Bachelor of Science in Biology

The Bachelor of Science in Biology degree program offers 11 Options. The Options have certain prescribed work in common, and each Option has additional requirements. Many fields in the study of biological systems require broadly based training that transcends the classical boundaries of biology. In planning a program of work to meet his or her degree requirements, a student interested in specializing in these interdisciplinary areas should choose courses both in biology and in sciences that complement biology.

Students who plan to follow Option IX, Biology Honors, must be admitted to the Dean’s Scholars Honors Program.

Prescribed Work Common to All Options

In the process of fulfilling degree requirements, all students must complete:  

  1. Core curriculum
  2. Skills and experience flags:
    a. Writing: two flagged courses beyond Rhetoric and Writing 306 or its equivalent, including one at the upper-division level
    b. Quantitative reasoning: one flagged course
    c. Global cultures: one flagged course
    d. Cultural diversity in the United States: one flagged course
    e. Ethics and leadership: one flagged course
    f. Independent inquiry: one flagged course

Courses that may be used to fulfill flag requirements are identified in the Course Schedule. They may be used simultaneously to fulfill other requirements, unless otherwise specified. Please note, students may not earn the cultural diversity in the United States and the global cultures flags from the same course. Students are encouraged to discuss options with their academic advisers. 

  1. Courses common to all Bachelor of Science in Biology degree Options except for Option IX.
    1. Mathematics 408C, 408R, or 408N and 408S. Students who intend to take additional calculus coursework should begin the sequence with 408C or 408N
    2. Statistics and Data Sciences 328M
    3. Chemistry 301 or 301H, 302 or 302H, and 204
    4. One of the following sequences:
      1. Physics 317K, 117M, 317L, and 117N (recommended)
      2. Physics 301, 101L, 316, and 116L
      3. Physics 303K, 103M, 303L, and 103N
      4. Physics 302K, 102M, 302L, and 102N

Option VIII Teaching majors may substitute Science 365 and Physics 108 for Physics 316 and 116L, 317L and 117N303L and 103N, or 302L and 102N; Physics 108 is offered on the pass/fail basis.

e. Biology, including:

i. Biology 311C, 311D, and 325, or 315H and 325H.

ii. Biology 206L, 208L, or 226L. This requirement must be completed prior to progressing to additional laboratory requirement in the degree options. Students pursuing Option III, Marine and Freshwater Science, and Option IV, Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, must complete Biology 226L. Students pursuing Option VIII, Teaching, must complete either Biology 206L or 208L.

iii. Biology 370

 4. All students must complete at least 36 semester hours of upper-division coursework; at least 21 semester hours of upper-division coursework in biology must be completed in residence at the University.

Additional Prescribed Work for Each Option 

Option I: Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior

5. One course or pair of courses in each of the following areas:

a. Ecology: Biology 357, 373, or Marine Science 320 and 120L

b. Behavior and comparative physiology: Biology 322 and 122L, 359K, or 361T

c. Taxon-based course: Biology 321L, 324 and 124L, 327 and 127L, 340L, 448L, 351, 352, 353F, 453L, 354L, 455L, 463L, 369F, 369L, Marine Science 352D, 354, 354C, 354E

  1. Three additional courses or pair of courses chosen from coursework in 5a through 5c and from Biology 438L, 471G, 456L, 359R, 364, 373L, 374 and 174L, 375, 478L, Marine Science 352C, and 354Q
  2. One course in cellular, developmental, genetics, microbiology, molecular, or neuroscience: Biology 320, 320L, 325L, 325T, 326R, 328, 331L, 344, 349, 349L, 350M, 366R, Neuroscience 365R
  3. One laboratory course or pair of courses containing a substantial field component: Biology 321L, 340L, 353F, 453L, 354L, 455L, 456L, 369L, 373L, Marine Science 320 and 120L, 352C, 352D, 354, 354C, 354E. A laboratory course or pair of courses may also count toward requirements 5 through 7
  4. One additional laboratory course: Biology 320L, 321L, 124L, 127L, 325L, 331L, 438L, 340L, 448L, 349L, 353F, 453L, 354L, 455L, 456L, 369L, 373L, 174L, 478L, Marine Science 120L, 352C, 352D, 354, 354C, 354E, 354Q. One-hour laboratory courses may require credit for or registration in a complementary lecture course. A laboratory course may also count toward requirements 5 through 7. A course counted toward requirement 8 may not also count toward requirement 9.
  5. One course chosen from the following: Chemistry 320MComputer Science 303E or 313E, Geological Sciences 401 or 303, Statistics and Data Sciences 332 or 348
  6. Enough additional coursework to make a total of 120 semester hours

