Biological Sciences (Biology and Society), BS


At a Glance: program details

  • Location: Tempe campus, or online
  • Additional Program Fee: No
  • Second Language Requirement: No
  • Math Intensity: Moderate program math intensity moderate
  • Initial Math Course: MAT 251 - Calculus for Life Sciences

Required Courses (Major Map)

Major Map Online Major Map

Major Map on-campus archive

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How does science shape the way we understand our world? Explore the social context of science while developing the skills needed to navigate the ethical complexities of scientific discovery. Discover how policy decisions are shaped by biological research, and investigate the significance of the sciences in understanding our complex world.

Program Description

In the BS program in biological sciences with a concentration in biology and society, students explore the social, philosophical, historical, ethical and policy dimensions of science, technology and medicine.

They investigate the motivation behind research, learn to ask probing questions about how and why biological problems are studied in the past and present, and examine how these factors interact with policy decisions.

In this highly individualized program, students can engage in independent study and research projects. They gain hands-on experience with world-renowned faculty in bioscience ethics, history and philosophy of science, science communication, science education and science policy.

This program is available as an accelerated degree program.

In addition to the guidelines in the Concurrent Program Options section below, students interested in pursuing concurrent or second baccalaureate degrees in The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences are advised to visit The College's website for more information and requirements.

A new approach to teaching biology

As a biology student at Arizona State University, you are part of a new movement to reinvent science learning, designed to prioritize your needs and empower you to not only succeed but be transformed into a future leader and problem solver.

ASU’s adaptive and flexible teaching model levels the playing field for all learners, allowing anyone to understand complex concepts and gain the confidence to take on scientific challenges in a growing field. 

Here, you will apply biological models through immersive exploration and hands-on discovery. Explore a 24,000-square-foot Natural History Collection, the only insectary of its kind in Arizona and several research opportunities for online students, which set our programs apart from other institutions across the globe. Together, we’ll learn how to visualize and build a better world.

Degree details for on-campus students

Major core for on-campus participants

Note: Once you start a General BIO sequence, you must complete the full sequence (BIO 181 & 182 OR BIO 281 & 282)

  • BIO 181 General Biology I (4) or BIO 281 Conceptual Approaches to Biology for Majors I (4)
  • BIO 182 General Biology II (4) or BIO 282 Conceptual Approaches to Biology for Majors II (4)
  • BIO 340 General Genetics (4) 
  • BIO 345 Evolution (3)

Major concentration courses for on-campus students

  • BIO 311/HPS 340 Biology and Society (3) (Fall only)
  • BIO 314 Research Colloquium in Biology & Society I (2) (Spring only)
  • BIO 414 Research Colloquium in Biology & Society II (1) (Spring only)
  • BIO/HPS/MIC/MBB 495 Undergraduate Research or BIO/HPS/MIC/MBB 484 Internship or BIO/MIC/MBB 492 Honors Directed Study (3)

Research is recommended to be taken in the fall semester between BIO 314 and BIO 414. Please consult with an advisor to discuss how to obtain research/internship opportunities.

Additional major core electives (complete one)

  • BIO 302 Cancer - Mother of All Diseases (3)
  • BIO 304/ENV 302 Plants and Civilization (3)
  • BIO 312/PHI 320 Bioethics (3)
  • BIO 316/HPS 330 History of Biology: Conflicts and Controversies (3)
  • BIO 317/HPS 322 History of Science (3)
  • BIO 318/HPS 331 History of Medicine (3)
  • BIO 322 Conservation of Biodiversity (3)
  • BIO 324/PHI 310 Environmental Ethics (3)
  • BIO 412 Conservation in Practice (3)
  • BIO 416/HPS 410 Biomedical Research Ethics (3)
  • HPS/PHI 314 Philosophy of Science (3)
  • MIC/SSH 314 HIV/AIDS: Science, Behavior & Society (3)
Science in contemporary society interface (complete one)
  • AFR 383 Blacks in Science, Medicine and Public Health (3)
  • ASB 353 Death and Dying in Cross-Cultural Perspective (3)
  • BIO 302 Cancer - Mother of All Diseases (3)
  • BIO 304/ENV 302 Plants and Civilization (3)
  • BIO 317/HPS 322 History of Science (3)
  • BIO 322 Conservation of Biodiversity (3)
  • BIO 412 Conservation in Practice (3)
  • MIC/SSH 314 HIV/AIDS: Science, Behavior & Society (3)
  • WST 360 Women as Healers (3)
Ethics interface (complete one)
  • BIO 312/PHI 320 Bioethics (3)
  • BIO 324/PHI 310 Environmental Ethics (3)
  • BIO 416/HPS 410 Biomedical Research Ethics (3)
History and philosophy of science interface (complete one)
  • ASB 357 Society, Drugs and Health (3)
  • BIO 316/HPS 330 History of Biology: Conflicts and Controversies (3)
  • BIO 317/HPS 322 History of Science (3)
  • BIO 318/HPS 331 History of Medicine (3)
  • HPS/PHI 314 Philosophy of Science (3)
  • HPS 336 Exploration and Science (3)
Major biological sciences electives

