Biological Sciences, 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

eAdvisor Tracking Tool


Are you captivated by the variety and wonder of life? Are you curious about how organisms grow, interact and affect each other? Build a strong foundation of knowledge, critical thinking skills and key lab techniques that will launch your career in science, health care and research.

Program Description

In the BS program in biological sciences, students discover the basic organization and processes of life, from molecules to ecosystems. They investigate how hereditary information is transferred, how organisms evolve and the interplay of organisms and their environment.

Students can opt for the Bachelor of Science in biological sciences with no concentration, or they can choose one of five:

  • biology and society
  • biomedical sciences
  • conservation biology and ecology
  • genetics, cell and developmental biology
  • neurobiology, physiology and behavior

The general degree allows students to take core courses in multiple disciplines and have flexibility to focus their study on their areas of interest.

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 and 182 OR BIO 281 and 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)

Additional on-campus major requirements

Pick five courses from the following for 15+ credit hours.

  • BCH 361 Principles of Biochemistry (3)
  • BIO 311/HPS 340 Biology and Society or BIO 312/PHI 320 Bioethics or BIO 318/HPS 331 History of Medicine or BIO 416/HPS 410 Biomedical Research Ethics or HPS/PHI 314 Philosophy of Science (3)
  • BIO 308 Plant Physiology (4)
  • BIO 320 Fundamentals of Ecology (3)
  • BIO 331 Animal Behavior (3)
  • BIO 351 Developmental Biology (3)
  • BIO 353 Cell Biology (3)
  • BIO 360 Animal Physiology (3)
  • BIO 370 Vertebrate Zoology (4) 
  • BIO 385 Comparative Invertebrate Zoology (4)
  • MIC 220 Biology of Microorganisms & MIC 206 Microbiology Laboratory (4)

Please see an advisor if above courses are not offered in the term you wish to take them.

On-campus major laboratory / research courses

Complete two courses from the list below. Only 3 credits of 495, 484 or 492 can count towards one lab.

  • BIO 308 Plant Physiology (4)
  • BIO 321 Introductory Ecology Laboratory (2)
  • BIO 342 General Genetics Laboratory (2)
  • BIO/MBB 343 Genetic Engineering and Society (4)
  • BIO 352 Laboratory in Vertebrate Developmental Anatomy (2)
  • BIO 357 Cell Biology Laboratory (2)
  • BIO 361 Animal Physiology Laboratory (2)
  • BIO 370 Vertebrate Zoology (4)
  • BIO 385 Comparative Invertebrate Zoology (4)
  • BIO 386 General Entomology (4)
  • BIO 435 Research Techniques in Animal Behavior (3)
  • BIO 451 Cell Biotechnology Laboratory (4)
  • BIO 471 Ornithology (3)
  • BIO 474 Herpetology (4)
  • BIO 475 Advanced Human Anatomy (3)
  • BIO/HPS/MIC/MBB 495 Undergraduate Research or BIO/HPS/MIC/MBB 484 Internship or BIO/MIC/MBB 492 Honors Directed Study may be substituted for one lab course (1-3)
  • MBB 350 Applied Genetics (4)
  • MIC 302 Advanced Bacteriology Laboratory (2)
  • MIC 421 Experimental Immunology (2)

Major on-campus 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 for on-campus participants

Choose one of the two tracks: General and Organic Chemistry or Pre-health sequence

General chemistry 
  • CHM 113 General Chemistry I (4)
  • CHM 116 General Chemistry II (4)
AND Organic chemistry 
  • CHM 231 Elementary Organic Chemistry (3)
  • CHM 235 Elementary Organic Chemistry Laboratory (1) 
OR Pre health sequence 
  • CHM 233 General Organic Chemistry I (3)
  • CHM 234 General Organic Chemistry II (3)
  • CHM 237 General Organic Chemistry Laboratory I (1)
  • CHM 238 General Organic Chemistry Laboratory II (1)

Physics 

Choose one of two tracks: General Physics or the Pre-health sequence

  • PHY 101 Introduction to Physics (4) 
OR pre-health sequence
  • PHY 111 General Physics I (3)
  • PHY 112 General Physics II (3)
  • PHY 113 General Physics Laboratory I (1)
  • PHY 114 General Physics Laboratory II (1)

