CAS: Biology

Sample Pathways

Below is an example of a four-year plan of a College of General Studies student pursuing a degree in biology. Students will work with their CGS academic advisors and the Department of Biology to plan their own pathway to a biology degree.

Gap Semester Recommended external course: General Chemistry I (equivalent to CAS CH 101)* Note: Prior approval must be granted for external coursework. Students must consult with their CGS academic advisor before enrolling in classes.
  Semester I Semester II
Freshman Year CGS RH 103
CGS SS 103
CAS CH 102 (or Elective***, if non pre-health)
CGS MA 121 or CAS MA 121
or CAS MA 115
or CAS MA 123
or CAS MA 213
CGS Required Courses (London or Boston-New England semester)
Sophomore Year CGS NS 201
CGS HU 201  
CAS CH 203 (or CAS CH 171, if non pre-health)
CAS MA 115
or CAS MA 116
or CGS MA 121 or CAS MA 121 or CAS MA 123
or CAS MA 122 or CAS MA 124
or CAS MA 213 or CAS MA 214
or CAS CS 105 or CAS CS 108 or CAS CS 111 or CDS DS 100 or CDS DS 110
CGS HU 202
CGS SS 202
CAS BI 108
CAS CH 204** (or CAS CH 174, if non pre-health)
Junior Year CAS PY 105
CAS BI Breadth/Elective
Second Language (if needed)
CAS PY 106
CAS BI Breadth/Elective (Lab)
Second Language (if needed)
Senior Year CAS BI Breadth/Elective (Lab)
CAS BI Breath/Elective
CAS BI Breath/Elective
Second Language (if needed)
CAS BI Breadth/Elective (Lab)
CAS BI Breath/Elective
Second Language (if needed)

*Please note that the order of topics in chemistry courses depends strongly on the book, the professor, and the pace of the course. There are also other ways to fulfill the General Chemistry I and II sequence. For more information and suggestions, please consult with your CGS academic advisor.

**Many biology majors elect to take a fourth semester of chemistry, CAS CH 204, which is a requirement for medical and other professional schools.

***Choose your non-major electives carefully to fulfill any remaining BU Hub requirements. You will find a list of all of the courses that carry Hub units on the University’s BU Hub website. External courses are not eligible for Hub general education credit.

College of General Studies Program Requirements

  • Two rhetoric courses: CGS RH 103 and CGS RH 104
    • CGS RH 104 is taken during the London semester
  • Two natural science courses: CGS NS 201 and CGS NS 202
    • CGS NS 201 fulfills the CAS BI 107 requirement. Biology majors in good standing will take CAS BI 108 in place of CGS NS 202.
  • Three social science courses:
    • CGS SS 104 is required and is taken during the London semester
    • Students select at least two additional SS courses and will work with their academic advisor to determine course selection
  • Three humanities courses:
    • CGS HU 104 is required and is taken during the London semester
    • Students select at least two additional HU courses and will work with their academic advisor to determine course selection

Note: Students who are exempt from CGS NS 202 must enroll in at least one CGS course in semester II of sophomore year.

Major Requirements

The major in biology is 15-16 courses. A grade of ‘C’ or higher is required in all biology, mathematics/ computer science, and physics courses for the major. A grade of ‘C-‘ or higher is necessary in all required chemistry courses for the major (only if completed at BU). A minimum grade of C is required for external courses to be eligible to transfer. For required courses, please see the CAS Biology Bulletin. Students who were admitted prior to 2020/2021 may find their academic Bulletin in the Bulletin Archives.

The Biology Department also offers specialization majors in behavioral biology; cell biology, molecular biology & genetics; ecology & conservation biology; and neurobiology. Students choosing one of the specializations within the Biology major will need to take additional courses. For more information, please see the CAS Biology Bulletin.

All biology majors must successfully complete two semesters of math (calculus, statistics, and/or computer science). At least one semester must be calculus or statistics. Math courses accepted toward the biology major are listed in the CAS Biology Bulletin.

Students should work with their CGS academic advisor and Erin Mullins ( in the Department of Biology for course planning and advice.

The standard track for chemistry is CAS CH 101, CAS CH 102, and CAS CH 203 (or a higher level sequence). An alternative track is available for students who are not interested in medical school or other health-related professions. The alternative track consists of two options:

Pre-Medical Students

Pre-medical students are strongly advised to take CAS BI 108. Pre-medical students are required to take CH 101, CAS CH 102, CAS CH 203, and CAS CH 204 (or a higher level sequence). Courses in biochemistry, psychology, and sociology are required for the MCAT exam. It is recommended that students take one semester of calculus and one semester of statistics. Biology majors should plan to take CAS BI 315 as one of their Breadth courses or Electives to complete the pre-medical biology requirement. CAS BI 315 fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Scientific Inquiry II, Writing-Intensive Course, Critical Thinking, Teamwork/Collaboration. Students planning to attend medical school or other professional schools should consult advisors in the Pre-Professional Advising Office (100 Bay State Road, Room 428) and in the Department of Biology for information on the selection and sequencing of courses.

Continuation Requirements

  • Completion of the CGS required courses and appropriate electives
  • Cumulative GPA greater than or equal to 2.00

Graduation Requirements

Boston University students completing a degree in CAS must also complete the following requirements. 

  • BU Hub requirements
    • Students who take the specific CGS courses noted on the pathway above will fulfill all BU Hub requirements except the units listed below. These remaining Hub units will be fulfilled through the following courses:
    • Quantitative Reasoning II (1 unit) fulfilled by CAS BI 108
    • Teamwork/Collaboration (1 unit) fulfilled by CAS BI 108
    • You will fulfill the remaining Hub units – Creativity/Innovation (1 unit), Global Citizenship and Intercultural Literacy (1 unit), Teamwork/Collaboration (1 unit), and Writing-Intensive Course (1 unit) – through the courses you take for your CAS major and/or other electives
  • CAS requirements:
  • Biology major requirements
  • CAS requires a minimum of 128 credits, excluding PDP, ROTC, and CAS FY and SY courses.

This is a sample pathway to be used in consultation with your CGS Academic Advisor.

It is subject to change according to course availability and individual circumstances.

Last revised: 04/04/2024