BS in Biology

The Biology major offers interdisciplinary learning and foundational skills that students carry with them beyond Tufts. It attracts students interested in career areas that include medicine, biotechnology, conservation, education, consulting, law, basic and applied research. We engage students and faculty in evaluating and interpreting scientific progress. The learning objectives of our undergraduate Biology program are active, as we work with students to do the following:

-be exposed to trends in evolution, cell biology, information and nutrient flow at the level of cells, organisms, and ecosystems.

-predict and identify interconnections between diverse life forms

-develop technical experience with laboratory protocols

-define problems, and design experiments to solve them

-generate, analyze, and communicate data, in oral and written formats

-evaluate professional literature and relate published data to their own topic

-manage and analyze large data sets

-identify ethical considerations and societal outcomes in research and technical advancement


Program Requirements and Policies

  • All biology courses for the major must be numbered 13 or higher and must be 3 SHUs or more (including related field courses).
  • Twelve courses are required to complete the major, including ten courses in biology numbered 13 or higher (with the exception of Biology 91, 93, and 94), and either two courses in chemistry or two courses in physics. Course requirements are outlines below.
  • At least five of the ten biology courses must be taken at Tufts, and at least seven must be completed with a grade of C- or better. It is recommended that students take at least one seminar course. In addition, at least two courses in biology must include laboratory study, and one of these must be above the level of Biology 15. In fulfilling this laboratory requirement, students may choose from among those laboratory courses for which laboratory is specified in the course description, with the following exceptions: Biology 93 and 94.
  • Biology 193 or 194 normally may be used as only one of the ten biology courses for completion of the concentration requirements; on approval of a petition to the department, a maximum of two such courses may be applied toward the major.
  • For more information on Bio 93, 94, 193, 194, and 199, please see our information on Research Courses.
  • No major course may be taken Pass/Fail.
  • Only one introductory statistics course can be used for the biology major (Intro Stats Courses: Bio 132, Math 21, CH 31, CSHD 140, CEE 6, and CEE 156).
  • If you have more than one major, please see the The Bulletin for rules on double-counting courses across majors.

Course Requirements

Specific courses which satisfy the biology major requirements, are as follows:

I. Required Core Courses

Biology 13: Cells and Organisms
Biology 14 w/Lab: Organisms and Populations
Biology 15: Cells and Organisms Lab
Biology 41: General Genetics



Note: As of Fall 2023, A&S students taking Biology 13 must take both BIO 13 (lecture) and BIO 15 (lab) in the same semester, as they are linked courses. A&S students must add both courses to their SIS cart when enrolling in BIO 13 + 15. Students who took BIO 13 before 2023 already have lab automatically included in Bio 13.  Engineering students should note that the requirement to take the lab differs by major.

II. One Course in Biology of Cells ("Group A")

Bio 46: Cell Biology
Bio 61: Biology of Aging
Bio 103: Developmental Biology
Bio 104: Immunology
Bio 105: Molecular Biology
Bio 106: Microbiology Lecture
Bio 109: Virology
Bio 143: Evolutionary Biology
Bio 152: Biochemistry & Cellular Metabolism


Bio 162: Introduction to Biotechnology
Bio 163: Recombinant DNA Technology
Bio 171: Biochemistry I
Bio 172: Biochemistry II
Bio 178: Seminar in Immunology
Bio 184: Topics in Developmental Biology
Bio 188: Seminar in Molecular Biology and Genetics
Bio 190: Seminar in DNA: Structure to Function
Bio 241: Advanced Genetics: DNA Repair
Bio 243: Seminar in Molecular/Cellular Biology

Note: Any biology course taken can only satisfy one group requirement (A, B, C, or Q.)

III. One Course in Biology of Organisms ("Group B")

Bio 75: Comparative Vertebrate Physiology
Bio 108: Plant Development
Bio 110: Endocrinology
Bio 112: Exercise Physiology
Bio 115: General Physiology I
Bio 116: General Physiology II


Bio 117: Physiology of Movement
Bio 118: Plant Physiology
Bio 134: Neurobiology
Bio 186: Seminar in Field Endocrinology
Bio 246: Topics in Physiology of Animal Behavior

Note: Any biology course taken can only satisfy one group requirement (A, B, C, or Q.)