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)

Additional major requirements for online students

Pick five courses from the following for 15+ credit hours

  • BIO 312/PHI 320 Bioethics (3) or PHI 314 Philosophy of Science (3) or BIO 311/HPS 340 Biology and Society (3) or BIO 416 Biomedical Research Ethics (3)
  • BIO 320 Fundamentals of Ecology (3)
  • BIO 331 Animal Behavior (3)
  • BIO 351 Developmental Biology (3)
  • BIO 353 Cell Biology (3)
  • BIO 360 Animal Physiology (3)
  • BIO 370 Vertebrate Zoology (4) 
  • MIC 205 Microbiology & MIC 206 Microbiology Laboratory (4)

Please see an advisor if above courses are not offered in the term you wish to take them.

Major laboratory / research courses

Complete two courses from the list below. Credits from labs are accounted for in the major general elective area.

  • BIO 321 Introductory Ecology Laboratory (2)
  • BIO 357 Cell and Molecular Bio Lab (2)
  • BIO 361 Animal Physiology Laboratory (2)
  • BIO 370 Vertebrate Zoology (4)
  • BIO 495 Undergraduate Research or BIO 484 Internship (1-3)

Online major 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.

Online requirements in related fields

Online general chemistry (take both)

Choose one of the two tracks: General and Organic Chemistry or Pre-health sequence

  • CHM 113 General Chemistry I (4)
  • CHM 116 General Chemistry II (4)
AND Online organic chemistry (take both)
  • CHM 231 Elementary Organic Chemistry SQ 1 (3)
  • CHM 235 Elementary Organic Chemistry Laboratory SQ 1 (1) 
OR pre-health sequence
  • CHM 233 General Organic Chemistry I (3)
  • CHM 234 General Organic Chemistry II (3)
  • CHM 237 General Organic Chemistry Laboratory I (1)
  • CHM 238 General Organic Chemistry Laboratory II (1)

Online physics electives

Choose one of two tracks: General Physics or the Pre-health sequence

Physics
  • PHY 101 Introduction to Physics (4 hours)
OR Pre-health sequence
  • PHY 111 General Physics I (3)
  • PHY 112 General Physics II (3)
  • PHY 113 General Physics Laboratory I (1)
  • PHY 114 General Physics Laboratory II (1)

Online math proficiency electives

Complete one of the following

  • MAT 251 Calculus for Life Sciences (3)
  • MAT 210 Brief Calculus (3)

Online statistics electives

Complete one of the following

  • 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 biological science major provides an excellent foundation for advanced research and graduate study in biological sciences, health sciences, law and other graduate-level and professional programs, including dentistry, medicine, pharmacy and veterinary medicine.

The Bachelor of Science degree program also prepares graduates with the strong foundation they need for direct entry into their choice of career in many field options, including biotechnology, education, government and industry.

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:

Biological Science Teachers, Postsecondary


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

Biologists


  • Growth: 3.9%
  • Median Salary*: 87300

Clinical Research Coordinators


  • Growth: 4.8%
  • Median Salary*: 144440
  Bright Outlook

Dentists, General


  • Growth: 4.4%
  • Median Salary*: 155040

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

Medical and Health Services Managers


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

Pharmacists


  • Growth: 2.6%
  • Median Salary*: 132750

Veterinarians


  • Growth: 19.7%
  • Median Salary*: 103260
  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

Professional health education is competitive. Less than 50% of students who apply to medical schools are admitted; the numbers vary for other health-related fields. Medical and professional school admission officers increasingly focus on students with dedication to community service, so engaging in community activities and research abroad will help any student who intends to pursue a health career to create a diverse, accomplished portfolio that can give them an advantage over the competition.

Study abroad students experience distinct biological environments and gain an understanding of worldwide differences in the human condition. Global Education programs provide an opportunity for students to develop a valuable skill set by exposing them to different health environments and expanding their knowledge of culturally specific health approaches.

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences recommends these programs for students majoring in biological sciences.

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.