Biology at the University of Oregon
Thank you sincerely for your interest in studying Biology at the University of Oregon, a member of the Association of American Universities, 62 leading research and teaching Universities in the U.S. and Canada. We have developed an outstanding program that will prepare you for a multitude of options including graduate schools and careers in biomedicine and research, allied health, private industry and education. For details, see What can you do with a Biology degree from Oregon? Our nationally and internationally recognized graduates have completed top MD, PhD, MD-PhD, MS programs and internships all over the world. If you would like specific examples or statistics, please let us know, as we would be delighted to share them.
We are excited that you have considered our Department. Here we will provide a brief overview of the requirements for earning a major in Biology at the University of Oregon. We also encourage you to consider one of our optional Emphasis Areas in Ecology & Evolution, Human Biology, Marine Biology, Molecular Cellular & Developmental Biology, and Neuroscience & Behavior. Choosing one of these focus areas can help guide you through upper-division course work based on your specific interest. Also, after you complete an Emphasis Area and graduate, you will receive written documentation suitable for listing on your resume and/or for framing. Feel free to call us at 541-346‑4525 or come see our outstanding Biology & General Science Advising Center staff in 65 Klamath Hall from 10 am – 3 pm, Monday thru Friday during the regular academic year. Until then, you can find additional information on our websites:
BIOLOGY MAJOR REQUIREMENTS OVERVIEW
For all Math, Chemistry, Physics and Biology courses, you must earn a grade of C-, P or better. Of course, we have the highest of possible expectations for all that you do during your time with us at Oregon!
Most students take mathematics their first year here. Unless you have credit for Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate or College NOW credit for Calculus, you should take the ALEKS Math Placement Exam well prior to your 1stIntroDUCKtion advising appointment to determine which course is most appropriate. Your test score will reflect more accurately your understanding, if you study the learning modules and use the Khan Academy website to review the math you have done in the past. You can find out more details at https://testing.uoregon.edu/math-placement. The math sequence for Biology majors is MATH 111 College Algebra, MATH 112 Elementary Functions, and MATH 246 & 247 Calculus for the Biological Sciences I & II. We also accept MATH 251 & 252 (standard Calculus I & II), if you have transferred to U of O or if scheduling conflicts arise that limit your ability to enroll in MATH 246 & 247.
General– The CH 221, 222, 223 sequence with labs (CH 227, 228, 229) is the one taken most commonly by Biology majors. To be eligible for this sequence, you must have had chemistry in high school and be enrolled in or have completed MATH 112 Elementary Functions. If you have not had chemistry, you should take CH 111 Introduction to Chemical Principles prior to taking CH 221. We have a challenging Honors General Chemistry sequence (CH 224H, 225H, 226H) that we urge you to consider, if you have an excellent background in math and chemistry and you have completed or plan to enroll in Calculus. The associated laboratories for Honors General Chemistry are CH 237, 238, 239. Organic– For the Biology major, a minimum of two Organic Chemistry courses are required: CH 331 Organic Chemistry I and either CH 335 Organic Chemistry II or CH 336 Organic Chemistry III. Those interested in graduate programs in medicine or allied health should complete a full year of Organic Chemistry lectures (CH 331, 335, 336) with two laboratories (CH 337, 338). Many medical schools require upper-division Genetics and/or Biochemistry, so we also suggest BI 320 Molecular Genetics and at least one upper division Biochemistry course (most often, CH 360 Physiological Biochemistry, but for some CH 461, 462 and 463). If your future plans are for medicine, nursing, occupational therapy, pharmacy or physical therapy, be sure to visit our outstanding Health Professions Program staff.
The Biology major requires a yearlong sequence of General Physics (most commonly, PHYS 201, 202, 203), that has MATH 112 as a prerequisite. Some students prefer to take physics with calculus that some medical schools may recommend. [The Physics with Calculus sequence, PHYS 251, 252 and 253, requires MATH 246/251 as a pre- or co-requisite.] Physics laboratories are not required for the Biology major, but do remember that medical schools and many other graduate and health professional programs often require physics with laboratories.
