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Department of Biological Sciences


All students who have completed an Advanced Placement biology course in high school should request a score report be sent to University of Memphis Office of Admissions during the admission process and before enrolling in classes. Students scoring 3 on the Advanced Placement Test will receive credit hours for BIOL 1010/1011, BIOL 1020/1021. Those scoring 4 or higher will receive credit hours for BIOL 1110/1111, BIOL 1120/1121. See the Advanced Placement Table for additional information.

Biology Major (B.S.)

Students who earn a B.S. in Biology should attain the following objectives: (a) demonstrate knowledge and comprehension of the principles, concepts, and theories pertinent at each level of biological organization; (b) apply principles of biological classification to the diversity of life and recognize phylogenetic relationships among organisms; (c) demonstrate skills in analytical reasoning and problem solving; (e) function successfully in laboratory and field settings, including the use of basic equipment, techniques, and safety protocols; (f) access, evaluate, and utilize biological information in print and electronic formats; (g) effectively communicate scientific knowledge and experimental results in both oral and written formats; (h) compete successfully for admission to graduate and professional programs and for employment utilizing their academic training.

A. University General Education Program (41 hours)

See Graduation from the University for the University General Education Program requirements. Note that MATH 1830 or MATH 1910 is required for the Biology major.

B. The Major (64 hours in addition to University General Education Program  requirements)

Students must earn a grade of at least “C” in all BIOL courses applied toward the major, the minor, and in all required chemistry, physics, and mathematical courses. BIOL, CHEM, MATH, and PHYS courses applicable toward the major or minor may not be taken more than three times. Students must earn a grade of at least "C" in BIOL 1110/1111 and BIOL 1120/1121, before enrolling in any upper division BIOL course.

Any BIOL course applicable toward the major or minor may be repeated once to earn a minimum grade of "C." To repeat a course a second time, a student must apply for and receive special permission from the department Undergraduate Studies Committee. Application information is available in the Biology Advising and Resource Center. A student may not attempt the same BIOL course more than three times, regardless of where it is taken. Courses cross-listed with BIOL (e.g., CHEM 4511, 4512, and 4501) also are subject to this course repetition policy.

Completion of 36 hours in BIOL courses, 16 hours in CHEM courses, 3-4 hours in MATH courses, and 8 hours in PHYS courses , and 12 hours in Required Support Courses as outlined:

1. Biology Requirements: BIOL 1110/1111, BIOL 1120/1121, (these courses are included in the University General Education Program), BIOL 3072, 3073, 3130, 4100;18 additional upper division hours in BIOL courses approved by the department, including (a) one organismal diversity course from among BIOL 3200, 3620, 4245, 4375, 4640, 4644, 4740, 4744, or 4900, and (b) one additional laboratory or lecture/laboratory course.No more than five total credit hours of research and practicum (BIOL 4000, BIOL 4001, BIOL 4570) can be applied toward major requirements.

2. Additional Science and Math Requirements: CHEM 1110/1111, 1120/1121, 3301/3310, 3501/3511; MATH 1830 or 1910 (these courses are included in the University General Education Program), and PHYS 2010/2011, 2020/2021 or 2110/2111, 2120/2121.

3. Required Support Courses: Select courses from each of the following three areas for a total of at least 12 hours:

a. Science Ethics (one course): PHIL 3512, 3514, 3515.

b. Upper Division Social Science (one course): ANTH 3111, 4111, 4220, 4510, 4511, 4521, 4531, 4541, 4551, 4571, ECON 4230, 4740, ESCI 4201, 4251, 4252, POLS 4512, PSYC 3306, 3307, 3507, 3512, 4305, SOCI 3401, 3422, 3432, 4420, 4541, 4851.

c. Skills Courses (two courses): CLAS 3021, COMP 1900 or COMP 4001, ENGL 3601, ESCI 4511, 4515, HPRO 4530; MATH 4611 or PSYC 3010, 3020; Foreign Language: 6 hours in a single foreign language, or equivalent. If the language chosen was used to meet University admissions requirements, students must take the foreign language placement exam and complete two sequential courses beginning with the course into which placed by the exam. If a different language is chosen, any six hours will fulfill the requirement. 

C. Electives

Electives may be chosen to bring the total number of hours to 120.

Biology Minor

Completion of 18 semester hours in biology courses including BIOL 1110/1111, BIOL 1120/1121 and 10 upper division hours. No more than four total credit hours of research and practicum (BIOL 4000, BIOL 4001, BIOL 4570) can be applied toward minor requirements.

Accelerated B.S./M.S. Program in Biology

This program allows outstanding undergraduates to begin the coursework for the Master of Science in Biology during their senior year. Students are encouraged to begin planning to enter the Accelerated B.S./M.S. program early in their undergraduate career, in consultation with their advisor in the Department of Biological Sciences.

Working with the undergraduate and graduate academic coordinators, undergraduates selected into this program begin a carefully tailored course of study which will allow them to complete their B.S. degree while they also begin the coursework toward their M.S.

To apply, students must have a minimum 3.25 grade point average, and must submit two reference letters and a copy of their transcript to the Biology department. Each applicant will complete an interview with the graduate academic coordinator in biology.

Students must also apply to the Graduate School for the accelerated B.S./M.S. program, which allows them to take graduate courses in biology. To continue in the program past the B.S., students must apply for full admission into the Graduate School and into the Biological Sciences department's M.S. program.

Only in ABM programs, up to 9 hours of graduate course work may be applied to both the undergraduate and graduate programs. However, any graduate coursework will not apply to undergraduate GPA.

Typical 4-Year Biology Sequence

Freshman Year

CHEM 1110/1111 4 BIOL 1110/1111 4
ENGL 1010 3 ENGL 1020 3
MATH 1830 or 1910 3-4 CHEM 1120/1121 4
Social Sciences* 3 Humanities* 3
Semester Totals 13-14 hrs   14 hrs

Sophomore Year

BIOL 1120/1121 4 BIOL 3130 3
CHEM 3301/3310 4 CHEM 3501/3511 4
COMM 2381 3 ENGL 2201 or 2202 3
Social Sciences* 3 Elective** 3
History* 3 Skills Course 3-4
Semester Totals 17 hrs   16-17 hrs

Junior Year

BIOL 3072/3073 4 BIOL 4100 3
PHYS** 4 PHYS** 4
Skills Course 3-4 Humanities* 3
Semester Totals 14-15hrs   14 hrs

Senior Year

Science Ethics 3 History* 3
UD BIOL 3 UD Social Science 3
Elective 3 Elective 3
Elective 3 Elective 1-3
Semester Totals 16 hrs   16 hrs

Total Hours: 120-121

Total Hours Required for Graduation: 120

*Must satisfy University General Education Program Requirement

***Choose: PHYS 2010/2011 and 2020/2021 or 2110/2111 and 2120/2121. PLEASE NOTE: MATH 1720 is a prerequisite for PHYS 2010 and 2020.

Undergraduate research is strongly encouraged as part of the elective hours.