College of Arts & Sciences



Most popular major at UK


of Bio students conduct research


Total extramural research funding

Restart your search

Biology is the study of LIFE. It is the exciting study of how living systems do their business: How plants produce nearly every bite of edible food through photosynthesis. How microorganisms reproduce and acquire resistance to antibiotics, how they produce disease, and how they benefit our lives. It is the study of animal development from conception through maturation, reproduction, senescence and then ultimately to death. It is the study of how we perceive our world through our amazing senses, and it is the study of the very brain we use to process this information and everything about our world. It is the study of the great diversity of living things on Earth and how they interact with each other and with human society. Biology tells us who we are in this vast living world. It tells us where we came from, and it tells us where we might go as a species.


Grow Your Future

From biological principles, the fields of medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, nursing, and many other life science careers arise, and in these uncertain times of great climatic change, the emergence of new diseases, and human overpopulation, we will rely on Biology more and more. Fortunately, the science of Biology has delivered and continues to deliver on its great promise to provide new cures for disease, new ways to understand ourselves and new approaches for remediation of environmental discord.

Career opportunities in Biology

  • Physician
  • Dentist
  • Veterinarian 
  • Nurse
  • Pharmacist
  • Biological Research
  • Pharmaceutical Sales
  • Zookeeper
  • Park Ranger
  • Biology Teacher

Classes & Requirements

What You'll Study

The biology major encompasses both a broad foundation of core courses and the opportunity for specialization within a subfield through biology electives, providing the breadth and depth essential to educating biologists. The major prepares students for a post-baccalaureate profession in biology, for advanced professional training in the health sciences, or for graduate study in basic and applied areas of the biological sciences.

Graduation Requirements

Any student earning a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree must complete a minimum of 39 hours at the 300+ level. These hours are generally completed by the major requirements. However, keep this hour requirement in mind as you choose your course work for the requirements in the major. Students interested in earning a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree must complete a minimum of 60 hours in biological, physical, mathematical and/or computer sciences. See the complete description of College requirements for a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Sciences degrees in the Arts and Sciences section of the 2015-2016 Undergraduate Bulletin.

UK Core Requirements

  • The Nature of Inquiry in Arts and Creativity (3 hours)
  • The Nature of Inquiry in the Humanities (3 hours)
  • The Nature of Inquiry in the Social Sciences (3 hours)
  • The nature of Inquiry in the Natural, Physical and Mathematical Sciences (3 hours)
  • Composition and Communication I (3 hours)
  • Composition and Communication II (3 hours)
  • Quantitative Foundations (3 hours)
  • Statistical and Inferential Reasoning (3 hours)
  • Community, Culture and Citizenship in the USA (3 hours)
  • Global Dynamics (3 hours)

Total Credit Hours - 30

Premajor Requirements 

  • BIO 148 - Introductory Biology I [3 hours}
  • BIO 152 - Principles of Biology II [3 hours]
  • BIO 155 - Laboratory for Introductory Biology I or BIO 198 - Scholars Biology Research [1-2 hours]
  • CHE 105 - General College Chemistry [4 hours]
  • CHE 111 - Laboratory to Accompany General Chemistry I [1 hour]
  • CHE 107 - General College Chemistry II [3 hours]
  • CHE 113 - Laboratory to Accompany General Chemistry II [2 hours]
  • MA 137/138 - Calculus I/II with Life Science Applications or MA 113/114 - Calculus I/II [8 hours]

Total Hours - 25-26

Major Requirements 

  • BIO 303 - Introduction to Evolution [4 hours}
  • BIO 304 - Principles of Genetics [4 hours]
  • BIO 315 - Introduction to Cell Biology [4 hours]
  • BIO 325 - Ecology [4 hours]
  • BIO 350 - Animal Physiology or BIO 430G - Plant Physiology [4 hours]
  • STA 296 - Statistical Methods and Motivations [3 hours]
  • BIO 425 - Biology Seminar [1 hour]

Other Course Work Required by the Major

  • CHE 230 - Organic Chemistry I [3 hours]
  • CHE 231 - Organic Chemistry Laboratory I [1 hour]
  • CHE 232 - Organic Chemistry II [3 hours]
  • PHY 211 General Physics or PHY 231/241 - General University Physics/Laboratory and PHY 213 - General Physics or PHY 232/242 - General University Physics/Laboratory [10 hours]

Biology Electives

  • Choose 15 hours of acceptable biology electives. 15 hours to be chosen from 300+ level BIO courses. For a complete list of course applicable to this requirement please refer to the UKY Bulletin [15 hours]

Total Hours - 56

Biology | Bachelor of Science

B.S. Major Requirements B.S. 4 Year Plan

Imagine Your Future

Biological Technicians

Biological technicians help biological and medical scientists conduct laboratory tests and experiments.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics | Click the link for more info.

Median Salary


per year in 2023

Number of Jobs


in 2023

10 Year Job Outlook


new jobs (average)

Work Environment

Biological technicians typically work in laboratories. Most biological technicians work full time.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Read More

Imagine Your Future

Biochemists and Biophysicists

Biochemists and biophysicists study the chemical and physical principles of living things and of biological processes.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics | Click the link for more info.

Median Salary


per year in 2023

Number of Jobs


in 2023

10 Year Job Outlook


new jobs (average)

Work Environment

Biochemists and biophysicists typically work in laboratories and offices to conduct experiments and analyze the results. Most work full time.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Read More

A&S Undecided/Exploratory Studies

Understanding that over 70 percent of university students will change their declared major at least once during their college careers, the College of Arts and Sciences has developed an Exploratory Studies program for students who have yet to decide the specific field of study that most closely aligns both their personal interests and their professional career goals and objectives. The Exploratory Studies Program provides students with an extraordinarily diverse educational environment that includes coursework spanning Math and Natural Sciences, Humanities, and Social Sciences and provides students with the unique opportunity to explore multiple areas of interest during their first several semesters on campus. For more information please contact a recruiting representative at 

Enhancing Your Time at UK

While there are endless ways to create an unforgettable journey as a Wildcat, we can only think of one that gives you the chance to step outside the classroom and into exploring new parts of the world around you: participating in an Education Abroad opportunity! Whether it’s in a study, research, service, or internship program, taking your UK experience international with EA is the most hands-on way for you to expand your global perspective while making yourself a more well-rounded, marketable candidate to future employers no matter your field. As you take these first steps towards investing in your future, EA encourages you to take advantage of all the opportunities UK has to offer. Take a look at some of the many suggested opportunities UK Education Abroad & Exchanges has to complement your major! #ukyabroad


View Major Advising Page