Biology, B.A.

Biology is a dynamic science aimed at understanding living organisms and how they interact with the environment. Saint Louis University's biology program offers courses that emphasize concepts over facts and aim to provide a foundation for careers in the life sciences, health professions, K-12 education and advanced post-graduate study in various disciplines. The B.A. in Biology at Saint Louis University provides maximum flexibility in selecting upper-division courses and is favored by students seeking double majors. SLU also offers a B.S. in Biology

  • SLU's biology program is enriched by interactions with the School of Medicine, Missouri Botanical Garden, Donald Danforth Plant Science Center and Saint Louis Zoo and a growing number of St. Louis-based life science companies. Research experiences and internships provide students with opportunities to study biology beyond the classroom.
  • SLU's Department of Biology has a field station that provides unique opportunities for students to explore ecology, conservation and environmental science in an Ozark forest ecosystem. The field station offers students opportunities to take a summer class, conduct undergraduate research and participate in a semester-long program of field biology coursework.
  • Biology students at SLU are encouraged to participate in co-curricular activities. Groups such as Beta Beta Beta, the biology honorary society, and Alpha Epsilon Delta, the pre-professional honor society, are social and academic organizations that further students’ interest in biology while exposing them to its relationship with other scientific disciplines.

Curriculum Overview

The undergraduate curriculum in the Department of Biology is diverse and will meet a variety of interests in the rapidly expanding fields of the biological sciences. It is also designed to provide an intensive educational experience for students in other disciplines who are interested in biology. In addition to courses in Macelwane Hall, the department offers courses at the University’s Reis Biological Station, located by the Huzzah Creek in the Missouri Ozarks.

The Bachelor of Arts degree in biology provides flexibility in selecting upper-level courses and is favored by students interested in double majors.

Fieldwork and Research Opportunities

The benefits of SLU's biology program include several internship and career opportunities. Advanced undergraduate students with good academic records are encouraged to apply for teaching or learning assistant positions. In addition to a stipend, students gain teaching experience and the opportunity to help others become interested in biology.

Biology majors can enroll in courses that provide credit for structured internships through collaborations with various local organizations, including the Missouri Botanical Garden, Saint Louis Zoo, Sigma-Aldrich, Bayer and firms in the growing biotechnology field.


SLU's biology major develops strong critical thinking and problem-solving skills that provide excellent preparation for professional schools, such as:

  • Medical school
  • Veterinary science school
  • Dental school
  • Optometry school
  • Graduate school in a broad range of disciplines

The skills biology majors gain also open the door to a wide variety of career options in health care, biotechnology, environmental management, conservation, education and the pharmaceutical industry.

Recent biology majors have been awarded grants from Sigma Xi and the National Science Foundation and prestigious fellowships from the National Science Foundation, Fulbright Scholar Program, Mayo Clinic, Smithsonian Institution, NeuroSURF and the American Society for Microbiology.

Admission Requirements

Begin Your Application

Saint Louis University also accepts the Common Application.


All applications are thoroughly reviewed with the highest degree of individual care and consideration to all credentials that are submitted. Solid academic performance in college preparatory coursework is a primary concern in reviewing a freshman applicant’s file.

To be considered for admission to any Saint Louis University undergraduate program, applicants must be graduating from an accredited high school, have an acceptable HiSET exam score or take the General Education Development (GED) test. 


Applicants must be a graduate of an accredited high school or have an acceptable score on the GED.

Students who have attempted fewer than 24 semester credits (or 30 quarter credits) of college credit must follow the above freshmen admission requirements. Students who have completed 24 or more semester credits (or 30 quarter credits) of college credit must submit transcripts from all previously attended college(s).

In reviewing a transfer applicant’s file, the Office of Admission holistically examines the student’s academic performance in college-level coursework as an indicator of the student’s ability to meet the academic rigors of Saint Louis University. Where applicable, transfer students will be evaluated on any courses outlined in the continuation standards of their preferred major.

