Major Requirements

No emphasis

Students are required to complete all major requirements and supporting coursework as detailed below in order to earn their degree in Biology.

 

Introductory Biology

Select one course from the list below:

BIO 105Marine Biology

4 units

BIO 106Biology of California

4 units

BIO 110Organisms on Earth

4 units

BIO 115General Zoology

4 units

Cellular and Molecular Biology (2 courses)

BIO 130Introduction to Cell and Molecular Biology

4 units

And one from:

BIO 221Molecular Biology

4 units

BIO 224Genetic Analysis

4 units

BIO 226Cell Biology

4 units

Environmental Biology

Select one course from the list below:

BIO 106Biology of California

4 units

BIO 260Biodiversity and Organization of Marine Ecosystems

4 units

BIO 270Ecology

4 units

BIO 275Flora of Southern California

4 units

Evolutionary Biology

BIO 280Evolutionary Biology

4 units

Organismal Biology

Select one course from the list below:

BIO 240Vertebrate Physiology

4 units

BIO 250Plant Form and Function

4 units

BIO 275Flora of Southern California

4 units

Upper-division Biology

Students must select three 300-level Biology courses. At least two of these must be Occidental College Biology laboratory courses.

 

 

Senior Seminar

BIO 490Senior Seminar

4 units

SUPPORTING COURSEWORK

Students are required to complete five additional courses. Two must be in chemistry as detailed below and three additional quantitative courses.

Chemistry

CHEM 120Foundations of General Chemistry

4 units

Or

CHEM 130Advanced Placement General Chemistry

4 units

 

And

CHEM 220Organic Chemistry I

4 units

Quantitative Coursework

Three 4-5 unit courses are required to satisfy the quantitative requirement. Two 2-unit courses taken at Occidental College may be combined to satisfy one requirement. Students who pass out of Calculus I must instead take an additional quantitative course from the list of courses below.

Calculus 1Scientific Modeling and Differential Calculus

4 units

Quantitative Elective - Data Analysis

4 units

Quantitative Elective

4 units

Pre-approved Quantitative Courses

Data Analysis

BIO 260Biodiversity and Organization of Marine Ecosystems

4 units

BIO 268Biostatistics

4 units

COGS 255Data Analysis and Visualization

4 units

GEO 255Spatial Analysis with Geographic Information Science

4 units

MATH 150Statistical Data Analysis

4 units

PSYC 201Statistics in Psychological Science

4 units

Additional Quantitative Course

BIO 270Ecology

4 units

BIO 326Molecular Evolution and Phylogenomics

4 units

BIO 369Biological Oceanography

4 units

BIO 370Field Ecology

4 units

Calculus 2Scientific Modeling and Integral Calculus

4 units

CHEM 221Organic Chemistry II

4 units

CHEM 300Physical Chemistry I

4 units

CHEM 301Biophysical Chemistry

4 units

COGS 242Computational Approaches to Cognition

4 units

COMP 157Programming in C++

2 units

COMP 161Programming in Java

2 units

COMP 165Mathematica

2 units

COMP 167MATLAB

2 units

COMP 211Introduction to Computer Science

4 units

COMP 311Data Structures and Algorithms

4 units

COMP 353Information Theory

4 units

MATH 210Discrete Mathematics

4 units

MATH 212Multivariable Calculus

4 units

MATH 214Linear Algebra

4 units

MATH 310Real Analysis

4 units

MATH 312Complex Analysis

4 units

MATH 320Algebra

4 units

MATH 322Number Theory

4 units

MATH 330Probability

4 units

MATH 332Mathematical Statistics

4 units

MATH 340Ordinary Differential Equations

4 units

MATH 342Partial Differential Equations

4 units

MATH 350Mathematical Logic

4 units

MATH 352Computability and Complexity

4 units

MATH 354/PHIL 320Set Theory and Foundations of Mathematics

4 units

MATH 360Axiomatic Geometry

4 units

MATH 362Topology

4 units

MATH 370Numerical Analysis

4 units

MATH 380Combinatorics

4 units

MATH 382Graph Theory

4 units

MATH 392Mathematical Models in Biology

4 units

MATH 396Mathematical Modeling

2 units

PHYS 110Introductory Mechanics

4 units

PHYS 115General Physics I

4 units

PHYS 120Introductory Electricity and Magnetism

4 units

PHYS 125General Physics II

4 units

SECOND-STAGE WRITING REQUIREMENT

Students majoring in Biology will satisfy the second-stage writing requirement by successfully completing two courses at the 300-level (or appropriate course work). Students should familiarize themselves with the departmental requirement at the time of declaring the major. See the Writing Program and consult the department chair for additional information.

HONORS

The Honors Program at Occidental College is designed to allow the superior student’s attention to be focused on a directed investigation for a sustained period of time. It is expected that students admitted to the College Honors Program will have established themselves as outstanding prospects for individualized work in the department of their major and will also have established themselves as doing work of very high quality in all that they have undertaken at Occidental. Student admission to the College Honors Program will be by formal action of the faculty in the student’s major department (taken from the College Catalogue statement on Honors).

Requirements

  • Student typically will have worked on a research project for 2 semesters (or 1 semester + summer session) minimum, before applying for honors
  • Student must have an average GPA of 3.25 (college policy)

Application Process

  • Student should discuss with their research mentor and submit an official Letter of Intent to the Biology Chairperson by the beginning of their senior year, or sooner.
  • The letter of intent should include a summary of research results (realized and projected), as well as significance of the research and any projects in progress at the time of submission.
  • Applications will be evaluated by the Biology faculty.
  • Students nominated for honors will be notified by the Biology Chairperson.

Completion Process

  • At the time of nomination, each candidate will be assigned an honors thesis committee of two Biology faculty members, in addition to their faculty mentor. This committee will be available for guidance and to help ensure that milestones are met in a timely manner.
  • Milestones will include a thorough literature review, written drafts of the introduction, methods, and results sections, including draft figures, and a final discussion section, as well as preparation of a public seminar.
  • The candidate must complete a written thesis of their work. It is expected that the student will spend part of their final semester or directed research writing the thesis.
  • The written thesis will be due to the mentor by Monday in the 4th week of February.
  • The revised honors thesis will be due to the committee by Monday in the 3rd week of February.
  • The thesis will be reviewed by committee, and final revisions must be submitted by the last day of March.
  • Honors candidates will also give a presentation on their research during the week of April 15. These presentations will last approximately 15 minutes, with 5 min for questions.
  • Honors grades are Pass/Fail and reported to the registrar by the Chair. The chair will inform the students of their grade when it is decided upon by the committee.