Biological Sciences, B.S.


Entrance Requirements

New freshmen who meet University admissions standards are eligible for admission to degree programs offered by the college. A student who wishes to enter the College of Arts and Sciences from another college on the Columbia campus must be in good standing and have a cumulative GPA of 2.00 or higher. A student who wishes to enter the College of Arts and Sciences from another USC campus must fulfill one of the following requirements:

  1. Be in good standing, meet the admission requirements for a baccalaureate degree on the Columbia campus, and have a cumulative GPA of 2.00 or higher.
  2. Be in good standing and have completed 30 semester hours with a GPA of 2.00 or higher on a USC campus.

Some programs in the College of Arts and Sciences have special admission requirements established by the department or committee that supervises the specific degree program, for example, Cardiovascular Technology, Biological Sciences, Chemistry, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Economics, Environmental Science, the Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies, and the Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies. These requirements are listed in the sections of this bulletin that describe department and special degree programs.

Degree Requirements (120 hours)

Program of Study

Requirements Credit Hours
1. Carolina Core 32-44
2. College Requirements 15-18
3. Program Requirements 30-45
4. Major Requirements 28

Founding Documents Requirement

All undergraduate students must take a 3-credit course or its equivalent with a passing grade in the subject areas of History, Political Science, or African American Studies that covers the founding documents including the United State Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the Emancipation Proclamation and one or more documents that are foundational to the African American Freedom struggle, and a minimum of five essays from the Federalist papers.  This course may count as a requirement in any part of the program of study including the Carolina Core, the major, minor or cognate, or as a general elective.  Courses that meet this requirement are listed here.

1. Carolina Core Requirements (32-44 hours)

CMW – Effective, Engaged, and Persuasive Communication: Written (6 hours)

Must be passed with a grade of C or higher.

ARP – Analytical Reasoning and Problem Solving (6-8 hours) 

Note: MATH 141 & MATH 142 are recommended. However, successful completion of MATH 122 and MATH 170, or MATH 172 may be substituted.​

SCI – Scientific Literacy (8 hours)

Must be passed with a grade of C or higher.

GFL – Global Citizenship and Multicultural Understanding: Foreign Language  (0-6 hours)

Demonstration of proficiency in one foreign language equivalent to the minimal passing grade on the exit examination in the 122 course is required. Students can demonstrate this proficiency by successfully completing Phase II of the Proficiency Test or by successfully completing the 122 course, including the exit exam administered as part of that course.

It is strongly recommended that students continuing the study of a foreign language begin college-level study of that language in their first semester and continue in that language until their particular foreign language requirement is completed.

GHS – ​Global Citizenship and Multicultural Understanding: Historical Thinking (3 hours) 

GSS – Global Citizenship and Multicultural Understanding: Social Sciences (3 hours) 

AIU – Aesthetic and Interpretive Understanding (3 hours)

CMS – Effective, Engaged, and Persuasive Communication: Spoken Component1 (3 hours)

INF – Information Literacy1 (0-3 hours)

VSR – Values, Ethics, and Social Responsibility (3 hours)


Carolina Core Stand Alone or Overlay Eligible Requirements — Overlay-approved courses offer students the option of meeting two Carolina Core components in a single course. A maximum of two overlays is allowed. The total Carolina Core credit hours must add up to a minimum of 31 hours. Some programs may have a higher number of minimum Carolina Core hours due to specified requirements.

2. College Requirements (15-18 hours)

Foreign Language (0-3 hours) 

  • only if needed to meet 122-level proficiency

Analytical Reasoning (6 hours)

History (3 hours) 

The College of Arts and Sciences requires one additional GHS course beyond the Carolina Core GHS requirement. 

  • If the Carolina Core GHS requirement is fulfilled by a U.S. history course, the College of Arts and Sciences history requirement must be fulfilled by a non-U.S. history course.
  • If the Carolina Core GHS requirement is fulfilled by a non-U.S. history course, the College of Arts and Sciences history requirement must be fulfilled by a U.S. history course. 

