The Biology, BA provides a sound liberal arts education with substantial experience in quantitative and analytical thought, along with preparation for related professions. The department provides the strong background necessary for not only for graduate study in the life sciences, but also enables students to develop careers in a wide variety of disciplines, including secondary school teaching, environmental management, microbiology, molecular biology, biotechnology, genetics, wildlife management, fisheries biology, and marine science. Furthermore, our curriculum prepares students for careers in the health sciences including medicine, dentistry, veterinary science, and related allied health disciplines.

Admissions

University-wide admissions policies can be found in the Undergraduate Admissions Policies section of this catalog.

To apply for this program, please complete the George Mason University Admissions Application.

Policies

Students must fulfill all Requirements for Bachelor's Degrees, including the Mason Core. Students in this bachelor's program must also complete the additional College Requirements for the BA Degree (see Requirements).

The writing intensive requirement is fulfilled by BIOL 308 Foundations of Ecology and Evolution.

Important information and departmental policies are listed with the Department of Biology.

For policies governing all undergraduate programs, see AP.5 Undergraduate Policies.             

Important Program Requirements

Students must complete degree requirements with:

  • A minimum GPA of 2.00 in the 32 credits of BIOL courses listed in degree program
  • A minimum GPA of 2.00 in the supporting courses listed in degree program

Additionally:

  • Students may apply no more than 4 credits of BIOL 103 Introductory Biology I (Mason Core) or BIOL 104 Introductory Biology II (Mason Core) toward elective credit (or equivalent transfer credit at the 100 to 200-level) if taken before the successful completion of BIOL 213 Cell Structure and Function (Mason Core).
  • Biology majors must earn a minimum grade of 'C' in all of the biology core courses. A grade of 'C' or better must be earned in BIOL 213 Cell Structure and Function (Mason Core) in order to advance to other core requirements.
  • Students may repeat BIOL 213 Cell Structure and Function (Mason Core) once, but a second time only with permission of the Department of Biology.
  • Students may not count BIOL 124 Human Anatomy and Physiology and/or BIOL 125 Human Anatomy and Physiology toward any biology major requirement.
  • Students who take BIOL 310 Biodiversity and BIOL 330 Biodiversity Lab and Recitation may not count BIOL 303 Animal Biology and/or BIOL 304 Plant Biology toward any biology major requirement.
  • BIOL 308 Foundations of Ecology and Evolution meets the writing intensive requirement for this major.
  • BIOL 493 Honors Research in BiologyBIOL 495 Directed Studies in Biology, and BIOL 497 Special Problems in Biology do not satisfy the requirements of the BA degree which state that students must complete at least one upper division course that includes a laboratory. The courses do, however, count as non-laboratory electives.

Teacher Licensure

Students majoring in biology who wish to pursue a career teaching secondary school may consider applying for the Secondary Education – Biology (6-12) Undergraduate Certificate offered by the College of Education and Human Development as an option in seeking an initial Virginia teaching license. The certificate includes current endorsement and licensure coursework embedded within your major. Students apply to add this as a secondary program during their sophomore year and complete required content and education coursework leading to initial licensure in the state of Virginia within 120 credits.

Other routes to licensure include the Biology, BA or BS/Curriculum and Instruction, Accelerated MEd (Secondary Education Biology Concentration) or select traditional Master's programs. Please contact the undergraduate advisor in the College of Education and Human Development for more information.

Banner Code: SC-BA-BIOL

Degree Requirements

Total credits: minimum 120

Students should refer to the Admissions & Policies tab for specific policies related to this program.

Biology Core Courses

BIOL 213Cell Structure and Function (Mason Core)4
BIOL 214Biostatistics for Biology Majors4
BIOL 308Foundations of Ecology and Evolution 15
BIOL 310
BIOL 330
Biodiversity
and Biodiversity Lab and Recitation
5
BIOL 311General Genetics4
Total Credits22
1

Fulfills the writing intensive requirement.

Biology Electives

Complete 10 credits of additional biology courses 110
1

Of which, at least 6 credits must be upper division, and at least one of these upper division courses must include a laboratory.

