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B.A. in Biological Sciences

The curriculum leading to the Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Biological Sciences is designed for students who want to pursue a career in a health-related profession (dentistry, medicine, pharmacy, or veterinary medicine) or those interested in training in an allied health field (dental hygiene, medical and research technology, nursing, pharmacy or physical therapy). The B.A. is also appropriate for students wanting to combine another area of study—such as business, environmental studies, law, or science writing—with a solid background in biology.

Students who after graduation will be looking for a job as a research technician or who will pursue further graduate level training in science (either M.S. or Ph.D.) should consider following the curriculum leading to a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree.


NOTE: This is not a complete list of requirements. See the UMBC Undergraduate Catalog for a full listing of requirements for this program.

Download the B.A. in Biological Sciences Requirements Worksheet from the Forms & Links Page

Course requirements

Biology Core (18 credits)

  • BIOL 141 Foundations of Biology: Cells, Energy & Organisms
  • BIOL 142 Foundations of Biology: Ecology & Evolution
  • BIOL 302 Molecular and General Genetics
  • BIOL 303 Cell Biology
  • BIOL 300L Experimental Biology Laboratory

Biology Electives (9-10 credits)

Elective 1 – Choose one
  • BIOL 275 Microbiology
  • BIOL 251 and BIOL 252 Human Anatomy and Physiology (must take both)
  • BIOL 304 Plant Biology
  • BIOL 305 Animal Physiology
  • BIOL 306 Molecular Biology
  • BIOL 307 Human Physiology
  • BIOL 313 Introduction to Bioinformatics
  • Any BIOL 4XX lecture course (except BIOL 497H, 499 or 499H)
  • GES 406 Aquatic Ecology
  • GES 408 Field Ecology
  • GES 413 Seminar in Biogeography
Elective 2 – Choose one
  • Any BIOL 4XX lecture course (See Note 5)
Lab Elective – Choose one
  • Any BIOL 3XXL or 4XXL (except BIOL 300L)

Chemistry (12 credits)

  • CHEM 101 Principles of Chemistry I
  • CHEM 102 Principles of Chemistry II
  • CHEM 102L Introductory Chemistry Lab I
  • CHEM 351 Organic Chemistry I

Physics (8 credits)

  • Physics 111 Basic Physics I (or PHYS 121)
  • Physics 112 Basic Physics II (or PHYS 122)

Mathematics (3 credits)

  • MATH 155 Elementary Calculus or MATH 151 Calculus and Analytical Geometry
  • STAT 350 Statistics with Applications or STAT 355 Intro to Probability and Statistics for Scientists/Engineers

Notes for BIOL B.A.

  1. Students must earn a “C” or better in all major courses AND course prerequisites.
  2. At least half of the required BIOL courses and electives must be completed in residence: for the BIOL B.A. at least four of eight BIOL classes must be taken at UMBC.
  3. BIOL 141, BIOL 142 and BIOL 302 are considered an academic sequence. Once you pass BIOL 302 you may not go back and repeat BIOL 141 or BIOL 142.
  4. Students using BIOL251 and BIOL252 to fulfill Elective 1 must take BOTH classes.
  5. BIOL 442, 495, 497, 499, and Lab classes may NOT be used to fulfill Elective 2. The BIOL 4XX elective class must be taken at UMBC.
  6. Students may substitute PHYS121 for PHYS111, and PHYS122 for PHYS112, but should note that PHYS121/122 may not satisfy some professional school admission requirements.
  7. BIOL BA majors receive 23 – 27 Upper Level Credits (3XX/4XX) from BIOL BA courses that may be applied to the University requirement of 45 Upper Level credits for graduation, and 55 – 57 credits toward the 120 total credits needed for graduation.
  8. The Biological Sciences Department evaluates completion of major requirements based on COURSES completed, not CREDITS completed, because equivalent courses taken elsewhere may not be the same number of credits as the UMBC course they replace.
  9. Students who are BIOC (Biochemistry and Molecular Biology) majors who wish to also pursue a BIOL B.A. degree may use Core BIOL, CHEM, MATH and PHYS courses from the BIOC major towards the BIOL B.A. degree, but MUST take separate electives for the two degrees (ie., no ‘double-dipping for the electives). Please note, the university requires students taking two different Bachelor’s degrees (like the B.A. and B.S.) to take a total of 150 credits.
  10. Students may not pursue both a BIOE and BIOL degree since the BIOE degree contains the BIOL BA curriculum within it.
  11. Under exceptional circumstances, the Department may waive or alter a BIOL major requirement. Students seeking to petition for a waiver must consult with their academic adviser, then may submit a ‘Petition for Waiver/Substitution of Program Requirements’ form, found here:
    Waiver petition form

Legacy B.A. in Biological Sciences (for pre-Fall 2010 students)

If you enrolled in college for the first time before Fall 2010 you may be following an earlier version of our B.A. curriculum.  The requirements are found here –  pre-Fall 2010 B.A. curriculum – however some classes required in that curriculum are no longer available.  Students pursuing a legacy degree can transfer to one of the new degree programs by filing a Change of Major Form which can be found on the Registrar’s web site.