Flexible Option Degree Requirements

The Bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences (flexible option) requires 34 credits in the major (see list of courses below). In addition to Bio Sci 150 and Bio Sci 152, 26 credits must be in courses at or above 300 level. As a Letters & Science student, you will take a variety of courses across the natural sciences, social sciences, and the humanities to satisfy university-wide general education requirements plus additional classes in formal reasoning, international awareness, and research to satisfy Letters & Science breadth requirements. Letters & Sciences students also must meet foreign language competencies which might be satisfied if enough coursework was taken during high school.

There are also quality requirements (minimum GPA) and residency requirements (number of classes taken at UWM).

Degree requirements may vary depending on when you first started college either at UWM or elsewhere.

For biology students, in particular, it is important to understand your Letters & Science Degree Requirements because they will differ depending on whether you choose to obtain a Bachelor of Science (BS) or a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree.

Because there are many requirements and many pathways depending on your particular circumstances, it is very important to meet with your Letters & Science Advisor at least once a semester to make sure you are on-track. Some classes may count towards more than one requirement and with early planning, you can save yourself time and money.

Our four-year plan shows one possible route to completing a BS degree with a standard biological sciences major in four years.

Since most students choose the Bachelor of Science path, below are the requirements to earn the biological sciences major, standard option.


Total BioSci Credits

34 credits minimum

Required Courses (15-16 credits)

  • Bio Sci 150 - Foundations of Biological Sciences I, 4 credits
  • Bio Sci 152 - Foundations of Biological Sciences II, 4 credits
  • Bio Sci 325 - Genetics, 4 credits
  • Either
    Bio Sci 310 - General Ecology, 4 credits
    or both
    Bio Sci 315 - Cell Biology, 3 credits
    Bio Sci 316 - Laboratory in Genetics and Cell Biology, 2 credits

No more than eight (8) credits in 100-level courses in Biological Sciences may be applied toward the major.


Electives to reach a total of 26 upper-division (numbered 300 and above) credits and one additional laboratory course.

Research Requirement

One of the following courses:

  • Bio Sci 611 - Seminar on Recent Advances in Limnology and Oceanography: (Subtitled), 2 credits
  • Bio Sci 670 - Senior Seminar in Biological Sciences, 1 credit
  • Bio Sci 671- Undergraduate Seminar in Microbiology, 1 credit
  • Bio Sci 672 - Undergraduate Seminar in Cell and Molecular Biology, 1 credit
  • Bio Sci 695 - Independent Study in Freshwater Sciences for Biological Sciences Students, 1-3 credits
  • Bio Sci 697 - Independent Study in Cell and Molecular Biology, 1-3 credits
  • Bio Sci 698 - Independent Study in Microbiology, 1-3 credits
  • Bio Sci 699 - Independent Study, 1-3 credits
  • CES 490 - Senior Seminar: Conservation and Environmental Science, 1 credit
  • Honors 686 - Research in Honors, 3-6 credits
  • Honors 687 - Senior Honors Project, 3-6 credits
  • Honors 689 - Senior Honors Thesis, 3-6 credits

Math Requirement

  • Math 211, 213 (recommended), 221, or 231 for a Bachelor of Science.
  • Math 105 or equivalent for a Bachelor of Arts.

Physics Requirement

  • Physics 120/122 or Physics 209/210, with at least one Physics lab (121 or 123); or Physics 219/220.

Chemistry Requirement

  • Chem 102/104 - General Chemistry and Qualitative Analysis
  • Either
    • Chem 341/342 - Survey of Organic Chemistry with Lab
    • Chem 343/344/345 - One-Year Sequence of Organic Chemistry with Lab

Additional Requirements

  • Students may not combine Bio Sci 150, 202, and 203 for more than 9 credits toward the major.
  • Students must complete four (4) laboratory courses.

Honors in the Major

Students in biological sciences who meet all of the following criteria are awarded honors in the major upon graduation:

  1. 3.500 cumulative GPA in all UWM graded credits attempted;
  2. 3.750 GPA in UWM courses counting toward the major;
  3. 3.500 GPA in all advanced credits that count toward the major; and
  4. Complete a laboratory or field research independent study (Bio Sci 697, 698, or 699) or internship (Bio Sci 489 or CES 489).

Students who believe they may qualify for honors in biological sciences should apply to the Department during their last semester of study.


Students who plan to attend graduate of professional schools are advised strongly to take the one-year sequence of Organic Chemistry with lab, a course in Biochemistry (Chem 501; also counts toward major), and two semesters of Calculus.

GPA Requirement

Students must attain a GPA of 2.000 in all Biological Sciences courses, including any transfer work. At least 15 of the advanced credits must be taken in residence at UWM.