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University of Pittsburgh    
2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog 
  Jul 25, 2024
2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Biological Sciences, BS

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The Biological Sciences major is intended for the biology student who wants to develop an individualized combination of courses at the advanced level. The student is free to plan a curriculum of great breadth or to choose an area of specialization not offered as a major by the department. Most of the undergraduates in our department choose the Biological Sciences major. This major is suitable for those planning a career in which general familiarity with biological topics is desirable, such as jobs in scientific journalism, biological and pharmaceutical supply industries, biological or medical research, scientific libraries and museums, or in any industry where the products or by-products have potential biological impact. Completing the Biological Sciences major fulfills the basic science requirements for admission to medical, dental, and other health professional schools and to graduate biology programs.

Requirements for the Biological Sciences major are described below.

Biology Course Requirements

Majors must complete a minimum of 32 credits of Biological Sciences coursework.

Writing Intensive course

Students must pass one writing-intensive (W) course in BIOSC. This couse will count as a BIOSC elective as long as the student earned a letter grade of C or better. Students typically complete BIOSC 1010 - COMMUNICATING IN THE BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES .

Elective courses

Majors must complete a minimum of 15 credits of upper-division courses, which must include two lab courses or one lab and one field course. The BIOSC Writing course (above) can count as an elective.  Students may begin to take elective courses when they have completed the appropriate prerequisite courses; for example, some upper-division courses have only BIOSC 0160 as a prerequisite whereas others have additional requirements.

If a student elects the combination of BIOSC 1810 - MACROMOLECULAR STRUCTURE AND FUNCTION  and BIOSC 1820 - METABOLIC PATHWAYS AND REGULATION  as listed above, then BIOSC 1820  counts as an upper-level elective. Students may count only one physiology course toward the major.

Grade Requirements

  • Each required BIOSC course for the major must be completed with a grade of C or better.
  • The elective courses for the major must also be completed with a grade of C or better.
  • A minimum GPA of 2.0 in all departmental courses taken is required for graduation. If a C- or lower is earned in an elective course for the major but is not repeated, the course will be used to calculate the departmental GPA but will not be counted toward the 32 credits required for the major.
  • Students must also earn a minimum GPA of 2.0 in the co-requisite courses. A passing grade of C- or lower in a co-requisite course can be accepted if balanced by a higher grade in another co-requisite course so that the co-requisite GPA is 2.0 or higher. Exceptions: CHEM 0110  and CHEM 0120  have to be C or better to declare the major; PHYS 0110  / PHYS 0174  has to be C or better to enroll in PHYS 0111  / PHYS 0175 ; MATH 0220  has to be C or better to enroll in MATH 0230 .
  • Only one BIOSC course may be taken on a Satisfactory/No Credit (S/NC) basis.

David C. Frederick Honors College equivalent courses may be substituted for required or elective courses.

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