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Biology is the interdisciplinary study of the life in the world around us.

As a biologist, you can explore botany, evolution, genetics, medicine and a plethora of other topics. The JMU biology program is designed to engage undergraduates in hands-on research projects. Our students have access to state-of-the art labs and instrumentation in microscopy, genome sequencing, animal research, microbiology and more. Our faculty work hard to mentor our students, and prepare them for their future. At JMU, our biology majors are more than just students—they are scientists.

Learn More:

The major is a part of the Department of Biology, an academic unit within the College of Science and Mathematics.

The department offers a four-year B.S. degree program for a major in biology and for a major in biology qualifying for the Secondary Collegiate Professional License. Requirements for the B.A. degree can be met by adding the completion of an intermediate level foreign language and three credit hours in philosophy. Students may not receive dual credit toward the biology major for 300- and 400-level BIO courses that are applied toward the biotechnology major.

Biology majors must complete 40 credit hours of biology courses including 16 credit hours at the 300 and 400 level. Specific requirements include four core courses (BIO 140, BIO 150, BIO 240 and BIO 250), at least two upper-division laboratory courses and one course from a list of courses with an emphasis on organismal diversity. In addition, biology majors must complete a set of cognate courses in chemistry, mathematics, statistics and physics that are listed below. Students are encouraged to participate in independent research with a faculty mentor. Credits earned doing research will count toward the biology major but some restrictions apply.

When requested, senior biology majors are expected to participate in program assessment test activities as a graduation requirement. Assessment information helps the department modify the curriculum to meet student needs.

Refer to the Biology departmental website for more information about faculty research interests.

Biology
  • Degrees Offered: 
    • B.A.
    • B.S.
  • Concentrations:
    • Ecology and Environmental Biology
    • Forest Biology, Dual Degree
    • Microbiology
    • Neuroscience
  • Minors:
    • Biology
    • Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Declaring the Major

New Freshmen and Transfer Students
Students should declare the biology major when they register for orientation.

Currently Enrolled Major Changers 
Current students wishing to declare or change a major, minor or pre-professional program must complete a request through MyMadison. Additional department specific information will be available when that academic plan is selected.  Follow all directions and steps necessary to execute your request.  Once all necessary steps are completed, the department will either approve or deny your request or contact you for additional information.

For additional assistance making this request, view the Change/Declare a Major/Minor tutorial in MyMadison or on the tutorials website.

Progressing in the Major

BIO 140 is the prerequisite to BIO 150.

Students must make a grade of at least "C-" in BIO 140, BIO 150, BIO 240 and BIO 250 for the course to be used as a prerequisite.


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