Major and Combined Major Requirements

For a full list of current courses and requirements: See Biology in the Whitman College Catalog.

Biology Majorflowers

If you are a freshman, we suggest the following general sequence of courses for the first year:

  • Freshman Year, First Semester: Chemistry 125/135, Math 125, Encounters, Elective.
  • Freshman Year, Second Semester: Chemistry 126/136, Math 126, Biology 111, Encounters, Elective (if you are not able to enroll in Bio 111 this semester, do not panic; try Bio 112 or wait until the next semester - consult with your biology advisor or the Chair).

As a Sophomore, you should spend the year continuing to pursue Bio 111 and Bio 112 (if either not already taken) and take Bio 205 and 206 (Spring semester course only required of straight Biology majors).  You will also need Chemistry 245 for the major.  We also recommend Chem 246 and a year of Physics (155 and 156) if you plan to attend professional school or molecular areas of biology.  Round out your courses with electives.

The Junior year is the time to begin takeing elective courses in the three Categories (Cell/Molecular, Organismal, and Ecology/Evolution), plus an addition three credits for the major from any course(s) in the Biology or BBMB curricula.  You will continue this pattern in the Senior year, with the addition of our research thesis courses Bio 489 (Fall semester), and Bio 490 (or Bio 490 if honors) and Bio 499, all in the Spring semester. frog

**If you start the major after the freshman year, contact a member of the Department for advice.

Departmental policy does not allow a P-D-F grade option for biology courses within the major. We strongly advise students to consult their advisor before taking any supporting courses with the P-D-F option.

Combined Majors

Biology-Geology combined major: Biology 111, 112, 205; four credits each from the Organismal and Ecology/Evolution categories, and at least four additional credits in Biology and/or BBMB courses numbered 200 or above; either Geology 110, 120, or 210; and 227; either Geology 312 or 368; and Geology 343 and 350; either Geology 301, 321, or 346; and Geology 470 and a minimum of one credit in Geology 358; either three credits of thesis work in Biology (489, 490 or 498) or Geology (480, 490 or 498); Chemistry 125, 126, 135, 136; or 140, 245; Mathematics 125, 126, or a statistics course. Two semesters of physics and field experience are strongly recommended.

Biochemistry, Biophysics and Molecular Biology (BBMB)birds

Biology-Environmental Studies

Biology Minor

Biology 111, 112, and a minimum of eight additional credits in Biology and/or BBMB courses numbered 200 or above.  Departmental policy does not allow the P-D-F grade option for Biology or BBMB courses that count toward the minor.