Biology Major


BIOL 106 and either BIOL 105, or AP Biology with 4 or 5 AP test score, or IB higher level 5, 6 or 7 test score. IB students must confirm their IB credit with the Dean of Studies office.


Four units of graded work. At least one course must be taken from each subject area listed below.


3 units of graded work. One of the three units can be fulfilled by completing CHEM 323.


Either CHEM 108 and CHEM 109 or CHEM 125 at the introductory level, and CHEM 244 at the intermediate level.

Intermediate-Level Subject Areas and Courses:

Genetics (students may only take one course from this area)

BIOL 238 - Molecular Genetics
BIOL 244 - Genetics and Genomics
BIOL 248 - Evolutionary Genetics

Natural History, Ecology, and Diversity

BIOL 205 - Introduction to Microbiology
BIOL 208 - Plant Diversity and Evolution
BIOL 226 - Animal Structure and Diversity
BIOL 241 - Ecology

Physiological and Cellular Biology

BIOL 202 - Plant Physiology and Development
BIOL 218 - Cellular Structure and Function
BIOL 228 - Animal Physiology
BIOL 232 - Developmental Biology
BIOL 272 - Biochemistry

Senior Year Requirements:

two units of graded 300-level biology taken at Vassar College.

Independent Research:

The biology department encourages students to engage in independent research with faculty mentors, and offers ungraded courses BIOL 178, BIOL 298, and BIOL 399. The department also offers BIOL 303, a graded research experience for senior majors. Students should consult the chair or individual faculty members for guidance in initiating independent research.

Field Work:

The department offers field work in biology. Students should consult the field work office and a biology faculty adviser for details.

Teaching Certification:

Students who wish to obtain secondary school teaching certification in biology should consult both the biology and education departments for appropriate course requirements.