BS in Biology

 

student in the lab

 

The Bachelor of Science degree exposes students to the range of concepts, approaches and techniques used by modern biologists. With three concentration options to choose from, BS students can specialize their studies to match their goals and interests.

Many graduates go on to medical, dental or veterinary school. Some continue in graduate programs in biology at GW or institutions around the country. Others find employment in private-sector pharmaceutical or biotechnology careers or in government roles.

 

 


"My first lab position working with Professor Sally Moody on neural development led to so many life-changing opportunities. She became an influential mentor, encouraging me to apply for a Luther Rice Fellowship — which I received — and guiding me in the completion of my senior thesis."

Shailly Gaur

BS ’14


Concentrations

Majors in the BS in biology track choose from three concentrations.

This concentration suits students interested in health sciences, biotechnology or further study. Through careful instruction in the latest biological concepts, this concentration prepares students for the GRE, MCAT, DAT and other pre-health examinations.

Students wishing to prepare for medical school should also take a second course in Physics, PHYS 1012, 1022 or 1026.

Additional Chemistry Requirements:

  • CHEM 2151 + 2153 Organic Chemistry I (3) + Organic Chemistry Lab (1)
  • CHEM 2152 + 2154 Organic Chemistry II (3) + Organic Chemistry Lab (1)
  • CHEM 3165 Biochemistry I (3)
  • OR BISC 3261 Introductory Medical Biochemistry (3)

Laboratory Requirements: (minimum 3 credits) Students on this concentration must enroll in at least 3 BISC courses numbered 2000 or higher that have a laboratory component, either built into the course or as a separate course number. Lab courses are indicated by an asterisk (*) next to the course. Students who complete 3 credits of BISC 4171/4171W, Undergraduate Research, can count this experience towards one of their laboratory requirements.

Students must also choose at least one 3 credit course from each of the four categories of courses listed below: Systems Electives, Organisms Electives, Evolution-Ecology and Environment Electives, Quantitative Electives Minimum no. of science credits required, 52 (Core 20, Chem 8, Physics 4, Bio Labs 5, Bio Categories 15)

A strong background in cellular and molecular biology can pave the way to careers in medicine, immunology, cutting-edge tech companies and much more. This interdisciplinary concentration shares courses between the biology and chemistry departments.

Additional Core Requirement (3 credits)

BISC 3209 Molecular Biology (3) (Fall)

Additional Chemistry requirements (minimum 7 credits)

  • CHEM 2151 + 2153 Organic Chemistry I (3) + Organic Chemistry Lab (1)
  • CHEM 2152 + 2154 Organic Chemistry II (3) + Organic Chemistry Lab (1) >/p>
  • OR CHEM 3165 Biochemistry I (3)
  • OR BISC 3261 Introductory Medical Biochemistry (4)

Laboratory Requirements: (minimum 5 credits). Students on this concentration must enroll in at least 2 BISC courses numbered 2000 or higher that have a laboratory component, either built into the course or as a separate course number. Students also must complete 3 credits of BISC 4171/4171W, Undergraduate Research. Students who qualify based on academic performance are strongly encouraged to develop an honors thesis based on their research experience.

Additional Biology Requirements: (minimum 12 credits) Students must also choose at least one 3 credit course from each of the four categories of courses listed below: Systems Electives, Organisms Electives, Evolution, Ecology and Environment Electives, Quantitative Electives. A statistics course from the Quantitative Electives choices is recommended.

Minimum no. of science credits required, 60 (Core 23, Chem 16, Physics 4, Bio Labs 5, Bio Categories 12)

With courses ranging from marine ecology to evolutionary medicine, this concentration incorporates a field study component for real-world experience. Students prepare for research and careers in evolutionary biology, conservation and environmental science.

Laboratory Requirements: (minimum 5 credits). Students on this concentration must enroll in at least 2 upper BISC courses numbered 2000 or higher that have a laboratory component, either built into the course or as a separate course number. Lab courses are indicated by an asterisk (*) next to the course. Students also must complete 3 credits of BISC 4171/4171W, Undergraduate Research in a EEE Laboratory. Students who qualify based on academic performance are strongly encouraged to develop an honors thesis based on their research experience.

Additional Biology Requirements: (minimum 15 credits). Students must also choose at least one 3 credit course from Systems Electives and Organism Electives. They must choose at least 6 credits from Evolution, Ecology and Environment Electives (must choose one course with a field component) and 6 credits from Quantitative Electives, including at least one statistics course.

Minimum no. of science credits required, 53 (Core 20, Chem 8, Bio Labs 5, Bio Categories 15)

Each concentration for the BS degree requires a set number of electives from four categories:

  • Systems: Focuses on genetics, physiology and biotechnology
  • Organisms: Includes subjects like zoology, anatomy and microbiology
  • Evolution, Ecology and Environment: Covers material in areas including field and marine biology and animal behavior
  • Quantitative: Builds a foundation in calculus, statistics and bioinformatics.
     

Interested in Medical School?

4 GW hospital nurses

 

Students wishing to prepare for medical school should take a second course in physics in addition to the core major requirements. While the Department of Biological Sciences does not offer a pre-med track, CCAS Undergraduate Advising provides pre-health advising guidance.

