The following is a brief description of the major requirements and is not intended to be the official versionPlease consult the Catalog for the official requirements.

To receive a B.S. in Biology from JMU, students must complete 40 credit hours of Biology (BIO) courses including the four "Core" courses and 20 credit hours from the "Upper Division" (300 or 400 level).  Of these, one course must be from a list of Organismal Biology courses and two courses must be from a list of Laboratory courses (see below). Three credits of independent research (BIO 497 and/or 499) may be used for one of the laboratory courses.  One course may meet multiple requirements.  A maximum of 8 credit hours of BIO 492, 494, 495, 496, 497, 498, 499 and ICSI 450 can be counted toward the major.  See Special Requirements at bottom.

Students must also fulfill several cognate requirements (math, chemistry, physics), general education requirements, and meet the overall JMU requirements.

Biology Requirements
(40 hrs)

Core Courses (required)

BIO 140 - Foundations of Biology I
BIO 150 - Foundations of Biology II
BIO 240 - Genetics
BIO 250 - Ecology and Evolution

Upper Division  (20 hrs) 

  • One Organismal course (see list below)
  • Two Laboratory courses (see list below)
  • Electives to fill out the credit hour requirements

Cognate Requirements



General Chemistry

Organic Chemistry


Refer to the Catalog for specific requirements.

General Education Requirements

Refer to the General Education website  for specific requirements

Note that biology majors need not complete Cluster I in the first year.

Also note that Cluster III requirements are met within the major courses.


Organismal courses (must take 1*)

BIO 305.  Ornithology
BIO 309. Marine and Freshwater Invertebrates
BIO 310.  General Entomology
BIO 320.  Comparative Anatomy of Vertebrates
BIO 340.  Morphology and Anatomy of Vascular Plants
BIO 345.  Animal Field Biology
BIO 360.  Plant Biology
BIO 364.  Human Uses of Plants
BIO 386.  Field Botany
BIO 412. Mammalogy
BIO 470.  Morphology of Nonvascular Plants
BIO 486.  Systematics of Vascular Plants

*courses in common between lists may be 
  counted for both requirements.


Laboratory courses (must take 2*)

BIO 305. Ornithology
BIO 310. General Entomology
BIO 316L. Principles of Animal Development (taken with BIO 316)
BIO 320. Comparative Anatomy of Vertebrates
BIO 340. Morphology and Anatomy of Vascular Plants
BIO/MATH 342. Mathematical Models in Biology
BIO 343L. Immunology Laboratory (must be taken with BIO 343)
BIO 345. Animal Field Biology
BIO 346. Bacterial Discovery
BIO 348L. Medical Microbiology Lab (taken with BIO 348)
BIO 364L. Laboratory in Human Uses of Plants taken with BIO 364)
BIO 370. Animal Physiology
BIO 386. Field Botany
BIO 387L. Environmental Biology Lab (taken with BIO 387)
BIO/GEOL 400. Geology and Ecology of the Bahamas
BIO/GEOG 402. Forest Ecology
BIO 403. Animal Communication
BIO 410. Advanced Human Anatomy
BIO 412. Mammalogy
BIO 416. Human Embryology
BIO 420L. Medical Parasitology Lab (taken with BIO 420)
BIO 432. Light Microscopy
BIO 445. Neurobiology
BIO 446. Experimental Neurobiology
BIO 452. Population Ecology
BIO 455. Plant Physiology
BIO 456. Landscape Ecology
BIO 457. Biological Applications of Geographic Information Systems
BIO 459. Freshwater Ecology
BIO 460. Plant Biotechnology
BIO 465. Environmental Toxicology
BIO 470. Morphology of Nonvascular Plants
BIO 480. Advanced Molecular Biology
BIO 481. Genomics
BIO 482. Human Histology
BIO 483. Bioinformatics
BIO 486. Systematics of Vascular Plants
BIO 490. Biomechanics

Special Requirements.  To be used as prerequisites for biology courses, grades of “C- ” or higher should be earned in the following: GBIO 103, BIO 114, BIO 124, BIO 140, BIO 150, BIO 214, BIO 224, BIO 240, BIO 250, CHEM 131, CHEM 131L, CHEM 132 and CHEM 132L. A maximum of 4 hours of lower division biology elective credit applicable toward the major or minor may be transferred as BIO 200. Upper division biology credits applicable toward the major or minor are transferred as specific courses or as BIO 325, Topics in Biology or BIO 426, Advanced Topics in Biology. Credits not applicable toward the major or minor, but applicable toward the 120 hour degree requirement, are transferred as BIO 000. A maximum of 8 credit hours of freshman (100) level BIO courses may be applied to the biology major or minor requirements.

Revised 9/21/17

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