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.

Requirements - Biological Sciences

Requirements for the BA and BS degrees with a major in Biological Sciences include course work in biology and ancillary science departments (chemistry, physics and math). The BS degree program requires more extensive course work, with additional studies in biology and the ancillary sciences. The BA degree program is more flexible and has fewer required courses to accommodate students with dual degrees or minors in other departments. Both degree programs can be used to prepare for graduate study or professional school. Students must also complete college and university graduation requirements, including university general education requirements.

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. (Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory grading is not acceptable for courses in the major.) At least 12 hours of biology coursework must be taken in residence at MU.

Foreign Language Alternative for students pursuing a BS degree in biological sciences

Students who are pursuing a BS degree with a major in biological sciences may opt to satisfy the foreign language requirement through alternative coursework consisting of at least 12 credits in courses numbered 2000 or above.  These courses may not be used to satisfy other degree requirements and may not be used to fulfill a minor in another department.  Students should confer with the Biology Advising Office to insure that alternative courses meet departmental requirements and all alternatives must be approved by the Director of Undergraduate Studies.

Major Core Requirements Biology
BIO_SC 1500Introduction to Biological Systems with Laboratory5
BIO_SC 2200General Genetics4
BIO_SC 2300Introduction to Cell Biology4
Evolutionary Biology (select from):3
Evolution and Ecology
Evolution
Biological Diversity (select from):3-5
Ornithology
Ichthyology
Medical Microbiology and Immunology
Plant Systematics
Invertebrate Zoology
Herpetology
Biology of Fungi
Mammalogy
Introductory Entomology
and Insect Diversity
General Microbiology
Capstone course (select one) (complete in last 45 hours):3-5
Undergraduate Research in Biology
and Undergraduate Research in Biology
Honors Research in Biology
and Honors Research in Biology
Developmental Biology
Molecular Biology
Cancer Biology
Human Inherited Diseases
Molecular Ecology
Neurology of Motor Systems
Nerve Cells and Behavior
Vertebrate Histology and Microscopic Anatomy
Senior Seminar

Degree Requirements

CHEM 1320College Chemistry I4
CHEM 1330College Chemistry II4
CHEM 2100
CHEM 2110
Organic Chemistry I
and Organic Chemistry II
3-6
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.

Electives
All biology majors must take additional biology courses to total at least 29 credits for the BA degree or 33 credits for the BS degree.

Elective credits must be in formal courses numbered above 2000 and must include at least one 3000- or 4000-level laboratory course, one 4000-level course, and one WI course at the 3000 or 4000 level in a natural science.  BIO_SC 2010BIO_SC 2015, BIO_SC 2030, BIO_SC 2060, BIO_SC 2100BIO_SC 2150, and BIO_SC 2950 may not be used to satisfy this requirement. MICROB 3200 may not be used to satisfy the laboratory course requirement.,

Independent readings, internships, problems and seminar courses do not apply (i.e., BIO_SC 2940, BIO_SC 2960, BIO_SC 2965H, BIO_SC 4085, and BIO_SC 4960).

Students completing research courses BIO_SC 4950, BIO_SC 4950H, BIO_SC 4952, or BIO_SC 4952H for 6 credits may apply 3 credits toward fulfillment of biology elective hours for the BA or BS degree.

Students may repeat research courses for a total of 12 hours. Any credits remaining after 3 hours are used as a capstone or an elective in biology will be applied toward total hours to graduate. A maximum of 12 credit hours from the following courses (BIO_SC 2940, BIO_SC 2960, BIO_SC 2965H, BIO_SC 4085, BIO_SC 4950, BIO_SC 4950H, BIO_SC 4952 and BIO_SC 4952H) can be counted toward graduation.

BIOCHM 4270 and BIOCHM 4272 may apply toward fulfillment of biology elective hours for the BA or BS degree.

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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
FallCreditsSpringCredits
CHEM 13204CHEM 13304
ENGLSH 10003BIO_SC 15005
Behavioral Science Course3Humanities Course (2000 level)**3
Social Science Course (MO State Law)3Social Science Course**3
Elective2 
 15 15
Second Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
CHEM 20303BIO_SC 23004
BIO_SC 22004Biology Diversity4
Foreign Language4-6Foreign Language4-6
Elective3Elective3
 14-16 15-17
Third Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
Biology Elective Lab (3000 level)5Physical Science4
Mathematival Science (MATH 1400- free back credit MATH 1100)3Biology Elective3
Foreign Language4-6Behavioral Science3
Elective3Humanities (2000 level)3
 Elective3
 15-17 16
Fourth Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
Biology Capstone3Biology Elective- Writing Intensive3
Social Science (2000 level)3Evolutionary Biology3
Humanities3Humanities3
Writing Intensive Elective3Elective3
Elective3Elective3
 15 15
Total Credits: 120-126

Plan 2

A student that needs MATH 1100

First Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
BIO_SC 15005CHEM 13204
MATH 11003ENGLSH 10003
Behavioral Sciences Course3Humanities Course**3
Social Science Course (MO State Law)3Social Science Course**3
Elective1-2Elective1-2
 15-16 14-15
Second Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
CHEM 13304BIO_SC 23004
BIO_SC 22004Biology Diversity4
Elective 3Foreign Language4-6
Foreign Language4-6Elective3
 15-17 15-17
Third Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
CHEM 20303Biology Elective Lab (3000 level)5
Mathematical Science3Physical Science4
Humanities3Behavioral Science3
Foreign Language4-6Humanities (2000 level)3
Elective3 
 16-18 15
Fourth Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
Biology Capstone3Biology Elective- Writing Intensive 3
Elective3Evolutionary Biology3
Social Science (2000 level)3Elective3
Writing Intensive Elective3Humanities3
Elective3Elective3
 15 15
Total Credits: 120-128

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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 http://advising.missouri.edu/contact/.

Prospective students, can access a preliminary MU degree audit via http://www.transfer.org. 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 http://registrar.missouri.edu/degree-audits/index.php.

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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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