McMicken College of Arts & SciencesMcMicken College of Arts & SciencesUniversity of Cincinnati

McMicken College of Arts & Sciences


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Biological Sciences

Biology is the scientific study of life and life processes. Biologists study the organization of life from the structures of molecules to the balance of ecosystems. Biology majors learn to observe critically the details of all life; they analyze data and apply biological knowledge learned in the classroom to draw conclusions about their observations. 

Biologists are able to make significant contributions to maintaining the health and well-being of the human population, as well as preserving and protecting the environment. They develop a knowledge base and scientific way of thinking that will enable them to make informed personal health and public policy decisions.


Quick Info

Program Code


Real-World Learning Components

Optional internship(s), Research


4 years

Admission Criteria



Main Campus

Freshman Class Profile for this Major

3.044 - 3.660 (4 pt. scale)
21.0 - 26.0
980 - 1180


Biological Sciences
McMicken College of Arts and Sciences


614 Rieveschl Hall
PO Box 210006
Cincinnati,OH  45221-0006
Phone: 513-556-9700

Student Success Factors

Students who have an interest in the living world around them, how the body works, the causes of diseases, etc. will often find a biology major very rewarding. Successful biology majors are good at making careful observations and recording information in a logical way. They excel at analyzing that information (critical thinking), which often involves employing basic math skills. Since many science courses involve laboratories, students who enjoy active, hands-on learning will enjoy the biology major. Visual learners will especially appreciate the beauty and complexity of the natural world. The major requires a significant amount of hard work and study time, but can result in a very rewarding career.

Career Possibilities

Graduates with a BS in biology have a wide range of career options as well as options for graduate study in biology, while the BA degree may be preferable for students seeking a second major in biology or those interested in careers in teaching or entering the workforce upon graduation. The BA degree will generally not serve the needs of a pre-professional student (pre-med, pre-vet, etc.) who should instead select the BS degree in biology. A few examples of career fields open to BA biology majors include the following (many of which require additional degrees):

  • Academic, industrial, environmental/organismal, medical/pharmaceutical researcher
  • Physician assistant, physical therapist
  • Imaging technologist
  • Law, specifically areas that include environmental issues and patent law requiring a solid scientific background
  • Medical lab technologist
  • Nurse
  • Middle/high school educator
  • Forestry, horticulture, park service, wildlife/fishery biologist
  • Regulatory affairs specialist
  • Scientific writing
  • Zookeeper, naturalist

Additional career options are listed on the Center for Exploratory Studies website.

Major Details

The study of biology includes several subdisciplines, and the major offers students the flexibility to create their own course of study within this range of possibilities. Majors begin by establishing a broad base in the discipline, taking a two-semester sequence in introductory biology (lecture/lab), followed by two semesters of sophomore biology (lecture/lab): genetics and cell biology (fall semester), evolution, ecology and genetics (spring semester). During the final two years, biology majors must complete upper-level electives in biology, which must include a laboratory component. Undergraduate research may be used to fulfill one of the lab requirements.

A&S's flexible degree requirements allow for and highly encourage students to pursue multiple areas of study. Free electives allow for enough credits for students to pursue a minor, certificate program or even complete a second major. Some of the most common pairings are listed below.

  • Chemistry (BA or minor)
  • Environmental studies
  • Geographic information sciences
  • Geography
  • Geology
  • Neuroscience
  • Psychology


Experiential Learning
Experiential learning is a large part of the biology undergraduate major. Students are strongly encouraged to conduct research and take unique courses such as this field course held at the Cincinnati Center for Field Studies at Miami Whitewater Forest. Watch the YouTube Video. Internships can also be completed for free elective credit.

Minor Details

Students working toward an undergraduate degree at UC can earn a minor, while non-degree students (e.g., graduate students, non-matriculated students) can earn a certificate. The requirements are the same for both. See an undergraduate student advisor in the Department of Biological Sciences to create a plan to meet the requirements.

Course Requirements (32-33 hours):

  • Biology I & II with Labs, BIOL 1081-1082, 1081L-1082L  (8 hours)
  • Genetics and Cell Biology, BIOL 2081C  (4 hours)
  • Evolution, Ecology and Genetics, BIOL 2082C  (4 hours)
  • General Chemistry I & II with Labs, CHEM 1040-1041, 1040L-1041L  (10 hours)
  • Two upper level electives, BIOL 3000 and above  (6-7 hours)*
    *Two courses are required. One must have a lab component. This may be taken either by taking a combined course (designated C) or by taking a lecture course with a companion laboratory course.

    Click here to declare the minor online


These tools assist students to identify course requirements and individual progress toward completion of academic programs. It is important to utilize these resources with personalized guidance from a UC academic advisor regularly to ensure timely graduation..

