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Bachelor of Science in Biology

The undergraduate major in Biology can serve as a stepping-stone for a wide variety of career opportunities. For students planning to attend medical, dental, or veterinary school, or graduate school in biological and applied sciences, the biology major provides a strong foundation in the basic life sciences. This foundation of knowledge, plus laboratory experience, also prepares students well for research and technical positions in universities, government, and industry.

While a major in Biology provides an excellent background for these technical careers, it can also serve as a valuable and satisfying focus of a liberal arts education for those not planning careers in science-related fields. An understanding of basic biological principles is of increasing importance in today's world. A knowledgeable and concerned citizenry is the best guarantee that these issues will be resolved most effectively. Finally, an understanding of the processes of life can heighten our perception and appreciation of the world around us, in terms of its beauty, variety, and uniqueness.

ADVISING

Members of the Biology faculty are available for advising on such academic matters as choice of courses, research, suggested readings, and career plans. The student services office maintains a current list of faculty advisers, advising schedules, and research interests.

The student services office staff and BioBridge, the department's peer advising group, are prepared to answer questions on administrative matters, such as requirements for the major, approved out-of-department electives, transfer course evaluations, and petition procedures. This office also distributes the department's Bachelor of Science Handbook, which delineates policies and requirements, as well as other department forms and informational handouts.

Each undergraduate interested in the Biology major is required to select a department faculty adviser as part of the major declaration process. Students who plan to attend medical or graduate school, enroll in the honors or coterminal programs, take courses at Hopkins Marine Station, or attend one of the overseas campuses may find these resources particularly helpful.

REQUIREMENTS

Candidates for the general Biology B.S. degree must complete:

Core Courses—must be taken for a letter grade, including Writing in the Major courses:

Subject and Catalog Number

Units

BIO 41

5

BIO 42

5

BIO or BIOHOPK 43

5

BIO 44X

4

BIO or BIOHOPK 44Y*

4

may be replaced by 4 units of BIOHOPK 175H

 

* BIO 44Y not required if completing honors program. Failure to complete honors program results in student being required to complete BIO 44Y.

Required Foundational Breadth Courses—two courses may be taken credit/no credit:

Subject and Catalog Number

Units

CHEM 31A,B, or 31X

8 or 4

CHEM 33, 35, 36, 130*, 131

18

CHEM 135 or 171

3

PHYSICS 21, 22, 23, 24 or 41, 43, 45 or 28, 29

8-12

MATH 19, 20, 21 or 41, 42

10

One additional Foundational Breadth Course from this list:

 

BIOHOPK 174H**

3

BIO/STATS 141**

4-5

CS 106A or 106X

3-5

MATH 51 or beyond

5

STATS 60/PSYCH 10

5

* May be substituted with MATH 100 or beyond if student is interested in the fields of ecology and evolutionary biology.

** If taken to fulfill the foundational breadth requirement, these courses do not count toward the 24 elective unit requirement.

Electives—24 units required, distributed as follows:

Central Menu Areas:

