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 a minor in computational methods, environmental studies or neuroscience.

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 students to gain proficiency in the critical reading of research literature, leading to the development, defense and presentation of a senior paper as the capstone experience.  Opportunities for supervised research with faculty are available and encouraged.  Students considering majoring 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 for students matriculating BEFORE 2017

  • Two semesters of introductory biology (BIOL 110 and BIOL 111/BIOL 115)
    • Must be completed with merit grades before the beginning of junior year.
    • A score of 5 on the Advanced Placement examination, or 7 on the International Baccalaureate examination, can be used to satisfy one semester of introductory biology.  An additional semester of BIOL 110/111/115 is required to fulfill the introductory biology requirement.  The Department highly recommends both semesters for majors since placement out of one semester of introductory biology does not necessarily satisfy the introductory biology pre-requisite for 200/300-level courses.
  • Six courses at the 200 and 300 level (excluding BIOL 390-399)
    • At least two of these upper-level courses must be at the 300-level.
    • At least three of these upper-level courses must be laboratory courses (two semesters of supervised laboratory research, BIOL 403, may be substituted for one of the required laboratory courses).
    • The Writing within the Major requirement is fulfilled by completion of two 200/300-level laboratory courses in Biology, all of which are writing attentive.
    • No more than two upper-level courses may be taken outside the Bryn Mawr Biology Department.
  • One senior seminar course (BIOL 390-399)
    • Students taking BIOL 399 must be concurrently enrolled in BIOL 403 (supervised laboratory research) in their senior year.
  • Two semester courses in general chemistry (CHEM103 and CHEM104)
    • Must be completed with merit grades before the beginning of junior year.
  • Three semester courses in allied sciences to be selected from Anthropology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Geology, Mathematics, Physics, or Psychology.  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.

Major requirements for students matriculating AFTER 2017

  • Two semesters of introductory biology (BIOL110 and BIOL111/BIOL115)
    • Must be completed with merit grades before the beginning of junior year.
    • A score of 5 on the Advanced Placement examination, or 7 on the International Baccalaureate examination, can be used to satisfy one semester of introductory biology.  An additional semester of BIOL 110/111/115 is required to fulfill the introductory biology requirement.  The department highly recommends both semesters for majors since placement out of one semester of introductory biology does not necessarily satisfy the introductory biology pre-requisite for 200/300-level courses.
  • Six courses at the 200 and 300 level (excluding BIOL 390-398)
    • At least two of these upper-level courses must be at the 300-level.
    • At least three of these upper-level courses must be laboratory courses.  For students enrolled in two semesters of BIOL 403, only two upper-level laboratory courses are required.
    • The Writing within the Major requirement is fulfilled by completion of two 200/300-level laboratory courses in Biology, all of which are writing attentive.
    • No more than two upper-level courses may be taken outside the Bryn Mawr Biology Department.
  • Senior capstone experience (two options)
    • Option 1:  Two semesters of independent laboratory research (BIOL 403) in the senior year, which includes written and oral presentation of a senior paper based on this research.
    • Option 2: A topics-based senior seminar course (BIOL 390-398) taken in the senior year, which includes written and oral presentation of a senior paper based on an in-depth investigation of a topic.
  • Two semester courses in general chemistry (CHEM103 and CHEM104)
    • Must be completed with merit grades before the beginning of junior year.
  • Three semester courses in allied sciences to be selected from Anthropology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Geology, Mathematics, Physics, or Psychology.  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.

Honors

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 required 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.  In order to be considered for honors, Biology majors are required to attend at least six STEM-focused seminars at Bryn Mawr College or Haverford College over the course of their junior and senior years.  In addition, students are required to submit a one-paragraph summary of each seminar they attend to this link (https://brynmawr.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_d1fni5ZqFprdYhf) within 48 hours of attendance.

Final selection for honors is made by the Biology faculty.

Minor requirements

  • Six semester courses in Biology (including introductory biology)
  • No more than two of these courses may be taken outside the Bryn Mawr Biology Department

Minors in Environmental Studies, Computational Methods, and Neuroscience

These minors 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.  Consult catalog for further information.

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 pedagogic objectives of the course by the faculty member, then the student will be allowed to pursue alternative laboratory activities without penalty.

4+1 Master of Engineering Program with the University of Pennsylvania

[Link: https://www.brynmawr.edu/academics/41-master-engineering-penn]

Students enrolled in this program may begin coursework towards their master’s degree at University of Pennsylvania as a Bryn Mawr undergraduate. After graduation from Bryn Mawr, students will complete their master’s coursework over the course of a year as a full-time student at UPenn. Biology majors interested in the 4+1 Program with Penn Engineering should contact Jennifer Skirkanich (jskirkanic@brynmawr.edu).

Summer Science Research Program at Bryn Mawr College

[Link: http://www.brynmawr.edu/scienceresearch/]

Bryn Mawr and Haverford students are eligible to apply to the Summer Science Research (SSR) program. SSR is a 10-week program that supports students who are doing discovery-based research in the laboratory or field with Bryn Mawr faculty. The program provides support for students along with a speaker series and professional development programming. 

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