Biological Sciences (BS)

To see more about what you will learn in this program, visit the Learning Outcomes website!

There are five different avenues to earning a B.S. in Biological Sciences at NC State. Students studying for a degree in Biological Sciences can opt for a general curriculum (BLS) or can choose to focus in a particular area by selecting one of four areas of concentration: Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology (MCD), Integrative Physiology and Neurobiology (IPN), Human Biology (HB), or Ecology, Evolution and Conservation Biology (EEC).  All new first-year students interested in the B.S. in Biological Sciences start their studies in the NC State Life Sciences First Year Program.

The MCD curriculum offers students in-depth studies of the molecular and cellular basis of life and the development of multicellular organisms.

The IPN curriculum provides a comprehensive grounding in basic principles of physiology and neuroscience, as well as in-depth exposure to the application of these principles in understanding whole-organism function and the ways in which animals (including humans) cope with challenges presented by their environments.

The HB curriculum allows some flexibility for students to study the biology of humans as well as relevant aspects of the humanities and social sciences, while also requiring those science courses most often required by medical schools. It is designed to provide students with a solid education in the scientific and humanistic concepts that underlie modern health sciences and related areas of scientific research.

The EEC curriculum offers students in-depth studies in areas of biology at the level of the organism, populations and ecosystems. It is designed for students who have an interest in whole organisms and their biodiversity — what maintains it, what environmental changes affect it, and how to protect it in the face of various challenges.

Plan Requirements

Exploring the Life Sciences
LSC 103Exploring Opportunities in the Life Sciences1
Writing
Advanced Writing Requirement Elective 13
Biological Sciences
LSC 101Critical and Creative Thinking in the Life Sciences 12
BIO 181Introductory Biology: Ecology, Evolution, and Biodiversity 14
BIO 183Introductory Biology: Cellular and Molecular Biology 14
BIO 270Introduction to Evolution3
GN 311Principles of Genetics 14
GN 312Elementary Genetics Laboratory 11
MB 351General Microbiology 13
MB 352General Microbiology Laboratory 11
or MB 354 Inquiry-Guided Microbiology Lab
Physiology Requirement Elective 13
Physical & Mathematical Sciences
MA 131Calculus for Life and Management Sciences A 13
or MA 141 Calculus I
MA 231Calculus for Life and Management Sciences B 13
or MA 241 Calculus II
CH 101Chemistry - A Molecular Science 13
CH 102General Chemistry Laboratory 11
CH 201Chemistry - A Quantitative Science 13
CH 202Quantitative Chemistry Laboratory 11
CH 221Organic Chemistry I 13
CH 222Organic Chemistry I Lab 11
CH 223Organic Chemistry II 13
CH 224Organic Chemistry II Lab 11
Select one of the following: 14
College Physics I
Physics for Engineers and Scientists I
and Physics for Engineers and Scientists I Laboratory
Select one of the following: 14
College Physics II
Physics for Engineers and Scientists II
and Physics for Engineers and Scientists II Laboratory
Major Electives
Select one of the following Learning Experience Electives:3
Research in the Life Sciences II: Guided Research
Honors Project Part 2
Professional Experience
Research Experience
Biological Sciences Honors Project Part 2
Life Science Electives14
Additional Science & Math Elelectives10
GEP Courses
ENG 101Academic Writing and Research 14
GEP Humanities6
GEP Social Sciences6
GEP Health and Exercise Studies2
GEP Additional Breadth (Humanities/Social Sciences/Visual and Performing Arts)3
GEP Interdisciplinary Perspectives3
GEP U.S. Diversity (verify requirement)
GEP Global Knowledge (verify requirement)
Foreign Language Proficiency (verify requirement)
Free Electives
Free Electives (12 Hr S/U Lmt) 210
These electives cannot be remedial nor can they be taken at an elementary level after you have taken comparable coursework at a more advanced level. ST 311 is recommended as a Free Elective. Students interested in graduate school or professional school should check the courses required for admission to the programs to which they plan to apply.
Total Hours120

