Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology, Biological Sciences (BS)

Degree: Bachelor of Science
Major: Biological Sciences
Concentration: Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology
Program Code: 3409

About This Major . . .

The Bachelor of Science degree with a Biological Sciences major provides a broad background in the biological sciences.  Students choose biology courses from four categories:  cellular, molecular, and developmental biology; anatomical and physiological biology; organismal biology; and ecology, evolution, and systematics.  The Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology Concentration will provide a solid background in ecology and evolution, and offers field courses in a variety of areas, in addition to internships and research opportunities. Graduates of this program may pursue careers in ecology, plant biology, fish and wildlife biology, and evolutionary biology, which are just a few of the career options available.

For more information on what you can do with this major, visit Career Services’ What to Do with a Major? resource.

All CMU baccalaureate graduates are expected to demonstrate proficiency in specialized knowledge/applied learning, quantitative fluency, communication fluency, critical thinking, personal and social responsibility, and information literacy. In addition to these campus-wide student learning outcomes, graduates of this major will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate a broad, comprehensive knowledge of the main areas of biology (including evolution, diversity, ecology, cell biology, and genetics) and the ability to apply this knowledge to address new questions. (Specialized knowledge) \
  2. Collect and analyze quantitative data and interpret quantitative data presented in primary scientific literature. (Quantitative Fluency/Applied Learning)\
  3. Utilize science as a way of thinking and problem solving and make key observations, ask questions, formulate hypotheses, design experiments, collect data, draw logical conclusions, and explain and defend those conclusions to others. (Critical Thinking)\
  4. Demonstrate effective biological communication skills, both in writing and orally. (Communication fluency)\
  5. Evaluate and defend contrasting viewpoints related to ethical, social, civic, and/or environmental challenges in the field of biological sciences. (Personal Social Responsibility)\
  6. Critically search, evaluate, and appropriately apply information from primary scientific literature (Information Literacy)\

Each section below contains details about the requirements for this program. Select a header to expand the information/requirements for that particular section of the program's requirements. 

To print or save an overview of this program's information, including the program description, learning outcomes, requirements, suggested course sequencing (if applicable), and advising and graduation information, scroll to the bottom of the left-hand navigation menu and select "Print Options." This will give you the options to either "Send Page to Printer" or "Download PDF of This Page." The "Download PDF of This Page" option prepares a much more concise presentation of all program information. The PDF is also printable and may be preferable due to its brevity. 

Institutional Degree Requirements

The following institutional degree requirements apply to all CMU baccalaureate degrees. Specific programs may have different requirements that must be met in addition to institutional requirements.

  • 120 semester hours minimum.
  • Students must complete a minimum of 30 of the last 60 hours of credit at CMU, with at least 15 semester hours in major discipline courses numbered 300 or higher.
  • 40 upper-division credits (an alternative credit limit applies to the Bachelor of Applied Science degree).
  • 2.00 cumulative GPA or higher in all CMU coursework.
  • A course may only be used to fulfill one requirement for each degree/certificate.
  • No more than six semester hours of independent study courses can be used toward the degree.
  • Non-traditional credit, such as advanced placement, credit by examination, credit for prior learning, cooperative education and internships, cannot exceed 30 semester credit hours for a baccalaureate degree. A maximum of 15 of the 30 credits may be for cooperative education, internships, and practica.
  • Pre-collegiate courses (usually numbered below 100) cannot be used for graduation.
  • Capstone exit assessment/projects (e.g., Major Field Achievement Test) requirements are identified under Program-Specific Degree Requirements.
  • The Catalog Year determines which program sheet and degree requirements a student must fulfill in order to graduate. Visit with your advisor or academic department to determine which catalog year and program requirements you should follow.
  • See “Requirements for Undergraduate Degrees and Certificates” in the catalog for a complete list of graduation requirements.

Essential Learning Requirements

(31 semester hours)

See the current catalog for a list of courses that fulfill the requirements below.  If a course is an Essential Learning option and a requirement for your major, you must use it to fulfill the major requirement and make a different selection for the Essential Learning requirement.

