Undergraduate Programs

Undergraduate Programs We Offer

Biology is one of the largest departments at UMD and we play a vital role in the undergraduate mission of UMD, providing courses in the biological sciences for liberal education majors as well as a strong biological background for other undergraduate majors and students seeking entry to various professional schools.   

Biology Majors

Our Biology B.S. and B.A. degrees each have two customizable tracks.

Biology B.S. 

Genetics, cell, and Development (GCD) Track - This plan prepares students for graduate school and careers in cell biology, genetics, developmental biology, physiology, immunology, biotechnology, molecular biology, and microbiology. It is also designed to prepare students for application to professional schools including medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, and veterinary medicine. Genetics, Cell & Development sample plan

Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior (EEB) Track - This plan prepares students for a wide range of careers including teaching, working on environmental problems for government agencies and industry, and for research positions at universities and other institutions. It also provides excellent preparation for graduate school or professional programs. Ecology, Evolution, & Behavior sample plan

Biology B.A.

Human Biology Track - This plan is designed to provide the breadth and depth of knowledge required for students entering human health care professions including Nursing, Dentistry, Pharmacy, Physician Assistant, and the diverse array of health care technician programs.  Human Biology sample plan 

Life Sciences Track - This plan is for students whose educational and career objectives can best be met by integrating a strong biology background with courses from multiple departments in order to complete a second major or one or more minors outside the Swenson College of Science and Engineering. Life Science sample plan

Cell and Molecular Biology B.S. - This program is for current students only, as no new students will be accepted after Spring 2017. Cell and Molecular Biology B.S. Sample plan

Teaching Life Sciences Bachelor of Applied Sciences (B.A.Sc.) - Degree awarded through the College of Education and Human Service Professions.

Biology Minors

Biology Minor - Biology is a highly diverse subject with roots in many other fields of study. Inclusion of this minor can make a student's education more well rounded and make graduates more employable.

Natural History Minor - This minor enhances students' understanding of the ecology and geology of the natural world. It places particular emphasis on courses with field labs. The minor program covers a wide range of topics in earth's history, ecology, ornithology, entomology, ichthyology, mammalogy, animal behavior, and field interpretation for education, as well as other topics. A required senior seminar also introduces students to classic readings in natural history.

All Biology Courses

For a complete listing of courses – visit the Public Course Catalog. Enter “Duluth” in the Institution and Campus fields; and enter "BIOL" for Subject Area, then click “Search.”

Research for Credit

Included in the course offerings for biology majors and minors are special opportunities for research experience (BIOL 3994) and internships (BIOL 3996), as well as in-class participation as undergraduate teaching assistants (BIOL 3993). These opportunities are offered if you are in your junior or senior year and require approval of the academic adviser as well as prior arrangement with a sponsoring department faculty member.  You must submit an application for these courses in order to register.  Click on the program you are interested in for directions and the application form.  The Department of Biology faculty sponsor assigns a grade (S/N) for these courses. 


All degree candidates must complete a minimum of 120 semester credits with a minimum GPA of 2.0 in all work taken through the University of Minnesota system.

These degrees also require:

  • A liberal education component
  • An advanced writing requirement
  • A core of biology major course requirements
  • Elective upper division biology credits
  • Supporting courses from other fields (chemistry, math, physics)
  • Coursework for completion of a minor or second major

The B.A. degree is broader in scope and has fewer math and science supporting courses. Also, biology elective credits for the B.S. are more specific than those for the B.A. major.

Advising & Academic Services

The Biology Department is part of the Swenson College of Science & Engineering which has advising staff that can answer questions about being part of our program.

Visit their webpages for more information on admissions requirements and transfer guidelines.

The Department of Biology takes academic integrity very seriously and sets consistent and clear guidelines for students, staff, and faculty to follow. All students should be aware of and review stated policies to ensure that they operate within appropriate academic standards.  In addition, please read the Department of Biology plagiarism statement.  

Student Learning Outcomes

Our Department has established four broad program outcomes for our undergraduate biology majors as part of the campus-wide assessment plan. These are:

  1. Comprehension - Students will know and be able to explain the basic definitions and core concepts in their respective field of study.

  2. Application - Students will be able to apply biology knowledge and techniques towards solutions to problems.

  3. Analysis - Students will be able to determine an appropriate method for research, collect data and carry out the research using techniques and equipment specific to their field.

  4. Communication - Students will be able to write about scientific ideas and present their ideas and findings to technical and non-technical audiences.

Please read the Biology B.S. and B.A. program goals and Department of Biology science writing goals.