Any SOLS upper division coursework (300 and 400 level BIO/HPS/MIC/MBB) will count in this area, including BCH 361, that has not already been used in the major area.

Requirements in related fields

General chemistry (complete both)
  • CHM 113 General Chemistry I (4)
  • CHM 116 General Chemistry II (4)
Math (complete one)
  • MAT 251 Calculus for Life Sciences (3)
  • MAT 210 Brief Calculus (3)
Statistics (complete one)
  • STP 231 Statistics for Biosciences (3) 
  • STP 226 Elementary Statistics (3)

For more information on requirements and recommendations specific to this degree please see our Did you know for on-campus degrees page.

Degree details for online students

Major core for online students

  • BIO 181 General Biology I (4) 
  • BIO 182 General Biology II (4) 
  • BIO 340 General Genetics (4) 
  • BIO 345 Evolution (3)

Major concentration courses for online students

  • BIO 311/HPS 340  Biology and Society (3) (Fall only)
  • BIO 314 Research Colloquium in Biology & Society I (2) (Spring only)
  • BIO 414 Research Colloquium in Biology & Society II (1) (Spring only)
  • BIO 495 Undergraduate Research or BIO 484 Internship  

Research is recommended to be taken in the fall semester between BIO 314 and BIO 414. Please consult with an advisor to discuss how to obtain research/internship opportunities.

Additional online major core electives (complete one)

  • BIO 302 Cancer - Mother of All Diseases (3)
  • BIO 304/ENV 302 Plants and Civilization (3)
  • BIO 312/PHI 320 Bioethics (3)
  • BIO 316/HPS 330 History of Biology: Conflicts and Controversies (3)
  • BIO 317/HPS 323 History of Science (3)
  • BIO 318/HPS 331 History of Medicine (3)
  • BIO 322 Conservation of Biodiversity (3)
  • BIO 324/PHI 310 Environmental Ethics (3)
  • BIO 412 Conservation in Practice (3)
  • BIO 416 Biomedical Research Ethics (3)
  • PHI 314 Philosophy of Science (3)
  • MIC/SSH 314 HIV/AIDS: Science, Behavior & Society (3)

Science in contemporary society interface online (complete one)

  • AFR 383 Blacks in Science, Medicine and Public Health (3)
  • ASB 353 Death and Dying in Cross-Cultural Perspective (3)
  • BIO 302 Cancer - Mother of All Diseases (3)
  • BIO 304/ENV 302 Plants and Civilization (3)
  • BIO 317/HPS 323 History of Science (3)
  • BIO 322 Conservation of Biodiversity (3)
  • BIO 412 Conservation in Practice (3)
  • MIC/SSH 314 HIV/AIDS: Science, Behavior & Society (3)
  • WST 360 Women as Healers (3)

Ethics interface online (complete one)

  • BIO 312/PHI 320 Bioethics (3)
  • BIO 324/PHI 310 Environmental Ethics (3)
  • BIO 416 Biomedical Research Ethics (3)

History and philosophy of science interface online (complete one)

  • ASB 357 Society, Drugs and Health (3)
  • BIO 316/HPS 330 History of Biology: Conflicts and Controversies (3)
  • BIO 317/HPS 323 History of Science (3)
  • BIO 318/HPS 331 History of Medicine (3)
  • PHI 314 Philosophy of Science (3)
  • HPS 336 Exploration and Science (3)

Major biological sciences online electives

Any SOLS upper division coursework (300 and 400 level BIO/HPS/MIC/MBB) will count in this area, including BCH 361, that has not already been used in the major area.