English 1
ENGL 111English Composition I-GTCO13
ENGL 112English Composition II-GTCO23
Mathematics 1
MATH 113College Algebra-GTMA1 23
Select one History course3
Select one Humanities course3
Social and Behavioral Sciences
Select one Social and Behavioral Sciences course3
Select one Social and Behavioral Sciences course3
Fine Arts
Select one Fine Arts course3
Natural Sciences 3
Select one Natural Sciences course3
Select one Natural Sciences course with a lab4
Total Semester Credit Hours31

Other Lower Division Requirements

Wellness Requirement
KINE 100Health and Wellness1
Select one Activity course1
Essential Learning Capstone 1
ESSL 290Maverick Milestone3
ESSL 200Essential Speech1
Total Semester Credit Hours6

Foundation Courses

(17-19 semester hours, must pass all courses with a grade of "C" or higher. Foundation courses should be completed by the end of the sophomore year.)

BIOL 105Attributes of Living Systems-GTSC13
BIOL 105LAttributes of Living Systems Laboratory-GTSC11
CHEM 131General Chemistry I-GTSC1 14
CHEM 131LGeneral Chemistry Laboratory I-GTSC1 11
CHEM 132General Chemistry II-GTSC1 14
CHEM 132LGeneral Chemistry Laboratory II-GTSC1 11
Select one of the following:3-5
Probability and Statistics-GTMA1 2
Calculus I-GT-MA1 2
Total Semester Credit Hours17-19

Program Specific Degree Requirements

(51 semester hours, must pass all courses with a grade of “C” or higher)

Core Courses
BIOL 208
Fundamentals of Ecology and Evolution
and Fundamentals of Ecology and Evolution Laboratory
BIOL 301
Principles of Genetics
and Principles of Genetics Laboratory
BIOL 483Senior Thesis2
Required Related Study Area
PHYS 111
General Physics-GTSC1
and General Physics Laboratory-GTSC1
BIOL 106
Principles of Animal Biology
and Principles of Animal Biology Laboratory
BIOL 107
Principles of Plant Biology
and Principles of Plant Biology Laboratory
BIOL 403Evolution3
BIOL 405
Advanced Ecological Methods
and Advanced Ecological Methods Laboratory
Additional Biology Courses
Select 20 semester hours, chosen from the lists below. At least 16 hours must be 300-level or above.20
Category 1: Cellular, Developmental, and Molecular
Cellular Biology
Developmental Biology
and Developmental Biology Laboratory
Forensic Molecular Biology
and Forensic Molecular Biology Laboratory
Laboratory Investigations in Cellular and Molecular Biology
Molecular Genetics
Biochemistry I
and Biochemistry Laboratory
Biochemistry II
Category 2: Organismal
Introduction to Microbiology-GTSC1
and Introduction to Microbiology Laboratory-GTSC1
Animal Behavior
and Animal Behavior Laboratory
Plant Identification
and Plant Identification Laboratory
Insect Biology
and Insect Biology Laboratory
Marine Biology
Invertebrate Zoology
and Invertebrate Zoology Laboratory
Fish Biology
and Fish Biology Laboratory
Small Mammal Biology
and Microbiology Laboratory
and Mammalogy Laboratory
and Ornithology Laboratory
and Herpetology Laboratory
Animal Parasitology
and Animal Parasitology Laboratory
Marine Invertebrate Communities
and Mycology Laboratory
Category 3: Anatomical and Physiological
Human Anatomy and Physiology
and Human Anatomy and Physiology Laboratory
Human Anatomy and Physiology II
and Human Anatomy and Physiology II Laboratory
Ecological Physiology
and Ecological Physiology Laboratory
Human Physiology
and Human Physiology Laboratory
Gross and Developmental Human Anatomy
and Gross and Developmental Human Anatomy Laboratory
Human Osteology
and Human Osteology Laboratory
Plant Physiology
and Plant Physiology Laboratory
Plant Anatomy
and Plant Anatomy Laboratory
Category 4: Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics
Ecosystem Biology
and Ecosystem Biology Laboratory
Plant Systematics
Taxonomy of Grasses
and Taxonomy of Grasses Laboratory
Plant-Animal Interactions
Tropical Field Biology
Desert Ecology
Freshwater Ecology
and Freshwater Ecology Laboratory
Tropical Ecosystems
Wildlife Management
and Wildlife Field Techniques
Cartography for GIS
Introduction to Geographic Information Systems
and Introduction to Geographic Information Systems Laboratory
Introduction to Cartography
Total Semester Credit Hours51

General Electives

All college level courses appearing on your final transcript, not listed above that will bring your total semester hours to 120 hours, including 40 upper-division hours. 13-15 semester hours; up to 10 hours of upper division may be needed.  BIOL 499 Internship or research courses are recommended.