Option II: Human Biology

  1.  Chemistry 320M, 320N, 220C
  1. Biochemistry 369 or 339F
  2. Biology 346
  3. Three hours from genetics, genomics, and computational biology: Biochemistry 339N, Biology 321G, 325T, 327E, 327G, 354C, 366, 366R, 471, Statistics and Data Sciences 348
  4. Six hours from cellular, developmental, and molecular biology: Biochemistry 339J, 339M, 364F, Biology 320326R330, 335, 336, 339339M, 344, 347 or 360K, 349, 350M, 360M, 361
  5. Three hours from ecology, environment, and health: Biology 326R, 327D, 329, 330, 361, 364, Nutrition 306 or 312
  6. Four hours from physiology and anatomy: Biology 446L, 365S and 165U, 478L
  7. One additional laboratory course from: Biology 320L, 122L, 323L, 124L, 128L, 129L, 325L, 328D, 230L, 331L, 340L, 446L, 448L, 349L, 353F, 453L, 354L, 455L, 456L, 160L, 361L, 463L, 165U, 369F, 369L, 371L, 373L, 174L, 478L, Marine Science 120L, 152L. One-hour laboratory courses may require credit for or registration in a complementary lecture course.
  8. Enough additional coursework to make a total of 120 semester hours

Option III: Marine and Freshwater Science

  1.  Chemistry 320M
  1. Biology 326R and 373
  2. Marine Science 101, 310, 320, and 120L
  3. 12 hours of coursework chosen from: Biology 321L, 354L, Marine Science 440, 348 (Topic 1: Training Cruise(s)), 352, 352C, 352D, 352E, 152L, 152S, 252S, 152T, 252T, 353, 354, 354C, 354E, 354J, 354Q, 354T, 354U, 355C, 356, 357, 367K, 170, 270, 370. Six hours must be completed at the Marine Science Institute in Port Aransas, Texas.
  4. Six hours of related courses chosen from one of the following options:
    1. Biology 320 and 344
    2. Biology 328and 361T
    3. Biology 357 and 375
    4. Biology 364 and 366 or Geological Sciences 341G
    5. Geography 301C or 301K and 333K
    6. Geography 301Cand 356 or 356T
    7. Geography 306C and 334, 339, or 356
    8. Geography 310C and 360G or 335N
  5. Enough additional coursework to make a total of 120 semester hours

Option IV: Microbiology and Infectious Diseases

  1. Biochemistry 369 or 339F, and Chemistry 320M
  1. Biology 326R, 330, 339, 339M, 360K, 361, 366
  2. Two upper-division biology laboratory courses chosen from: Biology 230L, 160L, and 361L. Biology 377-FRI/377/379H may be used for one of the laboratory courses if approved in advance by the microbiology faculty adviser.
  3. 15 additional hours in upper-division biochemistry, biology, and chemistry
  4. Enough additional coursework to make a total of 120 semester hours

Option V: Cell and Molecular Biology

  1. Biochemistry 369 or 339F, and Chemistry 320M
  1. Biology 320, 326R, 349, and 344 or 350M
  2. Two laboratory courses chosen from: Biology 320L323L, 325L, 331L, 349L
  3. One additional upper-division laboratory course in biology. Biology 377-FRI/377/379H may be used if approved in advance by the cell and molecular biology faculty adviser.
  4. 18 additional hours in upper-division biochemistry, biology, and chemistry
  5. Enough additional coursework to make a total of 120 semester hours

Option VII: Plant Biology

  1. Biology 328, 373, and 322 and 122L324 and 124L, or 463L
  1. Two additional upper-division laboratory courses; Biology 377-FRI/377/379H may be used for one of the laboratory courses if approved in advance by the plant biology faculty adviser.
  2. One of the following sequences:
    1. Plant molecular biology: Biochemistry 369 or 339F, Biology 320 and 350M, and Chemistry 320M
    2. Plant environmental biology: Biology 357, 347, and 375
  3. 18 additional hours in upper-division biochemistry, biology, chemistry, and marine science
  4. Enough additional coursework to make a total of 120 semester hours

Option VIII: Teaching

This Option is designed to fulfill the course requirements for certification as a middle grades or secondary school science teacher in Texas; the student chooses either composite science certification with biology as the primary teaching field or life science certification. However, completion of the course requirements does not guarantee the student’s certification. Information about additional certification requirements is available from the UTeach-Natural Sciences academic adviser.

