The bachelor of arts (BA) in biology is the newest degree offering from the Department of Biological Sciences. We created this degree to meet the needs of students who want a solid foundation in the life sciences but also plan to pursue extensive studies in a second, complementary discipline outside of the life sciences.
If you’re interested in an interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary undergraduate experience, this degree option is a great way to pursue your diverse academic goals.. BA students work with their academic adviser to design a secondary focus by identifying at least 21 credit hours of cross-discipline electives (CDEs), which must then be approved by the bachelor of arts director.
Examples of CDE topics created by current and former BA students include: health care throughout the life cycle, developmental psychology, global public health, civil rights and social justice, mathematics, human behavior, cross-cultural communication, political science, social work and psychology, health policy and anthropology.
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BA students take as many biology courses (through their life science electives) as their peers in the BS program, but they take fewer classes in the supporting sciences (chemistry, physics and calculus).
At the end of their undergraduate studies, BA students will complete a senior capstone project. In these projects, students identify and address a societal problem by drawing on what they’ve learned in life sciences (or a subdiscipline within the life sciences) and in their chosen cross discipline. Relevant experiential learning — via research, internships or other opportunities — is also a BA program requirement.
Students who graduate with a BA in biology will benefit from training in scientific thinking. They’ll also gain a broader perspective through their cross-disciplinary studies. When choosing their cross-disciplinary electives, we encourage students to consider the course prerequisites of graduate or professional programs to which they are interested in applying.
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