Requirements in related fields

General chemistry  (take both)
  • CHM 113 General Chemistry I (4)
  • CHM 116 General Chemistry II (4)
Math proficiency (complete one)
  • MAT 251 Calculus for Life Sciences (3)
  • MAT 210 Brief Calculus (3)
Statistics (complete one)
  • STP 231 Statistics for Biosciences (3) 
  • STP 226 Elementary Statistics (3)

For more information or to review recommendations from advising visit our advising recommendations page




Admission Requirements

All students are required to meet general university admission requirements.

Freshman Transfer International Readmission


Transfer Options

ASU is committed to helping students thrive by offering tools that allow personalization of the transfer path to ASU. Students may use the Transfer Map search to outline a list of recommended courses to take prior to transfer.

ASU has transfer partnerships in Arizona and across the country to create a simplified transfer experience for students. These pathway programs include exclusive benefits, tools and resources, and help students save time and money in their college journey. Students may learn more about these programs by visiting the admission site: https://admission.asu.edu/transfer/pathway-programs.


Change of Major Requirements

A current ASU student has no additional requirements for changing majors.

Students should refer to https://changingmajors.asu.edu for information about how to change a major to this program.


Flexible Degree Options

Accelerated program options

This program allows students to obtain both a bachelor's and master's degree in as little as five years.
It is offered as an accelerated bachelor's and master's degree with:

Global Management (Global Development and Innovation)

This concentration empowers students to integrate economic, cultural and political variables in solving critical societal development issues, such as raising standards of living. Graduates have opportunities around the world to tackle some of humanity's most difficult and urgent challenges.

Website | Locations: DTPHX

Computational Life Sciences

Join in the transformation that new types and amounts of data are bringing to the life sciences. You can learn computational methods that complement traditional bench-based approaches, allowing you to arrive at novel insights, and you'll gain the knowledge and skills you'll need when applying computational techniques in life sciences research.

Website | Locations: TEMPE,ONLNE

Global Management (Creative Industries and Design Thinking)

Are you seeking a leadership role in a global organization? This concentration offers applied learning opportunities and internships in settings around the world. You'll gain hands-on experience and learn from the diverse perspectives of a global cohort of classmates.

Website | Locations: DTPHX

Global Management (Digital Audience Strategy)

A new class of hybrid careers has recently emerged that combines digital media skills with marketing and design expertise. Become a global leader with both management and multimedia skill sets.

Website | Locations: DTPHX

Global Management (Sustainable Tourism)

As ecotourism grows and the tourism industry adopts sustainability practices, managers and executives need new capabilities to transform global enterprises. This program prepares you for leadership roles in the global tourism arena.

Website | Locations: DTPHX

Global Management (Sustainability Solutions)

As sustainability gains importance worldwide, global organizations need expert leaders and managers who can transform sustainability practices. Tailor your experience with powerful new strategies and tactics for making sustainability a driver of organizational engagement, cost savings and innovation.

Website | Locations: DTPHX

Global Management

Gain hands-on experience and learn from the diverse perspectives of a global cohort of classmates. This program offers applied learning opportunities, 17 concentration options, and internships in real-world global settings.

Website | Locations: DTPHX,ONLNE

Global Management (Public Administration)

Help meet the cross-sectoral need for professionals with public administration mastery and cutting-edge global management skills and experience. As a future executive or manager, you'll be equipped with these sought-after skill sets.

Website | Locations: DTPHX

Global Management (Global Entrepreneurship)

This concentration provides the expertise needed to conceive and execute innovative global ventures. Through rigorous coursework and in-depth exposure to current multicultural business practices, students master the principles of management for global entrepreneurial enterprises.

Website | Locations: DTPHX

Global Management (Global Health Care Delivery)

Are you seeking a leadership role in the rapidly growing health care industry? Through this concentration, you'll gain a repertoire of global management skills and experience tailored specifically to health care.

Website | Locations: DTPHX

Global Management (Global Affairs)

Are you looking to become a leader in a nonprofit, governmental or international business role? With specialized cross-training in international affairs and the fundamentals of global management, you'll be ready to make a great impact on a worldwide scale.

Website | Locations: DTPHX

Global Management (Global Business)

Become a leader through mastery of global business management principles and practices, as well as an understanding of the economic, political and social factors driving change and how decisions affect global markets. Attain the perfect balance of practical and people skills to inspire, influence and drive global success.

