Biological Sciences - BS : Ecology & Evolution

What is Biological Sciences - BS : Ecology & Evolution?

This concentration within the biology major is an opportunity for students to explore, in greater detail, the interactions among living organisms and their environments. It also allows the further exploration of evolutionary processes at molecular, organismal and ecosystem levels. Students are able to focus their upper level elective courses on ecology, evolution and related topics.

Biology is the scientific study of life and life processes. Biologists study the organization of life: the structures of molecules to the balance of ecosystems. Biology majors learn to observe critically the details of all life; they analyze data and apply biological knowledge learned in the classroom to draw conclusions about their observations. 

Biologists are able to make significant contributions to maintaining the health and well-being of the human population, as well as preserving and protecting the environment. They develop a knowledge base and scientific way of thinking that enables them to make informed personal health and public policy decisions.

Students who have an interest in the living world around them and who love to learn about, interact with or observe living organisms in their natural environment will often find this concentration within the biology major to be very rewarding. Successful biology majors are good at making careful observations and recording information in a logical way. They excel at analyzing that information (critical thinking), which often involves employing basic math skills. Students who enjoy active, hands-on learning will enjoy this concentration, especially learning about various ecosystems and examining fossils and other evidence for evolution and natural selection. Visual learners will especially appreciate the complexity of the organisms and environments they will study. The major requires a significant amount of hard work and study time, but can result in a very rewarding career.

Career Possibilities

Graduates with a BS in biology and a concentration in ecology and evolutionary biology have a wide range of career options as well as options for graduate study. The MS or PhD degrees in biology can lead to careers in teaching and research. A few examples of career fields open to biology majors with this concentration include the following (many of which require additional postgraduate studies):

  • Academic, industrial, environmental / organismal researcher
  • Conservation specialist 
  • Consultant
  • Ecologist 
  • Environmental studies specialist
  • Evolutionary biologist 
  • Fish and wildlife management specialist
  • Landscape specialist 
  • Law, specifically areas that include environmental issues requiring a solid scientific background
  • Marine biologist
  • Middle/high school educator
  • Museum curator
  • Natural resources manager
  • Naturalist, Zookeeper
  • Paleontologist
  • Peace corps worker
  • Regulatory affairs specialist
  • Scientific writer
  • Soil scientist
  • Veterinarian

Majoring in Biological Sciences - BS : Ecology & Evolution

The study of biology includes several subdisciplines, and the major offers students the flexibility to create their own course of study within this range of possibilities. Majors begin by establishing a broad base in the discipline, taking a two-semester sequence in introductory biology (lecture/lab), followed by two semesters of sophomore biology courses in Genetics and Ecology/Evolution (or Cell Biology).  During the final two years, biology majors must complete upper-level electives in biology, which must include a laboratory component. Undergraduate research may be used to fulfill one of the lab requirements.

The Department of Biological Sciences in the UC College of Arts and Sciences (A&S) is now offering students the option of graduating with a concentration in a specific area of biology. The concentrations offered are biology of animals, cell and molecular biology, biomedical studies and ecology and evolution. To graduate with one of these concentrations, a student must declare the particular concentration of their major and then select upper level courses and the capstone from lists of appropriate courses within the concentration. Students are not required to choose a concentration. They can choose their biology major electives to match their interests (whether focused or varied) and thus earn a general degree in biological sciences.

UC's College of Arts and Sciences' flexible degree requirements allow for and highly encourage students to pursue multiple areas of study. Free electives allow for enough credits for students to pursue a minor, certificate program or even complete a second major. Students who have selected this concentration have completed second majors or minors in a number of different fields, for example those listed below.

  • Chemistry (BA or minor)
  • Environmental studies
  • Geographic information sciences
  • Geography
  • Geology
  • Neuroscience 
  • Psychology
  • Spanish

Experiential Learning
Experiential learning is a large part of the biology undergraduate major. Students are strongly encouraged to conduct research and take unique courses such as this field course held at the Cincinnati Center for Field Studies at Miami Whitewater Forest. Watch the YouTube Video. Internships can also be completed for free elective credit.

Minoring in Biological Sciences - BS : Ecology & Evolution

Students working toward an undergraduate degree at UC can earn a minor, while non-degree students (e.g., graduate students, non-matriculated students) can earn a certificate. The requirements are the same for both. See an undergraduate student advisor in the Department of Biological Sciences to create a plan to meet the requirements outlined below.

