Requirements for the Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Biology

NEW PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS EFFECTIVE AUGUST 1, 2023

Students declaring a BS in biology major on or after August 1, 2023 will have new foundational course requirements. Details are listed in the requirements below. There are no changes to course requirements for students who declared the BS in biology before August 1, 2023. Students who declared a BA in biology before August 1, 2023, but have not yet declared a BS in biology, may choose to follow either the old or new requirements for the BS in biology.  

Current Requirements

BS CHECKLIST (Declared after 8/1/23) BS MAP (Declared after 8/1/23)

Use the courses offered page to find the schedule of courses and a list of approved lab courses.

Past Requirements

BS CHECKLIST (Declared before 8/1/23) BS MAP (Declared before 8/1/23)

 

Independent Research


BASIC DEGREE REQUIREMENTS:

Foundational Course Requirements (major declared before Aug 1, 2023)

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 pre-health 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, 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.)

Chemistry: 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 are also required to complete two semesters of organic chemistry (CHEM 2410 and 2420). 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).

Statistics: 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.

Math and Physics: Students are required to complete one course in calculus (MATH 1190, 1210, 1220, 1310 or 1320), as well as three credits of Physics (PHYS 1425, 1610, 2010). Calculus requirement may be satisfied by AP, transfer, or dual enrollment credit. Credit for specific AP exams in Physics may satisfy, in part or whole, the above requirements.

Foundational Course Requirements (major declared after Aug 1, 2023)

The following program requirements apply to students who first became biology majors, by declaring a BA major, ON or AFTER August 1, 2023.  Students who declare or declared a BA in Biology before August 1, 2023, but have not yet declared a BS in Biology, may elect to follow either the old or these new requirements for the BS in Biology.  Students who have already declared a BS in Biology follow the BS in Biology requirements that were in effect at time of declaration.

Foundational Courses: These required courses at the introductory level provide breadth of learning in the natural sciences, along with experience in quantitative and formal thinking.  Because the sciences are fundamentally empirical disciplines, both lecture and laboratory courses are required.

Introductory Biology: As an introduction to biology, majors are required to complete a two-semester introductory sequence of courses with combined lecture and laboratory components, as listed below.  These courses introduce students to the fundamental unit of life, the transmission of biological information, and the generation of biological diversity.

BIOL 2100 - Introduction to Biology with Laboratory: Cell Biology & Genetics                      
BIOL 2200 - Introduction to Biology with Laboratory: Organismal & Evolutionary Biology

These courses, together or individually, are common pre-requisites for more advanced courses (3000+ level) in Biology and are ideally completed during a student’s first year at the university.  These two courses satisfy the introductory biology requirement for most pre-health programs.

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. 

Exemption: Students who complete BME 2104 with a minimal grade of C- are exempt from taking BIOL 2100.  Credit for BME 2104 does not provide credit hours for BIOL 2100. BME 2104 does not count towards the 108 credit hours of courses that must be completed within the College of Arts and Sciences for degree nor does it satisfy other College requirements related to the natural sciences.

Chemistry: Chemistry is the physical basis of life, especially carbon-based chemistry. Knowledge of chemistry is essential for understanding and analyzing biological processes. 

Completion of the accelerated chemistry course series CHEM 1810, 1811, 1820, 1821, 2810, and 2820 (or 1420) will satisfy both the general and organic chemistry lecture and laboratory requirements above.  Consult the Director of Undergraduate Programs in Biology to determine whether other combinations of chemistry courses fulfill the requirements for a BS in Biology.

Introductory Physics: Organisms exist in and are subject to the physical world.  Many techniques in the biological sciences have origins or applications related to physics, making a foundational knowledge of physics essential. To acquire a foundational understanding of physics, majors are required to complete two semesters of introductory physics with associated laboratories (workshops), as follows.

PHYS 2010 and 2020 - Principles of Physics for Pre-Health Students 1 and 2
PHYS 2030 and 2040 - Principles of Physics Workshop 1 and 2

The above courses are algebra-based.  Students with a strong quantitative background or who are anticipating additional course work in physics (or other physical science), beyond the introductory level, may satisfy this requirement by completing a calculus-based course series (e.g., PHYS 1420, 1429, 2410, and 2419; or PHYS 1425, 1429, 2415, and 2419).

AP Credit: Credit for specific AP exams in Physics may satisfy, in part or whole, the above requirements. 

