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Academic Majors


Biological Sciences or Biological Sciences Education

Biological sciences, in the broadest sense, is the study of life. As such, it is a subject of great diversity and requires a background in many academic disciplines. A biologist must have a basic understanding of and be able to synthesize knowledge from physics, chemistry, geology, math and the social sciences as they relate to living systems. The biological sciences courses needed for a major are selected from a variety of life science departments at North Dakota State University.

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The Program

Students who want to obtain broad training and knowledge in the life sciences can major in biological sciences or biological sciences education. These degrees differ primarily in that the latter includes the education sequence needed for teacher certification in both North Dakota and Minnesota. (It is advised that students who intend to teach in Minnesota meet with the science education advisor early to discuss additional requirements for teacher certification in that state.) A comprehensive science education major also is available (see separate fact sheet).

Major Options

Biological sciences, with its many areas of emphasis, may fulfill the requirements for environmental studies, wildlife management, or graduate and pre-professional programs. Pre-professional courses prepare you for entrance into medical school, dental school or other areas related to medicine. Although a specific environmental science option exists in biological sciences (see separate fact sheet), with appropriate course selection, the general biological sciences degree also can provide a broad understanding of the complex relationship between the living and nonliving world. In addition, more traditional course sequences can provide an emphasis in organisms or in cellular/molecular biology.

The biological sciences education major prepares you not only for secondary school science teaching, but also for pre-professional programs, graduate school and other career areas. You will have a solid biological sciences major while developing an adequate proficiency in related science areas. This type of preparation allows greater flexibility for potential teaching positions that cross descriptive areas.

Minor Program -- A minor in biological sciences consists of 18 credits of introductory (BIOL 150, 150L; BIOL 151, 151L, and BOT 372) and advanced courses. Since application of scientific knowledge varies as to occupation, the type of advanced courses selected is left flexible, thus allowing maximum usefulness for people in other disciplines.

Career Opportunities

Careers in the biological sciences are available in industry, government organizations, research groups, medical areas, environmental organizations and education. In addition to jobs in traditional areas such as medicine, teaching and research, newer areas of employment such as resource management and development, conservation, molecular biology and biotechnology also continue to develop. Future employment possibilities can be enhanced by careful selection of the elective courses, minors or even double majors. Beneficial areas to combine with biological sciences include business management, computer science, art or graphic design, communication and a variety of agriculture disciplines. Graduates with a biological sciences emphasis are needed to work in biological supply facilities, are hired for pharmaceutical development or sales, act as science editors and writers, and do computer modeling and simulation.

Student Advisement

Students will be assigned individual advisors who will work closely in program planning and in other ways to advise and assist them. Students are encouraged to seek their advisors’ help whenever needed.

Student Teaching

Student teaching is the culmination of the teaching program. Students have the opportunity to apply skills acquired in college courses under the supervision of an experienced biological sciences educator.


Upon completing this program, students are eligible for certification to teach biological sciences in most states. The program is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education.

Sample Curriculum

General Education RequirementsCredits
First Year Experience
  UNIV 189 - Skills for Academic Success1
  COMM 110 - Fundamentals of Public Speaking3
  ENGL 110, 120 - College Composition I, II 3, 3
  ENGL 324 - Writing in the Sciences3
Quantitative Reasoning
   MATH 146 - Applied Calculus I4
Science & Technology10
Humanities & Fine Arts6
Social and Behavioral Sciences 6
Cultural Diversity-
Global Perspective
   GEOL 105 - Physical Geology

Teaching Specialty RequirementsCredits
BIOL 124, 124L - Environmental Science and Lab3, 1
BIOL 150, 150L - General Biology I and Lab3, 1
BIOL 151, 151L - General Biology II and Lab3, 1
BIOL 220, 220L - Human Anatomy and Physiology I and Lab3, 1
BIOL 221, 221L - Human Anatomy and Physiology II and Lab3, 1
BIOL 364 - General Ecology3
BIOL 459 - Evolution3
BIOL 491 - Seminar (Capstone)2
BOT 315, 315L - Genetics and Lab or
    ZOO 315, 315L - Genetics and Lab

CHEM 121, 121L - General Chemistry I and Lab4
CHEM 122, 122L - General Chemistry II and Lab4
CHEM 240 - Survey or Organic Chemistry3
CHEM 260 - Elements of Biochemistry4
GEOL 105, 105L - Physical Geology and Lab3, 1
GEOL 106, 106L - The Earth Through Time and Lab3, 1
PHYS 211, 211L - College Physics I and Lab3, 1
PHYS 212, 212L - College Physics II and Lab3, 1
STAT 330 - Introductory Statistics3
ZOO 370 - Cell Biology3
CSCI Elective3
300-400 Level Botany Elective 3
300-400 Level Zoology Elective3
Professional Education Requirements
Curriculum Total140

This sample curriculum is not intended to serve as a curriculum guide for current students, but rather an example of course offerings for prospective students. For the curriculum requirements in effect at the time of entrance into a program, consult with an academic advisor or with the Office of Registration and Records.

Stevens Hall
Room 201

Stevens Hall is located on the corner of Centennial Boulevard and Bolley Drive
(Campus Map)

Contact Information

Department of Biological Sciences
North Dakota State University
Stevens Hall 201
Dept #2715, PO Box 6050
Fargo, ND 58108-6050

Tel: (701) 231-6155 / Fax: (701) 231-7149


Dani Kvanvig-Bohnsack, Academic Advisor
College of Human Development and Education
North Dakota State University
Dept #2600, PO Box 6050
Fargo, ND 58108-6050

Tel: (701) 231-9849 / Fax: (701) 231-7174


Dr. Wendy Reed, Department Head
Department of Biological Sciences
North Dakota State University
Stevens Hall 218
Dept #2715, PO Box 6050
Fargo, ND 58108-6050

Tel: (701) 231-7087 / Fax: (701) 231-7149

Office of Admission
North Dakota State University
Ceres 114
Dept #5230, PO Box 6050
Fargo, ND 58108-6050

Tel: (701) 231-8643 / Fax: (701) 231-8802



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Office of Admission
North Dakota State University
Phone: +1 (701) 231-8643 / Fax: (701) 231-8802
Campus address: Ceres Hall 114
Physical/delivery address: 1301 Administration Ave., Fargo, ND 58102
Mailing address: NDSU Dept. 5230 / PO Box 6050 / Fargo, ND 58108-6050
Page manager: NDSU Webmaster

Last Updated: Tuesday, May 03, 2016 1:57:41 PM