  1. Molecular (Area 1)

    BIO 104. Advanced Molecular Biology

    BIO 113. Fundamentals of Molecular Evolution3

    BIO 118. Genetic Analysis of Biological Processes1

    BIO 133. Genetics of Prokaryotes1

    BIO 160A. Developmental Biology I1

    BIO 160B. Developmental Biology II1

    BIO 188. Biochemistry I

    BIO 189. Biochemistry II

    BIO 230. Molecular and Cellular Immunology1

    CBIO 101. Cancer Biology1

    CEE 274A. Environmental Microbiology I

  2. Cell/Developmental (Area 2)

    BIO 118. Genetic Analysis of Biological Processes1

    BIO 129A. Cellular Dynamics I: Cell Motility and Adhesion

    BIO 129B. Cellular Dynamics II: Building a Cell

    BIO 133. Genetics of Prokaryotes1

    BIO 137. Plant Genetics1

    BIO 154. Molecular and Cellular Neurobiology2

    BIO 158. Developmental Neurobiology2

    BIO 160A. Developmental Biology I1

    BIO 160B. Developmental Biology II1

    BIO 171. Principles of Cell Cycle Control

    BIO 230. Molecular and Cellular Immunology1

    CBIO 101. Cancer Biology1

    CEE 274A. Environmental Microbiology I

  3. Organismal (Area 3)

    BIO 112. Human Physiology

    BIO 153. Cellular Neuroscience

    BIO 154. Molecular and Cellular Neurobiology2

    BIO 158. Developmental Neurobiology2

    BIO 163. Neural Systems and Behavior

    BIO 213. Biology of Viruses

    BIOHOPK 161H. Invertebrate Zoology

    BIOHOPK 162H. Comparative Animal Physiology

    BIOHOPK 167H. Nerve, Muscle, and Synapse

    BIOHOPK 169H. Neurobiology and Behavior

    BIOHOPK 171H. Ecological and Evolutionary Physiology

    MI 185. Topics in Microbiology

  4. Ecology and Evolution (Area 4)

    BIO 101. Ecology

    BIO 113. Fundamentals of Molecular Evolution

    BIO 121. Biogeography

    BIO 136. Evolutionary Paleobiology

    BIO 143. Evolution

    BIO 144. Conservation Biology

    BIO 145. Behavioral Ecology

    BIO 185. Evolution of Reproductive Social Behavior

    BIOHOPK 163H. Oceanic Biology

    BIOHOPK 172H. Marine Ecology

    CEE 274A. Environmental Microbiology I

1. May be used to satisfy either area I or area II requirement.

2. May be used to satisfy either area II or area III requirement

3. May be used to satisfy either area I or area IV requirement.

4. May be used to satisfy either area III or area IV requirement.

5. May be used to satisfy area I, area II, or area IV requirement.

Students intending to pursue research careers in biology, especially in ecology, population genetics, or theoretical biology, should be aware that MATH 19, 20, 21, or MATH 41, 42 are minimum mathematics requirements for the B.S. degree in Biology. Substantial additional training in mathematics, including differential equations, linear algebra, and probability theory, is often highly advisable. Students should consult the Biology faculty to discuss individual needs.

Additionally, even though only two or three quarters of physics are required, students should be aware that many graduate and professional schools (for example, Medicine) require a year of general physics with lab. Biology majors are therefore advised to take the year-long physics sequence PHYSICS 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26 if they plan to attend graduate or medical school.

For students considering study at Hopkins Marine Station or an overseas program, the department recommends fulfilling as many University General Education Requirements as possible in the first two years at Stanford.

HOPKINS MARINE STATION

For more information on the Hopkins Marine Station, see the "Hopkins Marine Station" section of this bulletin. Students can go to Hopkins as early as Spring Quarter in the sophomore year, and can also go in the junior and/or senior year to take elective courses. Full descriptions of Hopkins Marine courses may be viewed on the Stanford Bulletin's Explore Courses web site. The following Hopkins Marine Station courses may be used toward the Biology degree requirements:

Core—

BIOHOPK 43. Plant Biology, Evolution, and Ecology (equivalent to BIO 43)

BIOHOPK 44Y. Core Experimental Laboratory (equivalent to BIO 44Y)

BIOHOPK 175H. Problems in Marine Ecology and Ecophysiology (can be used in place of BIO 44Y)*

* 4 units count toward the BIO 44Y requirement, with the remaining units counting as research/teaching under the upper-division elective requirement.

