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2019-2020 Undergraduate & Graduate Catalog

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Biology - Program Description

For additional information about opportunities your college offers, please refer to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences section in this catalog.


The study of animals and plants has fascinated people for thousands of years. All of us have wondered at some time about how animals are put together and how they function, why plants flower, how organisms interact with each other and respond to the environment, or why some bacteria cause disease and others do not. Biology is an exciting and dynamic field filled with the satisfaction of answers to many questions and the challenge of others waiting to be explained.

As a science, biology offers the opportunity to study and experiment with animals, plants, fungi, and bacteria in the laboratory and outdoors. Biologists make contributions in widely varying areas, including medicine, aquatic ecology, biotechnology, botany, conservation biology, evolutionary biology, genetics, microbiology, molecular biology, terrestrial ecology, and zoology.

Degrees Offered

Master of Science, Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts in biology, biology major and minor for secondary teaching certification, biology minor.

Preparation for Graduate School

Students planning to do graduate work in biology should consult early with their advisors. There is no absolute list of courses required for admission to graduate school. Generally, in addition to mathematics, students will need a full year of physics and two full years of chemistry, including CHM 241 and 242.

Related Programs

Natural Resources Management Major ( )

The natural resources management program prepares students to care for the land- and water-based ecosystems of Michigan and beyond, as well as to service the people whose well-being depends on these resources.

Integrated Science Secondary Major (

GVSU's Integrated Science Secondary Education Major is for students seeking certification for teaching science in grades 6-12. Integrated science secondary education majors that pass the Michigan Department of Education Integrated Science Secondary Test will receive the Integrated Science DI Endorsement, which is in high demand for job placement in the State of Michigan. The endorsement certifies students to teach general science courses at the middle school level, and also discipline specific courses in biology, chemistry, earth science, and physics at the high school level.

Integrated Science Secondary Endorsement ( )
Students who have declared or completed a major and minor in a science discipline may complete additional courses for an integrated science secondary endorsement. The Michigan Department of Education will allow teachers with the integrated science secondary endorsement to teach biology, chemistry, earth science, and physics at the secondary level.

Behavioral Neuroscience Major ( )
Students interested in this interdisciplinary major should consult the psychology department for specific requirements.

Honors Organizations

Beta Beta Beta (TriBeta) is an honor society for students, particularly undergraduates, dedicated to improving the understanding and appreciation of biological study and extending boundaries of human knowledge through scientific research. Requirements: undergraduates shall have completed at least one term of the second year of a four-year curriculum, completed at least three courses in biological science, of which at least one is not an introductory course, with an average grade of B or its equivalent in those biology courses, and shall be in good academic standing.

The following programs are available:

Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science in Biology

Master of Science in Biology

Biology Minor

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