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Bachelor of Science in Biology

Degree Requirements 2023-2024

Students majoring in Biology will earn a Bachelor of Science degree.  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.

The total number of required courses in the department is nine courses. There are additional required supporting courses that must be taken in other disciplines.

All of the following courses are required for the major:

  • BIO 151 and 151L – Introductory Biology
  • BIO 152 and 152L – Evolution, Ecology and Diversity
  • BIO 354 and 354L – Cell Biology
  • BIO 355 and 355L – Genetics
  • CHM 115 and 115L- General Chemistry I
  • CHM 116 and 116L – General Chemistry II
  • CHM 251 and 251L – Organic Chemistry I
  • One of PHY 107, PHY 116, or PHY 121
    • PHY 107 and 107L – College Physics I
    • PHY 116 and 116L – Introduction to Physics
    • PHY 121 and 121L – General Physics I
  • MAT 114 – Precalculus (or achievement of MPG 4)
  • One of DST 164, MAT 145, MAT 163, or PSY 215
    • DST 164 – Introduction to Statistics (with R)
    • MAT 145 and 145L – Calculus I
    • MAT 163 – Introductory Statistics
    • PSY 215 – Research Methods and Statistics I
  • One Keystone course chosen from:
    • BIO 490 – Biology Keystone
    • SCI 490 – Integrated Science
    • HON 490 – Honors Senior Seminar
    • Another keystone with departmental approval
  • Five additional upper division electives, at least one of which must be BIO 351, BIO 361, BIO 420, BIO 425, BIO 481, or ENV 320. Four of the five upper division electives must have an accompanying 1-credit lab. Students may take two different BIO485 courses in place of one upper division elective:
    • BIO 351 and 351L – Invertebrate Zoology
    • BIO 353 and 353L – Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy
    • BIO 361 and 361L – Plant Biology
    • BIO 369 and 369L – Biochemistry
    • BIO 420 – Conservation Biology
    • BIO 425 and 425L – Freshwater Ecology
    • BIO 444 and 444L – Genomics and Biotechnology
    • BIO 471 and 471L – Advanced Cellular and Molecular Biology
    • BIO 473 and 473L – Physiology of Humans and Other Animals
    • BIO 474 and 474L – Developmental Biology
    • BIO 475 and 475L – Neurobiology
    • BIO 476 and 476L – Microbiology
    • BIO 481 and 481L – Ecology
    • BIO 485 – Advanced Topics in Biology (completed twice)
    • BIO 486 – Immunology
    • BIO 495 – Special Topics in Biology
    • ENV 320 and 320L – Environmental Science
    • PHY 317 and 317L – Biophysics

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 mentor; 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 1, 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).


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 354, BIO 355 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 354 and BIO 355 in order to fulfill major requirements and to fulfill the prerequisite requirements of several upper division biology electives.

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 an 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, Matt Beckman, and Kelsey Richardson Blackwell. Post-baccalaureate programs generally discourage students from taking courses with the Pass/Low Pass/No Pass option.

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. Students 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.