The Biological Science B.S. major requirements are listed in the UVM Catalog under both the College of Arts and Sciences: B.S. in Biological Science, CAS, and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences: B.S in Biological Science, CALS.  This "cross-college" major spans departments as well, offering you the opportunity to tailor your academic experience at two levels:

College-level Requirements

The major requirements for the Biological Science B.S. are the same regardless of college.  However, in addition to courses required for completion of a major program, (and University-wide required courses in writing, diversity, sustainability, and quantitative reasoning), each college has its own requirements to ensure graduates have received a well-rounded education.  Outlined below are the descriptions for the ~11 courses required by each college that hosts the Biological Science major.  Note: courses taken for the major (e.g. biology, mathematics, etc.) can doubly count toward these college-level requirements.

College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS)
  • Distribution Requirements: FIVE of the following SIX categories: (i) 2 fine arts/literature courses (one in each area), (ii) 2 foreign language courses (same language), (iii) 2 humanities courses, (iv) 2 natural sciences courses with lab, (v) 2 mathematics courses, or (vi) 2 social sciences courses.
  • General requirement – one course in non-European culture that is not a language course. (May jointly satisfy distribution requirement.)
  • 84 credits must be from within CAS.
  • Core Competencies: two humanities/fine arts courses, two physical/life science courses, one mathematics course, one statistics course, two social science courses, and one writing course.
  • Foundations courses: CALS 001 (Communication Methods) and 002 (Information Technology), or equivalent courses.


Department-level Advanced Life Science Electives

The Biological Science major requires 26 credits of Advanced Life Science Electives - meaning 7-8 courses you choose from a list of 150+, from 18 different departments.  You could take a variety of different topics, or all of your credits from one field; it’s up to you.  The full list is below.

In year two, meet with an advisor to map a plan of study for completing your Advanced Life Science Electives - 100- and 200-level courses including undergraduate research.  The following rules apply to the Advanced Life Science Elective requirement:

  • No more than 8 credits at the 100-level may be applied to the requirement (not including BCOR courses) except with written permission from an advisor and not exceeding three 100-level courses.

  • With an advisor's permission, biologically relevant 300-level courses may be applied to the requirement.

  • Up to 6 credits of undergraduate research in any biological discipline may be applied toward the requirement. Only three of these can be taken for credit at the 100-level, and these will be counted in the 8 credits allowed at the 100-level.

Advanced Life Science Elective List - 100+ courses that can count for your major!

The courses listed below are pre-approved to count toward the elective requirement for the B.S. degree in Biological Science.  If you are interested in a life science course not on this list, consult with one of the Biological Science program directors to determine whether it can be used as an Advanced Elective.

The B.S. degree in Biological Science has an additional recommendation as to the types of skills one should obtain in taking their Advanced Life Science Electives. The minimum is that students should gain 12 credits in elective courses that include a quantitative ("Q") component, 3 credits that stress oral ("O") communication, and 3 credits that stress written ("W") communication.  The Skillset column below indicates which of these skills a course includes.  A blank in the skillset column indicates that it is unknown whether this course fulfills any of the skillset requirements; consult the course's instructor.  A * indicates an assignment is optional; a student would need to complete the assignment to earn the skillset credit.

