Mar 27, 2023  
School of Undergraduate Studies 2021-2022 
School of Undergraduate Studies 2021-2022 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Biology Major (B.A.)

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Majors and Programs

The biology major leading to a Bachelor of Arts degree is tailored to help students double-majoring in education or planning specific careers in allied health such as nursing and physician assistant. This degree requires 47 credits of biology: 19 credits in specified courses, one 4 credit upper level plant or ecology course elective, and 24 credits of biology electives. Three support courses: two courses in chemistry and one course in biostatistics, are also required.

The Bachelor of Arts degree differs from the Bachelor of Science degree requiring fewer supporting courses and more biology courses. Specifically, students doing the BA are not required to take Physics I and II or Organic Chemistry I and II or Calculus. This is five fewer courses. BA students are, however, required to take two additional upper level biology courses, leaving a net reduction of three courses between the two degrees. Students going into PA school ought to check specific requirements of schools to which they are interested in applying. Some require one semester of Organic Chemistry.

General concentration requirements are for either degree. (See Biology Concentrations section below.)


Majors normally take an introductory core of six courses in the sequence listed below, plus a senior seminar.  

Required Support Courses

The following science and mathematics support courses are also required of all Bachelor of Arts biology majors:

Plant or Ecology Course Electives

One upper-level plant or ecology course is required. Choose from the courses below or an approved course from Au Sable Institute of Environmental Studies, the Creation Care Studies Program, or another off-campus program.


Students select an additional 24 credits of biology electives in consultation with their advisor. These electives will fulfill concentration requirements and must include at least three upper-level (300- or above) biology courses.

Biology Concentrations

In addition, a concentration is required from the following:

Professional Concentration (B.A.)

The Professional Concentration provides flexibility in course selection for students with a holistic interest in biology. The B.S. in biology is particularly appropriate for students wishing to enter graduate school, whereas the B.A. in biology is best for students with a double major outside of the natural sciences. A total of 24 credits of biology electives required, including at least three upper-level (300- or above) biology courses.

Health Professions Concentration (B.A.)

Biology is a popular choice of major for many students entering medicine or other health professions. Biology provides a breadth of experiences related to living organisms, including humans, which provides a solid foundation for those interested in pursuing medical-related fields. The B.A. in biology may be appropriate for those pursuing prenursing and physician assistant programs, while the B.S. in biology may be more appropriate for the premedical, preveterinary, predental and prephysical therapy tracks.

Students interested in a career in the health professions fields should declare a health professions concentration and track. The specific requirements for different health professions tracks are listed under the Health Professions Program  section of this catalog. Contact Dr. Craig Story, Director of Health Professions, for additional information.

Health Professions Tracks

Courses for these concentrations are listed as tracks under the Health Professions Program:

Premedicine, Dentistry, Veterinary - See Track 1  

Prenursing - See Track 2  

Preoptometry - See Track 4  

Prepharmacy - See Track 5  

Prephysical Therapy - See Track 6  

Prephysician Assistant - See Track 7    

Biotechnology Concentration (B.A.)

The biotechnology concentration is recommended for those who want experience in biotechnology and want to be prepared for the business world as well as research.

The following courses are required:

Environmental Concentration (B.A.)

The environmental concentration prepares students for a range of careers in environmental research and conservation, particularly with an emphasis in sustainability and stewardship.

The following courses are required:

Marine Biology Concentration (B.A.)

The marine biology concentration can take advantage of Gordon’s location on the coast as well as collaborations with Wood’s Hole, Marine Studies Consortium, and Au Sable Institute.

The following courses are required:

Educator Licensure - Biology

Students interested in teaching biology should consult the program chairs of biology and education for specific course requirements. The Bachelor of Arts in biology is recommended.

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Majors and Programs