B.S. in Biological Sciences

The Bachelor of Science (B.S.) curriculum is appropriate for students desiring a focused, in-depth grounding in all the essential elements of the biological sciences, and is particularly suitable for students intending to pursue graduate study in biology or in the health sciences. It also prepares students to function effectively in a variety of technical and laboratory research settings.

BIOL BS majors receive 69-77 total credits toward the 120 total credits needed for graduation. 33-43 of those credits are at the upper level (3XX/4XX) and may be applied to the University requirement of 45 upper level credits for graduation.


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

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


Course Requirements

Biology Core (18 credits)

Core courses
    • 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 (17-21 credits)

Elective courses (four lecture, two laboratory)
    • One Column A elective
    • One Column B elective
    • One Column A or B elective
    • One BIOL 4XX Lecture course (except BIOL 430, 442, 495, 497H, 499 or 499H)
    • Two Upper Level Laboratory electives
Column A electives
    • BIOL 304 – Plant Biology
    • BIOL 305 – Animal Physiology
    • BIOL 306 – Molecular Biology
    • BIOL 307 – Human Physiology
    • BIOL 313 – Introduction to Bioinformatics
    • BIOL 375 – General Microbiology (formerly BIOL 275)
    • BIOL 430 – Biological Chemistry
    • BIOL 442 – Developmental Biology
    • BTEC 344 – Epidemiology
    • BTEC 395 – Translational Bioinformatics
    • BTEC 430 – Translational Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
    • MBIO 478 – Marine and Environmental Biotechnology
Column B electives
    • Any BIOL 4XX lecture course (except BIOL 430, 442, 495, 497H, 499, 499H, or 499L)
    • CHEM 352 – Organic Chemistry II and CHEM 352L – Organic Chemistry Lab II (must take both)
    • CHEM 437 – Comprehensive Biochemistry I
    • CHEM 438 – Comprehensive Biochemistry II
    • GES 406 – Aquatic Ecology
    • GES 408 – Field Ecology
    • GES 413 – Seminar in Biogeography
    • BTEC 444 – Translational Cancer Biotechnology
    • BTEC 453 – Biochemical Engineering
Laboratory electives
    • Any BIOL 3XX or 4XX Lab course (except BIOL 300L or BIOL 499L)
    • Students may replace one upper level Biology lab with two semesters of BIOL 499, plus one semester of either BIOL 499L or BIOL 497H

Chemistry (15 credits)

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

Physics (8 credits)

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

Mathematics (4 credits)

    • MATH 151 – Calculus and Analytic Geometry I

Statistics (4 credits) – choose one

    • STAT 350 – Statistics with Applications
    • STAT 355 – Intro to Probability and Statistics for Scientists/Engineers
    • BTEC 350 – Statistics for Translational Life Science

MATH/STAT/CMSC elective – choose one

    • MATH 152 – Calculus and Analytic Geometry II
    • MATH 221 – Introduction to Linear Algebra
    • STAT 414 – Environmental Statistics
    • STAT 420 – Statistics for Bioinformatics
    • STAT 454 – Applied Statistics
    • CMSC 104 – Problem Solving and Computer Programming
    • CMSC 201 – Computer Science I for Majors


Notes for BIOL B.S.

  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.S. at least six of eleven 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. See the Undergraduate Catalog for additional non-BIOL courses that may be used as electives for the major. Biologically relevant 4XX level courses from other departments may be acceptable as a ‘Column B’ elective for the BIOL BS degree. Prior approval from the Biological Sciences Department Undergraduate Committee is required, using the form indicated in note 12. Such courses may not be used for the BIOL 4XX requirement.
  5. The following courses are similar in content and only one in each grouping can be used towards major requirements: BIOL 305 and 307; BIOL 430, BTEC 430, and CHEM 437 and 438; BIOL 444 and BTEC 444; or BIOL 495 and BTEC 395. See the Undergraduate Catalog for more information.
  6. Students may substitute CHEM 352 and CHEM 352L (must take both) for one Column B course. The CHEM 352/352L only counts for one BIOL residency requirement course (See Note 2).
  7. At least one BIOL 4XX lecture course must be taken at UMBC. BIOL 430, 442, 497H, 499 and Lab classes may NOT be used to satisfy this requirement.
  8. Students may substitute PHYS 121 for PHYS 111, and PHYS 122 for PHYS 112, but should note that PHYS 121/122 may not satisfy some professional school admission requirements.
  9. Students using a STAT class as a Column B course may not use the same course to fulfill the MATH/STAT/CMSC elective requirement.
  10. The Biological Sciences Department evaluates completion of major requirements based on COURSES completed, not CREDITS completed.
  11. Students who are BIOC (Biochemistry and Molecular Biology) majors who wish to also pursue a BIOL B.S. degree may use Core BIOL, CHEM, MATH and PHYS courses from the BIOC major towards the BIOL degree, but MUST take separate electives for the two degrees (ie., no ‘double-dipping for the electives).
  12. 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.

Legacy B.S. 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.S. curriculum. The requirements are found here –  pre-Fall 2010 B.S. 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.