May 30, 2024  
2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog 
2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Biology (B.S.)

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Program: B.S.
Department of Biological Sciences  
College of Science

Science Building 330 ~ 260-481-6305

Biology is one of the most interdisciplinary of all the sciences.  In addition to biology, the discipline requires a broad background in chemistry, physics, and mathematics.  This background enables the biologist to study the evolution of life; manifestations of life from the level of viruses, bacteria, and individual cells to the structure and function of organisms; and interactions of living organisms with each other and their environment. 

Our Biology bachelor’s degree program also offers three concentrations.  For details on pursuing the bachelor’s degree in Biology with one of three concentrations, click on the following links for specific program descriptions:

For details on pursuing a secondary education second degree (BSEd) to teach Biology in middle school/high school, click on the links to the Secondary Education - Second Degree  Program and the School of Education page in this catalog.  Note:  The BSEd as a second degree in these programs cannot be earned without completion of the bachelor’s degree in the content area from the College of Science.  See Program Requirements below for a link to the Secondary Education - Second Degree 4-Year Plan.

Student Learning Outcomes:
Upon completion of this degree, students will demonstrate:

  • a level of competency for understanding core principles of evolution, organismal diversity, ecology, biological structure, biological function, molecular biology, and genetics.
  • the ability to locate and critically evaluate scientific information to help develop relevant questions and hypotheses, interpret the results of investigation, and synthesize and apply new and existing knowledge.
  • the ability to design studies to test biological hypotheses using laboratory, field, or computational methods that meet professional ethical standards.
  • the ability to effectively communicate the results of scientific research verbally and in writing.
  • the ability to learn independently, analyze data, interpret results, synthesize information, and to critically evaluate the significance of research results and new knowledge.
  • an awareness of the relevance of biological knowledge to human health and welfare in local, national and international communities.

Program Delivery:

  • This program is available on-campus

Declaring this Major:

  • Declare this major within the Department of Biological Sciences

General Requirements:

To earn a B.S. with a major in Biology, you must fulfill the following requirements in addition to the General Requirements noted above. 

Program Requirements:

Biology BS 4-Year Plan:   

  • A GPA of 2.00 or higher for all courses required for the major.
  • A GPA of 2.30 or higher in biology core and biology elective/concentration courses.
  • A maximum of 6 credits in BIOL 29500 or 59500.
  • Check with advisor to discuss courses that may double-count.
  • Transfer students with 30+ credits are not required to take the Freshman Success seminar if students haven’t previously taken such a course.
  • All biology courses applied toward graduation must be completed within 10 years from the time the first biology course was completed.
  • Students accepted into the 5 Year Combined Degree Program in Biology (BS/MS) will be able to apply up to 12 credit hours of 500-level graduate courses (with a grade B- or above) in the M.S. degree plan of study to reduce the total number of additional credits in the M.S. degree to 18 credit hours.
  • Successful applicants for the combined degree program will have a minimum overall and Biology GPA of 3.3
  • New BIOL courses approved and added to the curriculum in future Catalogs may satisfy the Concentration requirements. 
  • New BIOL courses approved and added to the curriculum in future Catalogs may satisfy the Elective requirements.

Biology BS with Secondary Education 4-Year Plan:  

General Education Requirements: Credits 33

  • Cick on the Purdue Fort Wayne General Education Requirements link above for details.
  • Some majors may require particular General Education courses as specified in their program description.  Up to six credits of approved General Education courses satisfying requirements in Areas A and B, and three credits satisfying requirements in Area C, may originate in the major.  A grade of C- or higher in each course, and an overall GPA of 2.0 is required to satisfy the Purdue Fort Wayne General Education Requirements.

Supporting Courses

English Writing and Speaking: Credits 6

  • ENGL 23301 (or a college-approved equivalent: ENGL 20201, HIST 21700, ILCS 30000, POL 20700, or WOST 23000).  This course is in addition to the General Education writing course (ENGL 13100 or equivalent).
  • COM 11400 (or the college-approved equivalent: HIST 12500).

Both courses require a grade of C- or better

Language: Credits 6

Two courses at the first-year level in a single International Language or in American Sign Language (or demonstrate equivalent proficiency).  

Note:  if you begin these courses at PFW at the second-semester level or higher, you and your advisor are eligible to apply for special course credits after successful completion of the course into which you placed.  Non-native English speaking students and those with other language transfer credits should contact the College’s Student Success Center.

Calculus and Statistics: Credits 9

The following calculus and statistics course pattern is typical. Course substitutions are possible with advisor approval. Please note that most graduate programs require a full year of calculus.

Biology Elective Courses: Credits 16

Take at least one course with a laboratory from each of the A and B elective course lists below.

  • The A elective courses focus on topics regarding the intact organism and its interaction with the environment, and so are organismal, population, community, and ecosystem in nature.
  • The B elective courses focus on processes acting within the organism, and thus detail molecular, cellular, and organ-system mechanisms.


(molecular, cellular, and organ-system)

General Electives

  • Sufficient additional credits to bring the total to 120.

Time Limit

All Biology courses applied toward graduation must be completed within ten (10) years from the time the first Biology course was completed.

Total Credits: 120

Student Responsibility

You are responsible for ensuring that you satisfy all graduation requirements specified for each selected program.  Thus, it is essential that you develop a thorough understanding of the required courses, academic policies, and procedures governing your academic career.  If you cannot complete all program requirements by your stated graduation date but fail to remove those from your plan of study, the Registrar’s Office in consultation with your academic advisor will remove unmet pursuits from your plan of study. Changing curricular records during the graduation term of application may affect state or federal financial aid awards. All requests for exceptions to specific requirements must be made in writing and may be granted only by written approval from the appropriate chair or dean. 

Additional Course Use

Courses listed below may also be considered in meeting specific degree requirements.

CHM 25400 and CHM 26100 required; CHM 26500 and CHM 26100 accepted

COM 11400 required; HIST 12500 accepted

PHYS 22000 and PHYS 22100 required; PHYS 21800 and PHYS 21900 accepted

STAT 24000 required; STAT 30100 accepted

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