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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:

  • All students in programs of concentration offered by the Department of Biological Sciences must take 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).
  • A total of 30 credit hours of Biological Sciences courses, including the 8 credit hours of 1510–1511 and 1510L and either 1511L or 1512L, isrequired in all majors.
  • All Biological Sciences courses count toward the major except 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: 2201, 2201L, 2205, 2210, 2210L, 2218, 2219, 2238, 2238L, 2520).
  • All majors must complete at least 2 credit hours of 3965, 3850, or 3861, though only 1 semester of 3965 may count toward the 30 credit hours.
  • A total of no more than 7 credit hours of 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.

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Specific Requirements for Individual Majors:

 

 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES (BSCI) MAJOR

Intermediate Courses

BSCI 2205, 2210, and one additional intermediate course (2201, 2218, 2219, 2238 or 2520)

Laboratory

Option 1: Lab

Option 2: Lab & Research

Option 3: Research Intensive

 

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

1 lab plus 2 semesters (at least 6 credit hours total) of directed & independent research (BSCI 3861, 3961, 4999)

At least 12 credit hours of research in directed, independent and as needed, honors research courses (BSCI 3861, 3961, 4999)

Declare a BSCI Major now.

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 ECOLOGY, EVOLUTION, AND ORGANISMAL BIOLOGY (EEOB) MAJOR

Intermediate Courses

BSCI 2205, 2210 and either 2218 or 2219 or 2238

Laboratory

Option 1: Lab

Option 2: Lab & Research

Option 3: Research Intensive

 

2 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.

1 lab (BSCI 2210L, 2218, 2219, or 2238L) plus 2 semesters (at least 6 credit hours total) of directed & independent research (BSCI 3861,

3961, 4999)

At least 12 credit hours of research in directed, independent and as needed, honors research courses (BSCI  3861, 3961, 4999)

Declare an EEOB Major now.

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 MOLECULAR AND CELLULAR BIOLOGY (MCB) MAJOR

Intermediate Courses

BSCI 2201, 2210, & 2520

Laboratory

Option 1: Lab

Option 2: Lab & Research

Option 3: Research Intensive

 

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

1 lab (BSCI 2201L or 2210L) plus 2 semesters (at least 6 credit hours total) of directed & independent research (BSCI 3861, 3961, 4999)

At least 12 credit hours of research in directed, independent and as needed, honors research courses (BSCI 3861, 3961, 4999)

Declare a MCB Major now.

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Requirements for a Minor

Requirements:

A minor in biological sciences requires a minimum of 18 hours including at least 9 credit hours earned in residence at Vanderbilt. Credit hours for the minor must include BSCI 1510–1511b; 1510L and either 1511L or 1512L; 2210; and one other intermediate course. No more than two credit hours of 3860, 3861, 3850, and 3961 may be counted toward the minor.

 

Honors In Biological Sciences

For Honors, additional requirements must be met.  For entry into Honors, students must satisfy the conditions required by the College of Arts and Science for admission to departmental honors programs. Students must have an overall grade point average equal to or greater than 3.3, and a grade point average in courses required for the appropriate biological sciences major equal to or greater than 3.4 at the time of entry.  Applications must be approved by a majority vote of the faculty of the department.  To receive honors or highest honors in biological sciences, a student in the departmental Honors Program must:

1) Complete the requirements for either the MCB, BioSci, or EEOB major, achieving a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.4 in all courses that count toward the major;

2) Satisfactorily pursue a research project under the supervision of the advisor with a minimum of 10 credit hours of Honors Research, BSCI 4999;

3) Give a progress report to the Honors Committee at the end of the first semester of research.  This will consist of a short written progress report to be distributed to the Honors Committee one week before an oral presentation and meeting with the committee. The meeting must be scheduled before the start of finals week;

4) At the end of the second semester of Honors Research, prepare a thesis based on the research project, to be read and evaluated by the Honors Committee;

5) Present the thesis orally before the Honors Committee and faculty in the Department of Biological Sciences.

BSCI 4999

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How to Declare a Major or a Minor/Get an Adviser

Read the requirements for the majors or minor.

Download the Declaration of Major/Minor   form. You will need two copies.

If you have a particular adviser in mind, you may contact the professor and ask if he/she will serve as your adviser. If you do not have a faculty member in mind, e-mail the Chair's Assistant and note in your message:

    • Your name
    • Class (sophomore, etc.)
    • Major (MCB, EEOB, or BSCI)
    • What Biological Sciences professors you've had in the past
    • What professor you'd prefer to have as an adviser, if you have a preference

When you've been assigned an adviser, take two copies of the Declaration form to the professor for him/her to sign (or have one form and make a copy) and take one copy to the Arts & Science Registrar in 350 Buttrick Hall and the other copy to the Chair's Assistant in 8270 MRBIII.

 

Updated 7/30/2018

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