My Degree Audit - for confirmed and current students

My Transfer Course Equivalencies - for students considering transfer to UC

UC Schedule of Classes - search course availability and descriptions

Curriculum Guide Versions:

Biology (BA) Curriculum Guide

Predominant Program

    Fall (Year 1)
    • BIOL1081, Biology I: Molecules, Cells, and the Foundation of Life, NS, 3
    • BIOL1081L, Biology I Laboratory, NS, 1
    • CHEM1040, General Chemistry I, NS, 4
    • CHEM1040L, General Chemistry Laboratory I, NS, 1
    • MATHxxxx, Quantitative Reasoning (QR) course-- choose either MATH1044 or 1061, QR, 3 - 4
    • ENGL1001, English Composition, EC, 3
    Spring (Year 1)
    • BIOL1082, Biology II: Evolution, Physiology, and Ecology, NS, 3
    • BIOL1082L, Biology II Laboratory, NS, 1
    • CHEM1041, General Chemistry II, NS, 4
    • CHEM1041L, General Chemistry Laboratory II, NS, 1
    • STAT1034, Elementary Statistics I, QR, 3
    • XXXXxxxx, Freshman Seminar Course (if admitted freshman year)-- may double count, 0 - 3
    Summer (Year 1)
    • N/A
    Fall (Year 2)
    • BIOL2081C, Genetics and Cell Biology, 4
    • XXXXxxxx, Social Science (SS) Course, SS, 3
    • XXXXxxxx, Foreign Language Requirement, 5
    • CHEMxxxx, Chemistry sequence (lecture and lab)- see list below for options, 5
    Spring (Year 2)
    • BIOL2082C, Ecology, Evolution, and Population Genetics, 4
    • XXXXxxxx, Foreign Language Requirement, 5
    • CHEMxxxx, Chemistry sequence (lecture and lab) - see list below for options, 5
    • ENGL2089, Intermediate Composition, EC, 3
    Summer (Year 2)
    • N/A
    Fall (Year 3)
    • BIOLxxxx, Upper level Biology course - see list below, 3 - 4
    • XXXXxxxx, Social Science (SS) Course , SS, 3
    • XXXXxxxx, Historical Perspective (HP) Course, HP, 3
    • XXXXxxxx, Humanities (HU) Course , HU, 3
    • XXXXxxxx, Minor or Free elective course, 3
    Spring (Year 3)
    • BIOLxxxx, Upper level Biology course - see list below, 4
    • HISTxxxx, HIST Course, HP, 3
    • XXXXxxxx, Social & Ethical Issues (SE) or Technology & Innovation (TI) Course -- may double count, SE, TI, 0 - 3
    • XXXXxxxx, Humanities (HU) or Fine Arts (FA) Course, HU, FA, 3
    • XXXXxxxx, Minor or Free Elective Course, 2 - 3
    Summer (Year 3)
    • N/A
    Fall (Year 4)
    • BIOLxxxx, Two Upper level Biology courses --see list below, 6 - 8
    • XXXXxxxx, Minor or Free Elective courses, 6
    • XXXXxxxx, Interdisciplinary Course-- may double count, 0 - 3
    Spring (Year 4)
    • BIOL5050, Biology Capstone, 1
    • BIOLxxxx, Upper level Biology course - see list below, 3 - 4
    • XXXXxxxx, Minor or Free Elective courses, 12
    Summer (Year 4)
    • N/A
    • CHEM2030, Survey of Biochemistry I, 4
    • CHEM2030L, Survey of Biochemistry Laboratory I, 1
    • CHEM2031, Survey of Biochemistry II, 4
    • CHEM2031L, Survey of Biochemistry Laboratory II, 1
    • CHEM2040, Organic Chemistry I, 4
    • CHEM2040L, Organic Chemistry Laboratory I, 1
    • CHEM2041, Organic Chemistry II, 4
    • CHEM2041L, Organic ChemistryLaboratory II, 1
    Upper level Biology Electives
    • BIOL3010C, Botany, 4
    • BIOL3011C, Environmental Field Techniques, 4
    • BIOL3020C, Human/Comparative Anatomy, 4
    • BIOL3024, Aquatic Biology, 3
    • BIOL3024L, Aquatic Biology Laboratory, 1
    • BIOL3051C, Flowering Plant Classification, 4
    • BIOL4011, Microbiology, 3
    • BIOL4011L, Microbiology Laboratory, 2
    • BIOL4020C, Invertebrate Zoology, 4
    • BIOL4022C, Vertebrate Zoology, 4
    • BIOL4025C, Plant Physiology, 4
    • BIOL4091C, Biotechnology Laboratory Methods, 4
    • BIOL4095, Undergraduate Research, 1 - 6
    • BIOL4096, Undergraduate Research, 1 - 6
    • BIOL4097, Undergraduate Research, 1 - 6
    • BIOL6002C, Bioinformatics, 4
    • BIOL6091C, Advanced Ecology, 4
    • BIOL6093C, Human Physiology & Biomechanics, 4
    Quantitative Reasoning
    • MATH1044, Applied Calculus I, QR, 3
    • MATH1061, Calculus I, QR, 4
    • STAT1035, Elementary Statistics II, QR, 3
    Additional Upper level Electives
    • BIOL3xxx, 3000 level course(s) or above, 9

