Biology Coursework Plan

Suggested plan of study

The suggested plan of study proposed here helps you balance the Biology major requirements over four academic years without taking summer classes. Please consult with your academic advisor for questions about taking courses in a different order than suggested here.

Bachelor of Science in Biology 2017-2018 degree requirements

FIRST YEAR-FALLHOURS FIRST YEAR-SPRINGHOURS
GT 1000 FRESHMAN SEMINAR*1 ENGL 1102 ENGLISH COMPOSITION II3
ENGL 1101 ENGLISH COMPOSITION I3 MATH 1555 CALCULUS FOR LIFE SCIENCES (OR MATH 1552 INTEGRAL CALCULUS)4
MATH 1551 DIFFERENTIAL CALCULUS2 BIOL 1521 (OR 1520) INTRODUCTION TO ORGANISMAL BIOLOGY14
BIOL 1511 (OR 1510) BIOLOGICAL PRINCIPLES4 CHEM 1212K CHEMICAL PRINCIPLES II4
CHEM 1211K CHEMICAL PRINCIPLES I4 TOTAL SEMESTER HOURS 15
TOTAL SEMESTER HOURS 14   
     
SECOND YEAR-FALLHOURS SECOND YEAR-SPRINGHOURS
BIOL 2335 ECOL, BIOL 2344 GENETICS, OR BIOL 2354 HONS. GENETICS23 BIOL 2344 GENETICS, BIOL 2335 OR BIOL 2337 HONORS ECOLOGY23
BIOL 2336 ECOL LAB, BIOL 2345 GEN LAB, OR BIOL 2355 HONS. GEN LAB21 BIOL 2345 GENETICS LAB, BIOL 2336, OR BIOL 2338 HONS. ECOLOGY LAB21
CHEM 2311 ORGANIC CHEMISTRY I3 CHEM 2313 BIO-ORGANIC CHEMISTRY (OR CHEM 2312 ORGANIC CHEMISTRY II)3
MATH 1553 LINEAR ALGEBRA2 CHEM 2380 SYNTHESIS LAB2
QUANTITATIVE BIOLOGY REQUIREMENT3 or COMPUTING REQUIREMENT3 QUANTITATIVE BIOLOGY REQUIREMENT3 or COMPUTING REQUIREMENT3
HIST 2111 or 2112 or POL 1101 or PUBP 3000 or INTA 1200 (CONSTITUTION/HISTORY REQUIREMENT)3 HUM or SS ELECTIVE3
TOTAL SEMESTER HOURS 14 or 15 TOTAL SEMESTER HOURS 14 or 15
     
THIRD YEAR-FALLHOURS THIRD YEAR-SPRING HOURS
PHYS 2211 INTRODUCTORY PHYSICS I FOR LIFE SCIENCES4 PHYS 2212 INTRODUCTORY PHYSICS II FOR LIFE SCIENCES4
BIOL 3450 CELL & MOLECULAR BIOLOGY OR BIOL 3600 EVOLUTION3 BIOL 3450 CELL & MOLECULAR BIOLOGY OR BIOL 3600 EVOLUTION3
BIOLOGY ELECTIVE3 BIOL 3451 CELL & MOLECULAR BIOLOGY LAB21
HUM or SS ELECTIVE3 BIOLOGY ELECTIVE3
FREE ELECTIVE3 WELLNESS2
TOTAL SEMESTER HOURS 16 HUM or SS ELECTIVE3
   TOTAL SEMESTER HOURS 15 or 16
     
FOURTH YEAR-FALLHOURS FOURTH YEAR-SPRING HOURS
BIOLOGY ELECTIVES6 BIOLOGY ELECTIVE9
FREE ELECTIVE3 FREE ELECTIVE5
HUM or SS ELECTIVE3 HUM or SS ELECTIVES3
SENIOR RESEARCH EXPERIENCE43 TOTAL SEMESTER HOURS17
BIOL 4460 COMMUNICATING BIOLOGICAL RESEARCH1   
TOTAL SEMESTER HOURS 16 TOTAL DEGREE REQUIREMENT HOURS1225
    
*Not required for graduation, another free elective may be substituted   

Important notes

  • 1Four credit hours of Biology elective may be substituted for BIOL 1521 if a score of 5 was achieved on the AP Biology test.  A maximum of 1 of these credits may be BIOL 4697 or BIOL 4699.  Please discuss this option with your advisor. It is important to note that substituting BIOL 1520 often results in a student needing to take more than a single Biology elective class, because most Biology electives are only 3 credit hours. 
  • 2Biology lab courses: Ecology, Genetics, and Cell & Molecular Biology each have an associated laboratory course. You must take two of these three labs, each of which must be taken concurrently with the corresponding lecture course: Ecology Lab (Biol 2336/2338), Genetics Lab (Biol 2345/2355), or Cell and Molecular Biology Lab (Biol 3451). Be aware that 3451 is typically only offered in the Spring semester; students who take 3450 in the Fall are eligible to take 3451 the following spring.
  • 3The following courses meet the Quantitative Biology Course requirement (Note that MATH 1555/1552 is a pre-requisite for the Quantitative Requirement):
    • BIOL 2400 Mathematical Models in Biology
    • BIOL 4150 Genomics
    • BIOL 4401 Experimental Design & Biostatistics (meets MCAT statistics requirement)
  • 4The Senior Research Experience can be met with any of the following during the fourth year fall or spring semesters:
    • BIOL 4590 Research Project Lab
    • BIOL 4690 Independent Research Project (requires at least one previous semester of BIOL 4699/2699)
    • BIOL 4910 Honors Research Thesis (requires at least one previous semester of BIOL 4699/2699)
    • More information about the Senior Research Experience and/or research for credit
  • 5A minimum of 39 hours of upper division coursework (3000-level or higher) is required for all Georgia Tech undergraduate degrees. The 39 hours of upper division coursework can fulfill any category of degree requirements, including free electives and "fallthrough" courses.

