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Biological Sciences

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Majors, Minors, & Honors in Biological Sciences

 Majors and Minors Offered

The Biological Sciences Department offers three majors:
  • Biological Sciences (BioSci), for the student seeking a broad base in the biological sciences, though it is a highly flexible program that allows a certain amount of specialization in upper-level courses;
  • Ecology, Evolution and Organismal Biology (EEOB), for the student with an interest in ecology, evolutionary biology, environmental biology, and conservation biology;
  • Molecular and Cellular Biology (MCB), for the student with an interest in developing an in-depth understanding of how living systems function at the molecular and cellular levels, with upper-level course options ranging in content from biophysics and biochemistry to developmental biology, and to molecular aspects of evolution and of toxicology.

The department offers a minor in Biological Sciences for students majoring in other disciplines.

Double majors and minors in other departments:

With planning, it is possible to combine a major in Biological Sciences with another major. While it is more common for double majors to consider related fields such as chemistry and mathematics, students have combined Biological Sciences majors with such diverse areas as foreign languages, music, and fine arts. Consult the Director of Undergraduate Studies as early as possible.

Double or triple majors entirely within the Biological Sciences department are not permitted.

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Requirements for a Major

General requirements for all three majors:

  • Two semesters of general chemistry and lab (Chemistry 1601, 1602 and 1601L, 1602L) and two semesters of organic chemistry and lab (Chemistry 2221L, 2222L and 2221, 2222);
  • It is strongly recommended that students in all three majors take one year of calculus or calculus/statistics and one year of physics;
  • A total of 30 hours of Biological Sciences courses, including the 8 hours of 1510,1511 and 1510L and either 1511L or 1512L, are required in all majors. All Biological Sciences courses count toward the major except 1100, 1100L,1105, 1111 and 1103;
  • Students with specialized interests within either of the specialized majors may substitute one of the intermediate courses with an upper level course with the permission of the Directors of Undergraduate Studies and the Biological Sciences Curriculum Committee. Intermediate Biological Sciences courses are 2201, 2201L, 2205, 2210, 2110L, 2218, 2219, 2520, 2238, 2238L;
  • Students may declare only one of the majors offered by the Department of Biological Sciences. Double or triple majors within the department are not permitted;
  • Below is a listing of the required courses for the Biological Sciences (BSCI) major, for the Molecular and Cellular Biology (MCB) and for the Ecology, Evolution & Organismal Biology (EEOB) major.

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Specific Requirements for Individual Majors:

Biological Sciences (BSCI) Major:

At least 30 hours satisfying the general requirements above, and including the following:

  • Introductory Courses: 1510/1510L and 1511/1511L or 1512L;
  • Intermediate Courses: 2205, 2210, and one additional intermediate course (2201, 2218, 2219, 2520 or 2238);
  • Laboratory: Two laboratory courses (2201L, 2210L, 2218, 2219, or 2238L), or one lab course and two semesters of directed and/or independent research (BSCI 3861, 3961 , 4999);
  • Seminar/Independent Studies: A minimum of 2 credit hours of 3965, 3850, 3861, 3891, or 4999 is required. Only one seminar (3965) may count toward the major. A total of no more than 6 credit hours of 3850, 3861 or 3891 may be counted toward the major;
  • For students intending to perform Honors research, at least two lecture courses must be from the  following: 3230, 3233, 3234, 3236, 3243, 3245, 3247, 3252, 3254, 3256, 3270, 4265, 4266.

Declare a BSCI Major now.

