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Indiana University Bloomington

Department of Biology

Undergraduate Studies

Biology Majors

Courses are offered in ecology, genetics, and microbiology as well as cellular, developmental, environmental, and molecular biology. In addition, general coursework includes inorganic and organic chemistry and calculus, as well as courses in the humanities, social sciences, English composition, and foreign language. Students may supplement their degrees with minors or certificates in areas such as business, environmental science, animal behavior, and psychology. Outstanding students are encouraged to fulfill the requirements for an honors degree.

Many of our graduates are admitted to medical school, dental school, and graduate programs. Two-thirds of the department's graduates are available for entry-level positions. In recent years, the average GPA for all Department of Biology graduates has been 3.22, while the average GPA for Biology B.S. majors has been 3.37. Each year at least 50 departmental graduates are elected to Phi Beta Kappa.

Biology Major (B.A.)

(from 2015-16 College of Arts & Sciences Bulletin)
For a detailed description of the Biology B.A. major, please review the Biology B.A. Major Guide.


The B.A. Major in Biology trains students in the major subject areas of biology while remaining the most flexible of all biology degrees offered. Minimal chemistry and mathematics requirements allow students to substitute a second major, such as computer science, chemistry, psychology, environmental studies, or business. This degree, however, will not automatically fulfill requirements for entrance to medical, dental, or optometry schools, or to most graduate programs in biology.

Required Courses

Students must complete the following course work with a grade of C– or higher in each course:

  • L111 Foundations of Biology: Diversity, Evolution, and Ecology (3 cr.), L112 Foundations of Biology: Biological Mechanisms (3 cr.), and L113 Biology Laboratory (3 cr.).
  • L211 Molecular Biology (3 cr.).
  • L311 Genetics (3 cr.).
  • L318 Evolution (3 cr.).
  • Two additional lecture courses at the 300 or 400 level (see the approved course list for Biology majors). BIOL L322, L490, L499, X371, X473, and X490 do not count for lecture or laboratory credit.
  • Two additional laboratory courses at the 300 or 400 level (see the approved course list for Biology majors). BIOL L322, L490, L499, X371, X473, and X490 do not count for lecture or laboratory credit.
  • One of the advanced lecture courses and one advanced laboratory (300 or 400 level) must be taken on the Bloomington campus.
  • To fulfill College requirements for the B.A. degree, students must complete 18 credit hours in the major at the 300 level or above. For Biology B.A. majors, this 18 credit hours must include L311 (3 cr.), L318 (3 cr.), and either C341 or R340 (3 cr.). The remaining 9 upper-level credit hours must be chosen from the approved course list for Biology majors. 
  • CHEM C117-C127 and C341 or R340. Students planning to attend a professional school should check to see what additional chemistry courses they will need.
  • MATH M118 or M119 or V119 or M211 or an approved mathematics course.

Note: L111 and L112 can be taken in either order. L112 and CHEM C117-C127 are prerequisites of L211, which is the prerequisite of L311 and L318. L111 is also a prerequisite of L318.

Consult with the Biology undergraduate advisors for a current list of approved lecture and laboratory classes.

Students must also meet the degree requirements of the College of Arts and Sciences, including Breadth of Inquiry.

Please use the Undergraduate Academic Bulletin that was in effect when you matriculated into Indiana University Bloomington as a degree-seeking student. The requirements outlined in the Bulletin in effect at the time of your matriculation will remain constant throughout your time in the Biology Department, assuming you graduate within eight years. Degree requirements may change significantly from year to year, so it’s very important that you refer to the correct Bulletin. If you are uncertain which Bulletin governs your undergraduate career, please consult a Biology advisor by emailing, calling (812) 855-3810, or making an advising appointment with any Biology advisor. 

See also Biology Major (B.S.) »

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