Statistics and Mathematics:  Formal thinking and quantitative skill are foundational to experimental design, data analysis, and computational modeling in the biological sciences.    Majors are required to complete the following requirements.

Prior to fulfilling this requirement, consider what courses may be requisites for other courses you plan to take. For example, a student anticipating enrollment in additional mathematics or physical sciences courses is strongly advised to complete MATH 1310 and MATH 1320.  For other students, knowledge of a programming language may be more imperative than calculus, depending on anticipated course of study or career goal.  Students are encouraged to discuss these options with an academic advisor. 

AP Credit: AP credit for the above courses may be applied to the fulfillment of this requirement.  Credit for STAT 1120 does not satisfy any part of this requirement.

Does it count?  For questions about courses that may be equivalent but are not listed above, consult the Director of Undergraduate Programs in Biology. To determine if AP or transfer credits are equivalent to requisite courses, consult the department that offers the equivalent course.

Biology "Core" Course Requirements

Biology B.S. majors are required to complete BIOL 3000 (Cell Biology), BIOL 3010 (Genetics & Molecular Biology), BIOL 3020 (Evolution & Ecology), BIOL 3030 (Biochemistry), ***BIOL 3040 (Developmental & Regenerative Biology)*** and BIOL 3050 (Introduction to Neurobiology).  These courses must be taken at UVA;  post-matriculation transfer credit for these courses may not be applied to satisfy any B.S. core course requirement. Students who complete both CHEM 4410 and CHEM 4420 may apply 3 credits to satisfy the B.S. requirement for BIOL 3030. 

A student who receives a single 'F' in any of the B.S.-specific core courses (BIOL 3030, 3040, 3050) 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 B.S.-specific core courses will be ineligible to continue in the Biology B.S. major; however, the student may be eligible to re-declare and complete a Biology B.A. major.

Biology Laboratory Course Requirements

Biology B.S. majors are required to complete at least 6 hours (min. 3-credit courses) of BIOL laboratory course work at or above the 3000 level. The lab requirement may be satisfied by any combination of the following options:

Note: A maximum of 4 credits of Independent Research may be applied toward the laboratory course requirement. And, 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 (4000-level) Biology Course Requirements

Biology B.S. majors must complete 9 additional elective credits in biology at the 4000-level (or above) biology courses (≥ 3 credits). The following options may be used to fulfill this requirement:

  • 3- or 4-credit departmental lecture or seminar courses
  • 3- or 4-credit departmental laboratory courses 
  • Independent Research (BIOL 4910/4920); 1 semester (2 credits) taken beyond those used to satisfy the laboratory requirement
  • Distinguished Major Seminar (BIOL 4810 & 4820, 2 semesters: 4 credits)
  • Up to 6 credits from 4000- or 5000-level biology-related courses in the Environmental Sciences Department  (List of Biology-related Environmental Sciences Courses)

Restrictions

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.

For students who are double-majors in Biology and another department/program: “No more than two courses can be counted simultaneously for two non-interdisciplinary majors; an interdisciplinary major may share up to three courses 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, 3020, 3030, 3040 and 3050) and lab courses must be taken at the University of Virginia. (See Biology Undergraduate FAQ page.)

No more than 6 credit hours of independent study and research courses may be applied towards the B.S. in Biology, including BIOL 3900, BIOL 4910/4920, or BIOL 4900.

Grade Point Average    

The overall GPA for courses presented for the B.S. degree must be at least 2.000. These courses consist of: BIOL 3000, BIOL 3010, BIOL 3020, BIOL 3030, BIOL 3040, BIOL 3050, 6 credits of laboratory course work, and 9 credits of 4000-level elective BIOL courses.

Summary of Biology B.S. Major Requirements (declared before 8/1/23)

Requisites:

  • 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)
  • CHEM 2410 & 2420
  • STAT 2020 or STAT 2120
  • MATH 1190, 1210, 1220, 1310, or 1320
  • one semester Physics (PHYS 1425, 1610 /1710, or 2010)

Major Courses (33 credits*):

Required Core Courses:

  • BIOL 3000  3 cr.
  • BIOL 3010  3 cr. 
  • BIOL 3020  3 cr.
  • BIOL 3030  3 cr.
  • BIOL 3040  3 cr.
  • BIOL 3050  3 cr.

Laboratory Courses:

Two laboratory courses  6 cr.

