Gen-Bio students in lab.

Program Overview

Quick Facts

  • Delivery: On Campus
  • Credits: 120

Biology is the study of life itself, and biologists are the scientists who research the history, evolution, growth and function of living organisms. Biology is a diverse field, and many biologists go on to specialize in one subfield—like botany, genetics, or zoology.

A major in biology at Ball State will provide you with the foundational knowledge needed whether you want to start your career in biology after graduation, study biology at the graduate level, or go to school to become a medical doctor, dentist, veterinarian, or another health-related profession.

As a general biology student, you will complete the same core courses as students pursuing a concentration, but you will also have the flexibility of customizing the remainder of your major with the help of your biology advisor. And if you wish to declare a concentration later on, your advisor will be happy to help you make the switch.

Biology Concentrations

Meet the Biology Faculty

Research Opportunities

Ball State’s faculty are more than teachers—they are also active researchers who regularly invite students to work alongside them. No matter which area of biology you choose to study, there are many opportunities—in the lab or out in the field—for you to take your education to the next level with hands-on research.

You may find a paid or volunteer research opportunity in any area of biology, including:

  • more than 17 teaching labs and 20 research labs in all major fields of biology
  • 17 acres of outdoor laboratories featuring wooded areas and greenhouses on campus, including the largest university-based orchid collection in the United States at the Rinard Orchid Greenhouse
  • six properties in the area that provide dozens of acres of wetlands, tallgrass prairies, forests and agricultural fields for teaching and research

Student Organizations

With the general option in biology, you are likely to take courses in a variety of areas in the life sciences. In our department, several student-led organizations will connect you with other students in your areas of interest for support, professional development opportunities and academic discussion.

Learn more about our clubs in biology.

Individualized Attention

Class sizes are small enough to ensure you get the individual attention you need from professors with extensive experience teaching science.

The general biology option fulfills part of the requirements that lead to a bachelor of arts or bachelor of science degree with a major in biology. All biology majors must also complete the biology core curriculum and the University Core Curriculum.

Credits Required

Total to Graduate: 120

  • Biology Core Curriculum: 37-38
  • General Option Electives: 15-21
  • University Core Curriculum: 66-70


All biology majors in every concentration are required to complete a core curriculum in biology that is separate from your concentration requirements and from the University Core Curriculum.

These foundational courses provide you with an overview of the principles in biology and develop a necessary competency in chemistry, physics and math.

Biology Core Courses: 18 credits

  • BIO 111 – Principles of Biology 1
  • BIO 112 – Principles of Biology 2
  • BIO 201 - Symposium
  • BIO 214 – Genetics
  • BIO 216 – Ecology
  • One of the following:
    • BIO 314 – Methods in Genetics
    • BIO 315 – Methods in Cell Biology
    • BIO 316 – Methods in Ecology 

Other Required Courses: 18-20 credits

  • CHEM 111 – General Chemistry 1
  • CHEM 112 – General Chemistry 2
  • PHYC 110 – General Physics 1
  • One of the following:
    • CHEM 230 – Organic Chemistry for the Life Sciences AND CHEM 241 – Organic Chemistry Laboratory 1
    • CHEM 231 – Organic Chemistry 1 AND CHEM 241 – Organic Chemistry Laboratory 1
  • One of the following:
    • MATH 112 – Precalculus Trigonometry
    • MATH 114 – Precalculus Trigonometry (accelerated 8 week course)
    • MATH 161 – Applied Calculus 1
    • MATH 165 – Calculus 1 


  • BIO 210 – Introduction to Botany
  • BIO 215 – Cell Biology

To complete coursework for the general biology option, you will work with your advisor to create a course of study that fulfills these requirements:

  • five elective courses at the 200 level or above in anatomy, biology, biotechnology, botany, physiology, or zoology.
    Courses taken to fulfill University Core Curriculum requirements and biology major requirements may not be used as electives in this category. Only courses designed primarily for students majoring in the respective departments may be used as electives in this category.

For a complete list of all the courses you will take for your degree and their descriptions, please see our Course Catalog.

View Catalog

Accelerated Master's Program (AMP)

Our Accelerated Master's Program (AMP) in Biology allows you to begin your graduate studies at Ball State while still an undergraduate student saving time and money as you pursue an advanced education in your field of interest.


Keep Exploring

Take the Next Step

Do you want to learn more about our program or have questions about the application process or financial aid? We’re here to help! One of the best ways to understand why Ball State is right for you is to schedule a visit through our Office of Undergraduate Admissions to see it for yourself. Or if you’d like to speak directly to someone in our department, please feel free to call or email us.


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