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


Starting Fall 2022, CHEM 4440 will no longer be considered an alternative to taking BIOL 3030. Students who complete both CHEM 4410 and CHEM 4420 may apply 3 credits to satisfy the BS requirements for BIOL 3030. 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 requirements for the Biology B.S. degree are summarized below.  For a concise listing of these requirements, please refer to the BIOLOGY B.S. 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, 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.)


Biology B.S. majors are required to complete two semesters of general chemistry with lab, as well as two semesters of organic chemistry lecture courses. 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 B.S., 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 B.S. 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 B.S. majors are required to complete biostatistics (STAT 2020*), as well as one course in calculus (MATH 1190, 1210, 1220, 1310, or 1320).  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).

*AP credit for STAT 2120 or STAT 1120 may be used in place of STAT 2020 to satisfy this requirement.  Also, students who enter UVA with (pre-matriculation) transfer credit for STAT 2120 or STAT 1120 may use that credit to satisfy the biostatistics requirement.  

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:

     ·      a 3- or 4-credit departmental laboratory course

     ·      any 3000-level or higher field course at Mountain Lake Biological Station

     ·      two semesters (4 credits) of Independent Research (BIOL 4910/4920), conducted under the direction of the same faculty mentor

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, 2 semesters in the same laboratory: 4 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)


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 .)

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.

Declaring a Biology B.S. Major

In order to declare a B.S. major in Biology, students must have completed all three B.A. 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 B.S. major in Biology, please see Declaring a Biology MajorPlease note that the three prerequisite courses (BIOL 3000, 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 application deadline for a May graduation.

Summary of Biology B.S. 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)

             ·   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.

o   2 departmental lab courses
o   1 departmental lab course + 1 field course at MLBS
o   1 departmental lab course + 2 semesters Independent Research
o   2 field courses at MLBS
o   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.

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