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Biology Undergraduate Major (BS, HBS)

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College of Science | School of Life Sciences


Marine Biology
Pre-Education Biology
Pre-Veterinary Medicine

Administered by the Department of Integrative Biology under the School of Life Sciences.

Also available at OSU-Cascades campus.

The undergraduate BS degree in Biology is designed for students seeking an interdisciplinary background in the life sciences. The major couples a comprehensive biological, physical and quantitative sciences core with a variety of electives that can be catered to meet specific professional goals. Biology majors receive excellent training for graduate and professional programs.

Corvallis Campus students must complete one transcript-visible option in Ecology, Genetics, Marine Biology, Pre-Dentistry/Biology, Pre-Education Biology, Pre-Medicine/Biology, or Pre-Veterinary Medicine. Options in the Biology major require fifteen or fewer additional credits (one term) beyond the basic Biology major and most students can complete the additional course work in four years.

Students in the Biology major must complete BI 211 or BI 211H, BI 212 or BI 212H, and BI 213 or BI 213H with a C– or better to continue on to upper-division Biology (BI) and Zoology (Z) course work. Students must also complete CH 231/261, CH 232/262 or CH 233/263 and CH 331 with a C– or better to continue on to upper-division Chemistry (CH) course work. Students majoring in Biology cannot seek a dual or double major in Biohealth Sciences or Zoology.

The major sections and courses within them are arranged in the order they are generally completed.

For further information, see MyDegrees or the Integrative Biology website at

Biology Core Courses (102–106 credits)

Biology Seminar

First-year students select one of the following:
BI 197. Biology Pre-Health First-Year Seminar (1)
BI 198. Biology and Zoology First-Year Seminar (1)

Baccalaureate Core Communications

Select one of the following:
COMM 111. *Public Speaking (3)
COMM 218. *Interpersonal communication (3) (for pre-health students except veterinary medicine)

Baccalaureate Core Writing II

Select one of the following (HC 199, WR 327 or WR 362 recommended):
HC 199. *Honors Writing (3)
WR 222. *English Composition (3)
WR 327. *Technical Writing (3)
WR 362. *Science Writing (3)

Mathematics and Statistics Core

MTH 251. *Differential Calculus (4)
MTH 252. Integral Calculus (4)
    or MTH 268. Mathematical Ideas in Biology (4)
ST 351. Introduction to Statistical Methods (4)
ST 352. Introduction to Statistical Methods (4)
    or ST 411, ST 412. Methods of Data Analysis (4,4) (alternative series is ST 351, 411 and 412)

Chemistry and Physics Core

CH 231, CH 232, CH 233. *General Chemistry (4,4,4)
    and CH 261, CH 262, CH 263. *Laboratory for Chemistry 231, 232, 233 (1,1,1)
CH 331, CH 332 Organic Chemistry (4,4)
    and CH 337. Organic Chemistry Laboratory (4)
PH 201, PH 202, PH 203. *General Physics (5,5,5)
BB 450, BB 451. General Biochemistry (4,3)

Biological Sciences Core

Biology students must complete the BI 211, BI 212, BI 213 or BI 211H, BI 212H, BI 213H with a C– or better to continue on to take upper-division Biology (BI) and Zoology (Z) course work. These courses are arranged in the order they should be taken.

BB 314/BI 314. Cell and Molecular Biology (4) [BI 314 terminated summer 2017]
BI 211, BI 212, BI 213. *Principles of Biology (4,4,4)
BI 370. Ecology (3)
BI 311. Genetics (4)
BI 445. Evolution (3)
MB 302. General Microbiology (3)
MB 303. General Microbiology Laboratory (2)

BI 498 Senior Biology Major Field Test (0 credits)

Biology majors are required to take a comprehensive, two-hour Biology Major Field Test their final OSU term (or spring term if they will graduate in summer) in order to graduate: BI 498. Senior Biology Major Field Test (0 credits). For further information, go to

Biology Electives (19–28 credits)

Declaring an option will alter the elective categories below, and all options automatically clear the Upper-division Science Electives requirement. See the individual options or MyDegrees for details. Biology and Society electives also count as Baccalaureate Core courses.

