Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts
Wheaton College



Major requirements

Biology major worksheet

Biology major with Pre-Medical Preparation

Biology major with Pre-Nursing Preparation

Biology major with Pre-Physical Therapy Preparation

Biology major with Pre-Physician's Assistant Preparation

BIO 111 Evolution and Ecology
BIO 112 Cells and Genes
(Biology 111 and 112 can be taken in any order.)

Four 200-level courses, at least three of which must have a laboratory.

Three 300-level biology courses, at least two of which must have a laboratory.

CHEM 153 Chemical Principles
CHEM 232 Aqueous Equilibria
or CHEM 253 Organic Chemistry I

Three related courses normally from biology, chemistry, mathematics/computer science or physics or other courses as approved by the department.

The 200- and 300-level biology courses must include a minimum of one course from each of the following biology areas: cells and molecules, organisms, systems.


The capstone in biology can be fulfilled by a senior seminar. Senior seminars (BIO 401/BIO 402) focus on selected topics within the field of biology. If approved in advance by the department, students may fulfill the capstone with an independent research project (BIO 499) ; the capstone may also be fulfilled by an honors thesis (BIO 500), with the understanding that the public presentations of honors thesis work is what constitutes the thesis as a capstone.

Characteristics of Senior Seminar include: research using primary literature, oral presentations, written reports, drafts with deadlines, communicating about science, and opportunities to interact with other majors in the biological sciences. Senior Seminar topics allow a wide range of students to build on their past experiences as majors and to explore topics of interest to them within the guidelines of the course.


Biology departmental honors will be awarded on the basis of a B+ or better average in the major, an overall average of B or better, and a grade of B+ or better on the individual research project.

Area requirements

To ensure students are exposed to all levels of biological organization, biology majors must take at least one course in each of the three following areas: cells and molecules, organisms, systems.

Cells and molecules

BIO 211 Genetics
BIO 219 Cell Biology
BIO 221 Microbiology
BIO 254 Developmental Biology
BIO 305 Biochemistry
BIO 316 Molecular Biology and Genomics
BIO 321 Immunology
BIO 324 Neurobiology


BIO 226 Comparative Animal Behavior
BIO 244 Introductory Physiology
BIO 252 Parasitology and Symbiosis
BIO 255 Vertebrate Evolution and Anatomy
BIO 261 Economic Botany
BIO 262 Plant Biology
*BIO 290 Biology of Whales
*BIO 291 Introduction to Marine Mammals
BIO 330 Comparative Biomechanics
BIO 375 Ornithology
*BIO 390 Biology of Fishes


BIO 201 Environmental Science
BIO 215 Ecology
BIO 231 Marine Biology
BIO 303 Evolution
BIO 317 Molecular Ecology and Evolution
BIO 318 Tropical Field Biology
BIO 320 Evolution of Invertebrates
BIO 364 Freshwater and Marine Botany
*BIO 380 Wetlands Ecology, Hydrology, Restoration

*Offered through the Boston Marine Studies Consortium.

Related majors

Students interested in the biological sciences may consider declaring a major in Biochemistry, Bioinformatics, Environmental Science or Neuroscience, and should meet with the designated program coordinators to discuss the program of interest.

Health professions

Students planning a career in medicine, dentistry, veterinary or other health professions should consult a health professions advisor early in the first year in order to plan a suitable program. Medical schools require a minimum of two semesters of biology, two semesters of physics, two semesters of mathematics, four semesters of chemistry and two semesters of English. The MCATs include material from physiology, microbiology, genetics, cell biology and biochemistry as well as other biological topics. Therefore, some 200-level course preparation is recommended.

Also see information on Wheaton's pre-med advising. For more information on pre-med advising contact Dean Alex Trayford in the Filene Center for Academic Advising and Career Services.

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