IV. One Course in Biology of Populations ("Group C")

Bio 35: Computational Biology
Bio 44: Primate Social Behavior
Bio 106: Microbiology
Bio 130: Animal Behavior
Bio 133: Ecological Statistics & Data w/ Lab
Bio 142: Population & Community Ecology
Bio 143: Evolutionary Biology
Bio 144: Principles of Conservation Biology


Bio 164: Marine Biology
Bio 179: Seminar in Marine Biology
Bio 180 Seminar in Conservation Biology
Bio 181: Tropical Ecology & Conservation
Bio 182: Chimpanzee Behavioral Ecology
Bio 183: Seminar in Darwinian Medicine
Bio 185: Food4All- Ecology, Biotechnology & Sustainability
Bio 244: Seminar in Evolutionary Ecology

Note: Any biology course taken can only satisfy one group requirement (A, B, C, or Q.)

V. One Course in Quantitative Biology ("Group Q")

Bio 35: Computational Biology
Bio 40/Comp 7: Bioinformatics
Bio 117: Physiology of Movement
Bio 119: Biophysics
Bio/Math 121: Mathematical Neuroscience
Bio 132: Biostatistics †
Bio 133: Ecological Statistics and Data w/Lab
Bio 143: Evolutionary Biology
Bio 173: R for Biologists
Bio 263: Bioinformatics and Genome Analysis


BME 141: Analytical Tools for Biomedical Engineering
Math: 21: Introductory Statistics †
PSY 31: Statistics for the Behavioral Sciences †
CEE 006: Fundamentals of Biostatistics †
CEE 154: Principles of Epidemiology
CEE 156: Principles of Biostatistics †
CEE 194: Special Topics – Remote Sensing
CH 31: Intro to Stats Health Apps †
Comp 167: Computational Biology
CSHD 140: Problems of Research: Statistics †
GIS 101: Intro to GIS
GIS 102: Advanced GIS
CS 169: Statistical Bioinformatics


  • Any biology course taken can only satisfy one group requirement (A, B, C, or Q.)
  • Only one introductory statistics course can be used to fulfill the biology major (noted with †.)
VI & VII. Two Electives
Choose 2 unused courses from the lists under sections II-VIII
Bio 131: Principles of Medical Imaging
Bio 193/194: Independent Research in Biology
Bio 195: Topics in Biology (fulfills credit at the discretion of instructor)
Bio 196: Selected Topics (fulfills credit at the discretion of instructor)
Bio 199 A/B: Senior Honors Thesis


  • Beginning with the Class of 2022, only courses taught in biology or cross-listed in biology will count as electives, even if they are listed on this document.
  • Advanced laboratory courses (any labs above Bio 15) can count as electives, whether or not they are used to fulfill the advanced lab requirement, as long as the advanced laboratory course(s) was (were) not also used to satisfy a group A, B, C, or Q requirement.
  • Only one introductory statistics course (noted with † in Section V) can be used to fulfill the biology major.
  • Bio 193 or Bio 194 (but not both) may be used as one of the two electives for the Biology major. A student can take Bio 193 and count it as an advanced lab and then take Bio 194 and have it count as an elective.
  • Bio 195 and 196: Not all selected topics courses can contribute to major requirements and/or distribution requirements. Please ask the instructor for further information.
  • Bio 199 may be used as one of the two electives for the biology major.
VIII. Advanced Laboratory Course
Bio 40/Comp 7: Bioinformatics
Bio 44: Primate Social Behavior
Bio 49: Experiments in Physiology
Bio 50: Experiments in Molecular Biology
Bio 51: Experiments in Ecology
Bio 52: Experiments in Cell Biology
Bio 54: Molecular Genetics Projects Lab
Bio 55: Microbiome Research Lab
Bio 56: Dev Bio Research Lab 
Bio 107: Microbiology Lab (must be taken with Bio 106)
Bio 133: Ecological Statistics and Data w/ Lab
Bio 143: Evolutionary Biology
Bio 163: Recombinant DNA Techniques
Bio 168: Biotechnology Projects Laboratory
Bio 181: Tropical Ecology and Conservation
Bio 193/194: Independent Research in Biology 
Bio 199: Senior Honors Thesis

Note: An advanced laboratory must be a letter graded course numbered higher than Bio 15.

IX. Related Field Courses: Choose 2 Courses in Chemistry OR 2 Courses in Physics:
Chem 1: Chemical Fundamentals w/Lab
Chem 2: Chemical Principles w/Lab
Chem 11: General Chemistry
Chem 12: General Chemistry
Chem 51: Organic Chemistry I
Chem 52: Organic Chemistry II
Physics 1: introductory Physics w/Lab
Physics 2: Introductory Physics w/Lab
Physics 11: General Physics I w/Lab
Physics 12: General Physics II w/Lab

Note: If a course is eligible to fulfill one or more of the Groups required for the major, that information will be listed at the end of the course description. A student may choose to count a course for only one Group. If no group designation is listed, the course cannot be used to fulfill any Group of the major’s distribution requirement although the courses are applicable toward the total required for a major.