Course Requirements (31-32 hours):

  • Biology I & II with Labs, BIOL 1081-1082, 1081L-1082L  (8 hours)
  • Genetics, BIOL 2083  (3 hours)
  • Evolution and Ecology, BIOL 2084C OR Cell Biology, BIOL 2085C  (4 hours)
  • General Chemistry I & II with Labs, CHEM 1040-1041, 1040L-1041L  (10 hours)
  • Two upper level electives, BIOL 3000 and above  (6-7 hours)*
    *Two courses are required;  must be chosen from list of upper level biology courses posted by Biology department each academic year.  One must have a lab component - this may be taken either by completing a combined course (designated C) or by completing a lecture course with a companion laboratory course, or by completing Undergraduate research for 3 credits in a single semester with a public presentation.

Click here to declare the minor online



Contact department via information which appears on this page.

UC Advantages and Special Opportunities

Students in the UC College of Arts and Sciences enjoy many benefits afforded through study at a research-intensive institution ranked among the nation's top 25 public research universities. UC's urban, tristate location offers exciting opportunities for global education, research and service learning, while its student-centered focus includes an 11:1 student-faculty ratio, a nationally recognized Center for Exploratory Studies and a highly successful First Year Experience program that teaches critical skills for first-year students and provides connections with important campus resources.

4+1 Cosmetic Science Master's Degree

Biology majors interested in a career as a Cosmetic Scientist can now complete their bachelor’s and master’s degree in 5 years, without having to take the GRE. Students will be introduced to cosmetic science classes after their first year while continuing to study basic chemistry and eventually will move onto a full year of cosmetic science during the 5th year.  They will have two co-op opportunities, one each during the third and fourth year. Once in graduate school, students’ coursework will include skin care science, hair care science, formulation science, and color cosmetics in order to be well-prepared to enter this rapid-growth job market.

Special Programs

Faculty within the Department of Biological Sciences are actively engaged in research in a variety of areas. Undergraduates have the opportunity to participate in this research and can earn academic credit that can be applied toward their upper-level biology course requirements. Research can also be done in nearby biology laboratories outside of the department, such as at the UC Medical school, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, or the Environmental Protection Agency.  Outstanding undergraduates (with a GPA of at least 3.3 overall) may apply for admission to the honors program in biology as early as the spring semester of their sophomore year.

Teaching laboratories within the department are well-equipped and devoted to undergraduate education. Faculty are involved and dedicated to employing new teaching methods and technology that enrich students’ educational experiences.

Admission Requirements

Freshmen applicants, please visit the Admission Requirements page for more information.

Transferring to UC Requirements

Admission to A&S is generally available for any off-campus student who was admissible directly from high school and has a cumulative 2.0 GPA and a 2.0 in the most recent institution.

Students who were not admissible directly from high school must have:

  • 24 semester (36 quarter) hours earned
  • at least a cumulative 2.0 GPA and a 2.0 at most recent institution

Transfer students should apply using our transfer student online application

University transfer scholarships are available to those who meet specific requirements and ANY admitted A&S transfer student might qualify for an A&S transfer scholarship. Deadlines and eligibility criteria are online via the previous links.

For any inquiries please contact us at

Changing Majors within UC Requirements

Admission to A&S is generally available for any on-campus student who was admissible directly from high school and has a cumulative 2.0 GPA.

Students who were not admissible directly from high school must have:

  • 24 semester (36 quarter) hours earned
  • at least a cumulative 2.0 GPA.

Graduation Requirements

To graduate from the UC College of Arts and Sciences, students must:

  • Earn at least 120 credits. This can include transfer credit, AP credit and free electives, but does not include preparatory coursework. Students who have met all other degree requirements must continue earning credit until the total number of their earned hours comes to at least 120.
  • Attain a 2.0 grade point average for all courses taken at the University of Cincinnati.
  • Attain a 2.0 grade point average for all courses within the biology major.
  • Be in good academic standing, that is, not on either academic probation or disciplinary probation or suspension.
  • Complete the residency requirement by earning at least 30 credits after matriculating into the college, including at least 12 credits from the A&S Biology Department that count toward major requirements.
  • Complete all of the requirements of at least one major (see major requirements above).
  • Complete the college core requirements.
  • Submit an application for graduation to the registrar's office by their posted deadline.

Application Deadlines

While midyear admission is possible, fall semester is generally the best time to enter the college, since many course sequences begin in that semester. Applicants to the UC College of Arts and Sciences who are enrolled or who were previously enrolled as degree-seeking students in A&S or in other UC colleges should apply for admission directly to A&S (in French West, 2nd Floor). All other applicants who wish to earn an undergraduate degree from A&S should apply through the Office of Admissions (3rd Floor, University Pavilion).


The University of Cincinnati and all regional campuses are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Quick Facts

Bachelor of Science Degree in Biological Sciences - BS : Ecology & Evolution

Full-Time Program Duration

4 Years


Uptown Campus West


614 Rieveschl Hall
Cincinnati, OH 45221-0006
Phone: (513) 556-9700
Edwinn Griff