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Degrees Offered

The Bachelor of Science in Biology includes the same biology requirements as the Bachelor of Arts but includes several additional supporting courses in chemistry, mathematics and physics. Most students preparing for graduate or professional schools elect to fulfill this major option.

The Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry a joint major between the Biology and Chemistry Departments.

The Bachelor of Science in Biopsychology is designed to give students an integrative perspective on the biological basis of behavior through a series of courses in both biology and psychology.

General Education Accommodation

BS biology majors may reduce their general education program by one or two courses. See Bachelor of Science/Liberal Arts Foundation (LAF) Waiver in the Academic Information section of the catalog.

Graduation Skills

Graduation skills in Critical Thinking (CT), Quantitative Reasoning (QR), and Writing (W) are embedded throughout the offered courses and are met by completing the major. The graduation skill in Speaking (S) is met by completing COM 115 (preferred) or COM 111 or HON 130.

Transfer students must consult an advisor about potential adjustments to their course requirements to fulfill each of these skills.

Transfer course policy for majors and minors

All transfer courses, including ACTC courses, must be approved in writing by the department, subject to review by the chair. Only those biology courses successfully completed (C- or above) within the last 10 years will be considered. At least four upper division electives must be completed in residence (at Augsburg University). Some students take a 2 semester sequence of human anatomy and physiology either out of interest or to meet a prerequisite for Physician Assistant or other programs. The Biology Department accepts the 2 semester sequence of Human Anatomy and Physiology from several colleges as a replacement for 1 of the upper division electives, without written approval. Consult with a Biology Department advisor to learn which anatomy and physiology courses at other colleges are accepted.

Custom Biology Programs

Students who have completed BIO 151, 152, 253, 255 and at least one upper division elective may, in consultation with their advisor, seek approval from the department to complete major requirements with as many as four upper division courses from other institutions.

Departmental Honors

The awarding of Departmental Honors recognizes a student’s outstanding achievement(s) in the Biology Major. Only students who have a major GPA of 3.5 or higher and an overall GPA of 3.0 or higher may earn Departmental Honors by successfully completing one of the following:

  1. Continuation of a summer or academic year biology research internship via successful completion of BIO 297, BIO 399, BIO 497, BIO 499 or HON 499. Before registering for one of these options, students must submit a formal letter of intent to an Honors Committee of three biology faculty (to be determined by the mentor and student) at least 2 weeks prior to the registration deadline. This formal letter of intent will be composed of no more than one page of text providing the following: (1) Title of project; (2) abstract describing the project with special focus given to the questions that will be addressed, the methods to be used and the expected outcomes; (3) name and signature (with date) of your faculty advisor; and (4) list of the three Biology Department faculty who have agreed to serve as your Honors Committee. A decision whether or not to approve registration will be made by the Honors Committee within one week of submission. Successful completion of the Honors process requires a public presentation of your research and a written report in the style of a typical peer-reviewed biological discipline journal article. The written report will be accepted or rejected by the Honors Committee within 2 weeks of submission. Although there is no formal deadline for the submission of the final paper it is advised that the student and committee establish a date for submission, typically no later than March 15, at the time of the proposal submission so that successful recipients of departmental honors can be recognized during graduation ceremonies.
  2. Selection for, participation in, and completion of the Mayo Innovation Scholars Program (including the final presentation).
  3. Scoring above the national 90th percentile on the ETS Major Field Test in Biology.


A course sequence in general chemistry and five biology courses including BIO 151, 152, and three additional BIO courses (200 level or above). The majority of courses in biology must be taken at Augsburg University.

Other Requirements

In planning their courses of study, students are encouraged to work closely with members of the biology faculty. Biology majors must have an advisor in the biology department. In order to complete all major requirements in four years, BIO 151 and 152 and General Chemistry should be taken in the first year, and BIO 253, BIO 255 and Organic Chemistry in the second year. Students should complete their math requirements early in their academic careers.

Students must earn a minimum grade of D and an average grade of C- in BIO 151 and 152. Supporting course requirements in chemistry, mathematics, physics, and communication must be satisfied with a grade of C- or higher to satisfy either major or prerequisite requirements. A grade of C- or higher is required in BIO 253 and BIO 255 in order to fulfill major requirements and to fulfill the prerequisite requirements of several upper division biology electives. For courses with a separately graded lab, students must earn an average of C- for both the lecture and lab with no less than a D- grade in lab. A grade of C- or higher must be earned in all upper division biology courses applied toward meeting the requirements of a major. All biology courses applied toward the major must be traditionally graded.

Students completing a biology major will be required to take the ETS Major Field Test in Biology during their final year of the program.  The exam will appear on the graduation checklist.

Biology for Health Sciences

Prerequisite requirements for health sciences vary with the program and the institution. Care should be taken to study the requirements for every program well in advance of making application. In general, the pre-medical curriculum includes a year each of biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry, calculus and physics. Courses in biochemistry, statistics, advanced biology, and social and behavioral sciences are also important preparation for the MR5 Medical College Admissions Exam. Programs in physician assistant training, veterinary medicine, physical therapy, and such typically have a more extensive list of prerequisites. Students considering a post-baccalaureate program in these areas should consult early and often with health science advisors Catherina Kipper, Dixie Shafer, Dale Pederson, Matt Beckman, and Kelsey Richardson-Blackwell.

Graduate Training in Biology

Graduate programs in biological fields typically require two semesters of general chemistry, organic chemistry, calculus, and physics. Also required is extensive involvement in faculty-student research through URGO, McNair and other research opportunities which satisfy the Augsburg Experience. Student also participate in research off campus through internships and summer research experiences. Careful consultation with a biology advisor is recommended to select among coursework and research options.

Teaching Licensure Major

The State of Minnesota has specific licensing requirements for Life Science teachers, the science portions of which are satisfied by the Biology major only if BIO 476 Microbiology and BIO 481 Ecology are selected as upper division electives. Additionally, students interested in Earth Science licensure should also take two of the following: PHY 101, SCI 106, or an introductory geology course. All upper division biology requirements for secondary licensure must be completed before beginning student teaching. The state requirements may be subject to change after the publication of this catalog. Students should therefore consult with the Augsburg Department of Education to identify current Minnesota teacher licensure requirements.

Post-Baccalaureate Teaching Licensure

Students who have earned a bachelor’s degree elsewhere and seek life science teaching licensure at Augsburg are required to complete a minimum of two upper division biology courses at Augsburg with a GPA of 2.5 or higher. Required or elective courses are determined by the department following review of transcripts and prior to matriculation.

Beta Beta Beta

Membership in the Augsburg chapter of this national biology honor society is open to students who have completed at least three semester courses in Biology, including at least one 200-level or higher biology course at Augsburg University. Students must have a GPA of 3.0 in biology.

Cooperative Education and Service-Learning

The department works with the Strommen Center for Meaningful Work in identifying and defining cooperative education experiences in laboratories and other settings in the Twin Cities.

For a complete list of courses and descriptions, see the Course Description Search.