Biology: Mechanisms of Disease, BA

Among the most important and interesting areas of scientific investigation are the mechanisms that underlie disease. The study of this topic can be of great interest to those pursuing fundamental research, as well as to those drawn to medicine, biotechnology, law, and public health. The introductory and intermediate level course offerings of the Biology Department provide a foundation in understanding the fundamental principles underlying the mechanisms of disease. Advanced electives are selected from the fields of Microbes and Infectious Disease, Genetic Disease, Molecular Genetics and Genomics, and Biochemistry.

The minimum total course units for graduation in this major is 36. Double majors may entail more course units.

With permission from the Undergraduate Chair, two course units away or LPS courses may count toward the Biology major. This limit does not apply to Study Abroad.

For information about the General Education requirements, please visit the College of Arts & Sciences Curriculum page.

College General Education Requirements and Free Electives
Foundational Approaches + Sectors1 + Free Electives18
Major Requirements
Introductory Biology
BIOL 1121Introduction to Biology - The Molecular Biology of Life1
BIOL 1123Introductory Molecular Biology Laboratory0.5
Select 4 course units of Chemistry4
Mathematics Requirement
Select 1 course unit of Calculus1
Select 1 course unit of Statistics1
Intermediate Biology
BIOL 2810Biochemistry1
BIOL 2010Cell Biology1
BIOL 2210Molecular Biology and Genetics1
Additional BIOL Elective (1 to 1.5 course units)1.5
Advanced Electives
Select 1 course unit of Microbes & Infectious Disease1
Select 2 course units of Genetic Disease2
Select 1 course unit of Molecular Genetics and Genomics1
Select 1 course unit of additional electives1
Research Requirement
BIOL 3999Independent Study1
Total Course Units36

You may count no more than one course toward both a Major and a Sector requirement. For Exceptions, check the Policy Statement.


Students are required to present their research at the annual Symposium on Undergraduate Research in Biology (SURB) poster session, held at the end of the Spring Term.


Applicants must have a minimum GPA of 3.25 in the major and the thesis must be approved by the departmental honors committee.


The degree and major requirements displayed are intended as a guide for students entering in the Fall of 2024 and later. Students should consult with their academic program regarding final certifications and requirements for graduation.