Sep 28, 2023  
USC Catalogue 2023-2024 
USC Catalogue 2023-2024

Biological Sciences (BA)

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Programs by School

The general education, writing, foreign language and diversity requirements for a degree in the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences are applicable. This degree provides general life science training and is suitable for double majors. Students seeking a more focused curriculum may choose from four areas of emphasis within the Biological Sciences major. These are Biotechnology; Ecology, Evolution and Environment; Marine Biology; and Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology. Areas of emphasis are denoted on transcripts.

Collateral Sciences Courses (32 units)

Introduction to Research-Active Faculty (1 to 2 units)

Enroll in one or both courses.

Upper-Division BISC Core Courses (12 units)

Upper-Division Electives (8 units)

Eight units of upper-division BISC course work available for major credit are required. No more than 4 units of BISC 490x  may be used to fulfill the upper-division elective requirement. In addition, no more than two seminars (BISC 460  to BISC 462 ), totaling 4 units, may be applied to the upper-division elective requirement.

It is expected that students will take 100-level BISC core courses during the first year, two 300-level BISC core courses during the second year, and the remaining core courses and the 300- or 400-level BISC major elective courses during the third and fourth years.

Total required units: 128

Free elective units: 10-11

Scholarship in Major Subject

The department requires that students receive a grade no lower than C- in their five core courses. They must maintain a 2.0 GPA in the upper-division biology and chemistry courses required for the major, as well as an overall 2.0 GPA. All major core courses must be taken on a letter grade basis.

Honors Program in Biological Sciences

The department offers an honors program to outstanding students already pursuing studies for the BA or BS degree in Biological Sciences. This program offers students an opportunity to participate in undergraduate research, experience in writing an honors thesis summarizing the completed research, and experience in an honors seminar. Honors students are required to take two semesters of BISC 493x Honors Seminar  (1 unit/ - semester) and one semester of BISC 494x Honors Thesis  (2 units) in addition to fulfilling all requirements of the BA or BS degree. Honors students must also choose BISC 490x  as one of their upper division electives. This program leads to the designation on the transcript of Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences with Honors.

Honors Admission Requirements

Students may apply to the department for admission to the honors program after having completed at least one year of work at USC with a minimum GPA of 3.5 in all science and math courses required for the major.

Honors Scholarship Requirements

For continuation in the honors programs, students must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.5 in the sciences and mathematics courses required for the major.

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Programs by School