Chemistry

CHEM 211
CHEM 213
General Chemistry I (Mason Core)
and General Chemistry Laboratory I (Mason Core) (Natural Science course)
4
CHEM 212
CHEM 214
General Chemistry II (Mason Core)
and General Chemistry Laboratory II (Mason Core) (Natural Science course)
4
Total Credits8

Math

Select one from the following:3-6
Linear Mathematical Modeling (Mason Core) (Quantitative Reasoning courses)
Analytic Geometry and Calculus I (Mason Core)
Calculus with Algebra/Trigonometry, Part A
and Calculus with Algebra/Trigonometry, Part B (Mason Core)
Total Credits3-6

Computer Science

Select one from the following:3
Computing for Scientists (Mason Core) 1
Total Credits3
1

Recommended by the Department of Biology

Natural Science

Select 6-8 credits from the following Mason Core: Natural Science courses:6-8
Astronomy (Mason Core)
Introductory Astronomy: The Solar System (Mason Core)
Introductory Astronomy: Stars, Galaxies, and the Universe (Mason Core)
Introductory Geology I (Mason Core)
Introductory Geology II (Mason Core)
University Physics I (Mason Core)
College Physics (Mason Core)
College Physics (Mason Core)
University Physics II (Mason Core)
Total Credits6-8

Note for Students Expecting to Enter Graduate or Professional School

Students expecting to enter graduate or professional school are strongly encouraged to complete:

MATH 113
MATH 114
Analytic Geometry and Calculus I (Mason Core)
and Analytic Geometry and Calculus II
8
CHEM 313
CHEM 315
Organic Chemistry I
and Organic Chemistry Lab I
5
CHEM 314
CHEM 318
Organic Chemistry II
and Organic Chemistry Lab II
5
PHYS 243
PHYS 244
College Physics (Mason Core)
and College Physics Lab (Mason Core)
4
PHYS 245
PHYS 246
College Physics (Mason Core)
and College Physics Lab (Mason Core)
4

Mason Core and Elective Requirements

In order to meet a minimum of 120 credits, this degree requires an additional 63-68 credits, which may be applied toward any remaining Mason Core requirements (outlined below), Requirements for Bachelor’s Degrees, College Requirements for the BA Degree (outlined below), and elective courses. Students are strongly encouraged to consult with their advisors to ensure that they fulfill all requirements.

Mason Core

Note: Some Mason Core requirements may already be fulfilled by the major requirements listed above. Students are strongly encouraged to consult their advisors to ensure they fulfill all remaining Mason Core requirements.

Foundation Requirements
Written Communication6
Oral Communication3
Quantitative Reasoning3
Information Technology3-7
Core Requirements
Arts3
Global Understanding3
Literature3
Natural Science7
Social and Behavioral Sciences3
Western Civilization/World History3
Synthesis/Capstone Requirement 1
Synthesis/Capstone3
Total Credits40
1

minimum 3 credits

College Requirements for the BA Degree

In addition to the program requirements and the Mason Core requirements, students pursuing a BA degree must complete the coursework below. Except where expressly prohibited, a course used to fulfill this college-level requirement may also be used simultaneously to satisfy other requirements such as Mason Core requirements, other college-level requirements, or requirements for the major. In some cases, the requirements listed below may be superseded by requirements of the degree program and the Mason Core.

Philosophy or Religious Studies
Select 3 credits from the following:3
1

PHIL 323 Classical Western Political Theory and PHIL 324 Modern Western Political Theory may not be used to fulfill this requirement.

Social and Behavioral Sciences

Choose one approved Mason Core: Social and Behavioral Sciences course in addition to the Mason Core-required course for a total of 6 credits. The two courses used to fulfill the combined college-level and university requirements must be from different disciplines.

This requirement may be fulfilled by completing any course in ANTH, CRIM, ECON, GOVT, HIST1, LING, PSYC, or SOCI, and the following GGS courses:

Select any course from the disciplines above or select from the following GGS courses:3
Major World Regions (Mason Core)
Human Geography (Mason Core)
Introduction to Geoinformation Technologies
Political Geography
Geography of Resource Conservation (Mason Core)
Population Geography (Mason Core)
Economic Geography
Urban Geography
Geography of the United States
Geography of Latin America
Geography of Europe
Geography of North Africa and the Middle East
Geography of the Soviet Succession States
Structures in Urban Governance and Planning
Geography of Virginia
Total Credits3
1

HIST 100 History of Western Civilization (Mason Core) and HIST 125 Introduction to World History (Mason Core) may not be used to fulfill this requirement.

Natural Science

Choose one credit in addition to the Mason Core: Natural Science requirement for a total of 8 credits. This combined college-level and university requirement must be fulfilled by completing two of any approved Mason Core: Natural Science courses that include a laboratory experience1.

Select an additional Mason Core Natural Science course1
1

BIOL 124 Human Anatomy and Physiology and BIOL 125 Human Anatomy and Physiology may not be used to fulfill this requirement.

Foreign Language

Intermediate-level proficiency in one foreign language is required1. This requirement may be fulfilled by completing a course in a foreign language numbered 202, 209, or 210 (or higher-level courses taught in the language).

Select a foreign language course numbered 202, 209, 210, or higher if a waiver isn't applicable0-3
1

Students may be eligible for a waiver of this requirement if they are already proficient in a second language or if they have received a satisfactory score on an approved proficiency test. Additional information on waivers can be found via the college’s Office of Academic and Student Affairs.

