​​​​​​​​​​​​​Program Description

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

JobMedian PayJob Growth through ​2022​
Medical scientist$76,980 per year13% (13,700 more jobs)
Biological technician$39,750 per year10% (8,000 more jobs)
Forensic science technician$52,840 per year6% (700 more jobs)​

For More Information

Visit the biology website or contact:

Department of Biology
Brooks Hall 217
Phone: 989-774-3227
Fax: 989-774-3462

Program Overview

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
Core Courses
(20 hours)
BIO 110
Concepts of Biology
BIO 203
General Botany
BIO 208
BIO 218
General Zoology
BIO 326
BIO 340
Other Requirements I
(5-9 hours)
Select one of the following options:
Option A
Option B
Option C
Other Requirements II
(3-4 hours)
Select one of the following:
PHS 101
Survey of Physical Science
College Physics I
(22 hours)
Biology electives to be selected in consultation with a biology advisor.