Requirements for the Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Biology PRIOR TO August 1, 2015

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

The requirements for the Biology BS degree are summarized below.  Since students generally declare a BA major in Biology before they are eligible to declare the BS major, students who declared a BA major prior to August 1, 2015, will continue to fulfill the BS degree requirements that were in effect prior to that date, even if they change their major to a BS after that date.

For a concise listing of these requirements, please refer to the BIOLOGY BS 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.


Biology BS majors are required to complete two semesters of general chemistry with lab, as well as two semesters of organic chemistry. The general chemistry requirement may be satisfied by completing CHEM 1410, 1420, 1411, and 1421 (or CHEM 1610, 1611, 1620, 1621). Students with AP chemistry credit for 1410 and 1420 must still complete the laboratory courses (1411 plus 1421, or two higher level lab courses). The organic chemistry requirement may be satisfied by completing CHEM 2410 and 2420. Although organic labs are not required for the Biology BS, students who are planning a career in the biological sciences are strongly advised to include the organic chemistry labs (CHEM 2411 and 2421 or CHEM 2311 and 2321). Note that students who opt not to take the organic chemistry labs may need to petition the chemistry department in order to enroll in organic lecture without enrolling in the associated lab.

Alternatively, students may fulfill the entire BS chemistry requirement by completing the chemistry majors’ sequence (CHEM 1810, 1820, 2810, 2820), along with at least 2 semesters of any of the associated labs.

Math and Physics    

Biology BS majors are required to complete two courses in calculus or statistics and 3 hours of physics. The math requirement may be fulfilled with MATH 1210, 1220, 1310, 1320, 2120, 2020 or an equivalent/higher level course in another department. The physics requirement may be met with any one of the following courses: PHYS 1425, PHYS 1610/1710, PHYS 2010. Students who are planning a career in the biological sciences are strongly advised to take two semesters of physics with labs (e.g., PHYS 2010 & 2030; PHYS 2020 & 2040)  

Biology "Core" Course Requirements

Biology BS majors are required to complete BIOL 3000 (Cell Biology), BIOL 3010 (Genetics & Molecular Biology), and BIOL 3020 (Evolution & Ecology) and to have attained a 2.700 cumulative GPA (B- average) for these three courses.

Biology Laboratory Course Requirements

Biology BS majors are required to complete at least 6 hours (min. 3-credit courses) of BIOL laboratory course work at or above the 3000 level. "Formal" laboratory courses, offered either through the Biology department or taught at Mountain Lake Biological Station, may be used to satisfy this requirement. The laboratory requirement may also be satisfied through Independent Research (BIOL 4910/4920, 4911-4918). Two semesters of Independent Research, conducted under the direction of the same faculty mentor, satisfies one laboratory course requirement for the BS degree. Completion of a third semester of Independent Research in the same research lab will satisfy the requirement for the second laboratory course.  Note that summer research, unless enrolled in BIOL 4910-4920, does not satisfy the upper-level lab requirement, and lab courses offered by other departments, unless cross-listed as BIOL courses, do not fulfill the Biology major laboratory requirement.

Upper-Level Biology Course Requirements

Biology BS majors are required to complete a total of 33 hours of upper-level (3000 or above) required + elective biology courses. The three core courses (BIOL 3000, 3010, 3020) and the required laboratory courses are included in these minimum 33 hours.  In addition, BS students must complete a minimum of four 4000-level (or above) biology courses (≥ 3 credits each). Independent Research (BIOL 4910-4920) and 4000-level courses from the departments of Chemistry and Environmental Sciences (subject to the restrictions outlined below) may all be applied to this 4000-level course requirement. Up to 6 of the 33 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.

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. (See Biology Undergraduate FAQ page.)

Grade Point Average    

The overall GPA for courses presented for the BS degree must be at least 2.000. These courses consist of: BIOL 3000, BIOL 3010, BIOL 3020, two laboratory courses (or three semesters of independent research), and enough additional 3000- and 4000-level elective BIOL courses to complete a total of 33 credit hours.

Declaring a Biology Major

In order to declare a BS major in Biology, students must have completed all three BA core courses: BIOL 3000, 3010 and 3020, and attained a cumulative 2.700 GPA in these three courses. For information about this eligibility requirement and the procedure for declaring the BS major in Biology, please see Declaring a Biology MajorPlease note that the three prerequisite courses (BIOL3000, 3010, 3020) must be completed before the semester you plan to graduate.  In other words, it will not be possible to change to the B.S. major, if you have not completed the B.S. degree prerequisites prior to the February 1st graduation application deadline for a May graduation.

Summary of Biology BS Major Requirements (BA 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)

    ·      two semesters Calculus or Statistics
           (MATH 1210, 1220, 1310, 1320 and/or STAT 2020, 2120)

    ·      one semester Physics (PHYS 1425, 1610 /1710, or 2010)


            Major Courses (minimum 33 credits*):

               Required Core Courses:

        ·      BIOL 3000            3 cr.

                  ·      BIOL 3010            4 cr.

                  ·      BIOL 3020            3 cr.


               Elective Courses:

     ·      two laboratory courses      6 cr.

     ·      BIOL 4XXX elective            3 cr.

     ·      BIOL 4XXX elective            3 cr.

     ·      BIOL 4XXX elective            3 cr.

     ·      BIOL 4XXX elective            3 cr.

     ·      BIOL 3XXX/4XXX electives, if necessary to total 33 credits


*Actual total degree credit hours might exceed 33, 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