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.
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.
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
- 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 Biology, BIOL 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.
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.
Total credits: minimum 120
Students should refer to the Admissions & Policies tab for specific policies related to this program.
Biology Core Courses
|BIOL 213||Cell Structure and Function (Mason Core)||4|
|BIOL 214||Biostatistics for Biology Majors||4|
|BIOL 308||Foundations of Ecology and Evolution 1||5|
& BIOL 330
and Biodiversity Lab and Recitation
|BIOL 311||General Genetics||4|
Fulfills the writing intensive requirement.
|Complete 10 credits of additional biology courses 1||10|
Of which, at least 6 credits must be upper division, and at least one of these upper division courses must include a laboratory.
& CHEM 213
|General Chemistry I (Mason Core)|
and General Chemistry Laboratory I (Mason Core) (Natural Science course)
& CHEM 214
|General Chemistry II (Mason Core)|
and General Chemistry Laboratory II (Mason Core) (Natural Science course)
|Select one from the following:||3-6|
|Linear Mathematical Modeling (Mason Core) (Quantitative Reasoning courses)|
or MATH 113
|Analytic Geometry and Calculus I (Mason Core)|
|Calculus with Algebra/Trigonometry, Part A|
and Calculus with Algebra/Trigonometry, Part B (Mason Core)
|Select one from the following:||3|
|Computing for Scientists (Mason Core) 1|
Recommended by the Department of Biology
|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)|
Note for Students Expecting to Enter Graduate or Professional School
Students expecting to enter graduate or professional school are strongly encouraged to complete:
& MATH 114
|Analytic Geometry and Calculus I (Mason Core)|
and Analytic Geometry and Calculus II
& CHEM 315
|Organic Chemistry I|
and Organic Chemistry Lab I
& CHEM 318
|Organic Chemistry II|
and Organic Chemistry Lab II
& PHYS 244
|College Physics (Mason Core)|
and College Physics Lab (Mason Core)
& PHYS 246
|College Physics (Mason Core)|
and College Physics Lab (Mason Core)
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.
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.
|Social and Behavioral Sciences||3|
|Western Civilization/World History||3|
|Synthesis/Capstone Requirement 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|
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.
|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|
|Geography of Resource Conservation (Mason Core)|
|Population Geography (Mason Core)|
|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|
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 course||1|
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 applicable||0-3|
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.
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 114||Introduction to Cultural Anthropology (Mason Core)||3|
|ANTH 301||Native North Americans||3|
|ANTH 302||Peoples and Cultures of Latin America (Mason Core)||3|
|ANTH 303||Peoples and Cultures of the Andes||3|
|ANTH 306||Peoples and Cultures of Island Asia (Mason Core)||3|
|ANTH 307||Ancient Mesoamerica (Mason Core)||3|
|ANTH 308||Peoples and Cultures of the Middle East (Mason Core)||3|
|ANTH 309||Peoples and Cultures of India (Mason Core)||3|
|ANTH 313||Myth, Magic, and Mind (Mason Core)||3|
|ANTH 316||Peoples and Cultures of the Caribbean (Mason Core)||3|
|ANTH 323||Digging and Dealing in the Dead: Ethics in Archaeology||3|
|ANTH 330||Peoples and Cultures of Selected Regions: Non-Western||3|
|ANTH 332||Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Globalization (Mason Core)||3|
|ANTH 381||Medical Anthropology||3|
|ANTH 383||Cities of the Global South||3|
|ANTH 396||Issues in Anthropology: Social Sciences (Mason Core)||3|
|ARAB 360||Topics in Arabic Cultural Production||3|
|ARAB 420||Survey of Arabic Literature||3|
|ARAB 440||Topics in Arabic Religious Thought and Texts (Mason Core)||3|
|ARTH 203||Survey of Asian Art (Mason Core)||3|
|ARTH 204||Survey of Latin American Art (Mason Core)||3|
|ARTH 206||Survey of African Art (Mason Core)||3|
|ARTH 318||Art and Archaeology of Ancient Egypt||3|
|ARTH 319||Art and Archaeology of the Ancient Near East (Mason Core)||3|