Please select the College of Arts and Sciences history requirement from the approved list of U.S. and non-U.S. history courses.

Social Science and Fine Arts or Humanities (6 hours)

  • Social Science (3 hours)
  • Fine Arts/Humanities (3 Hours)

3. Program Requirements (30-45 hours)

Supporting Courses (12 hours)

Course Title Credits
CHEM 111General Chemistry I (*)3
CHEM 111LGeneral Chemistry I Lab (*)1
CHEM 112General Chemistry II (*)3
CHEM 112LGeneral Chemistry II Lab (*)1
CHEM 333Organic Chemistry I (*)3
CHEM 331LEssentials of Organic Chemistry Laboratory I (*)1
Total Credit Hours12

Note: PHYS 201 and PHYS 202 are recommended in addition to the above required courses. 

Minor (18 hours) optional

Biological Sciences major may choose a minor consisting of at least 18 credit hours of prescribed courses. (Some minors in the sciences require a minimum of 16 hours.) The subject area of the minor may be related to the major. Students pursuing interdisciplinary minors who wish to use courses in their major department for minor credit must petition the College Committee on Scholastic Standards and Petitions for permission to do so.

The minor is intended to develop a coherent basic preparation in a second area of study. Interdisciplinary minors can be designed with the approval of the assistant dean for academic affairs and advising.

Courses applied toward general education requirements cannot be counted toward the minor. No course may satisfy both major and minor requirements. All minor courses must be passed with a grade of C or higher. At least half of the courses in the minor must be completed in residence at the University

A list of minor programs of study can be found at Programs A-Z.

Electives (0-33 hours)

120 (or 128) degree applicable credits are required to complete any degree at UofSC. After the cognate, minor or second major is complete, any additional credits needed to reach 120 (or 128) total credits can be fulfilled by electives. No courses of a remedial, developmental, skill-acquiring, or vocational nature may apply as credit toward degrees in the College of Arts and Sciences. The College of Arts and Sciences allows the use of the Pass-Fail option on elective courses. Further clarification on inapplicable courses can be obtained from the College of Arts and Sciences.

4. Major Requirements (28 hours)

A minimum grade of C is required in all major courses.

Major Courses (9 hours)

Course Title Credits
BIOL 301Ecology and Evolution3
BIOL 302Cell and Molecular Biology3
BIOL 303Fundamental Genetics3
Total Credit Hours9

Major Electives (19 hours)

Course Title Credits
Select one Physiology course from the following:3
Plant Form and Function (optional lab available) 1
Advanced Human Physiology (optional lab available)
Domestic Animal Nutrition
Comparative Physiology (optional lab available)
Plant Physiology 1
Select one Plant Biology course from the following:3
Survey of the Plant Kingdom (optional lab available)
Medicinal Botany
Plant Form and Function (optional lab available) 1
Plant Development (optional lab available)
Marine Plants
The Fall Flora
The Spring Flora
The Summer Flora
Plant Physiology 1
Plant Ecology (optional lab available)
Plant Responses to the Environment
13 hours of biological sciences majors courses 300 or higher13
Total Credit Hours19

BIOL 425 and BIOL 549 may only be used for either the Physiology or Plant credit, not both.

Note: At least three courses applied toward the major must have an associated laboratory. No more than three credits of 398/399 may be applied toward the major. Two of 301, 301, or 303 must be completed to advance to 400-600 level courses. At least twelve credits of major courses must be at the 400-699 level.

Major Map

A major map is a layout of required courses in a given program of study, including critical courses and suggested course sequences to ensure a clear path to graduation.

Major maps are only a suggested or recommended sequence of courses required in a program of study. Please contact your academic advisor for assistance in the application of specific coursework to a program of study and course selection and planning for upcoming semesters.

Biological Sciences, B.S.