Course Course Title Skillsets
ANTH 242 Research Mthds in Human Diversity (crosslisted w/BIOL 242)  
ASCI 110 Animal Nutrition, Metabolism and Feeding Q, O, W
ASCI 117 Horse Health and Disease -, -, -
ASCI 118 Applied Animal Health -, O, W
ASCI 141 Anatomy & Physiology of Domestic Animals -, -, W
ASCI 168 Animal Genetics -, -, W
ASCI 187 Intro to Biochemistry: Lab (crosslisted w/BIOC/NFS/PBIO 187)  
ASCI 277 Animal Plagues & Global Health  
ASCI 215 Physiology of Reproduction Q, O, W
ASCI 216 Endocrinology Q, O, W
ASCI 220 Lactation Physiology Q, O, W
ASCI 272 Adv. Topics: Zoos, Exotics, and Endangered Species -, -, -
ASCI 277 Animal and Human Parasitology  
BCOR 195 Biology in Practice  
BCOR 197 Teaching Assistantship  
BCOR 198/298 Undergraduate Research  
BHSC 242 Immunology  
BHSC 244 Immunology Lab  
BHSC 281 Applied Molecular Biology  
BHSC 282 Applied Molecular Biology Lab  
BIOC 187 Intro to Biochemistry: Lab (crosslisted w/ASCI/NFS/PBIO 187)  
BIOC 191/192 Undergraduate Research  
BIOC 201 Fundamentals of Biochemistry  
BIOC 205 Biochemistry (crosslisted w/CHEM 205 & MMG 205)  
BIOC 206 Biochemistry II (crosslisted w/CHEM 206 & MMG 206) -, O, W
BIOC 207 Biochemistry Lab (crosslisted w/CHEM 207 & MMG 207)  
BIOC 240 Macromolecular structure: proteins and nucleic acids  
BIOC 263 Nutritional Biochemistry Q, O, W
BIOC 275 Adv. Biochemistry of Human Disease  
BIOC 292 Undergraduate Research  
BIOC 293 Independent Study  
BIOC 295/296 Advanced Special Topics  
BIOL 188 Soundscapes and Behavior Research  
BIOL 192 Independent Study  
BIOL 195/196 Special Topics  
BIOL 198 Undergraduate Research  
BIOL 204 Advanced Genetics Laboratory Q, O, W
BIOL 205 Advanced Genetics & Proteomics Laboratory Q, -, W
BIOL 209 Field Zoology -, O, -
BIOL 212 Comparative Histology  
BIOL 217 Mammalogy Q, -, W
BIOL 219 Comparative Function of Vertebrate Anatomy  
BIOL 223 Developmental Biology -, -, -
BIOL 225 Physiological Ecology Q, O, W
BIOL 242 Research Mthds in Human Diversity (crosslisted w/ANTH 242)  
BIOL 254 Population Genetics Q, -, -
BIOL 255 Comparative Physiology Q, O, W
BIOL 261 Neurobiology Q, -, W
BIOL 262 Neurobiology Techniques  
BIOL 263 Genetics of Cell Cycle Regulation Q, O, W
BIOL 264 Community Ecology Q, O, W
BIOL 265 Developmental Molecular Genetics Q, O, W
BIOL 266 Neurodevelopment Q, O, W
BIOL 269 Plant-Animal Interactions Q, O, W
BIOL 270 Speciation and Phylogeny Q, -, -
BIOL 271 Evolution Q, -, W
BIOL 275 Human Genetics Q, O, -
BIOL 276 Behavioral Ecology Q, -, W
BIOL 277 Sociobiology -, -, W
BIOL 286 Forensic DNA Analysis Q, O, W
BIOL 288 Seminar in Forensic Biology -, -, -
BIOL 292 Independent Study  
BIOL 295/296 Advanced Special Topics  
BIOL 298 Undergraduate Research  
BIOL 381A Computational Biology Q,  ,  
BIOS 200 Medical Biostatistics & Epidemiology (crosslisted w/STAT 200)  
BSCI 198/298 Undergraduate Research  
CHEM 205 Biochemistry (crosslisted w/BIOC 205 & MMG 205)  
CHEM 206 Biochemistry II (crosslisted w/BIOC 206 & MMG 206)  
CHEM 207 Biochemistry Lab (crosslisted w/BIOC 207 & MMG 207)  
CSD 281 Cognitive Neuroscience -, -, W
ENSC 160 Pollutant Movement Through Air, Land, and Water Q, O, W
ENSC 201 Recovery and Restoration of Altered Ecosystems  
FOR 223 Multi-Resource Silviculture Q, O, W
FOR 228 Ecosystems Ecology (crosslisted w/NR 228)  
FOR 235 Forest Ecosystem Health  
HON 208 Honors: Biology (Thesis Research)  
MATH 268 Mathematical Biology and Ecology Q, -, -
MLS 231 Hematology Q, O, W
MLS 255 Clinical Microbiology II -, -, -
MMG 101 Microbiology and Infectious Diseases -, -, W
MMG 104 Intro Recombinant DNA Tech Q, O, -
MMG 192 Independent Study  
MMG 195/196 Intermediate Special Topics  
MMG 197/198 Undergraduate Research  
MMG 201 Molecular Cloning Lab Q, O, W
MMG 203 Mammalian Cell Culture in Molecular Biology Q, O, -
MMG 205 Biochemistry (crosslisted w/CHEM 205 & MMG 205)  
MMG 206 Biochemistry II (crosslisted w/CHEM 206 & MMG 206) -, O, W
MMG 207 Biochemistry Lab (crosslisted w/CHEM 207 & MMG 207)  
MMG 211 Prokaryotic Molecular Genetics Q, O, W
MMG 220 Environmental Microbiology -, O, W
MMG 222 Advanced Medical Microbiology -, -, W
MMG 223 Immunology -, -, W*
MMG 225 Eukaryotic Virology -, -, -
MMG 230 Adv. Studies in Emerging Infectious Diseases -, O, W
MMG 231 Programming for Bioinformatics  
MMG 232 Methods in Bioinformatics Q, O, W
MMG 233 Genetics and Genomics Q, O, -
MMG 240 Macromolecular Structure, Protein & Nucleic Acid Q, O, -
MMG 292 Independent Study  
MMG 295/296 Adv. Special Topics  
MMG 297/298 Undergraduate Research -, O, W
