For Applicants

The Department of Biology seeks students interested in learning about the wonders of biology, whether that is in the behavior of molecules, the workings of cells, the interactions between cells or organisms in a community, or the changes that occur to populations over evolutionary time. Read (below) about the majors offered by the department.   Research opportunities exist for students to pursue projects under the mentoring of faculty.  Typical first-year course work and credit for AP classes are described below. Other questions can be answered on our FAQ page or by contacting the department.

Majors Offered

The Department of Biology offers four majors. Students begin with enrolling in Foundations of Biology in the first year and are provisionally designated as Biology Majors. During the fall term of the second year, students can redeclare as a Biology major or newly declare as one of the other majors offered by the Department of Biology.

  • The Major in Biology is designed to educate students in both the breadth of subject matter encompassed by the biological sciences and the rapidly advancing knowledge at the forefront of this discipline. Students can choose to concentrate their studies in Biochemistry, Molecular& Cellular Biology or in Ecology, Evolution & Behavior.
  • The Biology of Global Health Major is designed to educate students in basic sciences while also integrating perspectives from policy, economics, ethics, law and sociology.
  • The Major in Environmental Biology is designed to provide students with a foundation in population, whole organism, evolutionary and environmental biology as well as in chemistry and mathematics.
  • The Major in Neurobiology is designed to educate students in the foundations of biology and neurobiology while providing opportunities for advanced study on a range of disciplines ranging from cell and molecular neuroscience to cognitive science and psychology as well as the interfaces of these disciplines.

AP credit

  • The Department of Biology accepts credit from one of the following: AP Biology Exam, AP Environmental Sciences Exam, or IB Higher-level Biology.
  • Students who received a score of 5 on the AP Biology Exam or on the AP Environmental Sciences Exam (but not both) will receive 2 credits to count towards the major.
  • Students who received a score of 4 on the AP Biology Exam or on the AP Environmental Sciences Exam (but not both) will receive 1 credit to count towards the major.

Students with a score of 6 or 7 on the IB Higher-level Biology Exam (but not Standard-level Biology) will receive 2 credits of upper division elective that will count towards the 44 credits of biology courses.

Courses in the first year

Normally, the first year includes biology, chemistry, mathematics and one general education course (for example, a foreign language) in the fall term and two general education courses in the spring term.