Advanced Writing Requirement Elective 

BIO 267Research in the Life Sciences I: Research Skills
COM 211Argumentation and Advocacy3
ENG 214Introduction to Editing3
ENG 232Literature and Medicine3
ENG 287Explorations in Creative Writing3
ENG 288Fiction Writing3
ENG 289Poetry Writing3
ENG 292Writing About Film3
ENG 316Introduction to News and Article Writing3
ENG 323Writing in the Rhetorical Tradition3
ENG 331Communication for Engineering and Technology3
ENG 332Communication for Business and Management3
ENG 333Communication for Science and Research3
ENG 381Creative Nonfiction Writing Workshop3
ENG 388Intermediate Fiction Writing Workshop3
ENG 389Intermediate Poetry Writing Workshop3
ENG 416Advanced News and Article Writing3
ENG 417Editorial and Opinion Writing3
ENG 422Writing Theory and the Writing Process3
ENG 425Analysis of Scientific and Technical Writing3
ENG 426Analyzing Style3

Physiology Requirement Electives

BIO 240Principles of Human Anatomy & Physiology (A): Nervous, Skeletal, Muscular, & Digestive Systems4
BIO 245Principles of Human Anatomy & Physiology (B): Endocrine, Cardiovascular, Respiratory & Renal Systems4
PB 321Introduction to Whole Plant Physiology3
PB 421Plant Physiology3
ZO 250Animal Anatomy and Physiology4

Life Science Electives 

Select one option from each of the following four Groups for a total of at least 14 credit hours.
Group I: Animals4
AEC 441Biology of Fishes
AEC 442Biology of Fishes Laboratory
AEC 501Avian Ecology
BIO 315General Parasitology
BIO 361Developmental Biology
BIO 370
BIO 375
Developmental Anatomy of the Vertebrates
and Developmental Anatomy Laboratory
0
ENT/FOR 402Forest Entomology
ENT 425General Entomology
FW 444/544Mammalogy
ZO 333Captive Animal Biology
ZO 350Animal Phylogeny and Diversity
ZO 402Invertebrate Biology
ZO 542Herpetology
Group II: Plants4
PB 200Plant Life
PB 250Plant Biology
PB 400Plant Diversity and Evolution
PB 403/503Systematic Botany
Group III: Organismal Function4
ANS 225Principles of Animal Nutrition
ANS 230Animal Nutrition
ANS 415/515Comparative Nutrition
BIO 240Principles of Human Anatomy & Physiology (A): Nervous, Skeletal, Muscular, & Digestive Systems
BIO 245Principles of Human Anatomy & Physiology (B): Endocrine, Cardiovascular, Respiratory & Renal Systems
BIO 414Cell Biology
BIO 424Endocrinology
BIO 488/588Neurobiology
BIT 410Manipulation of Recombinant DNA
BIT 481Plant Tissue Culture and Transformation
MB 441Immunology
NTR 415/515Comparative Nutrition
NTR 419Human Nutrition and Chronic Disease
PB 321Introduction to Whole Plant Physiology
PB 421Plant Physiology
PB 480/580Introduction to Plant Biotechnology
PB 481Plant Tissue Culture and Transformation
PHY/PO/ZO 524Comparative Endocrinology
PO 404/504Avian Anatomy and Physiology
PO 415/515Comparative Nutrition
ZO 250Animal Anatomy and Physiology
Group IV: Ecology & Evolution4
AEC/PB 360Ecology
AEC 419/519Freshwater Ecology
AEC 460Field Ecology and Methods
BIO 323Paleoecology
BIO 330Evolutionary Biology
BIO 440The Human Animal: An Evolutionary Perspective
CS 230Introduction to Agroecology
FOR 260Forest Ecology
MEA 250
MEA 251
Introduction to Coastal Environments
and Introduction to Coastal Environments Laboratory
0
ZO 410Introduction to Animal Behavior

Additional Science and Math Elective

AEC/GN 450Conservation Genetics
BEC/BIT 463Fermentation of Recombinant Microorganisms
BIO 230The Science of Studying Dinosaurs
BIO 240Principles of Human Anatomy & Physiology (A): Nervous, Skeletal, Muscular, & Digestive Systems
BIO 245Principles of Human Anatomy & Physiology (B): Endocrine, Cardiovascular, Respiratory & Renal Systems
BIO 310Quantitative Approaches to Biological Problems
BIO 416Cancer Cell Biology
BIO 418Cell Biology Research Lab
BIO 432Evolutionary Medicine
BIT 477Metagenomics
GN 428Introduction to Machine Learning in Biology
GN 453Personal Genomics
MA 331Differential Equations for the Life Sciences
MB 470Emerging and Re-emerging Infectious Diseases
PB 205Our Green World
ZO 334Captive Animal Biology Field Laboratory
ZO 486Capstone Course in Zoology

Semester Sequence

This is a sample.