International Applicants

All admission policies and requirements for domestic students apply to international students along with the following:

  • Demonstrate English Language Proficiency
  • Proof of financial support must include:
    • A letter of financial support from the person(s) or sponsoring agency funding the time at Saint Louis University
    • A letter from the sponsor's bank verifying that the funds are available and will be so for the duration of study at the University
  • Academic records, in English translation, of students who have undertaken postsecondary studies outside the United States must include the courses taken and/or lectures attended, practical laboratory work, the maximum and minimum grades attainable, the grades earned or the results of all end-of-term examinations, and any honors or degrees received. WES and ECE transcripts are accepted.


Tuition Cost Per Year
Undergraduate Tuition $54,760

Additional charges may apply. Other resources are listed below:

Net Price Calculator

Information on Tuition and Fees

Miscellaneous Fees

Information on Summer Tuition

Scholarships and Financial Aid

There are two principal ways to help finance a Saint Louis University education:

  • Scholarships: Scholarships are awarded based on academic achievement, service, leadership and financial need.
  • Financial Aid: Financial aid is provided through grants and loans, some of which require repayment.

Saint Louis University makes every effort to keep our education affordable. In fiscal year 2023, 99% of first-time freshmen and 92% of all students received financial aid and students received more than $459 million in aid University-wide.

For priority consideration for merit-based scholarships, apply for admission by December 1 and complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by March 1.

For information on other scholarships and financial aid, visit

  1. Graduates will be able to effectively apply core biological concepts to solve problems.
  2. Graduates will be able to critically evaluate scientific information from multiple sources, including that from the primary literature.
  3. Graduates will be able to apply biological principles to global societal issues.
  4. Graduates will be able to draw valid conclusions from quantitative data.
  5. Graduates will be able to formulate hypotheses that address research questions.
  6. Graduates will be able to correctly perform common laboratory and/or field techniques.

Biology students must complete a minimum total of 48 credits for the major, 25 of which must be in BIOL subject code at the 3000 level or above.

University Undergraduate Core32-35
Major Requirements
BIOL 1240
BIOL 1245
General Biology: Information Flow and Evolution
and Principles of Biology I Laboratory
BIOL 1260
BIOL 1265
General Biology: Transformations of Energy and Matter
and Principles of Biology II Laboratory
BIOL 3010Evolutionary Biology3
BIOL 3020Biochemistry and Molecular Biology3
BIOL 3030Principles of Genetics3
BIOL 3040Cell Structure & Function3
BIOL 3070General Ecology3
CHEM 1110
CHEM 1115
General Chemistry 1
and General Chemistry 1 Laboratory
CHEM 1120
CHEM 1125
General Chemistry 2
and General Chemistry 2 Laboratory
MATH 1510Calculus I4
Statistics Course
MATH 1300XElementary Statistics with Computers3
or BIOL 4790 Biometry
Biology Elective Courses10
Choose a minimum of 10 credits of upper division elective courses (numbered BIOL 3060-BIOL 4980), including one structured laboratory course.
General Electives37-40
Total Credits120

Independent Research

A total of 3 credits of BIOL 4960 Independent Research (1-3 cr)BIOL 4970 Library Project (1-3 cr), and/or BIOL 4980 Advanced Independent Study (1-4 cr) can be counted toward the B.A. degree. These courses do not count as structured lab courses.

Continuation Standards

Students must have a minimum of a 2.00 GPA in their major courses (BIOL) and required related credits (chemistry, mathematics and statistics, physics etc.) by the conclusion of their freshman year. Students who fall below a 2.00 GPA will be placed on probation. If a student fails to obtain at least a 2.00 GPA in their major courses (BIOL) and required related credits by the conclusion of their sophomore year they will not be allowed to continue in the program.

Graduation Requirements

  • Complete a minimum of 120 credits (excluding pre-college level courses numbered below 1000).
  • Complete the University Undergraduate Core curriculum requirements.
  • Complete major requirements: minimum of 30 credits required.
  • Complete remaining credits with a second major, minor, certificate or electives to reach the minimum of 120 credits required for graduation.
  • Achieve at least a 2.00 cumulative grade point average, a 2.00 grade point average in the major(s), and a 2.00 grade point average in the minor/certificate or related elective credits.
  • Complete department- and program-specific academic and performance requirements.
  • Complete at least 50% of the coursework for the major and 75% for the minor/certificate through Saint Louis University or an approved study-abroad program.
  • Complete 30 of the final 36 credits through Saint Louis University or an approved study-abroad program.
  • Complete an online degree application by the required University deadline.

