Requirements for the Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Biology


Starting Fall 2022, biology majors (BA) who are interested in biochemistry should plan to enroll in BIOL 3030, which satisfies the Area 1 (Cell/Molecular Biology) disciplinary requirement.  CHEM 4440 will no longer be considered an alternative to taking BIOL 3030 and will no longer be eligible for Area 1 elective credit. Students who complete both CHEM 4410 and CHEM 4420 may apply 3 credits towards their elective credits (Area 1). Students who completed either CHEM 4410, CHEM 4420 or CHEM 4440 between Fall 2021 and Summer 2022 may apply 3 credits towards their degree as upper-level Biology courses (Area 1).  


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


Introduction to Biology:

The Biology Department offers a two-semester introductory sequence of courses that combine both lecture and laboratory components: BIOL 2100 & 2200. These courses are required for biology majors and partially satisfy most prehealth biology requirements. Biology AP Credit: Students who scored a 5 on the AP Biology examination, or at least a 6 on upper-level examinations in the International Baccalaureate Program, will receive 8 credit hours for BIOL 2100 and BIOL 2200. Students who have completed BME 2104 with a minimal grade of C- are exempt from taking BIOL 2100. Note that credit for BME 2104 does not provide actual credit for BIOL 2100. (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.)


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 or 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:   

Biostatistics - Majors are required to complete either STAT 2020 “Statistics for Biologists” or STAT 2120 “Introduction to Statistical Analysis.”  AP, transfer, or dual enrollment for either STAT 2020 or STAT 2120 may also be used to satisfy this requirement.  STAT 1120, AP, transfer, or dual enrollment credit for STAT 1120 no longer satisfies this requirement.

Calculus - (MATH 1190, 1210, 1220, 1310, or 1320). AP, transfer, or dual enrollment credit for MATH 1210, 1220, 1310, or 1320 satisfies this requirement.

Physics - 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 Introductory Biology, 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 prior completion of General Chemistry.

A student who receives an 'F' in any of the three 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 'F' 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 'F's in any of the core courses will be ineligible to continue in the Biology major. 

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 22 credits for the Biology major include 9 credits for the three core courses (BIOL 3000, 3010 and  3020) and 13 credits of elective courses.  Biology major elective credits must include at least one course (minimum 2 credits) from each of three disciplinary areas of biology:  Cell/Molecular Biology (Area I), Integrative Biology (Area II), Evolution/Ecology (Area III).  List of Biology Courses by Disciplinary Area.     

Biology major elective credits must also include a course (minimum 3 credits) that has a laboratory component.  Laboratory courses, including those taught at Mountain Lake Biological Station, can also count toward satisfying a disciplinary requirement. (see the List of Biology Courses by Disciplinary Area).  Alternatively, the lab requirement may be satisfied by 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.  Internships or research experiences copleted at non-academic institutions or other schools do not fulfill the Biology majpr laboratory requirement. 

Finally, 16 of the 22 hours of upper-level credits required for the major must be taken from courses listed by the Biology Department. 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   


Only the first semester of Human Anatomy & Physiology I (BIOL 3410) may be applied toward the Biology major. BIOL 3410 also satisfies the upper level lab requirement and the Area II requirement. The second semester of Human Anatomy & Physiology II (BIOL 3420) cannot be applied toward the Biology major, but can be used as college elective credit and contribute to the overall GPA.

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.]

Declaring a Biology Major

For information about the eligibility requirements and procedure for declaring the B.A. major in Biology, please see Declaring a Biology Major.

Summary of Biology B.A. Major Requirements


                ·         BIOL 2100 

                ·         BIOL 2200 

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

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

                ·         STAT 2020 or STAT 2120

                ·         MATH 1190, 1210, 1220, 1310, or 1320

            Major Courses (minimum 22 credits*):

               Required Core Courses:

               ·         BIOL 3000            3 cr.

               ·         BIOL 3010            3 cr. 

               ·         BIOL 3020            3 cr.

               Elective Courses (including at least one course from each of the 3 disciplinary areas):

               ·         BIOL 3XXX/4XXX laboratory elective (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