May 19, 2024  
Whittier College Catalog 2023-2024 
Whittier College Catalog 2023-2024

Biology, B.A.

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The major is organized around the hierarchical organizational structures of living organisms within an overarching theme of the evolution of living things. Students are required to take three introductory courses dealing with cell form and function, the form and function of organisms, and the ways in which populations of organisms interact with each other and their environment. More advanced coursework is completed by selecting courses from the three organizational levels of cellular-molecular, organismal, and populations. Major requirements also include research-intensive courses, a senior seminar, and courses in general chemistry and math.


Completion of a Biology major requires completion of a minimum of 37 credits in the discipline, and 14 credits outside the discipline. Specifically, the major requires completion of 27 credits of foundational coursework in biology, chemistry, and math, the biology senior seminar (BIOL 493), and 24 credits of upper-division coursework. The upper-division course work must include four credits from each of the hierarchical organizational levels (cellular-molecular, organismal, and populations), and eight credits of research-intensive course work. Note that an individual upper-division course may satisfy both the research-intensive requirement and organizational level requirement. Courses that fulfill these requirements are outlined below:

Foundation Courses (27 credits)

Upper Division Courses (24 credits)

Complete one course from each of the following hierarchal organizational levels (courses listed in multiple categories can only be counted in one of the categories). 12 credits. Complete two Research-Intensive courses. 8 credits.  * Denotes a Research-Intensive course and can also include four credits of BIOL 496 - Undergraduate Research in Biology.


These courses cover content related to cell structure and the molecular-control of functions  


These courses cover content related to the study of the organism, the congruence of form and function, and the maintenance of its internal environment.


These courses cover content that discusses study of the interaction of organisms with each other, with the external environment, and the changes that occur through time.


For majors considering graduate or professional schools, Organic Chemistry, Biochemistry, Physics, and Calculus are imperative. Many graduate and professional schools require these courses.  

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