The Program in Biology offers eight different majors. They range in specialization from cell and molecular biology to ecology and evolution. If you are just beginning your career at U-M, it is not necessary to decide on a specific major right away. You may need to take several biology courses before knowing what aspect of the biological sciences interests you the most. However, if you are interested in earning a degree in the biological sciences, it is strongly recommended that you begin the prerequisite courses as soon as you enter U-M and that you see a major advisor early in your academic career (e.g., end of the freshman or beginning of the sophomore year) to begin a course plan.
This major program develops an appreciation of the levels of organization of life, its diversity, and the processes by which life has achieved its present forms. The program is recommended for those who wish to study biology as part of a liberal education, to prepare for a teaching career in secondary schools, or to prepare for graduate study in biology or the health professions.
Biology, Health & Society
[EFFECTIVE Winter 2018] Biology, Health, and Society (BHS) is recommended for students interested in a broad view of biology and the interactions between science and society, whether focused on health, education, or the environment. The major is appropriate for pre-health students, as well as those who wish to pursue professional school (e.g., law school) or other non-biology-specific career options where knowledge of the natural sciences would be beneficial. BHS also works well when paired with a (non-science) field of study in a dual major. It differs from other Biology majors in that it requires fewer credits, less laboratory work, and has more breadth.
Molecular, Cellular, & Developmental Biology
The curriculum in Molecular, Cellular, & Developmental Biology (MCDB) offers students an integrated program of study and training in the biological and physical sciences. It is a pathway to graduate study in areas of biology and medicine that emphasizes a quantitative and analytical approach to the life sciences.
MCDB Program Guide (PDF) *Effective Fall 2020*
CMBS (Joint Program with Biomedical Engineering)
5-yr. B.S./M.S. Program in Cellular and Molecular Biomedical Science
This program is designed for students enrolled in the College of Literature, Science and the Arts. The program is jointly administered by the Department of MCDB (College of LS&A) and the Biomedical Engineering (BME) Department (College of Engineering). A matriculating student will receive the B.S. in Cellular and Molecular Biology (CMB) from the College of LS&A and a M.S. in Biomedical Engineering (BME) from the College of Engineering.
Students will be admitted to the program only after completing the major prerequisites with a grade point average of 3.2 or higher. Admission to the program must be approved by advisors from the Departments of MCDB and BME.
CMBS Program Guide (PDF) *Effective Fall 2019*
CMB:BME Program Guide (PDF) *Effective until Summer 2019*
Ecology, Evolution, & Biodiversity
The Ecology, Evolution, & Biodiversity (EEB) major provides a comprehensive foundation in the biological sciences, places an emphasis on undergraduate research experience, and provides an integrated perspective on the origins and complex interactions of the earth's biodiversity and ecosystems. It focuses on numerous levels of biological organization over multiple time scales, including studies of genes and genomes, individual organisms, populations, communities and ecosystems. The major is highly suitable for students who wish to pursue career pathways in a wide variety of disciplines. These include graduate studies in the biological, public health and medical, dental, and veterinary professions, conservation and natural resource management, teaching at the K-12 level, positions in the local, state and federal governments, non-profit/non-governmental organizations, and private sector opportunities such as environmental consulting agencies.
Ecology, Evolution, and Biodiversity Program Guide (PDF) *Effective Winter 2017*
General Biology has many of the same aims as Biology, but it is not recommended for students who wish to pursue graduate work in biology. It is an appropriate preprofessional major. It differs from Biology in that it requires fewer credits, less laboratory work, and has more breadth, particularly in the form of a non-science cognate course. [In WINTER 2018, this major was updated to "Biology, Health & Society," see above, and new majors will not be accepted.]
Microbiology includes the study of viruses, algae, bacteria, protozoa, and fungi. Immunobiology is also included within the science of microbiology. A major in microbiology prepares students for graduate study in microbiology, biochemistry, agricultural science, and food science as well as for study in other areas of biology which emphasize cellular structures and their function. A bachelor's degree in microbiology may qualify students for entry-level positions in medical, industrial, or governmental laboratories.
Students intending to go to graduate school should have at least two terms of research experience. These can appear as graded courses, UROP participation, or be independent of the graded curriculum. Most graduate school-bound students will have 1-2 graded research courses (2-4 credits/each) on record. Students intending to go to graduate school will need research experience as well as two terms of calculus and two terms of physics. Students intending to go to medical school will need to take two terms of Physics and CHEM 230.
Microbiology Program Guide (PDF) *Effective Fall 2019*
Microbiology Program Guide (PDF) *Effective Winter 2019*
Microbiology Program Guide (PDF) *Effective Winter 2017-Fall 2018*
The Plant Biology major provides undergraduates with training in those areas of science that are essential to an understanding of modern plant sciences. Like the Biology major, this major deals with all of the major levels of biological organization (molecular, cellular, organismal, ecological, and evolutionary), but differs from the Biology major by its greater emphasis on the biology of plants. This program is well suited for those who wish to study biology as part of a liberal education, or to prepare for a teaching career in secondary schools. It also provides excellent preparation for graduate study in basic and applied areas of the plant sciences and related fields, such as ecology, genetics, microbiology, and biochemistry.
Neuroscience is the study of the nervous system. Neuroscientists aim to understand how the nervous system develops and functions on a cellular level as well as the mechanisms that underlie behavior, mental disorders and disease.
The faculty teaching courses in the major include cellular and molecular neuroscientists appointed in the Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology (MCDB) and behavioral and cognitive neuroscientists appointed in the Department of Psychology.
The Neuroscience major is administered by the Undergraduate Program in Neuroscience.