2020-2021 Academic Catalog 
    Dec 06, 2021  
2020-2021 Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Biological Sciences, BS

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About the Program

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The biological sciences which impact almost every aspect of our everyday lives are undergoing an extraordinary revolution The plans of study are formulated to give students a broad basis for comprehending the diverse nature of this field and the complex systems that ultimately give rise to biodiversity. Our curriculum is designed so that this basic biological knowledge can readily be applied to critical practical problems impacting human health such as the nature of microbial communities and their relationship to the spread of disease., the conservation of native plant and animal populations and ecosystems, and the management of invasive species and natural resources.

. Students begin our curriculum with a four-semester biology core. The courses in this core  provide a common knowledge base for all biology majors and begin with an overview of evolutionary, environmental, and organismal concepts, and then proceed to examine relationships between development, structure, and function as adaptational mechanisms. The third and fourth semesters are concerned with cellular organization and function followed by genetic and molecular principles so important to modern biology.

The amount of information that is currently being discovered in the biological world is daunting, and we recognize that some students may want to focus within an area of specialization  In the second half of their degree students have the option of continuing to follow the requirements below leading to a general biology degree or they can choose to follow a health sciences or a biology teaching concentration (see below). The department also provides tracks leading to a specialization in microbiology & immunology as well as ecology and evolution. Information on suggested course work for these tracks is available on the PNW website for Biological Sciences under the B. S. in Biological Sciences degree option.

Degree Requirements

  • 120 Credit Hours
  • Minimum grade of C required for all Major Core courses
  • Minimum GPA of 2.0 required for graduation

PNW General Education Core (30 Credits Minimum)

Required Courses (72-73 Credits)

Physics (4 Credits)

Humanities and Social Sciences (9 Credits)

Additional Biological Sciences Required Courses (10-11 Credits)

  • or BIOL 58000 - Evolution  

  • Choose two of the following three categories, and then choose a course from each of the chosen categories. The course not chose can be used to meet the Biology Elective requirement with the exception of BIOL 21400 (not a 30000 level class).

Biological Sciences Electives (Minimum 10 Credits)

Only 30000 level or above biology courses can be used to fulfill this requirement. At least one of these courses must be a 50000 level class. BIOL 34200  cannot be used to fulfill the biology elective requirement. Maximum 3 credits of independent studies/research/BIOL 48800  internship can be used to fulfill this requirement.

Free Electives (15-16 Credits)

Total 120 Credits Required

Degree Map


Minimum Grade and Grade Point Average (GPA):  Minimum grade of C required for all Major Core courses (unless otherwise noted); 2.0 GPA

Experiential Learning (EL):  One EL course required.  EL courses are noted by (e) next to the course title.

General Education Core:  General Education notations can be found within the course description.  Please click on a course to see if it meets a Gen Ed requirement.

Milestone Courses noted by (m) next to the course title have been identified as being critical to your success in this field of study. 

Courses that are only offered on one campus will be noted by an (H) for Hammond, or (W) for Westville.

Please see the Additional Information and Guidelines section below for more information.

Additional Information and Guidelines

Note 1: Additional GPA Requirements for BS Biology Degree: Minimum 2.0 GPA for all biology core (BIOL 10700, BIOL 10100, BIOL 10200, BIOL 24300, BIOL 24400, BIOL 31100 (58000) and BIOL 42600) and concentration required courses.

Note 2: Gen Ed Technology Course Requirement CIS 20400 is recommended for students with limited experience using Microsoft Suite and can be replaced by BIOL 59500 Bioinformatics or a different course approved by the department. If students choose a course that is not a Gen Ed Technology course, they will have to fulfill this requirement with another course in this area as a free elective. See http://catalog.pnw.edu/preview_program.php?catoid=4&poid=1002 for a list of suitable courses.

Note 3: Gen Ed requires a 3.0 credit Humanities and a 3.0 credit Social Science course. It is important that these be chosen from the approved Gen Ed course list . This degree also requires 9.0 credits of additional electives from these two subject areas that are not required to be chosen from the Gen Ed list. Some professional schools have specific Humanities and Social Sciences course requirements for admission. Please select recommended courses accordingly to fulfill this requirement or choose any courses of interest. Six credit hours of foreign languages may also be used to fulfill part of this requirement.

Note 4: Biology required courses: See attachments for choices of required courses.

Note 5: Biology Elective courses range from 1 to 5 credits. Maximum 3 credits of independent studies / research / internship (BIOL 34200, BIOL 39500, BIOL 49500 can be used to fulfill the biology elective requirement. BIOL 33000 is not considered a Biology elective. At least one of the courses in this category must be a 50000 level class.

Note 6: Other chemistry courses can be used with departmental permission.


The 8 semester plan of study is a recommended sequence of classes designed to show how this program can be completed within four years.

Visit the 15 to Finish website for information and resources.

For career information, click here to visit the Careers and Employment Trends page.

For Financial Aid eligibility, click here. Annual FAFSA filing deadline is March 10. Financial Aid recipients are required to complete 30 credits per calendar year to stay eligible for the standard financial aid award.

Financial Guarantee: If you follow the degree map and find a course unavailable, you may be able to take the course for free in a future semester.  Certain exclusions apply. 

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