The biology major must take courses in chemistry, genetics, anatomy and general biology.

Biology is one of the ten most popular majors selected by college students each year, according to a report released by CNN. The affinity for the sciences can afford you the opportunity to work in a science lab or satisfy the necessary requirements needed to gain entrance to medical school. Whichever long-term career path the biology major decides to take, there are a number of course requirements that must be completed in order to successfully complete the bachelor's degree in biology.

General Biology

Typically, biology majors will be required to take two sections of general biology and corresponding labs. For example, Emory University's Foundations of Biology courses are taken as an introductory overview of the science within a student's first academic year. This foundational coursework usually serves not only as a tool to acclimate students to major topics within the biological sciences, but as a mandatory program prerequisite for further study in areas such as molecular, cell and microbiology.


Genetics -- the science of genes, heredity and the variation of organisms -- serves as a pertinent foundation to the biological sciences. Research in this field of study has produced scientific knowledge on topics such as DNA and genetic diseases. For a biology major looking to enter the medical profession, genetics can play a role in examining patient preventative care options. Colleges such as Howard University include genetics in the biology major's core requirements.


In order to fully understand the nucleus of the biological studies, students on the biology degree program track typically are required to take at least two semesters of chemistry courses. Having a grasp of the chemical processes of organisms is necessary for the biology major with medical or laboratory career objectives. At Purdue University, biology majors are required to take two semesters of general and organic chemistry and select an elective course from options such as biochemistry or physical chemistry.

Anatomy and Physiology

The body is comprised of multiple cells, tissues and membranes, each serving a distinct purpose in function. This course, designed to help the science-minded student become familiar with the compositional makeup of all living things, sometimes serves as a biology major's first exposure to laboratory dissection. While most biology majors will have access to hands-on dissection experience on small animals such as frogs, rats and pigs, more comprehensive courses in anatomy and physiology, like that at Eastern Mennonite University, offer undergraduate students the opportunity to engage in the dissection and study of human cadavers.