Bachelor of Arts


Biology is one of the traditional liberal arts; it informs us about ourselves, the dynamics of the natural world, and how we interact with our environment. In so doing, biology complements the other liberal arts programs as a context for human endeavors.

Biology provides the basis of knowledge in the areas of medicine, agriculture, biotechnology, and ecology. Studies of nature have long been the inspiration for works of art, literature, and music. At the same time, rapid advancements in biotechnology affect nearly every facet of our lives from the foods we eat and the drugs we take, to the fibers that are used to make our clothes. With our increasing ability to manipulate the genetic structure of organisms, as well as the structure and composition of entire ecosystems, comes an increased responsibility for all citizens to act in an informed manner.

Within that context, the major objectives of the B.A. in Biology at UMM are to:

  1. provide a broad and substantive training in scientific inquiry appropriate for students seeking careers in the biological sciences or in secondary education immediately following graduation
  2. provide rigorous training for students planning to further their education in professional studies or graduate school
  3. allow sufficient flexibility to encourage students to pursue a concentration, a minor, or a second major

Students will study biological systems at the level of the cell, the organism, and the ecosystem. Courses in mathematics, physics, and chemistry will enhance students’ understanding of the physical laws that govern the activities of living organisms. All coursework is enhanced by extensive study in the laboratory and in the field with emphasis on hypothesis formulation and testing, and experimental design.

All students in the biology major are required to complete 57 credits of program requirements.  A highlight of these requirements is the opportunity to participate in a Senior Thesis that allows students to do an in-depth study of an area of particular interest. Alternatively, students may enroll in a Senior Seminar that explores advanced topics in biology based on a student’s previous training. Students may elect additional coursework to complete a Pre-Professional, Wildlife Biology, or Fisheries Biology concentration. Biology courses required in either concentration will fulfill biology electives in the program requirements.

General Requirements

All University Core requirements must be met in addition to the Biology program requirements. Note that completion of some courses within the major, such as in mathematics, will also fulfill Core requirements. Students must earn a minimum of 120 credits and achieve a cumulative GPA of at least 2.00.

A minimum cumulative GPA of 2.00 in the degree program requirements is necessary for graduation. This GPA must be achieved by the completion of a total of 60 credits. If the student fails to maintain this average in subsequent semesters, a warning may be issued. A student may lose matriculated status if the average remains below 2.0 after the completion of another 12 credits. Students may petition to be readmitted to the program.

Program Requirements:

Course Number Course Name Credit Hours
BIO 117 This is Life! 4
BIO 118 Animal Life 2
BIO 119 Plant Life 2
BIO 245 General Ecology 4
BIO 334 Cell Biology 4
BIO 340 Evolution 3
BIO 353 Genetics 4
Select one pair from the following:
BIO 401-403 Senior Thesis 3
BIO electives at 200 level or higher 7
BIO 404-406 Senior Thesis in Research 6
BIO electives at 200 level or higher 4
BIO 410 Senior Seminar in Biology 3
BIO electives at 200 level or higher 7
Cognate course requirements
CHY 101 General Chemistry I 4
CHY 102 General Chemistry II 4
CHY 221 Organic Chemistry I 4
MAT 126 Calculus I 4
PHY 111 Physics I 4
Select one (4 credits) from:
MAT 127 Calculus II
PHY 112 Physics II


Total Credits – 34

The Biology Department also offers programs in the following concentrations:  Pre-Professional, Wildlife Biology and Fisheries Biology