Undergraduate Schedule

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Biology Schedule Planning

  • Most students interested in biology elect to take Bi 8 and Bi 9 in their first year, to open access to the widest range of biology electives.
  • Students may place out of the option requirement to take Bi 8 by passing an exam and then earning a passing grade in Bi/Ch 111 instead.  The exam for placing out of Bi 8 is given late in the fall term of freshman year if specifically requested by students who have an unusually strong background in biology, e.g., substantial research experience.  Some students who score a 5 on the advanced placement exam in biology may also qualify to take the exam.  The placement exam is given by direct arrangement between the interested students and the faculty teaching Bi 8.
  • Bi 10 is not required for the biology option but is commonly taken by biology students to meet the Institute introductory laboratory requirement.
  • Prerequisites listed for individual biology courses are advisory, not compulsory.  They indicate the kind of background that is assumed for the work level of the course.  They may be waived if the instructor gives explicit permission.
  • Ch 24 and Ch 25 are strongly recommended for students interested in postgraduate work in biology, as physical chemistry is required by most graduate programs.
  • Additional courses of potential interest to biology majors include Ge 11b, BE 159, BE/APh 161, BE/ChE 163, BMB/Ch 178 and advanced geobiology courses.
  • Undergraduates are generally welcome to take 200-level courses with the instructor's permission or strong preparation, unless otherwise indicated.


Also See:

            Tracks and Course Matrix  (for concentrations of study within biology)

            Registrar (for class schedules, catalog, academic calendars)


Typical Course Schedule (required courses and representative examples of electives)


First Year


Ma 1abc Freshman Mathematics

Ph 1 abc Freshman Physics

Ch 1ab General Chemistry

Ch3a Chemistry Lab

Freshman Humanities

CS 1 Intro to Computer Programming

Bi 8 Intro to Molecular Biology

Bi 9 Cell Biology

Bi 10 Introductory Biology Lab


Second Year


Ma 2 Differential Equations

Ma 3 Intro to Probability and Statistics

Ph 2ab Sophomore Physics

Ch 41abc Organic Chemistry

Introductory Social Sciences

Advanced Humanities

Bi 122 Genetics

Bi 117 Developmental Biology

Bi/CNS/NB 150 Intro to Neuroscience

Bi/BE 101 Order of Magnitude Biology

Bi 22 Undergraduate Research


Third Year


Advanced Humanities

Advanced Social Sciences

Additional HSS

Bi 145ab Tissue and Organ Physiology

Bi/Ch 110 Intro to Biochemistry

Bi/BE 24 Technical Communication (fall or spring)

Bi/BE 118 Morphogenesis Developmental Systems OR

Bi/BE 182 Gene Network Design

Bi/Ch 111 Biochemistry of Gene Expression

Be/APh 161 Physical Biology of the Cell

Bi/CNS/NB 164 Tools of Neurobiology

Bi 158 Vertebrate Evolution

Bi 188 or 190 Human OR Systems Genetics


Fourth Year


Additional HSS

Bi 114 Immunology

Bi/BE 129 Biology and Treatment of Cancer

Bi 90 Undergraduate Thesis

Bi 192 Intro to Systems Biology

Bi/BE 103 Data Analysis in Biological Sciences

Bi/NB/BE 155 Neuropharmacology

Bi 189 The Cell Cycle

Bi/CNS/NB 152 Neural Circuits

Bi 214 Stem Cells

Bioengineering Schedule Planning

To view a typical course schedule for Bioengineering, click here.

For core Institute requirements for all options, click here.

For a complete list of BBE courses, click here.

To give feedback on courses and for other undergraduate resources please go to the Biology Undergraduate Study Advisory Committee (BUSAC) website, click here.

The Undergraduate Biology Option advisor is Professor Bruce Hay.

The Undergraduate Bioengineering Option advisor is Professor Justin Bois.