  1. Chemistry 320M, 320N, and 220C or 320M and Biochemistry 369
  2. Biology courses: ​​
    1. Biology 320, 226L, 326R, and either 324 and 124L, 322 and 122L, or 328 and 128L
    2. At least three semester hours chosen from the following courses in physiology, neurobiology, and behavior: Biology 438LBiology 359K, 359R, 361T, 365S367C, Neuroscience 365R
    3. At least three semester hours chosen from: Biology 340L, 448L, 453L, 455L, 456L, 463L, 364, 369L, 373, Marine Science 352D, 354, 354C
  3. One of the following research methods courses: Biology 328D, 337 (Topic 2: Research Methods: UTeach), Chemistry 368 (Topic 1: Research Methods: UTeach), Physics 341 (Topic 7: Research Methods: UTeach)
  4. History 329U or Philosophy 329U
  5. One of the following:
    1. For composite science certification: Biochemistry 369 (to be counted as upper-division biology hours) and six semester hours of coursework in geological sciences. Courses intended for nonscience majors may not be counted toward this requirement. The remaining composite certification content requirements are met by the chemistry, physics, and science courses used to fulfill requirements 3c, 3d, 3ei, and 5.
    2. For life science certification: Biology 373, and three additional semester hours of biology chosen from the courses listed in requirement 6b and 6c
  6. 18 semester hours of professional development coursework consisting of:
    1. Curriculum and Instruction 651S
    2. Curriculum and Instruction 365C or UTeach-Natural Sciences 350
    3. Curriculum and Instruction 365D or UTeach-Natural Sciences 355
    4. Curriculum and Instruction 365E or UTeach-Natural Sciences 360
    5. UTeach-Natural Sciences 101, 110, and 170
  7. Students seeking middle grades certification must complete the following courses:  Educational Psychology 363M (Topic 3: Adolescent Development), or Psychology 301 and 304; and  Curriculum and Instruction 339E
  8. Enough additional coursework to make a total of 126 semester hours

Option IX: Biology Honors

  1. Breadth requirement: An honors mathematics course; Biology 315H and 325H; Chemistry 301H and 302H; and an additional three-hour honors-designated course from a department in College of Natural Sciences. Credit earned by examination may not be counted toward this requirement.
  1. An eight-semester-hour sequence of coursework in physics chosen from the following:
    1. Physics 301, 101L, 316, and 116L;
    2. Physics 317K, 117M, 317L, and 117N; or
    3. Physics 303K, 103M, 303L, and 103N
  2. Biology 206L or 208L and Chemistry 204
  1. Complete 24 hours chosen from any of the following courses:
    1. Biology 370
    2. Cellular, developmental, and molecular biology: Biochemistry 369 or 339F, 339J, 339M, 364F, Biology 320, 326R, 330, 335, 336, 339, 339M, 344, 347 or 360K, 349, 350M, 360M, 361
    3. Genetics and genomics: Biochemistry 339N, Biology 321G, 325T, 327E, 327G, 354C, 366, 366R, 471, Statistics and Data Sciences 348
    4. Physiology, neuroscience, and behavior: Biology 328, 438L, 359K, 359R, 361T, 367C, 365S, 374, Marine Science 355CNeuroscience 365R
    5. Ecology, evolution, and biodiversity: Biology 322, 324, 346, 351, 357, 364, 471G, 373, 375, Marine Science 320, 352C, 352D, 352E, 353, 354, 354C, 354E, 354Q, 356, 357
  2. Three upper-division laboratory courses in biology; Biology 377 or 379H may be used as only one of the three required upper-division laboratory courses. Courses used to fulfill this requirement may also be counted toward requirement 8.
  3. A section of Undergraduate Studies 302 or 303 that is approved by the departmental honors adviser
  4. A section of Rhetoric and Writing 309S that is restricted to students in the Dean’s Scholars Honors Program 
  5. Two semesters of Biology 379H
  6. 15 additional semester hours of coursework approved by the departmental honors adviser
  7. Six semester hours of coursework in the College of Liberal Arts or the College of Fine Arts
  8. Enough additional coursework to make a total of 120 semester hours

