May 19, 2024  
2018-2019 Undergraduate Catalog 
2018-2019 Undergraduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Biology (B.S.)

50-62 Major Hours, 120 Degree Hours

Students in this major must also complete requirements for a degree in the College of Arts & Sciences .

Required Coursework

All students must complete 40 credit hours of Biology coursework for the major, including the Biology core (10 crs) and a Specialization that includes 30 upper-level (300 or above) BIOL credit hours, as stipulated below. No more than 1 credit hour of BIOL 494 Internship and 3 credit hours of BIOL 498 Undergraduate Research may be counted towards the requirement for the major. In addition, students must complete the nondepartmental requirements that pertain to their chosen Specialization.

  • Biology core courses 10 crs
  • Specialization (required of all students) 30 crs
  • Nondepartmental requirements 10-22 crs

Biology Core Requirements (10 hours)

All students complete the General Biology sequence (BIOL 151, 151L, 153, 153L), usually during their initial two semesters. Students must achieve a grade of “C” or better in the General Biology sequence in order to enroll in upper-level Biology courses. Students who choose to pursue a major in Biology after completing the BIOL 101/103 sequence (non-science major’s courses) should see the Biology Chair for advising.


  • 3 cr
  • 1 cr
  • 3 cr
  • Two courses from Biodiversity Course Group (see note below) 6-8 crs
  • Two courses from Conservation and Ecology Course Group 6-7 crs
  • One course from Cell & Molecular or Physiology & Structure Course Groups 3-4 crs
  • Capstone Group 0-4 crs
  • BIOL electives  0-8 crs (Any BIOL courses, 300 or 400 level, in addition to those taken to complete specified distribution requirements in Conservation & Biodiversity Specialization, for a total of 40 credits in BIOL.)


Lab Courses: All students in the Conservation and Biodiversity Specialization must complete three upper-level Biology Lab courses in addition to BIOL 311L.

BIOL 473 is required for students in this specialization and, therefore, may not be counted as a Biodiversity distribution requirement as well.

Nondepartmental Requirements for Conservation & Biodiversity Specialization (10-14 hours)

Non-Departmental requirements may also be applied toward a minor or second major.


  • Take one of the following courses (3 cr):

  • 3 cr
  • 3 cr
  • Take two courses from Cell & Molecular Course Group 6 crs
  • Take two courses from Physiology & Structure Course Group 6-8 crs
  • Take one course from Biodiversity or Conservation & Ecology Course Groups (see note below) 3-4 crs
  • Capstone Group 0-4 crs
  • BIOL electives 5-12 crs


If BIOL 473 is taken as a required Specialization course, it does not fulfill a Biodiversity Course distribution option.

All students in the Physiology, Cell & Molecular Biology Specialization must complete the following distribution requirements:

Botany Course: All students must complete one designated botany course.
Lab Courses: All students must complete at least two upper-level Biology Lab courses.
Zoology Course: All students must complete one designated zoology course.

Nondepartmental Requirements for Physiology, Cell & Molecular Biology Specialization (19-22 hours)

Complete one of the following introductory course sequences (8 hours)

Complete one of the following advanced course sequences (8-9 hours)

Course Designation Key

B= Botany Course
L =Lab Course
Z = Zoology Course

Capstone Course Group

Any 498 course used for a capstone must have a semi-independent research component, including experimental design, data analysis, and presentation and be approved by the Biology department chair or designee.

Some capstone courses may also be used for distribution credit for other course groups or to fulfill Lab course requirements.

Secondary Education/Biology Education (B.S.Ed.)

See Secondary Education/Biology Education (B.S.Ed.)  for requirements.


Four-Year Program Guides and Costs

USD encourages students to take 15 credits per semester or 30 credits within the year in order to graduate in 4 years. To help students complete their academic degree program in four years, we provide a sample academic plan. Please work with your academic advisor to confirm your plan.