Department of Biology

The Department of Biology provides its students with a breadth of training in modern biology and an opportunity to explore a variety of specialized areas in greater depth. The required courses for the major establish a core of fundamental knowledge in biological and related sciences. Students then build on this foundation through a variety of lecture, laboratory, field, and seminar courses that explore specific areas within biology. A range of specializations allows students to delve deeper into specific disciplines, such as behavioral biology; ecology and conservation biology; neurobiology; and cell biology, molecular biology & genetics.

Supported by modern research facilities, our award-winning faculty is engaged in research spanning all levels of biological organization from the molecular to the organismal to the ecology of populations and entire ecosystems. The development of laboratory and field skills is encouraged through coursework and participation in the department’s extensive research activities, which often involve collaborative, interdisciplinary projects.

Special features include aquatic facilities for experimental work on fresh and saltwater organisms, state-of-the-art animal care facilities, and environmental chambers. Specialized equipment is available for electron, fluorescence, and confocal microscopy; tissue culture; automated DNA sequencing; and a variety of behavioral, biochemical, physiological, molecular, and genetic applications.

The BA in Biology prepares students for both private and public sector employment as well as for graduate training in research, medicine, other health professions, education, government, and industry.

Additional Information

Advanced Placement (AP)

A student with an AP Biology examination score of 5 may receive 8 credits for either CAS BI 107 and 108 or CAS BI 105 and 107. Depending on their area of interest, students are nonetheless encouraged to take BI 107 and BI 108 even if they received a 5 on the AP exam. A score of 4 on the AP exam allows a student to receive 4 credits and place out of CAS BI 105, 107, or 108, depending on the student’s biology background and interest. AP decisions should be made in consultation with a Biology advisor.

Department Residency Requirement

Students must take at least 5 BI or BI cross-listed courses beyond introductory biology at BU to satisfy the department residency requirement.

Intercollege Cross-Registration

After consultation with a Biology advisor and with written departmental approval, students may cross-register for undergraduate courses at Boston College, Brandeis University, Hebrew College, and Tufts University. More information can be found at the Office of the University Registrar’s website.

Premedical Students

Biology and the Ecology & Conservation Biology (ECB), Neurobiology (Neuro), and Behavioral Biology (SBB) specializations satisfy all premedical requirements except for the second semester of organic chemistry and a semester of biochemistry. The Cell Biology, Molecular Biology & Genetics (CMG) specialization satisfies all premedical requirements except for a semester of biochemistry. These additional courses can easily be built into a student’s schedule. Premedical students should discuss premedical requirements with a Biology advisor and with an advisor in the Pre-Professional Advising office (100 Bay State Road, 4th Floor) as early as possible.

Study Abroad Programs for Biology

Science abroad (recommended for Biology and all specializations):

  • Dresden Science Program, Germany
  • Grenoble Science Program, France
  • Madrid Science Program, Spain

Other study abroad opportunities (recommended for Biology, ECB, and SBB majors):

  • Marine Semester, Belize (offered through the BU Marine Program)
  • Tropical Ecology Program, Ecuador

All study abroad decisions should be made in consultation with a Biology advisor.