BA in Biological Sciences

Degree Program Description

Biology is a broad field centered on the study of living organisms and processes.  While the degree program requires general education courses in behavioral sciences, social sciences, and the humanities, students can specialize their curriculum through their course selections. The main difference between the BS degree and the BA degree is that the BS degree requires more credit hours in biology, chemistry, physics, and math than the BA degree. Some of the knowledge that students acquire includes basic sciences  necessary for upper-level biological science coursework (i.e., mathematics, statistics, physics, general and organic chemistry), how biologists use mathematical modeling and simulation to describe living systems, and arguments employed by scientists and others in key ethical controversies in biological science and research (for example, stem cell research).  This degree is designed to prepare students for graduate study, professional schools, or direct entry into the workplace. Undergraduates majoring in biological sciences go on to careers in a wide range of fields, including medicine and other health professions, biotechnology, industry, government service, conservation and ecology, and secondary and higher education.

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Major Program Requirements

Department Level Requirements must be completed in addition to all university requirements, including general education, and the degree requirements below.

CHEM 1320College Chemistry I4
CHEM 1330College Chemistry II4
CHEM 2100
CHEM 2110
Organic Chemistry I
and Organic Chemistry II
or CHEM 2030 Survey of Organic Chemistry
One course in Physics, Geology or Astronomy4-5
Select one of the following:3-5
Calculus for Social and Life Sciences I
Analytic Geometry and Calculus I
Introductory Statistical Reasoning
Elementary Statistics
Elementary Statistics for Life Sciences
Introduction to Problem Solving and Programming
Total Credits18-24

All courses in the major (including ancillary sciences) must be completed with a grade of C- or higher with a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or higher. At least 12 hours of biology coursework must be taken in residence at MU.

Semester Plan

NOTE: These plans are intended only as general guides. Courses outside Biology, Chemistry, MATH 1100, and ENGLSH 1000 are provided only for illustrative purposes. Advanced credit or exemption from the Foreign Language requirement and/or advanced credit in non-science courses, along with the interests of each individual student will determine a final combination of courses in each semester that is unique for each student. Note also that the sample schedules in Semester 5 and beyond are left incomplete on purpose because each schedule should be highly individualized at that point. Students who are pursuing the BA will not need to complete CHEM 2130.

Plan 1

A student that is exempt from MATH 1100

First Year
CHEM 13204CHEM 13304
ENGLSH 10003BIO_SC 15005
Behavioral Science Course3Humanities Course3
Social Science Course (MO State Law)3Social Science Course3
 14-15 15
Second Year
BIO_SC 22004CHEM 21103
CHEM 21003CHEM 21302
STAT 14003BIO_SC 23004
Humanities Course (2000-level)3MATH 1400*3
Elective1-2Behavioral Sciences Course (2000-level)3
 14-15 15
Total Credits: 58-60

Plan 2

A student that needs MATH 1100

First Year
BIO_SC 15005CHEM 13204
MATH 11003ENGLSH 10003
Behavioral Sciences Course3Humanities Course3
Social Science Course (MO State Law)3Social Science Course3
 15 14-15
Second Year
CHEM 13304CHEM 21003
BIO_SC 22004BIO_SC 23004
Humanities Course (2000-level, WI)3Humanities Course3
Social Science Course (2000-level)3Behavioral Sciences Course (2000-level)3
 Humanities Course (2000-level)3
 14 16
Total Credits: 59-60

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Degree Audit


The degree audit is an automated report reflecting a student’s academic progress toward the completion of a degree.  Degree Audits are not available for all programs; however, please consult with the appropriate college or school for audit information.

MU students can request a degree audit by logging in to myDegreePlanner.  Students may also access myDegreePlanner via myZou, in the Student Center, by clicking on the Request Degree Audit link. The audit automatically pulls in the student’s MU course work, transfer courses and courses in progress.  This is available to current students, admitted students, and those who last attended less than three terms ago.

Past MU students can request a degree audit by contacting the Academic Advising Unit of the division in which they were last enrolled at MU. For contact information, go to

Prospective students, can access a preliminary MU degree audit via Information on the college credits already earned will have to be manually entered before it can be evaluated against current degree requirements.

For additional details on degree audits, go to

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Major and Career Exploration

The University of Missouri has many resources to assist you in exploring majors and career possibilities.  For guidance, visit the Majors and Careers website or view specific resources below.

  • If you would like to learn more about your career interests, abilities, values and talents, visit the MU Career Center in the lower level of the Student Success Center.  No appointment is necessary to explore career options with one of our staff members.

For additional major and career exploration resources, visit Major & Career Exploration in the catalog.

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