Degree Requirements

General Requirements for a Degree in Biology or Molecular and Cellular Biology

The Biology and Molecular and Cellular Biology degrees offered at Puget Sound are based on similar principles. Both degrees are rooted in the fundamentals of living systems, their relationship to each other, their evolution, structure and function. Both degrees further emphasize the use of experimental approaches and the development of scientific writing skills. The Biology degree offers a broad approach to the living world stressing both molecular-cellular aspects and organismal-ecological aspects of life. In contrast, the Molecular and Cellular Biology degree emphasizes the molecular and genetic basis of organisms and the biochemical adaptations and pathways that unify and distinguish them. In both degrees, students develop interdisciplinary skills in biology and chemistry.

General Requirements for the Major or Minor

General university degree requirements stipulate that 1) at least four units of the major or three units of the minor be taken in residence at Puget Sound; 2) students earn a GPA of 2.0 in courses taken for the major or the minor; and 3) all courses taken for a major or minor must be taken for graded credit. Any exceptions to these stipulations are indicated in the major and minor degree requirements listed below.

Requirements for the Bachelor of Science in Biology

Completion of a minimum of 15 units of Biology and supporting courses to include:

  1. Biology core courses: BIOL 111, 112, 211, 212, 213 and one unit from the following: 332 or 334;
  2. Biology electives: Three additional units in biology courses numbered at 312 or above, excluding 398. GEOL 306 (Fossil Record) may count as one of the three units. CHEM 461 may count as one of the three units. One unit may count toward the major from research or independent study courses: BIOL 390, 392, 490, 491, 495, 496;
  3. Three units in chemistry: CHEM 110, 120, 250; OR 115, 230, 250;
  4. One unit of mathematics: MATH 180 or 181;
  5. Two additional units from the following: One unit from BIOL 312 or higher; CHEM 251 or higher; CSCI 141 or higher, EXSC 222; GEOL 101 or higher; MATH 150 or higher; NRSC 201, 350; PHYS 111 or higher.

Requirements for the Bachelor of Science in Molecular and Cellular Biology

Completion of a minimum of 16 units of Biology and supporting courses to include:

  1. Four units in Biology: BIOL 111, 212, 213, 404
  2. First-year Chemistry: CHEM 110, 120 or 115, 230
  3. Organic Chemistry: CHEM 250, 251
  4. Biochemistry: CHEM 460, 461 (Students who satisfy the first-year chemistry requirement with CHEM 110 and 120 must also complete CHEM 231 prior to enrolling in CHEM 460)
  5. Two units of Mathematics: MATH 180, AND either MATH 181 OR MATH 260. BIOL 231 (0.5 units) AND MATH 160 together may substitute for MATH 260. BIOL 211 may substitute for BIOL 231.
  6. Two units of analytical science from the following: BIOL 231, CHEM 231; PHYS 111/112 or 121/122; MATH 150 or higher; CSCI 141 or higher
  7. Two additional units in Biology, one of which must be at the 300 or 400 level (excluding 398), and which can include one unit of research credit (BIOL 390, 490, or 491). Students with an interest in evolutionary, environmental, or ecological applications of molecular biology should strongly consider BIOL 112 and 360 as their electives. Students may not use BIOL 361 to satisfy this requirement.

Requirements for the Minor

Completion of five units of Biology to include BIOL 111 and 112, a minimum of one course from the following group (BIOL 211, 212, 213) and two elective units (BIOL 211 or higher; GEOL 306, Fossil Record, may count as one of the two units). BIOL 398 may not count towards the Biology Minor.


  1. The following courses do not satisfy major or minor requirements: BIOL 101, 102, 201, 205, 398, 498, or 499; INTN 497.
  2. Students majoring in Molecular and Cellular Biology may not also major or minor in Biology, Chemistry, or Biochemistry. There is no minor in Molecular and Cellular Biology.
  3. Majors are encouraged to participate in the undergraduate research program within the department. Courses in the undergraduate research program include Directed Research (290/390/490), Introduction to Biological Research (392), Science and Mathematics Seminar Series (398), Biology Colloquium (201), and Senior Thesis (491). Students may begin doing research with faculty members at any time in their career. Students who wish to do a senior thesis project should enroll in Biology Colloquium (201), Introduction to Biological Research (392), and either one unit of Senior Thesis (491) or one unit of Senior Directed Research (490) and one of Senior Thesis (491). Students may count one unit of research (390, 490, or 491) as one of the advanced Biology electives required for the degree. Students doing research must consult with and gain approval from a Biology faculty research adviser, and must submit a research proposal.
  4. Students interested in graduate or professional school are urged to participate in the research program as well as to complete one year of organic chemistry, one year of calculus, one year of physics, and one year of a foreign language.
  5. Majors who wish to obtain secondary-level teaching certification may do so by satisfying the M.A.T. requirements of the School of Education. Details and requirements may be obtained from the School of Education.
  6. All courses required for the majors or minor, with the exception of BIOL 495/496, must be taken on a graded basis. The pass/fail grading option is not recommended for any student planning to enter graduate or professional school. Biology activity classes (BIOL 201, 205, 398) cannot be applied towards the Biology majors or minor.
  7. To be eligible to graduate with departmental honors, a student must maintain a GPA in accordance with university regulations for such distinction and must complete an independent research project.
  8. Coursework completed more than ten years prior to completion of degree requirements may not be counted towards fulfilling degree requirements for the majors or the minor.
  9. At least two of the Biology electives and one of the Molecular and Cellular Biology electives must be completed on the Puget Sound campus.
  10. For Biology majors, at least two of the Biology elective courses (BIOL 312 and above) must have a lab component. One unit of Junior or Senior-level Research (BIOL 390, 490, or 491) can be used to fulfill one of these lab course requirements.
  11. The only class that can be applied to both requirements 5 and 6 for MCB students is Biol 231.