Requirements for the Biology Major

Courses within the Biology Dept:

    BIOL181/191 and 182/192 - Principles of Biology I and II and Labs

    Six Advanced Elective Courses: All majors must take one elective course from
    each column below. [Note: No more than four of these courses may be counted towards the major]

Column 1 - Genetics, Genomics,
Cell, Development

Column 2 - Ecology, Evolution, Behavior

  BIOL 210 Genetics and Genomics

   BIOL 214 Evolution

  BIOL 212 Principles & Mechanisms of Cell Biology

   BIOL 216 Ecology

  BIOL 218 Developmental Biology

   BIOL/NS&B 213 Behavioral Neurobiology

  MB&B 208 Molecular Biology

Note: For the class of 2016: No more than 4 of these mid-level courses (listed above) may be counted towards the 6 advanced elective requirement.
For the class of 2017 and beyond: No more than 3 of these mid-level courses (listed above) may be counted towards the 6 advanced elective requirement.

Courses outside the Biology Dept

2 semesters required from the following:
  General Chemistry ([141/142] or [143/144])
3 semesters required from any of the following:
  Physics (PHYS 111 or 112 or 113 or 116)
  Organic Chemistry (CHEM 251 or 252)

Math (117 or higher), Statistics (MATH 132 or BIOL 320/520 or PSYC 200 or QAC 201),
Computer Science (COMP 112, COMP 211 or higher)

Please note: Students planning to go on to medical, dental, or other health professions graduate school should note that a year each of introductory biology, physics, and math (such as calculus or statistics) and two years of chemistry (general and organic) are required for admission, including any laboratory components.

  • Four additional electives at the 200, 300 or 500 level may be chosen from among the following courses.  Courses that we do not expect to be offer in the next 2 years (2015-2016 and 2016-2017 are marked with and asterisk (*).  See Wesmaps for updates. [Note: the courses are grouped thematically for your convenience only.]



BIOL 210 Genetics and Genomics
BIOL/COMP 265 Bioinformatics Programming
BIOL 327/527 Evolutionary & Ecological Bioinformatics
BIOL 337/537 Origins of Bacterial Diversity*
BIOL 350/550 Bioinformatics & Functional Genomics* 
MB&B 208 Molecular Biology
MB&B 231 Microbiology
MB&B 294 Lab in Molecular Biology & Genetics
MB&B 333/533 Gene Regulation

BIOL/NS&B 213 Behavioral Neurobiology+
BIOL 224 Hormones, Brain and Behavior
BIOL 235 Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy
BIOL 239 Brain Anatomy
NS&B/BIOL 243 Neurohistology
BIOL 245 Cellular Neurophysiology
BIOL 247 Lab in Neurophysiology
BIOL/NS&B 249 Neuroethology
BIOL/NS&B 250 Lab in Cell/Mol Neurobiology
NS&B/BIOL 252 Cell Biology of the Neuron
BIOL 254 Comparative Animal Behavior*
BIOL 290 Plant Form and Diversity
BIOL/NS&B 299 Waves, Brains and Music*
NS&B/BIOL 328 Chemical Senses
BIOL/NS&B 345 Developmental Neurobiology*
BIOL 347 Mammalian Cortical Circuits
BIOL/NS&B 351 Neurobiology of Learning and Memory*
NS&B/BIOL 353 Neurobiology of Neurological Disorders



BIOL 212 Prin & Mech of Cell Biology
BIOL 218 Developmental Biology
BIOL 226 Invasive Species: Biology, Policy, Management
MBB/BIOL 237 Signal Transduction
BIOL 245 Cellular Neurophysiology*
BIOL 321 The Cell in Development*
BIOL 325 Stem Cells: Basic Biology to Clinical Applications
BIOL 335/535 Research Approaches to Disease*
BIOL 340/540 Issues in Development & Evolution
BIOL 343/543 Muscle and Nerve Development
BIOL/NS&B 345/545 Developmental Neurobiology*
MB&B 232 Immunology
MB&B 375 Cell Division Cycle

BIOL 214 Evolution
BIOL 216 Ecology
BIOL 220 Conservation Biology
BIOL 235 Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy
BIOL 254 Comparative Animal Behavior
BIOL 286 Evolution in Human Altered Environments
BIOL 290 Plant Form and Diversity
BIOL 312 Conservation of Aquatic Ecosystems*
BIOL 316/516 Plant-Animal Interactions
BIOL 318/518 Nature and Nurture
BIOL 327/527 Evolutionary and Ecological  Bioinformatics
BIOL 336 Landscape Ecology*
BIOL 337/537 Origins of Bacterial Diversity*
BIOL 340/540 Issues in Development & Evolution
BIOL 346 The Forest Ecosystem


BIOL 320/520 Quantitative Methods
E&ES 233 Geobiology
MB&B 383 Biochemistry

Additional information:

  • IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR  DOUBLE MAJORS:  At least two elective courses (200-level and above) that are counted toward the Biology major cannot be simultaneously used to fulfill any other major. In addition, if a student is double majoring in Biology and NS&B, NS&B/BIOL 213 cannot count toward the 6 electives required for a Biology major; however, NS&B/BIOL 213 will fulfill the Column 2 breadth requirement.   

  • 400 level courses (research tutorials) are not creditable toward the major, but do receive university credit. 
  • With prior permission of the departmental undergraduate liaison (2015-2016 Prof David Bodznick), up to two life science courses from outside the department or from another institution may be counted toward the major.  Two Wesleyan courses that fall into this category include: ANTH 349 (The Human Skeleton) and ANTH 202 (Paleoanthropology: The Study of Human Evolution). MB&B 228 (Introductory Medical Biochemistry) may be counted as long as either MB&B 208 or MB&B 383 is not counted toward the major.

  • Research done with non-Wesleyan faculty at other institutions does not receive Wesleyan credit.

  • Bio majors are allowed to apply at most one elective course taken Pass/Fail toward fulfilling the major requirements; however this is discouraged because good performance in major courses is an important aspect of a student's transcript.

See Wesmaps for more information regarding the courses .