Non-Western Culture

Choose one approved Non-Western Culture Requirement1 course in addition to the course used to fulfill the Mason Core: Global Understanding requirement. A course used to fulfill the Mason Core: Global Understanding requirement may not be simultaneously used to satisfy this college-level requirement. However, a course used to fulfill this requirement may be used simultaneously to fulfill any other requirements (Mason Core requirements, college-level requirements, or requirements for the major).

Select 3 credits from approved Non-Western Culture courses if a waiver isn't applicable:0-3
ANTH 114Introduction to Cultural Anthropology (Mason Core)3
ANTH 300Civilizations3
ANTH 301Native North Americans3
ANTH 302Peoples and Cultures of Latin America (Mason Core)3
ANTH 303Peoples and Cultures of the Andes3
ANTH 306Peoples and Cultures of Island Asia (Mason Core)3
ANTH 307Ancient Mesoamerica (Mason Core)3
ANTH 308Peoples and Cultures of the Middle East (Mason Core)3
ANTH 309Peoples and Cultures of India (Mason Core)3
ANTH 313Myth, Magic, and Mind (Mason Core)3
ANTH 314Zombies3
ANTH 316Peoples and Cultures of the Caribbean (Mason Core)3
ANTH 323Digging and Dealing in the Dead: Ethics in Archaeology3
ANTH 330Peoples and Cultures of Selected Regions: Non-Western3
ANTH 332Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Globalization (Mason Core)3
ANTH 381Medical Anthropology3
ANTH 383Cities of the Global South3
ANTH 396Issues in Anthropology: Social Sciences (Mason Core)3
ARAB 360Topics in Arabic Cultural Production3
ARAB 420Survey of Arabic Literature3
ARAB 440Topics in Arabic Religious Thought and Texts (Mason Core)3
ARTH 203Survey of Asian Art (Mason Core)3
ARTH 204Survey of Latin American Art (Mason Core)3
ARTH 206Survey of African Art (Mason Core)3
ARTH 318Art and Archaeology of Ancient Egypt3
ARTH 319Art and Archaeology of the Ancient Near East (Mason Core)3
ARTH 320Art of the Islamic World (Mason Core)3
ARTH 382Arts of India (Mason Core)3
ARTH 383Arts of Southeast Asia (Mason Core)3
ARTH 384Arts of China (Mason Core)3
ARTH 385Arts of Japan (Mason Core)3
ARTH 386The Silk Road (Mason Core)3
ARTH 482RS: Advanced Studies in Asian Art3
CHIN 318Introduction to Classical Chinese (Mason Core)3
CHIN 320Contemporary Chinese Film3
CHIN 325Major Chinese Writers (Mason Core)3
DANC 118World Dance (Mason Core)3
ECON 361Economic Development of Latin America (Mason Core)3
ECON 362African Economic Development (Mason Core)3
FREN 451Topics in Sub-Saharan Francophone Literature and Culture3
FREN 454Topics in Caribbean Francophone Literature and Culture3
GGS 101Major World Regions (Mason Core)3
GGS 316Geography of Latin America3
GGS 325Geography of North Africa and the Middle East3
GGS 330Geography of the Soviet Succession States3
GGS 399Select Topics in GGS3
GOVT 328Non-Western Political Theory3
GOVT 332Government and Politics of the Middle East and North Africa3
GOVT 333Government and Politics of Asia3
GOVT 340Central Asian Politics3
GOVT 341Chinese Foreign Policy3
GOVT 345Islam and Politics3
GOVT 432Political Change and Social Development in Sub-Saharan Africa3
GOVT 433Political Economy of East Asia3
HIST 251Survey of East Asian History (Mason Core)3
HIST 252Survey of East Asian History (Mason Core)3
HIST 261Survey of African History (Mason Core)3
HIST 262Survey of African History (Mason Core)3
HIST 271Survey of Latin American History (Mason Core)3
HIST 272Survey of Latin American History (Mason Core)3
HIST 281Survey of Middle Eastern Civilization (Mason Core)3
HIST 282Survey of Middle Eastern Civilization (Mason Core)3
HIST 326Stalinism3
HIST 327The Soviet Union and Russia Since World War II3
HIST 328Rise of Russia (Mason Core)3
HIST 329Modern Russia and the Soviet Union (Mason Core)3
HIST 353History of Traditional China3
HIST 354Modern China3
HIST 356Modern Japan (Mason Core)3
HIST 357Postwar Japan (Mason Core)3
HIST 358Post-1949 China (Mason Core)3
HIST 360History of South Africa (Mason Core)3
HIST 364Revolution and Radical Politics in Latin America (Mason Core)3
HIST 365Conquest and Colonization in Latin America (Mason Core)3
HIST 366Comparative Slavery3
HIST 367History, Fiction, and Film in Latin America3
HIST 387Topics in Global History (Mason Core)3-6
HIST 426The Russian Revolution3
HIST 460Modern Iran (Mason Core)3
HIST 461Arab-Israeli Conflict3
HIST 462Women in Islamic Society (Mason Core)3
HIST 465The Middle East in the 20th Century3
JAPA 310Japanese Culture in a Global World (Mason Core)3
JAPA 340Topics in Japanese Literature (Mason Core)3
KORE 320Korean Popular Culture in a Global World3
MUSI 103Musics of the World (Mason Core)3
RELI 211Religions of the West (Mason Core)3
RELI 212Religions of Asia (Mason Core)3
RELI 240Death and the Afterlife in World Religions3
RELI 272Islam3
RELI 313Hinduism (Mason Core)3
RELI 314Chinese Philosophies and Religious Traditions3
RELI 315Buddhism (Mason Core)3
RELI 337Mysticism: East and West3
RELI 365Muhammad: Life and Legacy3
RELI 374Islamic Thought (Mason Core)3
RELI 375Qur'an and Hadith3
RELI 379Islamic Law, Society, and Ethics3
RELI 387Islam, Democracy, and Human Rights3
RELI 490Comparative Study of Religions (Mason Core)3
RUSS 353Russian Civilization (Mason Core)3
RUSS 354Contemporary Post-Soviet Life (Mason Core)3
1

