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Majors and Minor

Majors in Biological Sciences

The Department of Biological Sciences offers three majors:

  1. Biological Sciences (BioSci): This major is designed for students 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.
  2. Ecology, Evolution and Organismal Biology (EEOB): This major is designed for students interested in fields such as ecology, evolution, environmental, or conservation biology.
  3. Molecular and Cellular Biology (MCB): This major is designed for students who want to develop an in-depth understanding of how living systems function at the molecular and cellular levels. Upper-level course options cover topics such as biophysics, biochemistry, developmental biology, molecular evolution, and toxicology.

Double majors: with planning, it is possible to combine a major in biological sciences with an additional major. While it is more common for double majors to consider related fields such as chemistry and mathematics, students have combined biological sciences degrees 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. 

General Requirements for All Majors

  • Two semesters of general chemistry and lab (Chemistry 1601–1602 and 1601L–1602L) and two semesters of organic chemistry and lab (Chemistry 2221–2222 and 2221L–2222L).
  • 30 credit hours of biological sciences courses, including BSCI 1510–1511, 1510L, and either 1511L or 1512L. All majors must also complete at least 2 credit hours of BSCI 3965, 3850, or 3861; though only one semester of 3965 may count toward the 30 credit hours.
  • A total of no more than seven credit hours of BSCI 3850, 3861, or 3961 may count toward the major.
  • If option 1 (see below) is used to meet the laboratory requirement, then BSCI 3965 or two credit hours of 3850 is required.
  • All biological sciences courses count toward the major except for BSCI 1100, 1105, and 1111. Below is a listing of the required courses for the biological sciences (BioSci) major, for the molecular and cellular biology (MCB) major, and for the ecology, evolution, and organismal biology (EEOB) major. 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 director of undergraduate studies and the Biological Sciences Curriculum Committee. Intermediate biological sciences courses are as follows: BSCI 2201, 2201L, 2205, 2210, 2210L, 2218, 2219, 2238, 2238L, 2520.

Specific Requirements for Each Major

REQUIRED COURSES FOR THE MAJOR

Intermediate Courses

BSCI 2205, 2210, and one of the following: 2201, 2218, 2219, 2238 or 2520

Laboratory

Option 1: Lab

Option 2: Lab & Research

Option 3: Research Intensive

 

Two labs: BSCI 2201L, 2210L, 2218, 2219, or 2238L (See note above regarding BSCI 3965 or 3850)

One lab plus two semesters (at least 6 credit hours total) of directed and independent research: BSCI 3861, 3961, or 4999

At least 12 credit hours of research in directed, independent, and/or honors research courses: BSCI 3861, 3961, or 4999

 REQUIRED COURSES FOR THE MAJOR

Intermediate Courses

BSCI 2205, 2210, and one of the following: BSCI 2218, 2219 or 2238

Laboratory

Option 1: Lab

Option 2: Lab & Research

Option 3: Research Intensive

 

Two labs: one of BSCI 2210L, 2218, 2219, or 2238L; plus one of the following: BSCI 2201L, 2210L, 2218, 2219, or 2238L (See note above regarding BSCI 3965 or 3850)

One lab: BSCI 2210L, 2218, 2219, or 2238L; plus two semesters (at least 6 credit hours total) of directed and independent research: BSCI 3861, 3961, or 4999

At least 12 credit hours of research in directed, independent, and/or honors research courses: BSCI 3861, 3961, or 4999

 REQUIRED COURSES FOR THE MAJOR

Intermediate Courses

BSCI 2201, 2210, and 2520

Laboratory

Option 1: Lab

Option 2: Lab & Research

Option 3: Research Intensive

 

Two labs: BSCI 2201L or 2210L; plus one of the following: BSCI 2201L, 2210L, 2218, 2219, or 2238L (See note above regarding BSCI 3965 or 3850)

One lab: BSCI 2201L or 2210L; plus two semesters (at least 6 credit hours total) of directed and independent research: BSCI 3861, 3961, or 4999

At least 12 credit hours of research in directed, independent, and/or honors research courses: BSCI 3861, 3961, or 4999

Minor in Biological Sciences

A minor in biological sciences requires a minimum of 18 hours. At least 9 credit hours must be earned in residence at Vanderbilt. Credit hours for the minor must include: BSCI 15101511, 1510L, 2210, either 1511L or 1512L, and at least one additional intermediate (BSCI 2000-level) course. No more than two credit hours of BSCI 3850, 3860, 3861, or 3961 may be counted toward the minor.

Need more information?

Current undergraduates can find more detailed information on matters including advising, research courses and immersion, and teaching opportunities, and frequently asked questions under the Resources>Undergraduate Students menu.