Current Courses

We strongly suggest reading the Gustavus Catalog to learn more about the various majors and minors supported by the Biology Department.

Our Core Sequence. All students are required to complete a core introductory biology sequence of courses (BIO-101, 102, 201, and 202) augmented with courses in chemistry and mathematics. The core course sequence prepares students for advanced studies and also presents the breadth of biological studies. The core courses are taken in sequence. It is required that CHE-107 and CHE-141 be taken prior to BIO-201 and BIO-202. Level II (200-299) courses have a prerequisite of BIO-101 and BIO-102, while Level III (300-399) courses require completion of the four course biology core and 2 courses in chemistry.

Grade Minima. Sequential courses and courses with prerequisites require that prior courses have been completed with a grade of C or better (with the exception of BIO-101 and CHE-107 which must be graded C- or better) for all students.

Current Offerings. Courses offered by our department, as well as courses from other departments that can count towards our majors, are listed below. Some of these classes (marked with strikethrough letters) are not currently offered, but will most likely be offered in future semesters. Click on course titles for a sample syllabus. Please use the syllabus for general information only; exact course content and requirements will vary among instructors and semesters!

Credit Transfer, Study Abroad Credits, Special Requests. Please see our Frequently Asked Questions webpage.


Fall 2019

Spring 2020

Classes for Non-Majors

 FTS 100 First-Term Seminar WRITI (past offerings include: reproductive technology, explorer naturalists, genetic testing, pirates and sea monsters, and more)

NDL144 Life Hacks for STEM Success

BIO100 Biology Explorations NASP

Biology Core

& required Chemistry

BIO101 Principles of Biology NASP (syllabus from Grinnell; 2016 lab syllabus)

CHE107 Principles of Chemistry NASP

BIO201 Cell and Molecular Biology 

BIO102 Organismal Biology (syllabi from Bloch-Qazi; lab syllabus

CHE141 Organic Chemistry

BIO202 Evolution, Ecology, and Behavior RR

200-level Electives

One may count as a required elective.

BIO241 Invertebrate Zoology WRITD, ODD

BIO245 Conservation Biology WRITD, RR

CHE255 Biochemistry RR

GEO241 Paleontology ODD

BIO218 Fundamentals of Microbiology

BIO242 Vertebrate Zoology

CHE255 Biochemistry RR

PSY260 Introduction to Neuroscience

300-level Electives

Requires completion of Core.

Biology majors require 4 additional courses, of which 3 must be of 300-level.

BIO344 Bioinformatics OCC

BIO344 Ecosystem Processes OCC, RR

BIO372 Animal Behavior

BIO374 Genetics LEC

BIO375 Cancer Biology WRITD, RR

BIO376 Entomology EVEN

BIO378 Plant Physiology EVEN

BIO383 Aquatic Biology ODD

BIO384 Neurobiology WRITD

CHE360 Proteins OCC, WRITD

BIO370 Ecology RR

BIO373 Cell Biology WRITD, RR

BIO377 Plant Systematics ODD

BIO380 Microbiology WRITD, RR

BIO382 Developmental Biology

BIO386 Comparative Physiology RR

BIO388 Molecular Genetics WRITD, RR

CHE360 Proteins OCC, WRITD

PSY385 Neuroscience Capstone

Additional Options

List of Abbreviations

  • BIO = strikethrough indicates a class that is taught regularly, but not this academic year
  • EVEN = typically offered in even years (2018, 2020, ...)
  • LEC = lecture only. Only two 300-level courses without laboratory may count towards the major.
  • NASP = meets Natural Science Perspective general education requirement
  • OCC = offered occasionally
  • ODD = typically offered in odd years (2017, 2019, ...)
  • RR = Registration Restricted to declared majors only
  • WRITD = Writing in the Discipline course
  • WRITI - Writing Intensive course

The following table provides a complete, sortable list of sections (with instructors) offered this semester. 

2021/JN Biomolecular Research BIO-128 001 Brooke Shields
2021/JN Independent Study BIO-291 001 Ngawang Gonsar