Students who can document attendance at a native school in a non-western country for at least four years may request a waiver from this requirement through the CHSS Undergraduate Academic Affairs Office.

Honors in the Major

Admissions

Minimum requirements for invitation:

  • GPA in biology courses must be 3.33 or better
  • GPA in supporting requirements (math and other science) must be 3.00 or better
  • Grade of ‘B’ or better in BIOL 213 Cell Structure and Function (Mason Core)

Students should apply for admission to the Honors Program during their first or second year at the university. Contact the Department of Biology for information on applying.

Retention Requirements

Students in honors biology must maintain a biology GPA of 3.33 or better and a supporting GPA of 3.00 or better from the time they have accumulated 30 hours and thereafter. Students who fall below this standard will be given a one semester probationary period in which to bring their GPA back up to the minimum standard.

Requirements to Graduate with Biology Honors

Students are required to take 6 to 8 credits in honors courses in BIOL including three semesters of BIOL 494 Honors Seminar in Biology or two semesters of BIOL 494 Honors Seminar in Biology and one semester of BIOL 493 Honors Research in BiologyBIOL 498 Research Seminar may count towards one of the semester requirements of BIOL 494 Honors Seminar in Biology. The GPA requirements are as follows:

  • Minimum 3.33 GPA in honors biology courses
  • Minimum 3.33 GPA in biology requirements
  • Minimum 3.00 GPA in supporting requirements
  • Minimum 3.00 GPA overall

Biology, BA or BS/Curriculum and Instruction, Accelerated MEd (Secondary Education Biology concentration)

Overview

Highly-qualified undergraduates may be admitted to the bachelor's/accelerated master's program and obtain a BA or BS in Biology (degree without concentration) and an MEd in Curriculum and Instruction (concentration in secondary education biology) in an accelerated time-frame after satisfactory completion of 149 credits. See AP.6.7 Bachelor's/Accelerated Master's Degree for policies related to this program.

This accelerated option is offered jointly by the Biology Undergraduate Program and the Graduate School of Education.

Students in an accelerated degree program must fulfill all university requirements for the master's degree. For policies governing all graduate degrees, see AP.6 Graduate Policies.

Application Requirements

Applicants to all graduate programs at George Mason University must meet the admission standards and application requirements for graduate study as specified in Graduate Admissions Policies. For information specific to this accelerated master's program, see Application Requirements and Deadlines.

Accelerated Option Requirements

Students must complete the following courses in their senior year:

Senior
Fall SemesterCreditsSpring SemesterCredits
EDCI 5733EDCI 6733
EDUC 6723EDRD 6193
 6 6
Total Credits 12

While undergraduate students, accelerated master's students are able to apply two of the courses listed above to both the bachelor's and master's degrees. These courses are considered advanced standing for the MEd. A minimum grade of B must be earned to be eligible to count as advanced standing. The other two courses are taken as reserve graduate credit and do not apply to the undergraduate degree. Early in their final undergraduate semester, students must submit the Bachelor's/Accelerated Master's Transition Form to the CEHD Admissions Office and specify which of the four courses are to be designated as advanced standing and reserve graduate credit.