Biology BA Major Requirements PRIOR To August 1, 2015

Requirements for the Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Biology (declaration completed prior to August 1, 2015)        

The requirements for the Biology BA degree are summarized below.  For a concise listing of these requirements, please refer to the BIOLOGY BA CHECKLIST.


Introduction to Biology

A two-semester introductory sequence of courses (BIOL 2010, 2020, 2030, and 2040) is required for the Biology major. These courses also partially satisfy most prehealth biology requirements. Biology AP Credit: Students who score at least a 4 on the AP Biology examination, or at least a 5 on upper-level examinations in the International Baccalaureate Program, will receive six credit hours for BIOL 2010 and BIOL 2020;  these students are also exempt from the requirement to take BIOL 2030 and 2040 (although they do not receive credit for either course). Students who have completed BME 2104 with a minimal grade of C- are exempt from taking BIOL 2010. Note that credit for BME 2104 does not provide actual credit for BIOL 2010, nor does it exempt students from having to complete BIOL 2020, 2030 or 2040. (Note: BME 2104 does not count towards the 102 credits in the College required for the degree, and it does not satisfy the Natural Science and Mathematics requirement for the College.)

Students who matriculate at UVA after 8/1/2015 and scored a 5 on the AP Biology examination, or at least a 6 on upper-level examinations in the International Baccalaureate Program, will receive eight credit hours for BIOL 2100 and BIOL 2200, which replace BIOL 2010-2040, starting with the 2015-2016 academic year.


Majors are required to complete two semesters of introductory chemistry with lab. The chemistry requirement may be satisfied by completing CHEM 1410, 1420, 1411, and 1421, or CHEM 1810, 1820, 1811, and 1821, or CHEM 1610, 1620, 1611, and 1621. Students with AP chemistry credit for 1410 and 1420 must still complete the laboratory courses (1411 plus 1421 or 1811 plus 1821, 1611 plus 1621, or two higher level lab courses). Students planning a career in the biological sciences are also strongly advised to take two semesters of organic chemistry with lab.

Math and Physics    

Majors are required to complete one course in either calculus (MATH 1210, 1220, 1310, or 1320) or statistics (STAT 2120, 2020 or an equivalent or higher level course in another department). Students anticipating a career in the biological sciences are strongly advised also to take at least one additional math course, as well as two semesters of physics with lab (PHYS 2010, 2020, 2030, and 2040).

Biology "Core" Course Requirement

Majors are required to complete BIOL 3000 (Cell Biology), BIOL 3010 (Genetics & Molecular Biology), and BIOL 3020 (Evolution & Ecology). These courses do not need to be taken sequentially or in any specific order; however, two of the core courses should be completed by the end of the third year. Students with AP credit for BIOL 2010 and BIOL 2020, but who have not started taking introductory chemistry, are encouraged to take BIOL 3020 during the spring semester of their first year, since it is the only core course that does not require CHEM 1410/1420.

A student who receives a single failing grade in any of the required core courses must meet with her/his Biology major advisor in order to discuss plans for successfully completing the major. This meeting should take place no later than the end of the first full week of the semester after the failing grade was received. Neglecting to meet with a faculty advisor will result in the student being dropped from the Biology major.  A student who receives two failing grades in any of the required core courses will be ineligible to continue in the Biology major.

Biology Laboratory Course Requirements

Majors are required to complete at least 3 hours of laboratory course work at or above the 3000 level. This lab requirement can be satisfied by a departmental course, a course taught at Mountain Lake Biological Station, or with two semesters of Independent Research conducted with the same faculty mentor. Summer research, unless enrolled in BIOL 4911-4918, 4910 or 4920, does not satisfy the upper-level lab requirement. Lab courses offered by other departments do not fulfill the Biology major laboratory requirement.     

Upper-Level Biology Course Requirements    

Majors are required to complete a total of 22 hours of upper-level (3000 or above) required + elective biology courses. The three core courses (BIOL 3000, 3010, and 3020) and the required laboratory course are included in these minimum 22 hours. Students are encouraged to broaden their training by taking elective courses from among several biology subdisciplines. Sixteen of the 22 hours of upper-level credits required for the major must be taken from courses listed by the Biology Department (List of Regularly Offered Biology Major Courses). Up to 6 of the 22 upper level credits required for majors may be taken from the following two options outside the Biology Department: 

                 ·    Students who complete both CHEM 4410 and CHEM 4420 may apply 3 credits toward the upper-level Biology courses. 

                 ·    Courses from an approved list of biology-related courses offered by the Environmental Sciences Department (e.g. EVSC 3200 Fundamentals of Ecology) may count toward Biology major credits.  
List of Biology-related Environmental Sciences Courses



No more than 6 semester hours of credit toward the Biology major may be awarded for any combination of independent research or independent study courses, including 3585, 3950, 3900 and 4911-4918, 4910, 4920, 4900. Each semester of Independent Research contributes 2 credits towards the major, up to a maximum of 6 credits (3 semesters). Additional semesters of BIOL 4911-4918/4910/4920 may be applied as elective college credit. Completion of two semesters of BIOL 4911-4918/4910/4920 under the direction of the same faculty mentor satisfies the Biology laboratory course requirement for the BA degree.

Students who are double-majors in Biology and another department must have 18 Biology credit hours that are not shared with another major. (See Number of Credits on the Declaring a Major page.)

Transfer credits for courses taken at another institution after matriculation at the University of Virginia may be considered for outside elective credit toward the Biology major; however, required core (BIOL 3000, 3010 and 3020) and lab courses must be taken at the University of Virginia.

Grade Point Average    

The overall GPA for courses presented for the B.A. degree must be at least 2.000. These courses consist of: BIOL 3000, BIOL 3010, BIOL 3020, a laboratory course (or two semesters of Independent Research), and enough additional 3000 level or higher elective BIOL courses to complete a total of 22 credit hours.  [Note that the Requisite courses listed below do not contribute to the Biology Major GPA.]

Summary of Biology BA Major Requirements (declared prior to August 1, 2015)


               ·         BIOL 2010 & 2030 (or BIOL 2100)

               ·         BIOL 2020 & 2040 (or BIOL 2200)

               ·         CHEM 1410 & 1411 (or CHEM 1610 & 1611 or CHEM 1810 & 1811)

               ·         CHEM 1420 & 1421 (or CHEM 1620 & 1621 or CHEM 1820 & 1821)

               ·         one semester Calculus or Statistics (MATH 1210, 1220, 1310, 1320 or STAT 2020, 2120)

            Major Courses (minimum 22 credits*):

               Required Core Courses:

                  ·         BIOL 3000               3 cr.

                  ·         BIOL 3010               4 cr.

                  ·         BIOL 3020               3 cr.

               Elective Courses:

                  ·         laboratory course (required)       3 cr.

                  ·         BIOL 3XXX/4XXX elective          3 cr.

                  ·         BIOL 3XXX/4XXX elective          3 cr.

                  ·         BIOL 3XXX/4XXX elective          3 cr.

                *Actual total degree credit hours might exceed 22,  if laboratory or other elective courses carry 4 credits.

The information contained on this website is for informational purposes only. The Undergraduate Record represents the official repository for academic program requirements. This publication may be found at