Biology and Society

Select one course from the following or see option:
AEC 351. *Natural Resource Economics and Policy (3)
AEC/ECON 352. *Environmental Economics and Policy (3)
BB 331. *Introduction to Molecular Biology (3)
BB 332. *Molecular Medicine (3)
BI 301. *Human Impacts on Ecosystems (3)
BI 345. *Introduction to Evolution (3)
BI 347. *Oceans in Peril (3) 
BI 348. *Human Ecology (3)
BI 420. *Viruses in Modern Society (3)
BI/FES/TOX 435. *Genes and Chemicals in Agriculture: Value and Risk (3)
BOT 324. *Fungi in Society (3)
FW 350. *Endangered Species, Society and Sustainability (3)
H 312. *HIV/AIDS and STIS in Modern Society (3)
HSTS 416. *History of Medicine Pre-1800 (4)
MB 330. *Disease and Society (3)
PHL/REL 443. *World Views and Environmental Values (3)
Z 349. *Biodiversity: Causes, Consequences, and Conservation (3)

Organismal Biology

Select one course from the following or see option:
BI 427. Paleobiology (4)
BOT 313. Plant Structure (4)
BOT 321. Plant Systematics (4)
BOT 416. Aquatic Botany (4)
BOT 461. Mycology (5)
Z 361. Invertebrate Biology (3)
   and Z 362. Invertebrate Biology Laboratory (2)
Z 365. Biology of Insects (4)
Z 371. Vertebrate Biology (3)
   and Z 372. Vertebrate Biology Laboratory (2)
Z 422. Comparative/Functional Vertebrate Anatomy (5)
Z 461. Marine and Estuarine Invertebrate Zoology (4) (Taught at Hatfield Marine Science Center)
Z 475. Insect Biodiversity Survey (4)
Z 477. Aquatic Entomology (4)


Select one course from the following or see option:
BOT 331. Plant Physiology (4)
BOT 332. Laboratory Techniques in Plant Biology (3)
BOT 488. Environmental Physiology of Plants (3)
Z 423. Environmental Physiology (3)
Z 425. Embryology and Development (5)
Z 431. Vertebrate Physiology I (3) (Z 441. Vertebrate Physiology Laboratory (2) is optional)
Z 432. Vertebrate Physiology II (3) (Z 442. Vertebrate Physiology Laboratory (2) is optional)
Z 440. Insect Physiology (3)

Writing Intensive Course (WIC)

Select one from the following or see option:
BB/BI 315. ^Molecular Biology Laboratory (3)
BB/BI 317. ^Scientific Theory and Practice (3)
BI 306. *^Environmental Ecology (3)
BI/Z 319. ^Critical Thinking and Communication in the Life Sciences (3)
BI 371. ^Ecological Methods (3)
BI 373. ^Field Methods in Marine Ecology (3)
BI/MB 385. ^Emerging Infectious Disease and Epidemics (3)
BI 388. ^Special Topics in Biology (3)
BOT 323. ^Flowering Plants of the World (3)
HSTS 415. *^Theory of Evolution and Foundation of Modern Biology (4)
PHL 474. ^Philosophy of Biology (4)

Two Upper-division Science Electives

Complete an option or the following:
This category is met by completion of an approved Biology option. For students with no declared option, two 3+ credit, 300–400 level courses from the College of Science (BB, BI, BOT, CH, MB, MTH, PH, ST, and Z) may be used to meet this requirement with the exception of the courses listed below as excluded. Other science courses outside of COS and courses and internships that are taken internationally may be used by Biology Chief Advisor approval. Courses from other majors, minors or baccalaureate core synthesis requirements not used to meet requirements above may also be used. Approved BI 309 Teaching Practicum, BI 401 Research, BI 406 Projects:Curatorial Assistant, BI 409 Advanced Teaching Practicum or BI 410 Internship may be used to meet three credits (one course) of this requirement.

EXCLUDED COURSES: 405 Reading and Conference, 407 Seminar, BB 350, BB 490–BB 492, BI 331–BI 333, BI 341–BI 343, CH 334, CH 335, CH 336, ST 314, Z 331– 333, Z 341–343, Z 361/362, Z 461 and any 399 or 499 courses not specifically approved.



* Baccalaureate Core Course
^ Writing Intensive Course (WIC)

Major Code: 509

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