Electives—

BIOHOPK 161H. Invertebrate Zoology (central menu area 3)

BIOHOPK 162H. Comparative Animal Physiology (central menu area 3)

BIOHOPK 163H. Oceanic Biology (central menu area 4)

BIOHOPK 164H. Marine Botany

BIOHOPK 166H. Molecular Ecology

BIOHOPK 167H. Nerve, Muscle, and Synapse (central menu area 3)

BIOHOPK 168H. Molecular Ecology Data Analysis

BIOHOPK 170H. Topics in Marine Biology

BIOHOPK 171H. Ecological and Evolutionary Physiology (central menu area 3)

BIOHOPK 172H. Marine Ecology (central menu area 4)

BIOHOPK 173H. Marine Conservation Biology

BIOHOPK 174H. Experimental Design and Probability

BIOHOPK 178H. Polar Biology

BIOHOPK 182H. Stanford at Sea (6 units maximum)

BIOHOPK 184H. Holistic Biology: Monterey Bay and the Sea of Cortez (6 units maximum)

BIOHOPK 185H. Ecology and Conservation of Kelp Forest Ecology

BIOHOPK 187H. Sensory Ecology

BIOHOPK 188H. Experimental Sensory Ecology

BIOHOPK 274. Hopkins Microbiology Course (6 units maximum)

BIOHOPK 277H. Biomechanics, Ecological Physiology, and Genetics of Intertidal Communities

BIOHOPK 310H. Intertidal Natural History

Research and/or Teaching (maximum 6 units combined)—

BIOHOPK 175H. Problems in Marine Ecology and Ecophysiology

BIOHOPK 198H. Directed Instruction or Teaching

BIOHOPK 199H. Undergraduate Research

BIOHOPK 290H. Teaching of Biological Science

BIOHOPK 300H. Research

See Biology degree requirements above for further information. Many of the Hopkins Marine Station courses may be used to fulfill department major requirements.

TYPICAL SCHEDULE FOR A FOUR-YEAR PROGRAM

FIRST YEAR

Subject and Catalog Number

Qtr. and Units

 

A

W

S

CHEM 31X*, 33, 35, 36. Chemical Principles and Organic Chemistry

4

4

7

MATH 19, 20, 21. Calculus and Analytic Geometry

3

3

4

Freshman requirements, seminars, or GERs

8

8

6

Totals

15

15

17

* This schedule varies slightly if the student takes CHEM 31A,B.

SECOND YEAR

BIO 41. Genetics, Biochemistry, and Molecular Biology*

5

 

 

BIO 42. Cell Biology and Animal Physiology*

 

5

 

BIO or BIOHOPK 43. Plant Biology, Evolution, and Ecology*

 

 

5

BIO 44X. Core Experimental Laboratory

 

4

 

BIO or BIOHOPK 44Y. Core Experimental Laboratory

 

 

4

CHEM 130, 131, 135 (or 171). Organic and Physical Chemistry

8

3

 

General Education Requirements or electives

3

5

8

Totals

16

17

17

* Letter grade only.

THIRD YEAR

PHYSICS 21, 22, 23, 24. Introductory Physics

4

4

 

General Education Requirements or electives

11

11

11

Totals

15

15

11

FOURTH YEAR

Electives

15

15

15

FIELDS OF STUDY

In addition to the undergraduate major program described above, the department offers these six fields of study for students wishing to concentrate their studies in particular areas of biology:

  1. Biochemistry and Biophysics
  2. Ecology and Evolution
  3. Marine Biology
  4. Microbes and Immunity
  5. Molecular and Cellular Biology
  6. Neurobiology

These fields of study are declared on Axess; they appear on the transcript but not on the diploma. Candidates for the B.S. degree in Biology with a field of study are required to complete the departmental honors program as well as the set of requirements outlined below. Students in a field of study must have their checklist signed by their adviser and submitted to the student services office by the end of junior year.

BIOCHEMISTRY AND BIOPHYSICS

Core Courses (must be taken for a letter grade):

Subject and Catalog Number

Units

BIO 41

5

BIO 42

5

BIO or BIOHOPK 43

5

Writing in the Major (one of the following):

BIO 44X

4

BIO or BIOHOPK 44Y

4

BIO 145*

4

BIOHOPK175H*

10

* These courses can also be used to count toward the elective requirement.

