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Biology Major

The biology major at Olivet College is designed to introduce you to the major aspects of modern biology and its applications. A broad range of dynamic courses are offered including basic biological principles, ecological and natural sciences, and medically oriented classes. As a biology major, you’ll participate in hands-on experiences both in the laboratory and in the field, and have the opportunity to work one-one-one with faculty on research and independent study projects.

Course offerings are enhanced through use of the Kirkelldel Biological Preserve, a college-owned biological research station containing a wide variety of habitats, as well as a large collection of natural history specimens, including many fossils, rocks and minerals, mollusk shells, mammals, birds, numerous live animals and insects.

The biology program provides a strong foundation for students interested in entering medical professional schools and graduate school, and serves individuals seeking certification in elementary or secondary teaching. It also is a major component of the environmental science major and minor.

If you are interested in pursuing a professional degree in dentistry, nursing, pharmacy, optometry, medicine, or veterinary medicine, or graduate study should your academic advisor as soon as possible. There are specific courses required or recommended for admission to graduate or professional school, including organic chemistry, biochemistry, physics and specific electives applicable to the area you wish to pursue.

The following is an overview of courses associated with our biology major. We encourage you to speak with a faculty representative during your on-campus visit for detailed information about your specific program interests.

For an official description of courses and degree requirements, please reference our academic catalog.

Biology Major Core Courses

  • BIO 111 Principles of Biology-Molecules to Cells
  • BIO 112 Principles of Biology-Organisms to Ecosystems
  • BIO 404 Genetics
  • CEM 151 General Chemistry I
  • CEM 152 General Chemistry II
  • CEM 153 General Chemistry Laboratory I
  • CEM 154 General Chemistry Laboratory II

Complete 25 semester hours from the following (at least 6 semester hours at the 300-level or above): 

  • ART 271 Biological Illustration: Fundamental (3)
  • BIO 150 Introductory Zoology (4)
  • BIO 160 Introductory Botany (4)
  • BIO 202 Comparative Vertebrate Biology (3)
  • BIO 207 Microbiology (3)
  • BIO 208 General Ecology (3)
  • BIO 210 Entomology (3)
  • BIO 211 Anatomy and Physiology I (3)
  • BIO 212 Anatomy and Physiology II (3)
  • BIO 216 Ornithology (3)
  • BIO 305 Ethology (3)
  • BIO 311 Pathophysiology (3)
  • BIO 312 Parasitology (3)
  • BIO 313 Plant Ecology (3)
  • BIO 345 Fundamentals of Neuroscience (3)
  • BIO 401 Cell Biology (3)
  • BIO 402 Ecosystems Ecology (3)
  • BIO 403 Environmental Health and Toxicology (3)
  • BIO 406 Biostatistics (3)
  • BIO 415 Research in Biology (1-3)
  • BIO 418 Independent Study (1-3)
  • BIO 431 Molecular Biology Techniques (3)
  • CEM 332 Biochemistry-Biomolecules and Metabolism (3)
  • CEM 333 Biochemistry-Molecular Genetics and Biosynthesis (3)
  • SA 307 Biocultural Ecology (3)
  • SCI 350 Gender, Race and Science (3)
  • SCI 410 Topics in Science (1-3)


  • Some courses are not offered every year; please check with your academic advisor and watch for announcements concerning course offerings.
  • Biology majors may take SCI 102 Biological Science but the credits will not count toward the biology major.
  • BIO 418 Independent Study is a course on a topic of interest to the student that is not offered in the catalog. You must initiate the independent study paperwork by mid-term the semester prior to the course.
  • Credit may be awarded for internships done in the area of biology or a related field (environmental science, biochemistry, etc.).

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