The information listed below is a direct excerpt from the 2017-18 Course Catalog.

Published annually, the Course Catalog sets out the requirements of the academic programs--the majors, minors, and concentrations. Each Bryn Mawr student must declare her major before the end of her sophomore year. Students may also declare a minor or a concentration, but neither is required for the A.B. degree. Students must comply with the requirements published in the Course Catalog at the time when they declare the major, minor and/or concentration.

The Course Catalog also sets out the College requirements. Students must comply with the College requirements published at the time they enter Bryn Mawr College.

2016-17 Catalog
2015-16 Catalog
2014-15 Catalog
2013-14 Catalog

Students may complete a major or minor in Biology. Within the major, students may complete minors in computational methods, environmental studies or neural and behavioral sciences.

The programs of the department are designed to introduce students to unifying concepts and broad issues in biology, and to provide the opportunity for in-depth inquiry into topics of particular interest through coursework and independent research. Introductory- and intermediate-level courses examine the structures and functions of living systems at all levels of organization, from molecules, cells and organisms to populations. Advanced courses encourage the student to gain proficiency in the critical reading of research literature, leading to the development, defense and presentation of a senior paper. Opportunities for supervised research with faculty are available and highly encouraged. Students considering coursework in Biology are encouraged to meet with the department's major advisor to determine the best sequence of courses based on their interests and goals.

Major Requirements

Course requirements for a major in Biology include two semesters of introductory biology (BIOL110-111,115), six courses at the 200 and 300 level (excluding BIOL 390-399), of which at least two must be at the 300-level and three must be laboratory courses, and one senior seminar course (BIOL 390-399). No more than two 200- or 300-level courses may be taken outside the Bryn Mawr Biology Department. Two semesters of supervised laboratory research, BIOL 403, may be substituted for one of the required laboratory courses. In addition, two semester courses in general chemistry and three additional semester courses in allied sciences, to be selected from Anthropology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Geology, Mathematics, Physics or Psychology are required for all majors. Selection of the three additional allied science courses must be done in consultation with the student's major adviser and be approved by the department. BIOL110/111/115 and CHEM103/104 must be completed within the first two years if you want to declare a Biology major.

Students interested in pursuing graduate studies or medical school are encouraged to take two semesters each of physics and organic chemistry. In addition, all biology students are encouraged to take courses that employ quantitative reasoning or computational approaches; such courses can be taken within the Biology Department or in other departments.

A score of 5 on the Advanced Placement examination, or equivalent International Baccalaureate scores, can be used to satisfy one semester of the introductory biology requirement for the major. One additional semester of BIOL 110/111/115 is required to fulfill the introductory biology requirement. The department, however, highly recommends both semesters of introductory biology for majors. Placement out of one semester of introductory biology does not satisfy the introductory biology pre-requisite for 200/300-level courses.

The writing within the Major Requirement is fulfilled by the completion of two 200/300-level laboratory courses in Biology, all of which are writing attentive.


Departmental honors are awarded to students who have distinguished themselves academically or via their participation in departmental activities. As part of the process for awarding honors in Biology, interested seniors are asked to write a short (one-page maximum) essay identifying ways in which they have distinguished themselves within the Biology Department, including activities and scholarship beyond the classroom that exemplify their engagement and growth as a Biology major. Final selection for honors is made by the Biology faculty.

Minor Requirements

A minor in Biology consists of six semester courses in Biology, of which no more than two may be taken outside the Bryn Mawr Biology Department.

Minors in Environmental Studies, Computational Methods, and Neural and Behavioral Sciences

Minors in Environmental Studies, Computational Methods, and Neural and Behavioral Sciences are available for students interested in interdisciplinary exploration in these areas. Check relevant sections of the course catalog for complete descriptions of the minors.

Teacher Certification

The College offers a certification program in secondary teacher education.

Animal Experimentation Policy

Students who object to participating directly in laboratory activities involving the use of animals in a course required for the major are required to notify the faculty member of her or his objections at the beginning of the course. If alternative activities are available and deemed consistent with the pedagogical objectives of the course by the faculty member, then a student will be allowed to pursue alternative laboratory activities without penalty.