(Chemistry, Mathematics, Statistics, and Physics)

Because they are good for you!  No, seriously, chemistry and mathematics help you to understand biology in different ways.  Graduate programs and employers expect you to have taken these classes.  Our requirements are typical of most biology programs.

CHEM 131 is a required prerequisite for the sophomore-level BIO 214 core course so it is best to start the chemistry sequence as soon as possible.  If your math placement scores are high enough we recommend starting CHEM 131 and 131L, and calculus in the fall of the first year.  In the case of lower placement scores, your freshman advisor may recommend that you wait until the second semester to take CHEM 131.


Biology and Biotechnology majors must take calculus and one statistics course.  See the catalog for specific options. Most students opt for Calculus with Functions I and II (MATH 231-232) but those with a strong background and quantitative interest can take Calculus I (MATH 235).  Both of these calculus paths end up at essentially the same place. Usually students start with calculus before statistics; however, you can discuss this with your advisor.  To keep more career options open we recommend taking the most rigorous course you can handle.

Physics is usually taken in the Junior or Senior year, or during the summer.  So long as you don’t want to take a class that lists Physics as a prerequisite, there should be no harm in delaying Physics.  Sometimes it is important to consider the timing for taking professional school admissions tests in deciding when to take the class.

A “D” grade will count toward graduation but to be used as prerequisites for biology courses, grades of “C- “ or higher should be earned in CHEM 131, CHEM 131L, CHEM 132 and CHEM 132L. You will not be allowed to proceed to the second semester of chemistry and physics sequences unless you have a “C-“ and therefore in this case you must repeat the course.  Note that a GPA of 2.0 or greater in the BIO courses that could count toward the major is required for graduation. The grades in cognate courses do not count toward the major GPA. (Grades in BIO 000, 270 and 280 which do not count toward the major, are not included in this calculation.)

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