction to Cells and Molecules Laboratory 1
BISC 1116
BISC 1126
Introductory Biology: The Biology of Organisms
and Introduction to Organisms Laboratory
BISC 2202Cell Biology
BISC 2207Genetics
BISC 2450Organic Evolution
BISC 2454General Ecology
or BISC 2452 Animal Behavior
or BISC 3460 Conservation Biology
CHEM 1111
CHEM 1112
General Chemistry I
and General Chemistry II
CHEM 2151
CHEM 2152
Organic Chemistry I
and Organic Chemistry II
CHEM 2153
CHEM 2154
Organic Chemistry Laboratory I
and Organic Chemistry Laboratory II
CHEM 3165Biochemistry I
or BISC 3261 Introductory Medical Biochemistry
Laboratory and Electives course requirements
At least three courses must be a laboratory or have a laboratory component; these laboratory courses must numbered at the 2000 level or above.
Students who complete 1 credits of BISC 4171 or BISC 4171W, Undergraduate Research, may count this experience towards one of their laboratory requirements. A maximum of 6 credits of BISC 4171 BISC4171W may count towards degree requirements.
At least one 3 credit additional course from each of the four elective categories below

Biology Electives

Systems category
BISC 2208Genetics Laboratory 1
BISC 2213Biology of Cancer
BISC 2214Developmental Biology
BISC 2220Developmental Neurobiology
BISC 2320Neural Circuits and Behavior
BISC 3122Human Physiology
BISC 3123Human Physiology Lab 1
BISC 3165Biochemistry I
BISC 3208Molecular Biology Laboratory 1
BISC 3209Molecular Biology
BISC 3210Nanobiotechnology
BISC 3211Nanobiotechnology Laboratory 1
BISC 3212Immunology
BISC 3262Biochemistry Laboratory 1
BISC 3263Special Topics in Biochemistry
BISC 3320Human Neurobiology
BISC 4132Advanced Cellular-Molecular Biology
BISC 4212Virology and Antiviral Immunity
BISC 6205Current Topics in Cell Smith, Donaldson, Eleftherianos, Jeremic
BISC 6218Innate Immunity
BISC 6219Host-Microbe Interactions
Organisms category
BISC 2000Sophomore Colloquium
BISC 2305Plant Biology
BISC 2330Invertebrate Zoology 1
BISC 2331Insect Biology
BISC 2335Insect Biology Lab 1
BISC 2332Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy 1
BISC 2333Evolution and Extinction of Dinosaurs
BISC 2334WIntegrative Biology of Fishes
BISC 2337Introductory Microbiology 1
BISC 2337WIntroductory Microbiology 1
BISC 2339Parasitology 1
BISC 6215Vertebrate Phylogeny 1
BISC 6249Seminar: Developmental Biology
Evolution, Ecology, and Environment category
BISC 2451History of Life
BISC 3450Evolutionary Medicine
BISC 3450WEvolutionary Medicine
BISC 2452Animal Behavior
BISC 2453Animal Behavior Lab 1
BISC 2454General Ecology
BISC 2456General Ecology Laboratory 1,2
BISC 3454Marine Ecology
BISC 3455Marine Ecology Laboratory 2
BISC 3458Plant Comparative Structure and Function
BISC 3459Field Biology 1,2
BISC 3460Conservation Biology
BISC 3461Plant-Animal Interactions
BISC 3462Plant-Animal Interactions Laboratory 1,2
BISC 3464Ecology and Evolution of Societies
BISC 6210Methods of Study of Evolution
BISC 6211Biogeography/Coevolution
BISC 6243Seminar: Ecology
Quantitative category
MATH 1231Single-Variable Calculus I
MATH 1232Single-Variable Calculus II
STAT 1127Statistics for the Biological Sciences
BISC 2584Introduction to Bioinformatics

1 Laboratory course.

2 Field component.

 1 Honors Program students and those who have been invited to join the Scholars in Quantitative and Natural Sciences (SQNS) Program take BISC 1120 instead of BISC 1125 for the lab component.

Laboratory Courses
BISC 2208Genetics Laboratory
BISC 2215Genome Editing Laboratory
BISC 2332Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy
BISC 2335Insect Biology Lab
BISC 2337Introductory Microbiology
or BISC 2337W Introductory Microbiology
BISC 2339Parasitology
BISC 2453Animal Behavior Lab
BISC 2456General Ecology Laboratory
BISC 3123Human Physiology Lab
BISC 3208Molecular Biology Laboratory
BISC 3211Nanobiotechnology Laboratory
BISC 3453Plant Comparative Structure and Function Lab
BISC 3455Marine Ecology Laboratory
BISC 3459Field Biology
BISC 3462Plant-Animal Interactions Laboratory
BISC 4171Undergraduate Research
or BISC 4171W Undergraduate Research