2024-25 Catalogs

125 Jesse Hall
Columbia, MO 65211
Map and directions »
Phone numbers and e-mail »

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 BA degree and the BS 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). The BA 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.

Major Program Requirements

In addition to University, general education, and College of Arts and Science requirements, students must also meet the following major program requirements. All major requirements in the College of Arts and Science must be completed with grades of C- or higher unless otherwise indicated.

Requirements - Biological Sciences

Requirements for the BA and BS degrees with a major in Biological Sciences include course work in biology and related science departments (chemistry, physics and math). The BS degree program requires more extensive course work, with additional studies in biology and the related 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 related 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.)

Major Core Requirements in Biology
BIO_SC 1500Introduction to Biological Systems with Laboratory5
or BIO_SC 1010
BIO_SC 1020
General Principles and Concepts of Biology
and General Biology Laboratory
or BIO_SC 1200 General Botany with Laboratory
(Grade of B- or higher required for Bio Sci 1010/1020)
BIO_SC 2200General Genetics4
BIO_SC 2300Introduction to Cell Biology4
Evolutionary Biology (select from):3
Evolution and Ecology
Biological Diversity (select from):3-5
Medical Microbiology and Immunology
Plant Systematics
Vertebrate Biology
Invertebrate Zoology
Biology of Fungi
Introductory Entomology
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
Mammalian Reproductive Biology
Nerve Cells and Behavior
Vertebrate Histology and Microscopic Anatomy
Senior Seminar
Related Science Requirements
CHEM 1400
CHEM 1401
College Chemistry I
and College Chemistry I Laboratory
CHEM 1410
CHEM 1411
College Chemistry II
and College Chemistry II Laboratory
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
College Physics I
University Physics I
Introduction to the Earth with Laboratory
Environmental Geology with Laboratory
Introduction to Astronomy
Select one of the following:3-5
Calculus for Social and Life Sciences I
Analytic Geometry and Calculus I
Introductory Statistical Reasoning
Introduction to Probability and Statistics I
Introduction to Problem Solving and Programming
Total Credits18-24

No more than 5 credits of introductory biology coursework (BIO_SC 1010BIO_SC 1020BIO_SC 1030BIO_SC 1100, BIO_SC 1200, BIO_SC 1500) may be included in the major. At least 12 hours of biology coursework must be taken in residence at MU.

All biology majors must take additional biology courses to total at least 29 credits for the BA degree, of which at least 16 credits must be at the 3000 level or above.

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. In addition to the biological diversity and capstone courses listed above, the following courses may be used as elective credit: BIO_SC 3002, BIO_SC 3040, BIO_SC 3050, BIO_SC 3060, BIO_SC 3075, BIO_SC 3650, BIO_SC 3700, BIO_SC 3715, BIO_SC 3760, BIO_SC 3780, BIO_SC 4002, BIO_SC 4320, BIO_SC 4400, BIO_SC 4500, BIO_SC 4590, BIO_SC 4640, BIO_SC 4642, BIOCHM 4270, and BIOCHM 4272. MICROB 3200 may not be used to satisfy the laboratory course requirement.

Students completing research courses BIO_SC 2950BIO_SC 4950, BIO_SC 4950H, BIO_SC 4952, or BIO_SC 4952H for 6 credits may apply 3 credits toward fulfillment of capstone or biology elective hours for the BA degree.

Students may repeat readings, internships, problems, or research courses for a total of 18 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 18 credit hours from the following courses (BIO_SC 2940BIO_SC 2950BIO_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.

Back to Top

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 1400
CHEM 1401
4CHEM 1410
CHEM 1411
ENGLSH 10003BIO_SC 15005
Behavioral Science Course3Humanities Course (2000 level)**3
Social Science Course (MO State Law)3Social Science Course**3
 15 15
Second Year
CHEM 20303BIO_SC 23004
BIO_SC 22004Biology Diversity4
Second language I4-6Second language II4-6
 14-16 15-17
Third Year
Biology Elective Lab (3000 level)5Physical Science4
Mathematival Science (MATH 1400- free back credit MATH 1100)3Biology Elective3
Second language III4Behavioral Science3
Elective3Humanities (2000 level)3
 15 16
Fourth Year
Biology Capstone3Biology Elective- Writing Intensive3
Social Science (2000 level)3Evolutionary Biology3
Writing Intensive Elective3Elective3
 15 15
Total Credits: 120-124

 Could meet A&S Diversity Intensive Requirement (3hrs)

Plan 2

A student that needs MATH 1100

First Year
BIO_SC 15005CHEM 1400
CHEM 1401
MATH 11003ENGLSH 10003
Behavioral Sciences Course3Humanities Course**3
Social Science Course (MO State Law)3Social Science Course**3
 15-16 14-15
Second Year
CHEM 1410
CHEM 1411
4BIO_SC 23004
BIO_SC 22004Biology Diversity4
Elective 3Second Language4-6
Second Language4-6Elective3
 15-17 15-17
Third Year
CHEM 20303Biology Elective Lab (3000 level)5
Mathematical Science3Physical Science4
Humanities3Behavioral Science3
Second Language4-6Humanities (2000 level)3
 16-18 15
Fourth Year
Biology Capstone3Biology Elective- Writing Intensive 3
Elective3Evolutionary Biology3
Social Science (2000 level)3Elective3
Writing Intensive Elective3Humanities3
 15 15
Total Credits: 120-128

 Could meet A&S Diversity Intensive Requirement (3hrs)

Back to Top

Degree Audit

The degree audit is an automated report reflecting a student’s academic progress toward the completion of a degree. 

MU students can request a degree audit by logging in to myDegreePlanner. Students may also access myDegreePlanner via myZou, in the Student Center, click on the Academic Progress Tile, then select Request Degree Audit. 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 https://advising.missouri.edu/contact/.

Prospective students, can access a preliminary MU degree audit via https://www.transferology.com. 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 https://registrar.missouri.edu/degrees-audits/degree-audits/.

Back to Top

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 are considering a change of major or are exploring multiple majors, schedule an appointment with an advisor in the Discovery Center by calling (573)884-9700 or through MU Connect Discovery Center service in you success network.

  • If you have decided on a major, visit an academic advisor in the School or College that you are interested in to discuss the process of declaring the major

  • If you would like to learn more about your career interests, abilities, values and talents, visit the MU Career 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.

Back to Top