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Prospective Undergraduate Student Resources

The Department of Biological Sciences offers four undergraduate degrees: the B.A. in Biology, the B.S. in Biochemistry (a joint program with the Department of Chemistry and the Department of Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Sciences), the B.S. in Biology, and the B.S. in Microbiology. Within two of the four degrees, students select an area of concentration. Each undergraduate degree program is designed to prepare students with a distinct set of knowledge and skills that will serve as the foundation for a technical or scientific career, further graduate studies, professional schools in a variety of human and animal health fields, or as biology educators. Students should meet with an advisor early in their program to select the most appropriate major and concentration.

The BA in Biology is designed for students who want to pursue either teacher certification in biology or a career where skills and knowledge of natural history (outdoor or environmental education, interpretation, identification, and field studies) are desirable. The BA has fewer courses in Chemistry, Physics, and Mathematics than the BS in Biology, and more upper division electives providing students with greater latitude to design their own program of study. Students who pursue the BA in Biology will not meet the minimum requirements for admission to most graduate research programs in biological sciences or professional programs in the health sciences.

The purpose of the BS in Biology is to serve students who have a broad interest in the biological sciences and who seek substantial flexibility in the development of their own programs. This degree fosters, in students, knowledge and understanding of major concepts in the disciplines as well as the processes of scientific investigation. Students served by this Major are those interested in preparing for a career in biology, ecology, conservation or natural history, entering a health related professional program (i.e. physician assistant, occupational therapist, medical doctor, etc.), certifying to teach in public schools, or developing laboratory skills. The BS in Biology requires significant exposure to biological sciences, as well as concepts in math and the physical sciences, while providing a large number of electives. The consequence is an understanding of the biological sciences and the flexibility and opportunity to specialize in areas of interest.

The purpose of the BS in Biochemistry is to serve students who seek to develop strong background in biochemistry and the supporting sciences of biology, chemistry, and physics. The curriculum is designed to prepare the student for graduate work in biochemistry or related fields including genetic research, as well as for admission to medical, dental, or other health professional schools. The graduate also is prepared to go directly into research or industrial positions which require preparation only at the BS level.

The purpose of the BS in Microbiology is to give students a broad set of scientific, analytical, and problem solving skills. This degree gives students a broad understanding of genetics, immunology, and molecular biology. The Microbiology degree prepares students for entry level jobs in healthcare and scientific research including job as a laboratory technician, food inspector, forensic scientist, and water quality scientist.

ISU is Idaho's center for education in the health professions. Over 90% of our students applying to M.D. and D.O. programs are accepted, a figure nearly twice the national average. Other students interested in the environmental sciences or organismal biology find ample opportunities to gain field or laboratory research experience as undergraduates at ISU.

Not sure which major is right for you? Check out the Frequently Asked Questions.

Biology Majors
BA Biology - Biology Education Plan of Study Brochure
BA Biology - Natural History Plan of Study Brochure
BS Biology - Biomedical Sciences (BMS) Plan of Study (Math 1147)
Plan of Study (Math 1160)

BS Biology - Ecology and Conservation Biology (ECB) Plan of Study (Math 1147)
Plan of Study (Math 1160)

BS Biology - Integrative Organismal Biology (IOB) Plan of Study (Math 1147)
Plan of Study (Math 1160)

BS Biochemistry Plan of Study   
BS Microbiology Plan of Study   

If a student wants to get a minor degree, please be aware that no double counting of courses is allowed. In general, if a student decides to get a BS in Biology and a minor in Microbiology, the core courses will be the same, but the elective courses must be different. For up-to-date information about minor requirements, check the course catalog.

If you are interested in life, from the cell to ecosystems, then a career in biology is for you. The following is a guide for students interested in selecting a major in the biological sciences, including links to resources specific to some of the myriad fields within the broad field of biology.

Some general resources:


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