Biology majors have two options (both with laboratories) for completing lower division Biology in order to prepare for upper division courses: (1) the General Biologysequence or (2) the Honors Biology sequence. The General Biology sequence spans 4 terms (4 credits/term), begins either in the fall or the winter, and includes BI 211 Cells, BI 212 Organisms, BI 213 Populations, and BI 214 Mechanisms. To begin this sequence, students must have successfully completed (≥ C-/P) a college-level, general chemistry course (CH 221 General Chemistry I, CH 111 Introduction to Chemical Principles at U of O – or an equivalent course from another institution). The Honors Biology sequence spans 3 terms (5 credits/term), begins during the fall and includes BI 281H Cells, Biochemistry & Physiology; BI 282H Genetics & Molecular Biology; and BI 283H Evolution, Diversity and Ecology. To enter our Honors sequence, students must have strong backgrounds in Math & Chemistry. Students who have earned a B-or better in Math 111 & CH 223 or 226H may enter the sequence. After completing the General or Honors Biology sequence, students must successfully complete (>C-/P) 44 credits of upper-division Biology. Please see Requirements for the Biology Major for specific details.
INTERNATIONAL BACCALAUREATE (IB) OR ADVANCED PLACEMENT (AP) CREDIT
A score of 5 or more on the IB higher-level Biology exam provides 12 credits for three General Biology courses: BI 211 Cells, BI 212 Organisms, and BI 213 Populations. An AP score of 3 provides 8 credits or two generic courses of 100-level Biology (2 x 1xxT) that apply to general University Science group or Area of Inquiry, but not to Biology major requirements. An AP score of 4 or higher gives credit for BI 211 General Biology: Cellsin addition to the above generic 100-level Biology courses, so a total of 12 credits.AP Chemistry scores of 4 or 5 grant credit for CH 221, 222, 223, but credit is not awarded for the labs. Students with this credit are urged to enroll in the Honors Labs CH 237, 238 and 239. We encourage you to discuss your placement and options with us. Come see us in 65 Klamath Hall.
ADJUSTMENT & SCHEDULING
Most students find that compared to their high school or community college classes, being successful in courses at Oregon requires reassessing priorities and refining study skills. For additional help, be sure to visit our Tutoring & Academic Engagement Center and our Tykeson Hall advising staff. To graduate in exactly four years, plan to take an average of 15 hours per term, to earn the minimum 180 credits required. The average time from start to finish is ~4.3 yr. A typical 1stterm schedule includes Math (4 cr), Chemistry (4 cr), Chemistry lab (2 cr) and a Writing or a Multi-cultural (US or Global Perspectives) Arts & Letters or Social Science class (4 cr). To provide for more choices later on, we suggest double dipping or taking classes that fulfill two requirements at the same time (like Social Science and Multi-cultural). Biologist know that life is all about balance, so enrolling in a fitness or music class or seminar (1 – 2 cr) is fine, too. We encourage you to explore your own interests. If you do want to enroll in a First-Year-Interest Group (FIG), make sure that it includes Chemistry!
The UO Biology major is a challenging and rewarding major that prepares students for a multitude of outstanding fields. Ninety-seven percent of our graduates are satisfied with their preparation, skills, and careers (survey by The Oregonian, Portland, OR). Over the past 25 years, according to Forbes, CareerCast andUS News & World Report, Biology is the best preparation for the top 10 job categories in the US. If you are an excellent student in Biology at Oregon, your future is more than promising!
As you proceed through your major, take advantage of many other opportunities to enrich your education both on- and off-campus. We encourage you to consider our outstanding Oregon Institute of Marine Biology, OIMB in Charleston. Many students enroll for at least a term at OIMB and have enjoyed it immeasurably. You also may have the opportunity to pursue a Biology degree with Honors, enjoy a Global Education Oregon (GEO) experience or work as a peer tutor or advisor, research or teaching assistant. Please let us know if we can help you in any way. Thank you sincerely for considering Biology as a major. We are certain you have made an exceptional choice and look forward to working with you closely over the next several years.
V. Pat Lombardi, Jana Prikryl & Ingrid Newman
Biology & General Science Advising