Option X: Computational Biology

  1. Statistics and Data Sciences 329C or Mathematics 340L or 341; Mathematics 362K or Statistics and Data Sciences 321; and Statistics and Data Sciences 348
  1. Two courses from: Computer Science 303E, 313E, 323E, 323H, 324E, 326E, 327E, 329EMathematics 408D, 358K, 362K, 378K, Statistics and Data Sciences 322, 323, 329D, 332, 335, 352, 353, 358, 374C, 374D, 374E.
  2. Two courses from genetics, genomics, and computational biology: Biochemistry 339N, Biology 321G, 325T, 327E, 327G354C, 366, 366R, 471
  3. Six hours chosen from any of the following courses:
    1. Cellular, development, and molecular biology: Biochemistry 369 or 339F, 339J, 339M, 364F, Biology 320, 326R, 330, 335, 336, 339, 339M344, 347 or 360K, 349, 350M, 360M, 361
    2. Physiology, neuroscience, and behavior: Biology 328, 438L, 359K, 359R, 361T, 367C, 365S, 374, Marine Science 355C, Neuroscience 365R
    3. Ecology, evolution, and biodiversity: Biology 322, 324, 346, 351, 357, 364, 471G, 373, 375, Marine Science 320, 352C, 352D, 352E, 353, 354, 354C, 354E, 354Q, 356, 357
  4. One additional laboratory course chosen from: Biology 320L, 122L, 323L, 124L, 128L, 129L, 325L, 328D, 230L, 331L, 340L, 446L, 448L, 349L, 353F, 453L, 354L, 455L, 456L, 160L, 361L, 463L, 165U, 369F, 369L, 371L, 373L, 174L, 478L, Marine Science 120L, 152L
  5. Nine hours of additional upper-division biochemistry, biology, chemistry, marine science, mathematics, physics, and statistics and data sciences
  6. Enough additional coursework to make a total of 120 semester hours

Option XI: Biology

  1.  Two courses from cellular, developmental, and molecular biology: Biochemistry 369 or 339F, 339J, 339M, 364FBiology 320, 326R, 330, 335, 336, 339, 339M, 344, 347 or 360K, 349, 350M, 360M, 361
  2. Two courses from genetics, genomics, and computational biology: Biochemistry 339NBiology 321G325T327E327G354C366366R471Statistics and Data Sciences 348
  3. Two courses from physiology, neurobiology, and behavior: Biology 328438L359K359R361T367C365S374, Marine Science 355CNeuroscience 365R
  4. Two courses from ecology, evolution, and biodiversity: Biology 322324346351357364471G373375Marine Science 320352C352D352E353354354C354E354Q356357
  5. Two additional laboratory courses: Biology 320L122L323L124L128L129L325L328D230L331L340L446L448L349L353F453L354L455L456L160L361L, 463L165U369F369L371L373L 174L478LMarine Science 120L152L. One-hour laboratory courses may required credit for or registration in a complementary lecture course.
  6. 12 additional hours in upper-division biochemistry, biology, chemistry, marine science, mathematics, statistics and data sciences, and physics
  7. Enough additional coursework to make a total of 120 semester hours.

Option XII: Genetics and Genomics

  1. Biochemistry 369 or 339F

  2. Biology 325T, 349, 344, and 325L

  3. Chemistry 320M

  4. Three hours from: Biochemistry 339N, Biology 321G, Statistics and Data Sciences 348

  5. Six hours from: Biology 326R, 327E, 327G, 354C, 366, 366R

  6.  Biology 320L or 349L

  7. 12 additional hours in upper-division biochemistry, biology, chemistry, mathematics, and statistics and data sciences

  8. Enough additional coursework to make a total of 120 semester hours

Special Requirements

Students in all Options must fulfill both the University's General Requirements for graduation and the college requirements. They must also earn a grade of at least C- in each mathematics and science course required for the degree, and a grade point average in these courses of at least 2.00. More information about grades and the grade point average is given in General Information

To graduate and be recommended for certification, students who follow the teaching Option must have a University grade point average of at least 2.50. They must earn a grade of at least C- in the supporting course in requirement 8, and in each of the professional development courses listed in requirement 10 and must pass the final teaching portfolio review; those seeking middle grades certification must also earn a grade of at least C- in each of the courses listed in requirement 11. For information about the portfolio review and additional teacher certification requirements, students should consult the UTeach-Natural Sciences academic adviser.

To graduate under the honors Option, students must remain in good standing in the Dean’s Scholars Honors Program, must submit an honors thesis approved by the departmental honors adviser, and must present their research in an approved public forum, such as the college’s annual Undergraduate Research Forum. More information about the Undergraduate Research Forum is available at https://cns.utexas.edu/.

Order and Choice of Work

Students begin the Bachelor of Science in Biology degree program with six hours of introductory biology for science majors (Biology 311C and 311D), as well as Chemistry 301 or 301H and 302 or 302H and Mathematics 408C, 408N, or 408R. Students should consult with academic advisers about specific concentrations within biology, about appropriate courses in mathematics and physical sciences, and about course load and the balance between laboratory and nonlaboratory work. Most students select an Option by the end of the second year and take at least 21 hours of upper-division coursework in the major in the third and fourth years.