Requirements for Bachelor of Arts in Biology
Students selecting the B.A. major must complete the introductory courses, BIOL 2010, BIOL 2020, BIOL 2030, and BIOL 2040, before taking upper level courses. Students, who score at least a 4 on the AP Biology exam or at least a 5 on upper-level examinations in the International Baccalaureate program, will receive six credits for BIOL 2010 and BIOL 2020. Students who receive AP credit for BIOL 2010 and 2020 must still complete BIOL 2030 and BIOL 2040 or have equivalent laboratory experience that has been approved by the Director of Undergraduate Programs. Equivalent laboratory experience can be verified on the Biology Department website.
Other requirements for the B.A. in Biology include the core courses BIOL 3000, 3010 and 3020 (two of which must be taken by the end of the third year) and 12 additional credits in biology at or above the 3000 level, including at least three credits of laboratory work. The required laboratory course may be satisfied by any of the following options; i) a three-or four-credit departmental course; ii) a course taught at Mountain Lake Biological Station; iii) two semesters of independent research (BIOL 4911, 4912) completed in the same laboratory. (Summer research applies if the student has enrolled in BIOL 4911, 4912.) No more than 6 credit hours of independent study and research courses may be applied towards the B.A. in Biology, including BIOL 3585, BIOL 4911-4918, or BIOL 4993.
A maximum of 6 credits from the Department of Environmental Sciences chosen from a list of approved biology-related courses may be included in the upper-level credits for the major. Students who complete both CHEM 4410 and 4420 may apply 4 credits towards the Biology major. Biology major courses taken elsewhere after matriculation must be approved and only one-half of the credits, up to a maximum of 6, transferred to the University may be used toward the biology major. The required core courses (BIOL 3000, 3010, and 3020) and lab course may not be taken elsewhere (transfer students exempted). While transfer and Environmental Sciences courses may be combined, the total applied towards the major may not exceed 6 credits since a minimum of 16 of the 22 credits of upper-level courses must be chosen from courses offered by the Biology Department at the University of Virginia.
Related courses that are required for the B.A. in Biology include two semesters of general chemistry with lab. Completion of either CHEM 1410/1411 and CHEM1420/1421, or CHEM 1810/1811, and CHEM 1820/1821 satisfy this requirement. Students with AP credit for CHEM 1410 and 1420 must still complete CHEM 1411 and 1421 or by completing CHEM 2220 (Solutions Chemistry). Additionally students must take one course in either calculus (MATH 1210, 1220, 1310 or 1320) or statistics (STAT 2020, 2120, 2559, or an equivalent or higher level course in another department).
The overall grade point average for courses at the 3000 level and above presented in the major must be a 2.000 (C) or better. Students anticipating a career in the biological sciences are advised to take two semesters of organic chemistry with lab (CHEM 2410, 2420, 2411, 2421), two semesters of physics with lab (PHYS 2010, 2020, 2030, 2040), and at least one additional math course.
Requirements for Bachelor of Science in Biology
Students selecting the B.S. major must fulfill all of the requirements for the B.A., as noted above and including the same restrictions, plus an additional 11 credits of upper-level biology courses (3000 and above). These additional 11 credits must include a second 3-credit laboratory course. In addition, at least 4 of the upper-level courses must be at the 4000 or 5000-level.
Additional related courses, beyond those required for the B.A., include two semesters of organic chemistry (CHEM 2410, 2420 or the equivalent), one semester of introductory physics (PHYS 2010 or its equivalent), and a second course in math beyond introductory calculus or a statistics course (STAT 2020, 2120, or an equivalent or higher level course in another department). It is recommended that students interested in a career in the biological sciences take PHYS 2020, as well as labs in organic chemistry and physics.
Introductory Biology course requirements
Students selecting biology as their minor subject are required to complete the lower-level introductory courses, BIOL 2010, 2020, 2030, 2040, unless exempted by examination or placement. Exemption from BIOL 2010 and 2020 does not imply exemption from BIOL 2030 and 2040. These laboratory courses, or equivalent experiences, are required for the biology minor.
Biology core course requirements
Students must complete any two of the following BIOL core courses; BIOL 3000, 3010, 3020.
Biology elective course requirements
Students must complete two additional 3 or 4 credit 3000 level or higher BIOL courses as electives. BIOL 3585 3950, 4911-4918 either singly or in combination may be used to fulfill no more than one of the two elective courses. EVSC courses that can be applied towards the biology major cannot be presented for the biology minor unless they are dual-listed as BIOL courses. CHEM 4410 and 4420 cannot be presented for the biology minor. The grade point average for all 3000 level and higher BIOL courses presented for the minor must be 2.000 (C) or better.
Credit for independent research courses may be applied toward the upper-level credits required for the major. Two credits are granted for each semester of independent research (BIOL 4911-4918). To fulfill a lab requirement for the Biology Major, two semesters of Independent Research must be completed in the same lab. An additional semester (three semesters in total) will satisfy the second lab requirement for the Bachelor of Science major. A maximum of 6 credits of independent research can be applied to the B.A. degree; a maximum of 8 credits of independent research can be applied to the B.S. degree.
Students who score a 4 or a 5 on the AP biology examination will receive six credits for BIOL 2010 and 2020.