UC Advantages and Special Opportunities

Students in the UC McMicken College of Arts and Sciences enjoy many benefits afforded through study at a research-intensive institution ranked among the nation's top 25 public research universities. UC's urban, Tristate location offers exciting opportunities for global education, research and service learning, while its student-centered focus includes an 11:1 student-faculty ratio, a nationally recognized Center for Exploratory Studies and a highly successful First Year Experience program that teaches critical skills for first-year students and provides connections with important campus resources.

Special Programs

Faculty within the Department of Biological Sciences are actively engaged in research in a variety of areas. Undergraduates have the opportunity to participate in this research and can earn academic credit that can be applied toward their upper-level biology course requirements. Outstanding undergraduates (with a GPA of at least 3.3 overall) may apply for admission to the honors program in biology as early as the spring semester of their sophomore year.

Teaching laboratories within the department are well-equipped and devoted to undergraduate education. Faculty are involved and dedicated to employing new teaching methods and technology that enrich students’ educational experiences.

Admission Requirements

Freshmen applicants, please visit the Admission Requirements page for more information.

Transferring to UC Requirements

Admission to A&S is generally available for any off-campus student who was admissible directly from high school and has 2.0 GPA cum and a 2.0 in the most recent institution.

Students who were not admissible directly from high school must have:

  • 24 semester (36 quarter) hours earned
  • at least a 2.0 GPA cum and a 2.0 at most recent institution
  • successfully completed one semester of English composition or its equivalent
  • successfully completed one semester of math with a grade of C- or higher that minimally meets on of the following:
    • Mathematical Literacy (MATH 0029)
    • Intermediate Algebra (MATH 0034)
    • Algebra for College (MATH 0039)
    • Students may also take the UC Math Placement exam, but must score an MPT of 420 or higher

University transfer scholarships are available to those who meet specific requirements and ANY admitted A&S transfer student might qualify for an A&S transfer scholarship. Deadlines and eligibility criteria are online via the previous links.

Changing Majors Within UC

Admission to A&S is generally available for University of Cincinnati students enrolled in other colleges if they were admissible directly from high school, have a cumulative 2.0 GPA and a 2.0 in their most recent UC college.

Students who were not admissible directly from high school must have:

  • at least a 2.0 GPA in all college-level courses (both at UC and at other institutions)
  • successfully completed one semester of English composition or its equivalent
  • successfully completed one semester of math with a grade of C- or higher that minimally meets on of the following:
    • Mathematical Literacy (MATH 0029)
    • Intermediate Algebra (MATH 0034)
    • Algebra for College (MATH 0039)
    • Students may also take the UC Math Placement exam, but must score an MPT of 420 or higher

Graduation Requirements

To graduate from the UC McMicken College of Arts and Sciences, students must:


  • Earn at least 120 credits. This can include transfer credit, AP credit and free electives, but does not include preparatory coursework. Students who have met all other degree requirements must continue earning credit until the total number of their earned hours comes to at least 120.
  • Attain a 2.0 grade point average for all courses taken at the University of Cincinnati.
  • Attain a 2.0 grade point average for all courses within the biology major.
  • Be in good academic standing, that is, not on either academic probation or disciplinary probation or suspension.
  • Complete the residency requirement by earning at least 30 credits after matriculating into the college.
  • Complete all of the requirements of at least one major (see major requirements above).
  • Complete the College Core Requirements.
  • Submit an application for graduation to the registrar's office by their posted deadline.

Application Deadlines

While midyear admission is possible, fall semester is generally the best time to enter the college, since many course sequences begin in that semester. Applicants to the UC McMicken College of Arts and Sciences who are enrolled or who were previously enrolled as degree-seeking students in A&S or in other UC colleges should apply for admission directly to A&S (in French West, 2nd Floor). All other applicants who wish to earn an undergraduate degree from A&S should apply through the Office of Admissions (3rd Floor, University Pavilion).


The University of Cincinnati and all regional campuses are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.