NFS 143 Nutrition in the Lifecycle -, -, W
NFS 163 Sports Nutrition -, -, W
NFS 183 Intro to Biochemistry (crosslisted w/PBIO 185)  
NFS 187 Intro to Biochemistry: Lab (crosslisted w/BIOC/PBIO/ASCI 187)  
NFS 203 Food Microbiology Q, O, W
NFS 213 Food Microbiology Lab  
NFS 243 Advanced Nutrition Q, -, W
NR 228 Ecosystems Ecology (crosslisted w/ FOR 228)  
NR 250 Limnology  
NR 260 Wetlands Ecology & Management  
NR 268 Soil Ecology (crosslisted w/ PSS 268)  
NR 280 Stream Ecology  
NSCI 111/112 Exploring Neuroscience & Lab Q, -, W
NSCI 225 Human Neuroanatomy  
NSCI 255 Neuroregeneration Q, O, W
NSCI 270 Diseases of the Nervous System -, O, W
PBIO 104 Plant Physiology Q, O, W
PBIO 108 Morphology & Evolution of Vascular Plants -, -, W
PBIO 109 Plant Systematics -, -, -
PBIO 117 Plant Pathology (crosslisted w/ PSS 117)  
PBIO 133 SU: How Plants Can Save the World  
PBIO 151 Plant Anatomy -, -, -
PBIO 177 Biology of Fungi  
PBIO 185 Intro to Biochemistry (crosslisted w/NFS 183) Q, -, W
PBIO 187 Intro to Biochemistry Lab (crosslisted w/BIOC/NFS/ASCI 187) Q, O, W
PBIO 192 Independent Study  
PBIO 195 Intermediate Special Topics  
PBIO 198 Undergraduate Research  
PBIO 209 Biology of Ferns -, -, W
PBIO 223 Fundamentals of Field Science  
PBIO 232 Botany Field Trip -, -, -
PBIO 241 Tropical Plant Systematics -, O*, W*
PBIO 261 Plant Growth & Development -, -, W
PBIO 275 Global Change Biology Q, O, W
PBIO 292 Independent Study  
PBIO 294 Ecological Modeling Q, -, -
PBIO 295/296 Advanced Special Topics  
PBIO 298 Undergraduate Research  
PHRM 200 Medical Cannabis Q, -, W
PHRM 201 Introduction to Pharmacology Q, -, W
PHRM 240 Molecules and Medicine -, -, -
PHRM 272 Toxicology -, -, -
PHRM 290 Topics in Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology Q*, -, W*
PSS 106 Entomology and Pest Management -, -, -
PSS 112 Weed Ecology & Management -, O, W
PSS 117 Plant Pathology (crosslisted w/ PBIO 117)  
PSS 138 Commercial Plant Propagation  
PSS 143 Forage and Pasture Management -, O, W
PSS 154 Composting Ecology and Management -, O, W
PSS 156 Permaculture  
PSS 212 Advanced Agroecology  
PSS 232 Biological Control Q, O, W
PSS 268 Soil Ecology (crosslisted w/ NR 268) Q, O, W
PSYS 115 Biopsychology -, -, -
PSYS 215 Physiological Psychology Q, -, W
PSYS 216 Psychopharmacology Q*, -, W*
PSYS 217 Animal Behavior Q, O, W
PSYS 218 Hormones and Behavior Q, O, W
PSYS 219 Selected Topics in Behavioral Neuroscience Q, -, W
STAT 200 Medical Biostatistics & Epidemiology (crosslisted w/ BIOS 200)  
WFB 130 Ornithology Q, -, W
WFB 131 Field Ornithology -, -, -
WFB 141 Field Herpetology Q, -, -
WFB 150 Wildlife Habitat and Population Measurements Q, -, W
WFB 161 Fisheries Biology and Techniques Q, -, W
WFB 174 Principles of Wildlife Management Q, -, W
WFB 195 Intermediate Special Topics, as appropriate  
WFB 224 Conservation Biology Q, -, W
WFB 232 Ichthyology -, -, W
WFB 261 Fisheries Management Q, O, W
WFB 271 Wetlands Wildlife Ecology Q, O, W
WFB 275 Wildlife Behavior Q, -, W
WFB 279 Marine Ecology & Conservation  
WFB 283 Terrestrial Wildlife Ecology Q, O, W


golden spider

Starting out as BioSci major

Interested in biology, but not sure what you want to focus on?  NO PROBLEM.  The first and second years of study in the Biological Science major impart core knowledge and skills in biology, chemistry, and math.  This core set of prerequisites is the same across several life science majors, so you’ll be learning alongside like-minded students from various departments, garnering insight into what biological disciplines you’d like to pursue as an upperclassman.

Picking your BioSci electives

Broad or narrow?  The focus of this major is your choice.  Choose 7-8 courses from a huge list of offerings representing 18 different departments ranging from Neuroscience to Biochemistry to Wildlife & Fisheries Biology.

Being an Undergraduate Researcher

BioSci majors can apply up to 6 credits of undergraduate research to their advanced elective requirements! Whether through a department (e.g. MMG 198/298), a program (e.g. BCOR 198/298), or the honors college (HON 208/209), doing undergraduate research is learning beyond the classroom - in the real, active research labs of our university.

Going Pre-Med

Headed for medical or dental school?  All course requirements for most medical/dental schools and MCAT preparation can be satisfied by the BioSci major and associated college and university requirements.  Be sure to visit the Pre-Health Advising center.

Need help choosing?  Go to our Advising page.