How much should I study for bachelor's degree in biology

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What Classes Do You Need To Get A Bachelor's Degree in Biology?

The classes required for a biology major depend on a number of factors, including the type of bachelor's degree program being offered and the electives that must be chosen. Additionally, some bachelor's degree programs in biology require more classes than others. Continue reading to discover the courses required to earn a bachelor's degree in biology.

Required Classes for Biology Majors

All biology majors usually start by taking introductory courses that provide a general overview of cells and organisms. All biology bachelor's degree programs also include key science-related courses. Courses usually fall under the categories of cell and molecular biology, population biology and ecology, organismal biology, genetics, chemistry, and physics. Specific course titles include microbiology, immunology, vertebrate biology, human anatomy, evolution, organic chemistry, and general physics. These courses are common for both Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts degree programs in biology. However, the exact curriculum requirements may vary depending on which program type a student chooses. Additionally, biology may be offered as part of a concentration within another major; students who choose a biology concentration as part of their major may take different science classes.

Bachelor of Science Courses

Bachelor of Science (B.S.) programs in biology often include more science courses in areas like physics and geosciences. Some programs require that students take advanced mathematics classes in areas such as calculus, statistics, and linear algebra, as well as a courses in computer science or computer programming. Many B.S. programs require students to complete a research project. This project may take place during the student's senior year and is sponsored by a faculty member from the biology department.

Bachelor of Arts Courses

Students in Bachelor of Arts in Biology programs often take fewer biology classes and more liberal arts courses compared to students in B.S. programs. Liberal arts coursework usually covers humanities, social sciences, and foreign language. B.A. students also have the option to take more non-science elective classes to tailor their degree. This program is often targeted toward those who wish to become biology teachers, as opposed to those who wish to work in research or medicine. Some of the courses found in a biology teacher licensure program include earth and planets, physical geology, animal behavior, and aquatic biology.

Biology Degree Concentrations

Rather than just majoring in general biology, students at some schools also have the option of selecting a concentration. Concentrations are numerous and include cell and molecular biology and environmental biology.

Cell and Molecular Biology

Students in a cell and molecular biology concentration learn about cells, their structure, and how they work. They also learn how to correct disease states. Classes cover topics such as animal and plant physiology, cellular neuroscience, and microbial genomics. This training opens the doors to careers as laboratory technicians or research associates at medical schools, universities, government agencies, and biotechnology industry research firms.

Environmental Biology

Course topics for an environmental biology concentration include plant physiology, microbial ecology, zoology, and animal behavior. Students also complete labs and field-based courses. The environmental biology concentration prepares students for careers in environmental studies, organismal biology, and related fields.
There are certain standard courses within bachelor's degree in biology programs, but there are also some differences depending on whether the student is enrolled in a B.S. or B.A. program, as well as whether or not they choose a concentration in a particular field.

Bachelor's Degree in Biological Science: Program Information

Essential Information

Bachelor's degree programs in biological science examine many areas of life science, such as microbiology, ecology and biochemistry. Many concentrations in this 4-year program are available, including microbiology, molecular biology, human biology and biotechnology. Pre-professional programs in areas such as dentistry, optometry, medicine, forestry, pharmacy and physical therapy also exist within a B.S. in Biological Sciences program. A high school diploma or GED is required in order to enroll in the program.

Bachelor's Degree in Biological Science

A B.S. in Biological Sciences requires completion of 106-125 credit hours. The curriculum consists of a combination of biology, chemistry, mathematics and physics courses. Additional general education courses in English, history and the humanities may also be required. Some courses students can expect to see include:
  • Ecology, evolution and biodiversity
  • Principles of microbiology
  • Biological literature
  • Molecular biology and genetics
  • Cell biology
  • Introductory biochemistry

Popular Careers Options

Employment options for holders of a B.S. in Biological Sciences are broad. Graduates seek employment with State and Federal Government agencies, hospitals, universities, pharmaceutical companies, animal rescue centers, museums, zoos, food processing companies and biotechnology firms. People with formal biology training are also needed in industries as varied as sales, marketing and publishing. Some specific careers available to those with bachelor's degrees include:
  • Science technician
  • Medical laboratory technologist
  • Secondary school biology teacher
  • Research associate

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected job growth of 7% for biological technicians from 2018-2028, which is about as fast as average. For the same decade, the BLS projected employment growth of 11% for medical and clinical laboratory technologists. As of May 2018, the BLS reported that the median annual wage of biological technicians was $44,500, and for clinical technologists, it was $52,330.

Continuing Education Information

Many people pursue an undergraduate degree in biology as a stepping stone to a graduate program at a medical, veterinary, dental or other health-related school. The broad knowledge base achieved through the baccalaureate study of biology translates well to these more fine-tuned and focused advanced degrees. Students who wish to further their broad path of biological education have the option of pursuing a graduate degree in biological sciences. This type of advanced degree is essential for those looking to become biological scientists, conduct independent research or teach at the postsecondary level.
A bachelor's program in biological science covers a wide variety of life science topics. Through concentrations or pre-professional curricula, these programs can be customized to meet students' career needs. Potential occupations for graduates often include clinical lab work, scientific research and education, among others.