  • 2 departmental lab courses -or​-
  • 1 departmental lab course + 1 field course at MLBS -or-
  • 1 departmental lab course + 2 semesters Independent Research -or-
  • 2 field courses at MLBS -or-
  • 1 field course at MLBS + 2 semesters Independent Research

4000-level Courses:

  • BIOL 4XXX elective  3 cr.
  • BIOL 4XXX elective  3 cr.
  • BIOL 4XXX elective  3 cr.

*Actual total degree credit hours might exceed 33, if laboratory or other elective courses carry 4 credits.

**4000-level laboratory courses may be counted toward both the laboratory and 4000-level course requirements; in this case, 3000- or 4000-level courses may be used to complete the required 33 credits for the B.S. degree.

Summary of Biology B.S. Major Requirements (declared on or after 8/1/23)

Requisites:

  • BIOL 2100 
  • BIOL 2200 
  • CHEM 1410 + Lab 1411 (or CHEM 1610 + L1611 or CHEM 1810 + L1811)
  • CHEM 1420 + Lab 1421 (or CHEM 1620 + L1621 or CHEM 1820 + L1821)
  • CHEM 2410 + Lab (CHEM 2311 or 2411)
  • CHEM 2420 + Lab (CHEM 2321 or 2421)
  • STAT 2020 or STAT 2120
  • MATH 1190, 1210 or 1310
  • MATH 1220 or 1320 or STAT 1601, 1602 or 3220
  • Physics 1 + Workshop (lab): (PHYS 2010 + L2030) or (PHYS 1420 + L1429) or (PHYS 1425 + L1429)
  • Physics 2 + Workshop (lab): (PHYS 2020 + L2040) or (PHYS 2410 + L2419) or (PHYS 2415+2419)

Major Courses (33 credits*)

Required Core Courses:

  • BIOL 3000  3 cr.
  • BIOL 3010  3 cr. 
  • BIOL 3020  3 cr.
  • BIOL 3030  3 cr.
  • BIOL 3040  3 cr.
  • BIOL 3050  3 cr.

Laboratory Courses:

Two laboratory courses  6 cr.

  • 2 departmental lab courses -or​-
  • 1 departmental lab course + 1 field course at MLBS -or-
  • 1 departmental lab course + 2 semesters Independent Research -or-
  • 2 field courses at MLBS -or-
  • 1 field course at MLBS + 2 semesters Independent Research

4000-level Courses:

  • BIOL 4XXX elective  3 cr.
  • BIOL 4XXX elective  3 cr.
  • BIOL 4XXX elective  3 cr.

*Actual total degree credit hours might exceed 33, if laboratory or other elective courses carry 4 credits.

**4000-level laboratory courses may be counted toward both the laboratory and 4000-level course requirements; in this case, 3000- or 4000-level courses may be used to complete the required 33 credits for the B.S. degree.

 

ADDITIONAL POLICIES AND RESTRICTIONS

Double Majors, Minors, and Sharing Courses

  • Students who have a second major may only share a limited number of courses between majors upon approval.  Sharing courses between majors requires approval from the Directors of each major by completing the Double Counting Request Form.  Refer to the Undergraduate Directors Directory to complete the form.
  • Students who declare a Biology major (BA or BS) may not double major with the Interdisciplinary Neuroscience BA major.
  • Students who double major must submit at least 18 credits in each major.
  • Credits applied toward one major may not be included in the core 18 credits of the other major, unless one or both majors is interdisciplinary.
  • No more than two courses can be counted simultaneously for two non-interdisciplinary majors; an interdisciplinary major may share up to three courses with another major.
  • There is no triple major.
  • Two minors are permitted but one must be from the College of Arts & Sciences.
  • Courses used for a minor may not be shared with any other major or minor.

Vist the College's Declaring a Major webpage for more details on this policy.

Biochemistry options for the Biology BS major (07/7/2022)

  • Starting Fall 2022, CHEM 4440 will no longer be considered an alternative to taking BIOL 3030.
  • Students who complete CHEM 4410 may may apply 3 credits to satisfy the BS requirements for BIOL 3030.
  • Students who complete both CHEM 4410 and CHEM 4420 may apply 3 credits to satisfy the BS requirements for BIOL 3030 and 3 credits as a 4000-level elective.
  • Students who completed either CHEM 4410, CHEM 4420 or CHEM 4440 between Fall 2021 and Summer 2022 may use these 3 credits as equivalent to BIOL 3030.

 

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  www.virginia.edu/registrar/catalog/ugrad.html