Required Foundational Breadth Courses (two courses may be taken credit/no credit):

CHEM 31A,B or 31X

8 or 4

CHEM 33, 35, 36, 130

15

CHEM 135 or 171

3

PHYSICS 41, 43, 45

12

MATH 51, 52

10

STATS 60 or BIO 141

5 or 4-5

Required Biology Courses (must be taken for a letter grade):

BIO 104

3

BIO 118

5

BIO 129A or 129B

4

BIO 188

3

Approved Biochemistry and Biophysics Courses (three of the following; must be taken for a letter grade):

APPPHYS 136

3

APPPHYS 192

3

BIO 132/232/APPPHYS/BIOPHYS/MCP 232

4

BIO 152/MCP 222

3

BIO 154/254/NBIO 254

4

BIO 189/289/CHEM 183/CHEMENG 183/283

3

BIO 214/BIOC 224

2-5

BIO 217

4

BIOE/RAD 220

3

BIOMEDIN 210

3

BIOMEDIN/BIOE/GENE 214/CS 274

3-4

BIOPHYS/SBIO 228

3

BIOPHYS/SBIO 241

3-5

CHEM 184

4

CHEM 185

3

EE 268

3

MCP 256

4

PHYSICS 105

4

Electives—7 units required. Electives must be 100-level or above and chosen from the offerings in the Department of Biology, Hopkins Marine Station, or from the list of approved out-of-department electives. Up to 6 units of teaching and research are allowed. Only one course can be taken credit/no credit.

Research Requirement—Admission to the departmental honors program; 10 units of BIO 199, 199X, or BIOHOPK 199H; poster or oral presentation; and honors thesis. Only research units from BIO or BIOHOPK are permitted.

ECOLOGY AND EVOLUTION

Core Courses (must be taken for a letter grade):

Subject and Catalog Number

Units

BIO 41

5

BIO 42

5

BIO or BIOHOPK 43

5

BIO 101* or BIOHOPK 172H*

3 or 5

* This course cannot also be used to count toward the elective requirement.

Writing in the Major (one of the following):

BIO 44X

4

BIO or BIOHOPK 44Y

4

BIO 145*

4

BIO 185*

4

BIOHOPK 175H*

10

* This course can also be used to count toward the elective requirement.

Required Foundational Breadth Courses (two courses may be taken credit/no credit):

CHEM 31A,B or 31X

8 or 4

CHEM 33, 35, 36

11

PHYSICS 21, 22, 23, 24 or 41, 43, 45 or 28, 29

8 or 12

MATH 41, 42

10

Required Evolutionary Biology Course (one of the following; must be taken for a letter grade):

BIO 113/244

4

BIO 136

4

BIO 143

3

BIOHOPK 166H

5

Required Quantitative Methods Course (one of the following; must be taken for a letter grade):

BIO 141

4-5

BIO 221

4

BIOHOPK 174H

3

CS 106A or 106X

3-5

STATS 60 or beyond

5

Electives—30 units required. Only one course can be taken credit/no credit. Electives must be from this approved list: BIO 102, 117, 118, 121, 124, 125, 139, 144, 145, 146, 147, 175, 183, 184, 185, 215, 216; BIOHOPK 161H, 162H***, 163H, 166H, 171H, 172H, 173H*, 174H, 175H***, 182H***, 185H***; CHEM 130, 131; EARTHSYS 144/EESS 164; EESS 134, 158; GES 123, 240; OSPAUSTL 10**, 20**, 30**.

* Only 1 unit can count.

** Only 2 units can count.

***Only 6 units can count.

Research Requirement—Admission to the departmental honors program; 10 units of BIO 199, 199X, or BIOHOPK 199H; poster or oral presentation; and honors thesis. Only research units from BIO or BIOHOPK are permitted.

