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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.S.)

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


The B.S. degree in biology is designed to provide students with a rigorous general background in the sciences and prepares them for graduate or professional school or for science-related jobs. More extensive requirements in chemistry, mathematics, and physics have been selected to optimize students' future opportunities.

Required Courses

Students must complete General Education requirements and the following FoundationsIntensive WritingForeign LanguageBreadth of InquiryCritical Approaches, and Public Oral Communication requirements:

Major Requirements

Students must complete a total of 36 hours in Biology, including the following core courses, with a minimum grade of C– 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.)
  • Three 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.
  • Three additional laboratory courses at the 300 or 400 level (see the approved list for Biology majors). BIOL L322, L490, L499, X371, X473, and X490 do not count for lecture or laboratory credit.
  • Two of the advanced lecture courses (300 or 400 level) and two of the advanced laboratories (300 or 400 level) must be taken on the Bloomington campus.
  • Consult with the Biology undergraduate advisors for a current list of approved lecture and laboratory classes.

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

Students must also complete the degree requirements of the College of Arts and Sciences.

Area of Concentration Option

As an alternative to the upper-level requirements listed above (in numbers 5–8), students may choose one of the following three transcriptable Areas of Concentration (AoCs).  AoCs help students develop additional expertise in specific areas of Biology and may require additional coursework:

1.  Biology of disease
2.  Cell biology and molecular genetics
3.  Integrative and organismal biology

To fulfill AoC requirements courses must be completed with a minimum grade of C–.

Additional Requirements

Students must also complete with a minimum grade of C– in each course:

  • CHEM C117-C127, C341, C342, and C343. For those planning professional school, this sequence is recommended: C117-C127, C341, C342, C343, and N330.
  • PHYS P201-P202 or P221-P222.
  • One of the following statistics courses: MATH K310, PSY K300 or K310, LAMP L316, STAT S300 or S303, or SPEA K300. (Note that although SPEA K300 fulfills the statistics requirement, it does not count toward College of Arts and Sciences credit hours.)
  • MATH M211 or M215 (or M119 and M120, or V119 and M120) or an approved mathematics course.

Students are urged to discuss with Biology undergraduate advisors the selection of electives and requirements to meet their specific career goals.

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.A.) »

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