 

Visit CCAS Pre-health Advising

 

 


Course Requirements

The following requirements must be fulfilled:

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

Program-specific curriculum:

Required
BISC 1111Introductory Biology: Cells and Molecules
or BISC 1115
BISC 1125
Introductory Biology: Cells and Molecules
and Introduction to Cells and Molecules Laboratory
BISC 1112Introductory Biology: The Biology of Organisms
or BISC 1116
BISC 1126
Introductory Biology: The Biology of Organisms
and Introduction to Organisms Laboratory
BISC 2202Cell Biology
BISC 2207Genetics
BISC 2450Organic Evolution
CHEM 1111General Chemistry I
BISC 2452Animal Behavior
or BISC 2454 General Ecology
or BISC 3460 Conservation Biology
CHEM 1112General Chemistry II
PHYS 1011General Physics I
or PHYS 1021 University Physics I
or PHYS 1025 University Physics I with Biological Applications
Concentration requirement
Students must fulfill the requirements of one of the three concentrations shown below. All concentrations require a minimum of 18 credits in upper-level Biology (BISC) courses.
Laboratory course requirements*
At least three BISC courses numbered 2000 or above must have a laboratory component, either built into the course or as a separate course number. Students who complete 1 credit of BISC 4171 or BISC 4171W, Undergraduate Research, may count this experience toward one of their laboratory requirements. A maximum of 6 credits of BISC 4171 or BISC 4171W may be applied toward degree requirements.
Honors thesis
Students who qualify based on academic performance are strongly encouraged to develop an honors thesis based on their research experience.
*Laboratory Courses
BISC 2208Genetics Laboratory
BISC 2215Genome Editing Laboratory
BISC 2332Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy
BISC 2335Insect Biology Lab
BISC 2337Introductory Microbiology Laboratory
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
BIOC 3262Biochemistry Laboratory
BISC 4171Undergraduate Research
or BISC 4171W Undergraduate Research
BISC 4212Virology and Antiviral Immunity

Concentrations

General Biology Concentration

Required
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
Electives
At least one 3-credit course from each of the four elective categories listed below for a total of 12 credits, in addition to the courses satisfying the core course requirements.

Cellular and Molecular Biology Concentration

Required
BISC 3209
BISC 3208
Molecular Biology
and Molecular Biology Laboratory
CHEM 2151
CHEM 2153
Organic Chemistry I
and Organic Chemistry Laboratory I
CHEM 2152
CHEM 2154
Organic Chemistry II
and Organic Chemistry Laboratory II
BISC 3261Introductory Medical Biochemistry
or CHEM 3165 Biochemistry I
Electives
At least one 3-credit course from each of the four elective category listed below for a total of 12 credits, in addition to the courses satisfying the core course requirements.

Ecology, Evolution, and Environment Concentration

Required
In addition to the courses satisfying the core course requirements, at least one 3-credit course from both the systems electives and organism electives lists; at least 6 credits from the evolution, ecology, and environment electives list, including one course with a field component; and 6 credits from the quantitative electives list, including at least one statistics course.

Biology electives

Systems category
BISC 2208Genetics Laboratory 2
BISC 2213Biology of Cancer
BISC 2214Developmental Biology
BISC 2215Genome Editing Laboratory
BISC 2220Developmental Neurobiology
BISC 2320Neural Circuits and Behavior
BISC 3122Human Physiology
BISC 3123Human Physiology Lab 2
BISC 3165Biochemistry I
BISC 3208Molecular Biology Laboratory 2
BISC 3209Molecular Biology
BISC 3210Nanobiotechnology
BISC 3211Nanobiotechnology Laboratory 2
BISC 3212Immunology
BISC 3262Biochemistry Laboratory 2
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
PUBH 3202Introduction to Genomics
Organisms category
BISC 2000Sophomore Colloquium
BISC 2305Plant Biology
BISC 2331Insect Biology
BISC 2335Insect Biology Lab 2
BISC 2332Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy 2
BISC 2333Evolution and Extinction of Dinosaurs
BISC 2334WIntegrative Biology of Fishes
BISC 2337Introductory Microbiology 2
BISC 2337WIntroductory Microbiology 2
BISC 2339Parasitology 2
BISC 6215Vertebrate Phylogeny 2
BISC 6249Seminar: Developmental Biology
Evolution, ecology, and environment category
BISC 2010Global Change Biology
BISC 2451History of Life
BISC 2452Animal Behavior
BISC 2453Animal Behavior Lab 2
BISC 2454General Ecology
BISC 2456General Ecology Laboratory 2,3
BISC 3450Evolutionary Medicine
BISC 3450WEvolutionary Medicine
BISC 3453Plant Comparative Structure and Function Lab 2,3
BISC 3454Marine Ecology
BISC 3455Marine Ecology Laboratory 3
BISC 3458Plant Comparative Structure and Function
BISC 3458Plant Comparative Structure and Function
BISC 3459Field Biology 2,3
BISC 3460Conservation Biology
BISC 3461Plant-Animal Interactions
BISC 3462Plant-Animal Interactions Laboratory 2,3
BISC 3464Ecology and Evolution of Societies
BISC 6210Methods of Study of Evolution
BISC 6211Biogeography and Speciation
BISC 6243Seminar: Ecology
Quantitative category
MATH 1231Single-Variable Calculus I
MATH 1232Single-Variable Calculus II
PUBH 3201Introduction to Bioinformatics
or BISC 2584 Introduction to Bioinformatics
STAT 1127Statistics for the Biological Sciences

2Laboratory course.

3Field component.