Earning a bachelor's degree in biology is the first step towards a career as a scientist, doctor or veterinarian. Biology majors need to meet specific requirements in order to be awarded an undergraduate degree. Bachelor's degree programs in biology expose students to different areas within the discipline such as ecology and marine biology. In turn, this helps biology majors select a specialization area to study in graduate school, should they wish to do so.
Biology Core Courses
Core courses are a series of math and science courses that biology majors complete as part of the degree curriculum. For example, students in the General Biology track at Portland State University take core courses including cell biology, plant ecology, mammalogy, genetics and microbiology. In addition to biology courses, most biology majors will take classes in other natural sciences such as chemistry and physics, and mathematics, such as statistics and calculus. These courses prepare a biology major for graduate study in the field or professional programs such as medicine or veterinary medicine.
General Education Requirements
General Education requirements typically consist of a series of liberal arts courses that a biology major takes in order to meet university requirements. These courses might be chosen from subjects such as English, philosophy, psychology, history, or foreign language. Portland State notes on its website that general education is a standard part of college education. It helps to provide breadth to a student's degree program.
In order to round out a biology degree program, students will typically engage in research, which can sometimes be completed for credit. Biology majors at Florida State University can take up to six credits of research courses or individual study projects in areas such as marine biology or experimental biology. Alternatively, biology majors may opt to complete an internship for credit at another university or research facility during the summer and transfer those credits back to their college. UCLA maintains a list of field-research opportunities in areas including bird ecology, marine animal behavior and biochemistry. Completing research courses is important for biology majors who intend to apply to doctoral programs, which expect applicants to be able to define a specific area in which they will carry out graduate-level research.