MARINE BIOLOGY

Core Courses (must be taken for a letter grade):

Subject and Catalog Number

Units

BIO 41

5

BIO 42

5

BIO or BIOHOPK 43

5

Writing in the Major (one of the following):

BIO 44X

4

BIO or BIOHOPK 44Y

4

BIO 145

4

BIO 185

3

BIOHOPK 175H*

10

* This courses can also be used to count toward the approved courses.

Required Foundational Breadth Courses (two courses may be taken credit/no credit):

CHEM 31A,B or 31X

8 or 4

CHEM 33, 35, 36, 130, 131

18

PHYSICS 21, 22, 23, 24 or 41, 43, 45

8 or 12

MATH 41, 42 or 19, 20, 21

10

STATS 60 or BIO 141 or BIOHOPK 174H

5 or 4-5 or 3

Required Biology Courses (must be taken for a letter grade):

BIO 101

3

BIO 118

5

BIO 143

3

Approved courses (three of the following; must be taken for a letter grade):

BIOHOPK 161H

5

BIOHOPK 162H or 171H

5-8 or 4

BIOHOPK 163H

4

BIOHOPK 166H

5

BIOHOPK 172H

5

OSPAUSTL 10, 20, and 30

9

Approved courses (one of the following; must be taken for a letter grade):

BIOHOPK 175H

10

BIOHOPK 182H

16

BIOHOPK 184H

16

Research Requirement—Admission to the departmental honors program; 10 units of BIO 199, 199X, or BIOHOPK 199H; poster or oral presentation; and honors thesis. Only research units from BIO or BIOHOPK are permitted.

MICROBES AND IMMUNITY

Core Courses (must be taken for a letter grade):

Subject and Catalog Number

Units

BIO 41

5

BIO 42

5

BIO or BIOHOPK 43

5

Writing in the Major and Introduction to Laboratory Science (one of the following):

BIO 44X

4

BIO or BIOHOPK 44Y

4

BIOHOPK 175H*

10

* This course can also be used to count toward the elective requirement.

Required Foundational Breadth Courses (two courses may be taken credit/no credit):

CHEM 31A,B or 31X

8 or 4

CHEM 33, 35, 36, 130, 131

18

PHYSICS 21, 22, 23, 24 or 41, 43, 45

8 or 12

MATH 19, 20, 21 or 41, 42

10

BIO 141* or BIOHOPK 174H*

4-5 or 3

* This course cannot also be used to count toward the elective requirement.

Required Courses in Microbiology, Immunology, Molecular Evolution (four of the following; must be taken for a letter grade):

BIO 113

4

BIO 133

4

BIO 177

3

BIO 213

4-5

BIO 230

9-12

BIOHOPK 274

4

CEE 177

3

CEE 274A

3

CEE 274B

3

CEE 274D

3

IMMUNOL 185

3

MI 104

3

MI 211

3

MI 212

3

Required Course in Reading Scientific Literature (one of the following, must be taken for a letter grade):

BIO 178

3

MI 185

3

Electives—12 units required. Electives must be 100-level or above and selected from the offerings in the Department of Biology, Hopkins Marine Station, or from the list of approved out-of-department electives. Up to 6 units of teaching and research are allowed. Only one course can be taken credit/no credit.

Research Requirement—Admission to the departmental honors program; 10 units of BIO 199, 199X, or BIOHOPK 199H; poster or oral presentation; and honors thesis. Only research units from BIO or BIOHOPK are permitted.

MOLECULAR AND CELL BIOLOGY

Core Courses (must be taken for a letter grade):

Subject and Catalog Number

Units

BIO 41

5

BIO 42

5

BIO or BIOHOPK 43

5

Writing in the Major (one of the following):

BIO 44X

4

BIO or BIOHOPK 44Y

4

BIO 145*

4

BIOHOPK175H*

10

* These courses can also be used to count toward the elective requirement.

