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. 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 purse 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, cell biologist, elementary or high school teacher, forestry technician, microscopist, soil scientist, university or college professor, veterinarian, wildlife biologist, or zoologist, to name a few.
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics sample data
|Job||Median Pay||Job Growth through 2022|
|Biological technician||$39,750 per year||10% (8,000 more jobs)|
|Microbiologist||$66,260 per year||7% (1,400 more jobs)|
|Zoologist||$57,710 per year||5% (1,000 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: Pregraduate/Preprofessional Option
Pregraduate/Preprofessional option is for students who plan to enter a
graduate or professional school after graduation from CMU.
Total: 70-74 semester hours
Note: CHM 425 or 521, MTH 133, and CPS 110 OR CPS 150 are recommended
Core Courses II
Students selecting the Pre-Graduate/Pre-Professional option are required
to take 7 hours in addition to the required core courses. Choose from
the options listed below:
Core Courses I
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.
Required Courses II
College Physics II
A continuation of PHY 130 that covers the topics of electricity,
magnetism, optics and modern physics. Prerequisite: PHY 130.
Required Courses I
Select one of the following options
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
Organic Chemistry I
Overview of common organic reactions. Reactions of alkanes, alkenes,
alkynes, and alkyl halides, Ultraviolet/Visible, Infrared, and Nuclear
Magnetic Resonance spectroscopy, mass spectrometry. Prerequisite: CHM
132 or 161.
Organic Chemistry II
Continuation of CHM 345. Overview of common organic reactions of
aromatic compounds, alcohols, carbonyl compounds, and amines.
Prerequisite: CHM 345.
Organic Chemistry Laboratory
Laboratory techniques in organic chemistry; methods of synthesis,
separation, purification, structure determination - spectroscopic
methods; utilization of electronic database (Scifinder) searching
techniques. Prerequisite: CHM 345. Pre/Co-requisite: CHM 346.
Limits, continuity, interpretations of the derivative, differentiation
of elementary functions, applications of derivatives, antiderivatives,
Riemann sums, definite integrals, fundamental theorem of calculus. This
course may be offered in an online or hybrid format. Recommended: MTH
106, 107; or MTH 130. (University Program Group II-B: Quantitative and
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)
Other Requirements I
Select one of the following:
If BIO 500 is selected, it may count toward the 42 hours required in
An introduction to biological statistics; emphasis on concepts of
descriptive statistics and central tendency, inferential statistics,
one-way ANOVA and correlation/linear regression.
Prerequisites: Graduate standing or twelve (12) hours of biology.
Recommended MTH 130.
Elementary Statistical Analysis
An introduction to statistical analysis. Topics will include descriptive
statistics, probability, sampling distributions, statistical inference,
and regression. Credit may not be earned in more than one of these
courses: STA 282, STA 382, STA 392. Quantitative Reasoning.
Prerequisite: MTH 130 or 132 or 133. (University Program Group II-B:
Quantitative and Mathematical Sciences).
Biology electives to be selected in consultation with a biology advisor.
BIO 403 is recommended as an elective course.