Students may petition to have upper-level transfer credits count toward the biology major. One-half credit will typically be granted for each credit up to a maximum of six credits. However, unique courses that broaden the undergraduate experience (e.g., field courses, marine biology, studies abroad, research opportunities) can receive full transfer credit. Transfer credit will generally not be approved for the Biology core courses, BIOL 3000, 3010, and 3020 . In all cases, prior approval should be arranged with the Biology Department Director of Undergraduate Studies.
Six credits from Department of Environmental Sciences may be applied towards the biology major. These include EVSC 3200/3201 (Fundamentals of Ecology) and upper level (4000+) courses that have EVSC 3200 as a prerequisite. Students who complete both CHEM 4410 and 4420 (Biochemistry) may apply four credits toward the biology major.
Students are urged to broaden their biology training by taking courses from several biology sub-disciplines including: development, evolution, neurobiology, behavior, molecular and cellular biology, and conservation biology, for example.
Students with special academic requirements or experience may seek relief from these regulations by petitioning the Biology Department Director of Undergraduate Studies.
Specialization in Environmental and Biological Conservation
The Biology Department, in conjunction with the Department of Environmental Sciences, offers an opportunity for students to obtain the Bachelor of Arts or Science in Biology with a Specialization in Environmental and Biological Conservation. Candidates for the Specialization must fulfill all the requirements for the biology major. Many of the courses in this Specialization also count towards the major.
The requirements for the Specialization are as follows: two introductory courses in conservation biology (EVSC 2220, BIOL 3450), a 2 credit seminar in conservation, and an upper level course (BIOL 4130). In addition the Specialization requires at least one course in each of the following areas:
- Biological diversity: a course focused on a particular group of organisms.
- Environmental diversity: a course focused on a particular habitat.
- Techniques in conservation: a course focused on policy, statistics modeling, field methods or geo-spatial analysis.
- Experience in field studies: this can be fulfilled by independent study, or a summer field course at one of the University’s biological stations (Mountain Lake Biological Station, Blandy Experimental Farm), by involvement with the Africa research program in the Environmental Sciences Department, or by an internship with a conservation agency.
Students who are interested in this Specialization should consult with an advisor who is a faculty of the Program in Environmental and Biological Conservation, when declaring their major. EVSC 3200 may be substituted for EVSC 2220 for students that have already taken advanced classes.
Distinguished Majors Program in Biology
Students with a cumulative grade point average of 3.400 or higher after five semesters may apply to enter the Distinguished Majors Program (DMP). Application for the DMP must be made prior to the beginning of the seventh semester. Provisional admission to students with cumulative grade point averages below 3.400 but above 3.200 will be granted in exceptional cases. Administration of the DMP is the responsibility of the undergraduate committee.
Students are required to complete 27 credits in upper-level courses approved for the biology major, beyond BIOL 2010, 2020. (Requirements 2 and 3 are counted toward this requirement. Students must also complete two semesters of BIOL 4810, 4820 (Seminar in Biological Research) and a minimum of two semesters of independent research (BIOL 4911-4918). DMP Students must retain a minimum GPA of 3.400 in all biology courses and overall in the University
The research work done under BIOL 4911-4918 must be described in written form. The faculty research supervisor, the director of the distinguished majors program, and the undergraduate committee judge the work and the report. This research project is intended to foster independent thought and develop the student’s critical ability to formulate and conduct scientific research. The written report must be submitted to the director of the distinguished majors program during the student’s last semester in residence.
In addition to a written report, the student is required to give an oral presentation of the research project at the Richard D. Katz Biology Undergraduate Research Symposium held by the Department of Biology at the end of the spring semester each year.
The undergraduate committee assumes the responsibility for evaluation of both the written report of the research project and the oral presentation. On the basis of their evaluation, the undergraduate committee recommends to the chair and faculty of the biology department that the degree be awarded:
- with no distinction
- with distinction
- with high distinction
- with highest distinction
The decision of the biology faculty regarding each candidate will be forwarded to the Committee on Special Programs and the university registrar at least ten days before commencement.
For more information, contact the Department of Biology, 229 Gilmer Hall, P.O. Box 400328, Charlottesville, VA 22904-4328; (434) 982-5474; www.virginia.edu/biology.
Biology courses numbered from 1000 to 1990 are intended to satisfy the College Area Requirements for non-science majors. These courses have no prerequisites.
Students selecting the Biology major or minor must complete the introductory courses, BIOL 2010, BIOL 2020, BIOL 2030, and BIOL 2040, before taking upper level courses. Students who score at least a 4 on the AP Biology exam, or at least a 5 on upper-level examinations in the International Baccalaureate program, will receive six credit hours for BIOL 2010 and BIOL 202.0 Students who have AP credit must take BIOL 2030 and BIOL 2040 or have the equivalent experiences of BIOL 2030 and 2040. Equivalent Experiences can be verified on the Biology Department undergraduate website. Students who are missing one or both of the introductory lab equivalent experiences must take the course/s in which they do not have equivalent experience. Students with AP credit who have equivalent experiences in both courses may elect to take upper-level labs. These courses and BIOL 2010, 2030, 2040, 2060, 2061, 2070, and 2071 have no prerequisites.
All 3000 level classes require BIOL 2010 and 2020. All 3000 level classes count towards upper level course requirements for Biology majors. All lecture and laboratory courses at the 4000 level and above have the prerequisite of at least one of the three core courses (3000-3020).