Website | Locations: DTPHX

Molecular and Cellular Biology

Do you want to understand the fundamental molecular events at the core of all life? Choose from a diverse range of research and training opportunities, gain skills in contemporary techniques and enjoy the opportunity to tailor the program around your research and career interests.

Website | Locations: TEMPE

Global Management (Global Digital Transformation)

Thrive in global markets and respond to the challenges of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Customize your degree and acquire digital skills in marketing, design, product development, automation and data analytics.

Website | Locations: DTPHX

Biology

Deepen your knowledge about the life sciences and build strong conceptual foundations in frontier areas of modern biology.

Website | Locations: TEMPE,ONLNE

Microbiology

When you become an expert in microbes, you will be able to contribute to the greater good. Join us to learn how microbes impact human health and the environment, and receive theoretical and practical training in your chosen area of interest.

Website | Locations: TEMPE

Global Management (Nonprofit Leadership and Management )

Are you a globally minded person who demands a purpose-driven career? Prepare for impactful roles in nonprofit organizations around the world as you gain the knowledge necessary to produce meaningful, rewarding work that enhances communities.

Website | Locations: DTPHX

Global Management (Public Policy)

This concentration prepares students for careers as policy analysts and leaders in public service. Graduates around the world are involved in the formulation, approval, implementation and evaluation of public policy.

Website | Locations: DTPHX

Global Management (Global Legal Studies)

Engage in experiential learning and build your skills in global management and legal analysis --- all in demand among multinational corporations, international nonprofit organizations, governments and nongovernmental organizations around the world.

Website | Locations: DTPHX

Biology (Biology and Society)

Do you need more than a foundation in biology? Do you want to take your training into society and bring about change? Within this multidisciplinary program, you can develop knowledge and skills for tangible action and prepare for employment, a PhD or other professional studies.

Website | Locations: TEMPE


Acceptance to the graduate program requires a separate application. During their junior year, eligible students will be advised by their academic departments to apply.

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Career Outlook

The biology and society concentration within the biological sciences major provides students with an individualized and skill-based foundation in life sciences and complex human issues. This foundation will enable them to pursue advanced research and graduate study in biology, ethics, education and history and philosophy of science.

The Bachelor of Science degree program also prepares graduates with the historical, philosophical, political and ethical perspectives they need for direct entry into their choice of career in any of many field options, including medicine, law, public health, public policy and academia.

Example Careers

Students who complete this degree program may be prepared for the following careers. Advanced degrees or certifications may be required for academic or clinical positions. Career examples include but are not limited to:

Bioinformatics Scientists


  • Growth: 3.9%
  • Median Salary*: 87300

Biological Science Teachers, Postsecondary


  • Growth: 8.6%
  • Median Salary*: 81650
  Bright Outlook

Community Health Workers


  • Growth: 14.1%
  • Median Salary*: 46190
  Bright Outlook

Environmental Scientists and Specialists, Including Health


  • Growth: 6.1%
  • Median Salary*: 76480
  Bright Outlook

Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education


  • Growth: 1%
  • Median Salary*: 62360

Lawyers


  • Growth: 7.5%
  • Median Salary*: 135740
  Bright Outlook

Medical Scientists, Except Epidemiologists


  • Growth: 9.8%
  • Median Salary*: 99930
  Bright Outlook

Medical and Health Services Managers


  • Growth: 28.4%
  • Median Salary*: 104830
  Bright Outlook

* Data obtained from the Occupational Information Network (O*NET) under sponsorship of the U.S. Department of Labor/Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA).



Global Opportunities

Global Experience

Through study abroad programs, whether in a foreign country, in the U.S. or online, students studying biological sciences experience distinct biological environments and gain an understanding of worldwide differences in the human condition. They are exposed to a variety of laws, policies and practices in biology-centric environments worldwide and expand their knowledge of how science impacts society. Students can engage in community service and outreach all around the world, which can help their graduate and professional program applications stand out.

With more than 300 options available, Global Education programs allow students to tailor their experience to their specific interests and skill sets. The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences recommends these programs for students majoring in biological sciences with a concentration in biological and society.

Attend Online

ASU offers this program in an online format with multiple enrollment sessions throughout the year. Applicants may view the program description and request more information here.



Program Contact Information

If you have questions related to admission, please click here to request information and an admission specialist will reach out to you directly. For questions regarding faculty or courses, please use the contact information below.