Curriculum

Curriculum

All majors take a core of four Biology courses during the first two years as well as one year of General Chemistry, one year of Organic Chemistry, one year of Calculus, and a selection of General Education courses. During the third and fourth years, students take Biology courses specific to their chosen option as well as completing other required courses such as Physics, Statistics, and General Education requirements.

Current Students:

See the Recommended Academic Plans for more detailed course recommendations for each option and refer to the University Bulletin for course descriptions and more degree requirements. Or find other resources on the Current Students page.

Biology Options

The biology major consists of six options: (1) Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior Option (2) General Option (3) Genetics and Developmental Biology Option (4) Health Professions Option (5) Medical Technology Option (6) Molecular and Cellular Biology and Biochemistry Option.

Prospective Students: 

Below is a typical course sequence for the Biology bachelor's degree program. Schedules will vary by student, depending on areas of interest.

Semester 1

  • First-Year Seminar (1 credit)
  • Biology: Basic Concepts and Biodiversity (4 credits)
  • Chemical Principles I (3 credits)
  • Experimental Chemistry I (1 credit)
  • English Composition (3 credits)
  • Arts Course (3 credits)
  • Health and Physical Activity (1.5 credits)

Total Credits: 16.5

Semester 2

  • Biology: Molecules and Cells (4 credits)
  • Chemical Principles II (3 credits)
  • Experimental Chemistry II (1 credit)
  • Calculus with Analytic Geometry I (4 credits)
  • Humanities Course (3 credits)
  • Health and Physical Activity (1.5 credits)

Total Credits: 16.5

Semester 3

  • Biology: Function and Development of Organisms (4 credits)
  • Organic Chemistry I (3 credits)
  • Calculus with Analytic Geometry II (4 credits)
  • Social Science Course (3 credits)

Total Credits: 14

Semester 4

  • Biology: Populations and Communities (4 credits)
  • Organic Chemistry II (3 credits)
  • Organic Chemistry Lab (2 credits)
  • Introduction to Biostatistics (3 credits)
  • Effective Speech (3 credits)
  • Humanities Course (3 credits)

Total Credits: 18

Semesters 5, 6, 7, and 8

A range of Penn State Behrend courses is available to you in your third and fourth years. Your schedule will depend on your areas of focus and your interests.

  • Typical Supporting Courses for the General Biology Option
    Evolution; Introductory Physics I and II; Biological Experimental Design; Plant Developmental Anatomy; Medical Embryology; Ecology of Infectious Diseases; Biology of Cancer; Invertebrate Zoology; Coastal Biology; Microbial/Molecular Genetics; Cell Growth and Differentiation; Tumor Viruses and Oncogenes; Human Genomics and Biomedical Informatics; Microbial Physiology and Structure; Wildlife and Fisheries Population Dynamics
  • Typical Supporting Courses for the Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior Option
    Evolution; Biological Experimental Design; Analysis of Variance; Applied Time Series Analysis; Introductory Physics I and II; Animal Behavior; Population Genetics; Ecology of Lakes and Streams; Theoretical Population; Ecology; Physiological Ecology; General Ecology; Mapping Our Changing World; Applied Geographic Information Systems; Geographic Information Systems
  • Typical Supporting Courses for the Genetics and Developmental Biology Option
    Evolution; Genetic Analysis; Introductory Microbiology Molecular Biology; Advanced Genetics; Population Genetics; Developmental Biology; Human Genetics; Introductory Physics I and II; Developmental Biology; Viral Pathogensis; Microbial/Molecular Genetics; Tumor Viruses and Oncogenes; Microbe-Plant Interactions: Plant Disease and Biological Control; Phytobacteriology
  • Typical Supporting Courses for the Medical Technology Option
    Introductory Microbiology; Laboratory Instructional Practice; General Virology: Bacterial and Animal Viruses; General Biochemistry; Molecular Biology; Mammalian Physiology; Human Genetics; Seminars and Practicums in Medical Technology: Chemistry, Urinalysis, Hematology, Immunohematology, Microbiology, and Immunology
  • Typical Supporting Courses for the Molecular and Cellular Biology and Biochemistry Option
    Introductory Microbiology; General Biochemistry; Molecular Biology; Evolution; Introductory Physics I and II; Protein Structure and Function; Cellular Mechanisms in Vertebrate Physiology; Practical Bioinformatics; Plant Physiology; Principles of Immunology; Medical Microbiology; General Virology: Bacterial and Animal Viruses; Genetic Analysis
  • Typical Supporting Courses for the Health Professions Option
    Introductory Microbiology; Genetic Analysis; General Biochemistry; Comparative Anatomy of Vertebrates; Mammalian Physiology; Evolution; Introductory Physics I and II; Medical Embryology; Ecology of Infectious Diseases; Advanced Genetics; Developmental Neurobiology; Advanced Immunology: Signaling in the Immune System; Viral Pathogensis; Cell Growth and Differentiation; Tumor Viruses and Oncogenes

This represents a typical course sequence; your schedule will vary depending on your interests. It is recommended that you consult your academic adviser before scheduling any courses. See bulletins.psu.edu for detailed degree requirements and course descriptions.