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Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology (EEOB) Major:

At least 30 hours satisfying the general requirements above, and including the following:

  • Introductory Courses: 1510/1510L,1511/1511L, or 1512L;
  • Intermediate Courses: 2205, 2210 and 2218 or 2219 or 2238. If a student takes 2238 and neither 2218 nor 2219, then either 2210L or 2238L will be required as well;
  • Laboratory—One additional laboratory course (2201L, 2210L, 2218, 2219, or 2238L), or two semesters of directed and/or independent research (BSCI 3861, 3961 , 4999);
  • Seminar/Independent Studies: A minimum of 2 credit hours of 3965, 3850, 3861, 3961, or 4999 is required. Only one seminar (3965) may count toward the major. A total of no more than 6 credit hours of 3850, 3861 or 3961 may be counted toward the major;
  • Of the remaining courses, at least two must be from the following: 3230, 3233, 3234, 3236, 3239, 3247, 3270, 3272, 4266, or 2218, 2219 or 2238 if not used for the intermediate course requirement;
  • For students intending to perform Honors research in the EEOB major, one of the following courses must be taken: 3230, 3234, 3236, 3247, 3270, 3272.

Declare an EEOB Major now.

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Molecular and Cellular Biology (MCB) Major

At least 30 hours satisfying the general requirements above, and including the following:

  • Introductory Courses: 1510/1510L,1511/1511L, or 1512L;
  • Intermediate Courses: 2201, 2210, 2520, and either 2201L or 2210L;
  • Laboratory—One additional laboratory course (2201L 2210L, 2218, 2219, or 2238L), or two semesters of directed and/or independent research (BSCI 3861, 3961 , 4999);
  • Seminar/Independent Studies: A minimum of 2 credit hours of 3965, 3850, 3861, 3961, or 4999 is required. Only one seminar (3965) may count toward the major. A total of no more than 6 credit hours of 3850, 3861 or 3961 may be counted toward the major;
  • Of the remaining courses, at least two must be from the following: 2205, 3230, 3234, 3236, 3243, 3245, 3247, 3252, 3256, 3270, 3272, 4265, 4266;
  • For students intending to perform Honors research in the MCB major, 4265 or 4266 must be taken; an alternate advanced lecture course may be substituted with the permission of the director of undergraduate studies.

Declare a MCB Major now.

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Requirements for a Minor

Requirements:

A minor in Biological Sciences (BSCI) requires a minimum of 18 hours that include BSCI 1510, 1511; 1510L and either 1511L or 1512L; 2210; and one other intermediate course. No more than two credit hours of 3850, 3860, 3861 or 3961 may be counted toward the minor.

Minors are usually taken either to extend the student's interest in biological sciences, or to provide contrast. It should be noted that most minors can be easily accommodated if they are started in good time. Please contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies for more information.

Declare a BSCI Minor now.

 
 


Honors In Biological Sciences

Additional requirements for Honors:

  • A minimum GPA of 3.4 in courses that count toward the major;

  • At least 10 of the 30 hours of Biological Sciences course work must be directed and/or independent research, with a minimum of 8 hours being Honors research (BSCI 4999);

  • An Honors thesis and oral defense.

Specific track requirements for Honors:

  • BioSci Major: at least two lecture courses must be at a course from the following: 3226, 3230, 3234, 3236, 3239, 3243, 3245, 3247, 3252, 3254, 3256, 3258, 3720, 3272, 3890, 4265, 4266, 4267;
  • MCB Major:  BSCI 4265 or 4266 must be taken; an alternate advanced course may be substituted with the permission of Director of Undergraduate Studies;
  • EEOB Major: one of the following courses must be taken: 2238, 3230, 3234, 3239, 3247, 3270, 3272.

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How to Declare a Major or a Minor

  • Read the requirements for the majors or minor;
  • Download the Declaration of Major form or Declaration of Minor form. You will need two copies;
  • If you have a particular adviser in mind, you may contact him/her and ask if he/she will serve as your adviser. If you do not have a faculty member in mind, contact Alicia Goostree  (Alicia.Goostree@Vanderbilt.Edu )  by e-mail or in-person at the Biological Sciences Administrative Offices (BS/MRB III 1210) to be assigned an adviser;
  • Have your assigned adviser sign the form;
  • Turn in one copy of the form to the Biological Sciences Department and the other to the Arts & Science Registrar in 311 Kirkland Hall.

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