Explore the Biology Major (BS)

Calvin’s bachelor of science in biology places a strong emphasis on research. This is the ideal program if you are interested in pursuing an advanced degree in biology, medicine or scientific research. The program gives you a broad foundation in the field of biology and then offers courses in many sub-fields so you can tailor the program to your specific interests.

Calvin’s connections with the local, national and global scientific community open up tremendous experiential learning opportunities for you. Research facilities and equipment, funded in part by numerous grants from the National Science Foundation, offer you the tools you need to excel in this field.

Course Requirements 2014-2015

  • Take four introductory courses to give you a broad base in biology.

  • Choose upper level courses to fit your specific interests in the field of biology.

  • Participate in a 300-level research course.

  • Take a capstone course to explore what it means to be both a Christian and a scientist.

(35-39 semester hours)

  • BIOL-123 The Living World: Concepts & Connections
  • BIOL-224 Cellular & Genetic Systems
  • BIOL-225 Ecological & Evolutionary Systems
  • BIOL-250 Research Design & Methodology
  • BIOL-295 Biology Seminar (taken twice, one concurrently with BIOL-250)
  • Four from:
    • BIOL-311 Field Botany
    • BIOL-313 Paleontology
    • BIOL-321 Genetics and Development
    • BIOL-323 Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy
    • BIOL-325 Biotechnology
    • BIOL-331 Comparative Animal Physiology
    • BIOL-332 Plant Physiology
    • BIOL-333 Immunology and Hematology
    • BIOL-335 Cell Physiology
    • BIOL-336 General Microbiology
    • BIOL-338 Animal Behavior
    • BIOL-341 Entomology
    • BIOL-344 Vertebrate Biology
    • BIOL-345 Ecosystem Ecology and Management
    • BIOL-346 Plant Taxonomy
    • BIOL-364 Global Health, Environment, & Sustainability
    • CHEM-324 Biochemistry II
    • An approved interim, three of which must have a laboratory component, (CHEM-383 fulfills the laboratory component for CHEM-324)
  • One from:
    • BIOL-354 Investigations in a Specific Topic
    • BIOL-385 Internship in Biology
    • BIOL-399 Undergraduate Research
    • An advanced research contract in an advanced course (see department website for contract details)
  • One from:
    • BIOL-395 Perspectives in Biology
    • BIOL-396 Perspectives in Medicine
  • Completion of an externally-normed test ( for example the biology major field test)


(25-29 semester hours)

  • CHEM-103 General Chemistry I
  • CHEM-104 General Chemistry II
  • One from:
    • CHEM-253 Fundamentals of Organic Chemistry
    • CHEM-261 Organic Chemistry I
  • MATH-145 Biostatistics
  • Two from:
    • MATH-132 Calculus for Management, Life, & Social Sciences
    • MATH-171 Calculus I
    • CS-106 Intro Scientific Computation & Modeling
    • PHYS-221 General Physics
    • PHYS-222 General Physics
  • One from:
    • CS-106 Intro Scientific Computation & Modeling (if not taken as quantitative cognate above)
    • CHEM-262 Organic Chemistry II
    • CHEM-271 Environmental Chemistry
    • CHEM-303 Fundamentals of Biochemistry
    • CHEM-304 Phys Chem for Biol Sciences
    • CHEM-323 Biochemistry I
    • CHEM-329 Instrumental Meth for Chem/Bio Sciences
    • GEOL-151 Introductory Geology
    • GEOL-311 Geomorphology
    • PHYS-223 Physics for Health Sciences
    • PSYC-333 Brain & Behavior
    • A biophysics interim
  • IS-141 Information Systems is recommended for students intent on graduate study in biology or a professional school and who do not take CS-106 Intro Scientific Computation & Modeling.

You must complete three courses in biology with honors, submit and honors thesis, and earn a minimum 3.5 GPA in the major to satisfy the college’s honors program.

  1. From the biology major’s required courses, one will normally be the honors section of 123. Alternatively, this requirement could be met by contracting with an instructor for honors credit in BIOL 141, 224 or 225.

  2. The second honors course must be taken from courses numbered 313-364 (excluding 354), the details of which will be worked out by the student and instructor at the time that the student registers for the course.

  3. The third course requirement is the completion with honors of an upper-level research course (Biology 354, 385 or 399). Normally the investigative research conducted in one of these courses will be reported as a scientific research paper, which will constitute the honors thesis and as a public presentation to a scientific audience.


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