Mitosis, meiosis and microscopes. If you can say that fast five times, you might have the tiny foundational beginnings for a hugely successful career as a biologist. At CMU, you’ll peer through microscopes into the miniature world of cellular and molecular biology, genetics, and microbiology, and look around at the bigger one of physiology, botany and ecology with a scientific perspective you never realized you had. Whether you’re interested in graduate school, medical school or finding a rewarding job right after graduation, you’ll find real-world research opportunities to pursue studies in the field of life.
Points of Pride
- CMU’s $95 million Biosciences Building is the largest capital project ever in the university’s 120-plus year history. The four-story, 169,000-square-foot building, opening for classes in January 2017, will dramatically advance the university’s instructional learning and scientific research space.
- CMU is a Carnegie-classified doctoral research institution. Its faculty and students – including undergrads – work elbow-to-elbow to change lives by researching cancer vaccines and better treatment for Huntington's, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases.
- You can develop your research skills in biology and other areas by working at the CMU Biological Station on Beaver Island. CMU is the only university in Michigan and one of two in the Midwest to operate an island research station.
- The mesocosm research facility at the Beaver Island Biological Station is funded by a National Science Foundation grant and allows faculty and students to replicate Great Lakes conditions in a dozen 250-gallon experimental tanks.
- A CMU biology researcher and his student assistants were the first to discover evidence of Asian carp in the Great Lakes. They also do research in Antarctica, thanks to a National Science Foundation grant.
- Biologists in CMU's Institute for Great Lakes Research study the sustainability and management of the world's largest supply of surface fresh water. They also oversee a $10 million grant from the Environmental Protection Agency to monitor and assess Great Lakes coastal wetlands.
- CMU also offers the nation's only bachelor's degree concentration in microscopy.
Put Your Degree to Work
With a biology degree, you can be a research biologist, health care educator, university or college professor, secondary school teacher, natural history museum curator, zookeeper, biotechnologist, forensic scientist, science policy adviser, science writer, or medical illustrator, to name a few. Continued growth in biotechnology and medical research is expected to increase demand for biologists.
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics sample data
|Job||Median Pay||Job Growth through 2022|
|Medical scientist||$76,980 per year||13% (13,700 more jobs)|
|Biological technician||$39,750 per year||10% (8,000 more jobs)|
|Forensic science technician||$52,840 per year||6% (700 more jobs)|
The course listings below are a representation of what this academic program requires. For a full review of this program in detail please see our official online academic bulletin AND consult with an academic advisor. This listing does not include the General Education courses required for all majors and may not include some program specific information, such as admissions, retention, and termination standards.
(Click on the course name or number for a complete course description.)
Biology Major: General Option
General option is for students who do not plan to attend a professional graduate school upon graduation and are not planning to enter a field associated with natural resources. This option provides flexibility in the choice of electives. Students selecting this option are required to take the core courses (20 hours) and 22 hours of elective biology courses.
Total: 50-55 semester hours
Concepts of Biology
Fundamental concepts of biology including the chemical basis of life, cell structure and function, molecular and transmission genetics, evolution and ecology. May be applied towards fulfilling the requirements of any Biology major or minor. Students may only earn credit in one of the following: BIO 101, BIO 105, or BIO 110. Satisfies University Program Group II laboratory requirement. Recommended: High school chemistry or CHM 120 and 127 or 131 or 161. (University Program Group II-A: Descriptive Sciences)
Study of the structure, function, physiology, evolution, diversity and ecology of plants. Prerequisite: BIO 110.
The biology of microorganisms: bacteria, archaea, viruses, fungi, algae, and protozoa. Prerequisite: BIO 110.
A general survey of the animal kingdom with emphasis on phylogeny, taxonomy, structure, physiology, and ecology of type examples of the major phyla. Prerequisite: BIO 110.
The principles of heredity dealing with the location, transmission, structure and function of genes and the results of modern genetic techniques. Prerequisites: BIO 208; One of BIO 101, 105, 110.
Study of the relationships between organisms and their environment. Prerequisites: One of: BIO 101, 105, 110. Recommended: BIO 203 or 218.
Other Requirements I
Select one of the following options:
Other Requirements II
Select one of the following:
Survey of Physical Science
Introduction to the nature of the physical universe, the concepts and methods of physical science, and the history of scientific ideas. Developed through lectures and demonstrations. (University Program Group II-B: Quantitative and Mathematical Sciences)
College Physics I
Mechanics, heat, kinetic theory, and sound. The mathematics used is algebra and trigonometry. The sequences PHY 130-131, PHY 170-171 satisfy minimum requirements for medical and dental schools. Quantitative Reasoning. Recommended: MTH 106. (University Program Group II-B: Quantitative and Mathematical Sciences)
Biology electives to be selected in consultation with a biology advisor.