Roadmaps are recommended semester-by-semester plans of study for programs and assume full-time enrollment unless otherwise noted.  

Courses and milestones designated as critical (marked with !) must be completed in the semester listed to ensure a timely graduation. Transfer credit may change the roadmap.

This roadmap should not be used in the place of regular academic advising appointments. All students are encouraged to meet with their advisor/mentor each semester. Requirements, course availability and sequencing are subject to change.

Plan of Study Grid
Year One
BIOL 1240
BIOL 1245
General Biology: Information Flow and Evolution
and Principles of Biology I Laboratory (BIOL 1240 satisfies CORE 3800)
CHEM 1110
CHEM 1115
General Chemistry 1
and General Chemistry 1 Laboratory
CORE 1000 Ignite First Year Seminar (Must be taken in first 36 credit hours at SLU / Cannot carry attributes) 2-3
CORE 1500 Cura Personalis 1: Self in Community (Must be taken in first 36 credit hours at SLU / Cannot carry attributes / Must be taken at SLU) 1
CORE 1900 Eloquentia Perfecta 1: Written and Visual Communication (Should be taken in first 36 credit hours at SLU / Cannot carry attributes) 3
General Electives 1
Participation in First-year Mentoring Events  
BIOL 1260
BIOL 1265
General Biology: Transformations of Energy and Matter
and Principles of Biology II Laboratory
CHEM 1120
CHEM 1125
General Chemistry 2
and General Chemistry 2 Laboratory
CORE 1600 Ultimate Questions: Theology 3
General Electives 4
Year Two
Participation in Second-year Mentoring  
BIOL 3020 Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 3
MATH 1510 Calculus I (satisfies CORE 3200) 4
CORE 1700 Ultimate Questions: Philosophy 3
CORE 1200 Eloquentia Perfecta 2: Oral and Visual Communication 3
General Electives 2
BIOL 3040 Cell Structure & Function 3
Statistics Elective 3-4
CORE 2500 Cura Personalis 2: Self in Contemplation 0
General Electives 9
Year Three
BIOL 3010 Evolutionary Biology 3
Biology Elective 3
CORE 3400 Ways of Thinking: Aesthetics, History, and Culture 3
General Electives 6
BIOL 3030 Principles of Genetics 0-3
Biology Elective 3
CORE 3600 Ways of Thinking: Social and Behavioral Sciences 3
CORE 4000 Collaborative Inquiry 2-3
General Electives 7
Year Four
Biology Elective 3
Laboratory Elective 1-5
CORE 3500 Cura Personalis 3: Self in the World 1
General Electives 10
Biology Elective 3
General Electives 12
 Total Credits120-130

See information in the program notes.

Program Notes

Statistics Electives

MATH 1300XElementary Statistics with Computers3
BIOL 4790Biometry4

Laboratory Electives

BIOL 3060Cell Structure & Function Laboratory1
BIOL 3100Experiments in Genetics Lab1
BIOL 3260Biology of Plants & Fungi4
BIOL 3420Comparative Anatomy of the Vertebrates5
BIOL 3470General Physiology Laboratory1
BIOL 4050Molecular Techniques Lab2
BIOL 4100Natural History of Vertebrates4
BIOL 4115Forest Park Living Lab Field Ecology Techniques1
BIOL 4120Field Botany5
BIOL 4130Field Mammalogy5
BIOL 4140Field Ornithology5
BIOL 4160Microbial Ecology and Molecular Evolution4
BIOL 4200Aquatic Ecology4
BIOL 4260Biology of Amphibians and Reptiles4
BIOL 4280Biology of Fishes4
BIOL 4320Cave Biology4
BIOL 4330Spring Flora of the Ozarks4
BIOL 4635Immunobiology Lab1
BIOL 4370Animal Behavior Lab1
BIOL 4440Vertebrate Histology: Structure and Function of Tissues4
BIOL 4650General Microbiology Laboratory2

2+SLU programs provide a guided pathway for students transferring from a partner institution.