Frequently Asked Questions: Biological Sciences

  1. What sets Purdue's program apart?

  2. What can I do with a biology degree from Purdue?

  3. How should I prepare for the biology program in high school?

  4. What courses will I take as a biology student?

 1. What sets Purdue's program apart? (top)

The Department of Biological Sciences at Purdue University offers students many opportunities for excellence.  Two of its faculty members have received Purdue's Outstanding Teacher Award, and many are more than willing to offer undergraduate students the chance to serve as research assistants under their leadership.  Recent graduates have continued on to schools such as Harvard, Yale and Duke after receiving their degree in one of the 9 different biology majors available.

  • Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Biology Education
  • Cell, Molecular and Developmental Biology
  • Ecology, Evolutionary, and Environmental Biology
  • Genetics
  • Health and Disease
  • Microbiology
  • Neurobiology and Physiology

 2.  What can I do with a biology degree from Purdue? (top)

Many students choose to use their undergraduate biology education as a stepping stone to higher education such as medical school, vet school, or dentistry. However, there are many other options as well. Some graduates have become high school biology teachers, worked in pharmaceutical sales, or as environmental regulators, while others have gone into widely varied fields of science research and development. Those that continued on to the work force earned starting salaries between $30,000 and $50,000.

Read more about recent graduates from the Careers site.

  3. How should I prepare for the biology program in high school? (top)

It is extremely important to take as many classes as you can in biology, physics, chemistry and calculus. You also should continue taking your foreign language of choice for as many years as possible.

  4. What courses will I take as a biology student? (top)

In your first two years, you will take a common core of biology courses and labs which cover topics including Cell Structure & Function, Genetics & Molecular Biology (as well as the topics listed in the section below.) You will also take general chemistry, organic chemistry, English composition, two semesters of calculus, and a combination of general education and foreign language courses. Later in the curriculum, you will also be required to take:

  • Physics
  • Computer Programming
  • Statistics
  • Additional general education electives
  • Additional Biological Sciences classes

Typical Freshman Year Coursework

Semester one:

BIOL 121, Diversity, Ecology and Behavior, 2 credit hours

BIOL 135, First Year Biology Lab, 2 credit hours

CHM 115, General Chemistry I, 4 credit hours

MA 231, 161 or 165, Calculus I and Analytical Geometry, 3-5 credit hours (most students choose MA 231, unless they plan on pursuing Biochemistry as a major)

ENGL 106, English Composition, 4 credit hours

Total: 15 to 17 credit hours

Semester two:

BIOL 131, Development, Structure, and Function of Organisms, 3 credit hours

CHM 116, General Chemistry II, 4 credit hours

MA 232, 162, 166, Calculus II and Analytical Geometry, 3-5 credit hours

Foreign Language, 3 or 4 credit hours

General Education course, 3 credit hours

Total: 16 to 18 credit hours

* Students must earn a minimum of 124 credit hours to graduate , which is an average of 15 .5 credit hours / semester.


Science at Purdue

By phone: 765.494.1771 or 800.804.8061
By web:
Department of Biological Sciences:
By email: (for advisors)

Purdue University College of Science, 150 N. University St, West Lafayette, IN 47907 • Phone: (765) 494-1729, Fax: (765) 494-1736

Student Advising Office: (765) 494-1771, Fax: (765) 496-3015 • Science IT, (765) 494-4488

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