Always refer to the Undergraduate Handbook specific to your catalog year (the year you entered the Biology major) for information, rules, and regulations specific to your Biology degree requirements.

  • Required Biology Core Courses
    • BIOL 1511/1510 Biological Principles
    • BIOL 1521/1520 Intro to Organismal Biology
    • BIOL 2335/2337 Honors or General Ecology
    • BIOL 2344/2354 Honors or General Genetics
    • BIOL 3450 Cell and Molecular Biology
    • BIOL 3600 Intro to Evolution
    • BIOL 4460 Communicating Biological Research
    • BIOL 2400/4150/4401 Quantitative Biology requirement (see note above)
    • BIOL 4590/4690/4919 Senior Research requirement (see note above)
    • Two of the following three labs, each of which must be taken concurrently with the corresponding lecture course:
      • BIOL 2336/2338 (Honors/General Ecology Lab)
      • BIOL 2345/2355 (Honors/General Genetics Lab)
      • BIOL 3451 (Cell and Molecular Biology Lab)
  • Biology Electives (21 hours)
  • Biology electives allow you to customize your biology degree to be specific to your biological area of interest using 21 hours of Biology elective credit. You can focus your Biology Electives in a particular concentration to earn a Biology Certificate. All Biology electives must be taken for a letter grade.
    • Depth electives: 12 "depth" credits must be courses with a “BIOL” prefix, excluding BIOL 4694-4699. Biology Elective courses that are cross-listed with other Schools are included in these 12 depth credits.
    • Breadth electives: up to 9 "breadth" credits can be selected from other BIOL 3XXX and higher courses, Biology experiential learning courses (BIOL 4695, 4697, 4699), and a list of approved courses offered in other Schools (see below).
  • More information about Biology electives can be found here.

More information on Biology courses:

  • Required Non-Biology Science Courses
    • APPH 1040/1050 Wellness
    • CHEM 1211K and 1212K Chemical Principles 1 and II (or CHEM 1310, 1311, and 1312 General Chemistry and Inorganic Chemistry with Lab)
    • CHEM 2311 and 2313 Organic Chemistry I and Bio-Organic Chemistry (CHEM 2312 Organic Chemistry II may be taken in place of CHEM 2313)
    • CHEM 2380 Synthesis Lab
    • CS 1301/1315/1371 Computing requirement
    • MATH 1551, 1553, and 1552/1555 Math core requirement
    • PHYS 2211 and 2212 Intro Physics I and II

Typical Four-Year Degree Sample Plan

The link below provides a sample plan for the BS degree in Biological Sciences (BIS). This is just one example of a schedule of coursework that will allow students to complete the degree in four years. There are many other possibilities; in addition, course offerings are subject to change and the suggested courses may not be available as listed. Students should work with their BASC adviser during the mandatory advising period to come up with an individual plan that suits their needs and interests.

To complete the course of study in four years, it will be necessary to take 2-3 science/math courses simultaneously during several quarters. As shown in the sample, we recommend that Freshmen start with BIS 2A and CHE 2A in the Fall Quarter. Students that do well should try to add a third science or math class in Winter Quarter; math is recommended because it is a prerequisite for other preparatory or upper division coursework required for the BIS major. Students that are not able to handle three science/math courses in Winter should return to a lighter load, but realize that they may need to use summer sessions to complete the degree in four years. Summer session courses are limited and so meeting with a BASC adviser to evaluate revised study plans is strongly recommended.

Link to the Sample Plan for the BS degree in Biological Sciences (BIS)


Sample Plan for Completing the Four-Year Degree in Three Years

Some students may desire to complete the BIS BS degree in less than four years. However, completing a Biological Sciences degree in three years is not recommended for most students for the reasons below. Students interested in attempting this must meet with a BASC adviser to form an individual plan. The three-year plan linked below is just a sample.

  • Only students with exceptional ability and study habits should consider this plan. The preparatory and depth courses for BIS majors are challenging and build upon one another. Students normally need time to practice and assimilate material in prerequisite courses to effectively learn material in subsequent courses.  Completing the major in three years would not allow this for the majority of students.
  • A key aspect of the educational experience for Biological Sciences majors is carrying out internships and/or research outside of the classroom, over multiple quarters. Such experience is needed for students to directly obtain employment upon graduation, or to be competitive for admission to professional and graduate programs. The heavy course load during the year and summer required to finish in three years makes it difficult to obtain the necessary in-depth experience.
  • A three-year schedule is time-intensive and should only be considered by students who do not need outside employment while attending the University.
  • Course offerings are subject to change and the suggested courses may not be available as listed; summer offerings of science courses are limited. Students must evaluate course offerings each quarter and work with BASC advisers to optimize their schedule.

Link to the Sample Four-Year and Three-Year Plans for the BS degree in Biological Sciences

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