|ARTH 320||Art of the Islamic World (Mason Core)||3|
|ARTH 382||Arts of India (Mason Core)||3|
|ARTH 383||Arts of Southeast Asia (Mason Core)||3|
|ARTH 384||Arts of China (Mason Core)||3|
|ARTH 385||Arts of Japan (Mason Core)||3|
|ARTH 386||The Silk Road (Mason Core)||3|
|ARTH 482||RS: Advanced Studies in Asian Art||3|
|CHIN 318||Introduction to Classical Chinese (Mason Core)||3|
|CHIN 320||Contemporary Chinese Film||3|
|CHIN 325||Major Chinese Writers (Mason Core)||3|
|DANC 118||World Dance (Mason Core)||3|
|ECON 361||Economic Development of Latin America (Mason Core)||3|
|ECON 362||African Economic Development (Mason Core)||3|
|FREN 451||Topics in Sub-Saharan Francophone Literature and Culture||3|
|FREN 454||Topics in Caribbean Francophone Literature and Culture||3|
|GGS 101||Major World Regions (Mason Core)||3|
|GGS 316||Geography of Latin America||3|
|GGS 325||Geography of North Africa and the Middle East||3|
|GGS 330||Geography of the Soviet Succession States||3|
|GGS 399||Select Topics in GGS||3|
|GOVT 328||Non-Western Political Theory||3|
|GOVT 332||Government and Politics of the Middle East and North Africa||3|
|GOVT 333||Government and Politics of Asia||3|
|GOVT 340||Central Asian Politics||3|
|GOVT 341||Chinese Foreign Policy||3|
|GOVT 345||Islam and Politics||3|
|GOVT 432||Political Change and Social Development in Sub-Saharan Africa||3|
|GOVT 433||Political Economy of East Asia||3|
|HIST 251||Survey of East Asian History (Mason Core)||3|
|HIST 252||Survey of East Asian History (Mason Core)||3|
|HIST 261||Survey of African History (Mason Core)||3|
|HIST 262||Survey of African History (Mason Core)||3|
|HIST 271||Survey of Latin American History (Mason Core)||3|
|HIST 272||Survey of Latin American History (Mason Core)||3|
|HIST 281||Survey of Middle Eastern Civilization (Mason Core)||3|
|HIST 282||Survey of Middle Eastern Civilization (Mason Core)||3|
|HIST 327||The Soviet Union and Russia Since World War II||3|
|HIST 328||Rise of Russia (Mason Core)||3|
|HIST 329||Modern Russia and the Soviet Union (Mason Core)||3|
|HIST 353||History of Traditional China||3|
|HIST 354||Modern China||3|
|HIST 356||Modern Japan (Mason Core)||3|
|HIST 357||Postwar Japan (Mason Core)||3|
|HIST 358||Post-1949 China (Mason Core)||3|
|HIST 360||History of South Africa (Mason Core)||3|
|HIST 364||Revolution and Radical Politics in Latin America (Mason Core)||3|
|HIST 365||Conquest and Colonization in Latin America (Mason Core)||3|
|HIST 366||Comparative Slavery||3|
|HIST 367||History, Fiction, and Film in Latin America||3|
|HIST 387||Topics in Global History (Mason Core)||3-6|
|HIST 426||The Russian Revolution||3|
|HIST 460||Modern Iran (Mason Core)||3|
|HIST 461||Arab-Israeli Conflict||3|
|HIST 462||Women in Islamic Society (Mason Core)||3|
|HIST 465||The Middle East in the 20th Century||3|
|JAPA 310||Japanese Culture in a Global World (Mason Core)||3|
|JAPA 340||Topics in Japanese Literature (Mason Core)||3|
|KORE 320||Korean Popular Culture in a Global World||3|
|MUSI 103||Musics of the World (Mason Core)||3|
|RELI 211||Religions of the West (Mason Core)||3|
|RELI 212||Religions of Asia (Mason Core)||3|
|RELI 240||Death and the Afterlife in World Religions||3|
|RELI 313||Hinduism (Mason Core)||3|
|RELI 314||Chinese Philosophies and Religious Traditions||3|
|RELI 315||Buddhism (Mason Core)||3|
|RELI 337||Mysticism: East and West||3|
|RELI 365||Muhammad: Life and Legacy||3|
|RELI 374||Islamic Thought (Mason Core)||3|
|RELI 375||Qur'an and Hadith||3|
|RELI 379||Islamic Law, Society, and Ethics||3|
|RELI 387||Islam, Democracy, and Human Rights||3|
|RELI 490||Comparative Study of Religions (Mason Core)||3|
|RUSS 353||Russian Civilization (Mason Core)||3|
|RUSS 354||Contemporary Post-Soviet Life (Mason Core)||3|
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
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.
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 Biology. BIOL 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)
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.
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.
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:
|Fall Semester||Credits||Spring Semester||Credits|
|EDCI 573||3||EDCI 673||3|
|EDUC 672||3||EDRD 619||3|
|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.