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Degree Requirements for Students Who Took the Bio Core

These requirements pertain to students who have taken all or part of the BioCore (BIO 41-43). Students who have not taken the BioCore will follow a new set of major requirements that include the new Bio Foundations courses.

There are three ways that a student can complete the Biology major at Stanford: The General Major, The General Major with Honors, or The Major with Honors and a Field of Study (Honors Track).

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General major

General Major with honors

Biology major with an honors Track

Information for students missing 1 or 2 BioCore Courses

General Biology Major

The general biology major is designed for students who would like a broad-based biology curriculum. The foundation courses for the general major include the BioCore and labs, Chemistry, Physics, and Math. Within the upper-division electives, students experience a breadth of courses by satisfying the Central Menu requirement: 1 course from 3 out of the 4 Central Menu areas (Molecular, Cell/Developmental, Organismal and Ecology/Evolution). Beyond the Central Menu requirement, students can take their remaining upper-division electives from Biology (BIO) and Hopkins (BIOHOPK) course offerings, and also from the Approved Out-of-Department Elective  list.

General Biology Major with Honors

Students following the general major requirements have the option to add honors. In order to do honors within Biology, students must apply for and complete the requirements for the departmental honors program, which include 10 units of BIO 199 or 199X, an independent honors thesis, and a poster or oral presentation at the conclusion of senior year. Students must apply for honors at least two quarters prior to graduating, for example, students graduating in Spring of senior year should apply for honors no later than Autumn quarter of their senior year. For more information, please visit our Honors page.

More Details:

  • Wait to declare honors on Axess until you have submitted the Honors Proposal, which is described in detail on the Honors page. If you declare honors when you declare the major, it will be denied. You can later re-declare honors when you have submitted your petition.

  • Students following the general biology major with honors are not required to complete BIO 46/47.

Biology Major with an Honors Track

For students who wish to concentrate their upper-division electives in a specific area, seven specialized honors tracks are available. As the name implies, completion of an honors track also requires completion of the Department Honors Program, outlined above. Foundation courses are generally similar to the general major requirements, with a few exceptions. Be sure to review the requirement sheets below for the particular field of study you are planning to follow.

The seven honors tracks available in Biology are:

  1. Biochemistry/Biophysics

  2. Computational Biology

  3. Ecology and Evolution

  4. Marine Biology

  5. Microbes & Immunity

  6. Molecular & Cell Biology

  7. Neurobiology

More Details:

  • To officially declare an honors track, students must indicate their intention to do so on the Major Declaration form. Additionally, the honors track must be added on Axess in order for it to be fully approved.

  • Students may also change or add an honors track after they have already declared the major. To do so, send an email to the Undergraduate Student Services Officer and make the change in Axess.

  • Wait to declare honors on Axess until you have submitted the Honors Proposal, which is described in detail on the Honors page. If you declare honors when you declare the major, it will be denied. You can later re-declare honors when you have submitted your petition.

Information for Students Missing 1 or 2 of the BioCore Courses

BIO 41, 42, and 43 have been discontinued and will never be offered again. Students who have only taken one or two of these courses will follow these degree requirements outlined above. To finish their core requirement, they may make the following substitutions:

Students who have taken 2 of the BioCore courses and are just missing one course may substitute as follows:

  • In place of BIO 41 - students who have taken BIO 42 and 43 but not BIO 41 may take either BIO 82 or BIO 83 in its place.
  • In place of BIO 42 - students who have taken BIO 41 and BIO 43 but not BIO 42 may take either BIO 84 or BIO 86 in its place.
  • In place of BIO 43 - students who have taken BIO 41 and BIO 42 but not BIO 43 may take either BIO 81 or BIO 85 in its place.

Students missing two courses:

  • These students will take a total of 3 of the Bio Foundations courses to fulfill their core requirements.
  • Students who have taken BIO 41 only will choose 3 courses from BIO 81, BIO 84, BIO 85, BIO 86.
  • Students who have taken BIO 42 only will choose 3 courses from BIO 81, BIO 82, BIO 83, BIO 85.
  • Students who have taken BIO 43 only will choose 3 courses from BIO 82, BIO 83, BIO 84, BIO 86.