Plan of Study Grid
First Year
Fall SemesterHours
LSC 101 Critical and Creative Thinking in the Life Sciences 1 2
BIO 181 Introductory Biology: Ecology, Evolution, and Biodiversity 4
CH 101
CH 102
Chemistry - A Molecular Science
and General Chemistry Laboratory
4
MA 131 Calculus for Life and Management Sciences A 1 3
LSC 103 Exploring Opportunities in the Life Sciences 1
GEP Health and Exercise Studies 1
 Hours15
Spring Semester
BIO 183 Introductory Biology: Cellular and Molecular Biology 1 4
CH 221
CH 222
Organic Chemistry I
and Organic Chemistry I Lab
4
ENG 101 Academic Writing and Research 1 4
MA 231 Calculus for Life and Management Sciences B 1 3
 Hours15
Second Year
Fall Semester
Physiology Requirement 3
CH 223
CH 224
Organic Chemistry II
and Organic Chemistry II Lab 1
4
BIO 270 Introduction to Evolution 3
GEP Social Sciences 3
GEP Health and Exercise Studies 1
 Hours14
Spring Semester
Science and Math Elective 4
CH 201
CH 202
Chemistry - A Quantitative Science
and Quantitative Chemistry Laboratory 1
4
GEP Interdisciplinary Perspectives 3
GEP Humanities 3
 Hours14
Third Year
Fall Semester
PY 211 College Physics I 1 4
MB 351
MB 352
General Microbiology
and General Microbiology Laboratory 1
4
Advanced Writing Requirement 1 3
Learning Experience Elective 3
 Hours14
Spring Semester
PY 212 College Physics II 1 4
Life Science Elective 1 4
GEP Social Sciences 3
GN 311
GN 312
Principles of Genetics
and Elementary Genetics Laboratory
5
 Hours16
Fourth Year
Fall Semester
Life Science Elective 1 3
Life Science Elective 1 3
Science and Math Elective 3
Free Elective 3
Free Elective 4
 Hours16
Spring Semester
Life Science Elective 1 4
Science and Math Elective 3
Free Elective 3
GEP Additional Breadth (Humanities/Social Sciences/Visual and Performing Arts) 3
GEP Humanities 3
 Hours16
 Total Hours120

Career Opportunities

Many students majoring in the Department of Biological Sciences take advantage of scholarship and honors programs available at NC State, including the University Honors Program and the University Scholars Program.  In addition, we offer a discipline-based Undergraduate Honors Program in Biological Sciences (DBS Honors Program).  The DBS Honors Program requires students to design a challenging program of advanced study, including eight credits of honors coursework in biology and at least two semesters of research or teaching scholarship.  Participants write an honors thesis and are required to present their scholarly work at a local, regional, or national meeting.  Invitations to join the DBS Honors Program are sent in the first three weeks of the Fall and Spring semesters.  Students in any major in the Department of Biological Sciences who have earned an overall GPA of 3.60 after completing 30-65 credit hours at NC State will receive an invitation to join the DBS Honors Program; transfer students in any of our majors who have earned an overall GPA of 3.60 in 15 credit hours at NC State also will receive an invitation.  

Students who graduate from the Department of Biological Sciences are well prepared for employment in various government agencies and private industries. Graduates may continue their education with studies leading to advanced degrees in many areas of the biological sciences, including cell biology, ecology, microbiology, genetics, zoology, neurobiology, and biomedical disciplines. Many choose to seek advanced degrees in medicine, dentistry, optometry, veterinary medicine, public health, and other health-related fields. Students who plan to seek certification for pre-college teaching may want to pursue a second major in the Department of Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics Education.