Biological Sciences Course Offerings

The Department of Biological Sciences offers a curriculum emphasizing broad training in biology as the key to success in graduate school, professional school, teacher education, and technical careers. The major is built upon a strong foundation of general biology courses, followed by electives to meet student interests.

Students studying science should be exposed early and often to the methods of discovery, inquiry, and problem solving used by scientists to explain the natural world. Faculty are familiar with these methods as we apply them in our individual research programs, and we strive to develop such capabilities in our students. Therefore, we give our students opportunities to actively use the tools of scientific investigation in the lab and the field through a variety of courses at the molecular, cellular, organismal and population levels of biological organization.

A total of 39 biology credit hours are required. All first-year students must complete BI111 (Contemporary Issues in Biology) and the four Fundamentals courses which consist of BI210 (Genetics—Fundamentals), BI220 (Cellular and Molecular Biology—Fundamentals), BI230 (Ecology and Evolutionary Biology—Fundamentals), and BI 250 (Biostatistics). BI230 is a prerequisite for all BI courses numbered 300 and higher. All students must also complete BI299 Biology Seminar (pass/fail) in the spring semester of their second year in the major. To acquire the remaining credit hours for the major, students must take biology electives at the 300 level or above; at least four of these electives must be lab courses. One of the electives taken must be an organism-based course chosen from the following: BI301, BI302, BI311 or BI438. You will need to complete roughly five electives, four of which must be lab-based, with a C- or better to meet the requirements for the major, and all senior biology majors must complete BI480 (Biology Capstone).

In addition, all biology majors must take general chemistry (CH105/106 or CH107). Students will be allowed to use a maximum of three hours of independent study credit, internship credit, research, or honors thesis credit toward the 39-hour minimum required for the biology major. Please note that the Chemistry courses are full year sequences that must be taken in order and that they are not offered out of sequence—i.e., CH105 is only offered in the fall semester. Similarly, BI111 is only offered in the fall semester and is only open to biology majors. Students joining the major in their sophomore year or later are exempt from taking BI111; however, they must make up the hours with an additional biology elective credit hour to complete the major.

It is important to remember that as a student of Butler University and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (LAS), there are course requirements outside of your major that you must also satisfy to graduate. You must complete the University Core Curriculum requirements as well as the LAS foreign language requirement (minimum requirement is two courses at the 200 level or above). Biology majors are encouraged to work to complete their foreign language requirement starting in their freshman year. Courses required for the Core Curriculum need not be taken immediately but rather, it is recommended that you schedule them throughout your time at Butler.

There are occasions when it is advisable for an incoming major to take courses other than the standard load. Your advisor will help you choose alternate courses if necessary. Students can also work with their advisor on how to complete the degree in three years.

The Department of Biological Sciences has approved the following curriculum for a minor in Biological Sciences. The minor will take effect for all students (new and current) beginning in the fall semester.

A total of 20 credit hours are required. Students must complete the three Fundamentals courses (BI210, BI220, and BI230) and two BI elective courses with lab at the 300 level or above (excluding BI325).

  • BI210, Genetics
  • BI220, Cellular and Molecular Biology
  • BI230, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
  • BI250, Biostatistics
  • BI301, Principles of Zoology
  • BI302, Principles of Botany
  • BI311, Biology of Algae and Fungi
  • BI438, Microbiology
  • BI111, Contemporary Issues in Biology
  • BI299, Biology Seminar
  • BI480, Biology Capstone (topics will vary)

*Organized by vastly generalized field of study; upper-level courses often fall into numerous categories of electives, as many of these courses and topics are interdisciplinary.

  • BI257, Human Anatomy and Physiology
  • BI301, Principles of Zoology
  • BI306, Mammalogy
  • BI307, Vertebrate Anatomy
  • BI314, Ornithology
  • BI411, Principles of Physiology
  • BI430, Animal Development
  • BI442, Comparative Biomechanics
  • BI308, Tropical Field Biology
  • BI320, Animal Behavior
  • BI417, Tropical Terrestrial Biology
  • BI418, Advanced Ecology
  • BI419, Conservation Biology
  • BI423, Advanced Evolutionary Biology
  • BI105, Introductory Cell Biology
  • BI350, Cell Biology
  • BI357, General Genetics
  • BI433, Advanced Cell Biology
  • BI434, Transmission Genetics
  • BI435, Molecular Genetics
  • BI436, Genomics, Bioinformatics, and Gene Evolution
  • BI460, Cell and Molecular Neurobiology
  • BI323, Principles of Immunology
  • BI325, Principles of Pathogenic Microbiology
  • BI413, Vertebrate Histology and Biotechnique
  • BI427, Microbial Ecology
  • BI438, Microbiology
  • BI440, Molecular Virology
  • BI302, Principles of Botany
  • BI309, Local Flora
  • BI311, Biology of Algae and Fungi
  • BI431, Plant Development
  • BI432, Plant Physiology
  • BI270, Biology Indianapolis Outreach
  • BI300, Lab Teaching Assistantship
  • BI339, Philosophy of Biology
  • BI401–403, Independent Study
  • BI405–409, Topics in Biology
  • BI490, Internship in Biological Sciences
  • BI499, Honors Thesis
  • ENV400, Sustainability Practicum
  • NW200, Biology and Society
  • NW202, The World of Plants
  • NW203, Genetics and Evolution: The Code of Life
  • NW205, Urban Ecology: Exploring and Enhancing the Urban Environment of Indianapolis
  • NW207, Ecology and the Natural Environment

NOTE: Any ENV and NW courses as well as BI 105, 257, and BI 325 cannot be counted toward the 37-hour minimum required for the biology major.

NOTE: The information found on this website with respect to major/minor/program requirements is primarily directed at providing prospective students a general roadmap of the curriculum. Current Butler students are expected to review their degree audit report at and speak with their advisor regularly for detailed information regarding their specific degree requirements and their progress toward degree completion.