Requirements for the Major
The Distinguised Majors Program in Human Biology requires a minimum total of 39 credit hours applied to the major. These credits are distributed among six basic components:
1. Core Courses 12 credits
2. Biology Electives 6 credits
3. Mathematics/Statistics 3 credits
4. Independent Research or Study 2 credits
5. Capstone Seminar Course and Thesis 4 credits
6. Electives in Areas of Concentration 12 credits
Majors are required to complete RELG 265 and the three core courses in Biology:
Prerequisites and Scheduling of Core Courses
Students considering the Human Biology major should complete the following prerequisites for BIOL300, BIOL301, BIOL302 during their first two years: BIOL201, BIOL202, CHEM141/141L (or CHEM181/181L), and CHEM142/142L (or CHEM182/182L). Appropriate AP credit can substitute for one or more of these prerequisites. AP credit for calculus/statistics will also be accepted, but students should recognize that they may need a refresher course in this subject depending on their independent research project.
Students may wait until their third year to begin the four core courses but realistically they should try to take at least one within the first 2 years. It is highly advised against putting off BIOL300, BIOL301, and or BIOL 302 until the 4th year. Cores should really be completed no later than the end of the third year
Each student must complete two additional BIOL courses (6 hours) at the 300 level or higher. Selected topics (BIOL 385 or BIOL 386) or independent research (BIOL 491-498) courses cannot be used to satisfy this requirement. These courses will be chosen based on the student’s interests and in consultation with a faculty advisor.
Majors are required to complete at least 3 hours of mathematics/statistics. Acceptable courses are: MATH 131, MATH 132, STAT 110, STAT 202, STAT 212, SOC 311, PSYC 305, PSYC 306, ECON 371, ANTH 589, EVSC 503.
Each student must complete two semesters of independent research (HBIO 497 and HBIO 498) for a total of 2 credits (1 credit each semester) applied toward the major. The first semester is S/U; second semester is graded. Student may elect to start independent research in their third year, in which case they will register for HBIO495 and or HBIO496 as S/U credit. This does not substitute for the two semesters requirement for independent research (HBIO 497 and HBIO 498). Projects may be pursued in any department of the College of Arts and Sciences and must be completed under the direction of two faculty advisors, one of whom will be from the Biology department. Projects proposed for outside the College will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. This research will provide the foundation for the student’s thesis and will be completed during the fourth year. Students are encouraged, however, to begin research in their third year. All students must submit a Thesis Declaration Form, approved by both faculty advisors, to the co-directors of the program by the beginning of the first semester, fourth year.
Capstone Seminar Course and Thesis
In their 4th year majors are required to complete the Capstone series of courses: HBIO481 Biology and Society Capstone Course (2 credits) and HBIO482 Human Biology Thesis (2 credits) and complete and submit a senior thesis. The thesis is a substantial written document that builds upon the student’s coursework and is based upon the student’s independent research and study. Students are also required to present their work at the end of the year DMP Symposium.
Each student must complete four upper-level (300 level or higher; 200-level courses may be submitted for the area requirements in certain cases with prior approval from the major advisor) courses (12 credits) that integrate biology with the social sciences and/or humanities. While all courses applied to the major must be relevant to human biology, students are encouraged to take a wide range of courses to round out their studies. Courses will be chosen by the student in consultation with a faculty advisor and will provide an in depth exposure to a particular area of concentration. It is assumed that each student will develop a unique focus of study, examining their topic of interest from a variety of disciplines. This coursework and independent research or study will be the basis for the student’s thesis. Examples of area concentrations students could develop include, but are not limited to:
Area Concentration in Bioethics:
This area concentration might focus on an ethical and philosophical discourse of biomedical research and practice with respect to all participants in the medical/society partnership. Examples of courses that could be taken include PHIL 359 Research Ethics, RELG 386 Human Bodies and Parts as Property, and PHIL 453 Ethics in Human Reproduction.
Area Concentration in Science, Technology and Public Policy:
This area concentration could be designed to examine historical and contemporary issues in the process, conduct and applications of science and technology, in terms of both general societal implications and policy issues. Courses that could be taken include HIEU 332 The Scientific Revolution, EVSC 465 Environmental Policy-making and PHIL 546 Philosophy of Science.
Area Concentration in Health Care Policy/Global Health:
This area concentration could be developed in many ways; for example, it could focus on different health care policy and resource allocation systems or issues of justice and global responsibility. Potential courses include ECON 416 Economics of Health Care, PHIL 365 Justice and Health Care, or SOC 426 Health Care Systems.
GPA Requirement for Distinction
All students must maintain an overall GPA of at least a 3.400, and a cumulative GPA of at least a 3.400 in all courses counted towards the major, throughout the fourth year in order for distinction to be awarded with the degree
All DMP students are required to meet the general requirements of the College of Arts and Sciences. Students are not exempt from foreign language, humanities, or writing requirements (excepting Echols students). Students must successfully complete the minimum 120 credit hours to graduate. Students are also subject to the same restrictions for taking classes outside of the College as all other students in the College of Arts and Sciences. See the Undergraduate Record for a complete listing of all restrictions and requirements.
Interested students currently in their fourth semester in the College of Arts and Sciences are invited to apply for admission to the Human Biology major. As this is a distinguished major, the program will admit only 15-20 new students a year and all applicants should have attained a 3.40 or higher cumulative grade point average. Once admitted to the major, students must maintain an overall GPA of at least a 3.400, and a cumulative GPA of at least a 3.400 in all courses counted towards the major, throughout the fourth year in order for distinction to be awarded with the degree.
It is highly recommended, but not mandatory, that prospective applicants complete the prerequisites in biology, chemistry and math prior to application and at least one of the core courses by the end of their second year. Students interested in applying to the major should submit:
- An official copy of the student’s transcript.
- A one page statement describing the student’s purpose and goals in pursuing this major and how it will prepare them for their immediate post-graduate academic or career plans.
- A letter of recommendation from an instructor, faculty advisor, or dean.
All application materials should be submitted by March 15, to the Human Biology Program Coordinator, Department of Biology, 229 Gilmer Hall. Applications will be reviewed by the faculty advisory committee. Students accepted into the major will be notified by April 10. This will allow students to declare a major and select courses during the spring semester advising session. The program director holds an informational meeting for prospective majors in early February to answer questions pertaining to the application process and the major.
For more information or to ask questions regarding the program or its admissions process, please visit the website www.virginia.edu/humanbiology or contact either Dr. Michael Timko [telephone: (434) 982-5817; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org ] or Dr. James Childress [telephone: (434) 924-6568; e-mail: email@example.com ]
Note: These courses are open only to Human Biology majors.