Required Foundational Breadth Courses (two courses may be taken credit/no credit):

CHEM 31A,B or 31X

8 or 4

CHEM 33, 35, 36, 130, 131

18

CHEM 135 or 171

3

PHYSICS 21, 22, 23, 24 or 41, 43, 45

8 or 12

MATH 41, 42 or 19, 20, 21

10

STATS 60 or BIO 141*

5 or 4-5

* This course cannot also be used to count toward the elective requirement.

Required Biology Courses (must be taken for a letter grade):

BIO 104

3

BIO 118

5

BIO 129A, 129B

8

or BIO 160A, 160B

8

Electives—15 units required. Electives must be 100-level or above and selected from the offerings in the Department of Biology, Hopkins Marine Station, or from the list of approved out-of-department electives. Up to 6 units of teaching and research are allowed. Only one course can be taken credit/no credit.

Research Requirement—Admission to the departmental honors program; 10 units of BIO 199, 199X, or BIOHOPK 199H; poster or oral presentation; and honors thesis. Only research units from BIO or BIOHOPK are permitted.

NEUROBIOLOGY

Core Courses (must be taken for a letter grade):

Subject and Catalog Number

Units

BIO 41

5

BIO 42

5

BIO or BIOHOPK 43

5

Writing in the Major (one of the following):

BIO 44X

4

BIO or BIOHOPK 44Y

4

BIO 145*

4

BIOHOPK175H*

10

* These courses can also be used to count toward the elective requirement.

Required Foundational Breadth Courses (two courses may be taken credit/no credit):

CHEM 31A,B or 31X

8 or 4

CHEM 33, 35, 36, 130, 131

18

PHYSICS 21, 22, 23, 24 or 41, 43, 45

8 or 12

MATH 41, 42 or 19, 20, 21

10

STATS 60 or BIO 141*

5 or 4-5

* This course cannot also be used to count toward the elective requirement.

Required Biology Courses (must be taken for a letter grade):

BIO 118 or 104

5

BIO 129A or 129B or 160A or 160B

4

BIO 150 or 163

5 or 4

BIO 154

4

BIO 158

4

Electives—15 units required. Electives must be at the 100-level or above and selected from the offerings in the Department of Biology, Hopkins Marine Station, or from the list of approved out-of-department electives. Up to 6 units of teaching and/or research are allowed. Only one course can be taken credit/no credit.

Research Requirement—Admission to the departmental honors program; 10 units of BIO 199, 199X, or BIOHOPK 199H; poster or oral presentation; and honors thesis. Only research units from BIO or BIOHOPK are permitted.

For further information on the fields of study, including detailed descriptions of their requirements and deadlines, see http://biology.stanford.edu/programs.html.

HONORS

To graduate with departmental honors, a student must:

  1. Submit an honors petition proposal to the department's undergraduate research coordinator by the fifth Friday of the quarter, two quarters prior to graduation. For instance, students graduating Spring Quarter must submit petitions no later than mid-Autumn Quarter.
  2. Complete at least 10 units of an approved research project in BIO 199, 199X, or BIOHOPK 199H. Only research units from BIO or BIOHOPK are permitted.
  3. Obtain at least a 3.0 (B) grade point average (GPA) in all Biology major requirements taken at Stanford (foundational breadth, core, and elective courses). Grades earned from teaching (BIO or BIOHOPK 290 and BIO 291) and research (BIOHOPK 175H, 199H; BIO 199, 199X) are not computed into this GPA.
  4. If graduating in June, participate in the Biology Honors Symposium by presenting a poster or giving an oral presentation. The symposium is typically at the end of May. If graduating Autumn, Winter, or Summer Quarter, produce a poster.
  5. Complete and submit, by the end of the quarter of graduation, two signed and bound copies of an honors thesis approved by at least two readers (one of whom must be from the faculty of the Department of Biology and both must be Academic Council members). In addition, students must submit two copies of the honors thesis abstract (one paper copy and one electronic copy), which include student name, thesis title, research sponsor, and sponsor's department.

Further information on the honors program is available in the student services office in Gilbert 108, as well as on the web at http://biohonors.stanford.edu.

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