MATH 113College Algebra-GTMA11
12-14 General Elective Semester Hours12-14
Total Semester Credit Hours13-15
Plan of Study Grid
First Year
Fall SemesterSemester Credit Hours
BIOL 105
Attributes of Living Systems-GTSC1
and Attributes of Living Systems Laboratory-GTSC1
CHEM 131
General Chemistry I-GTSC1
and General Chemistry Laboratory I-GTSC1
MATH 113 College Algebra-GTMA1 4
KINE 100 Health and Wellness 1
 Semester Credit Hours14
Spring Semester
BIOL 106
Principles of Animal Biology
and Principles of Animal Biology Laboratory
CHEM 132
General Chemistry II-GTSC1
and General Chemistry Laboratory II-GTSC1
ENGL 111 English Composition I-GTCO1 3
STAT 200
Probability and Statistics-GTMA1
or Calculus I-GT-MA1
 Semester Credit Hours15-17
Second Year
Fall Semester
BIOL 107
Principles of Plant Biology
and Principles of Plant Biology Laboratory
PHYS 111
General Physics-GTSC1
and General Physics Laboratory-GTSC1
ENGL 112 English Composition II-GTCO2 3
Essential Learning - Social and Behavioral Sciences 3
 Semester Credit Hours15
Spring Semester
BIOL 208
Fundamentals of Ecology and Evolution
and Fundamentals of Ecology and Evolution Laboratory
BIOL 301
Principles of Genetics
and Principles of Genetics Laboratory
KINA Activity 1
PHYS 112
General Physics-GTSC1
and General Physics Laboratory-GTSC1
 Semester Credit Hours14
Third Year
Fall Semester
BIOL 403 Evolution 3
Essential Learning - History 3
ESSL 290 Maverick Milestone 3
ESSL 200 Essential Speech 1
Additional Biology Courses 6
 Semester Credit Hours16
Spring Semester
BIOL 405
Advanced Ecological Methods
and Advanced Ecological Methods Laboratory
Essential Learning - Social and Behavioral Sciences 3
Social and Behavioral Sciences - Humanities 3
Electives 4
 Semester Credit Hours15
Fourth Year
Fall Semester
Additional Biology Courses 7
Essential Learning - Fine Arts 3
Essential Learning - Natural Science 3
Elective 3
 Semester Credit Hours16
Spring Semester
BIOL 483 Senior Thesis 2
Additional Biology Courses 7
Electives 1 6
 Semester Credit Hours15
 Total Semester Credit Hours120-122

Advising Process and DegreeWorks

Documentation on the pages related to this program is intended for informational purposes to help determine what courses and associated requirements are needed to earn a degree. The suggested course sequencing outlines how students could finish degree requirements. Some courses are critical to complete in specific semesters, while others may be moved around. Meeting with an academic advisor is essential in planning courses and altering the suggested course sequencing. It is ultimately the student’s responsibility to understand and fulfill the requirements for her/his intended degree(s).

DegreeWorks is an online degree audit tool available in MAVzone. It is the official record used by the Registrar’s Office to evaluate progress towards a degree and determine eligibility for graduation. Students are responsible for reviewing their DegreeWorks audit on a regular basis and should discuss questions or concerns with their advisor or academic department head. Discrepancies in requirements should be reported to the Registrar’s Office.

Graduation Process

Students must complete the following in the first two months of the semester prior to completing their degree requirements:

  • Review their DegreeWorks audit and create a plan that outlines how unmet requirements will be met in the final semester.
  • Meet with their advisor and modify their plan as needed. The advisor must approve the final plan.
  • Submit the “Intent to Graduate” form to the Registrar’s Office to officially declare the intended graduation date and commencement ceremony plans.
  • Register for all needed courses and complete all requirements for each degree sought.

Submission deadlines and commencement details can be found at

If a student’s petition for graduation is denied, it will be her/his responsibility to consult the Registrar’s Office regarding next steps.