2021-2022 Pitzer Catalog 
    Nov 28, 2022  
2021-2022 Pitzer Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Biology Major

Requirements for the Major

Learning Outcomes of the Program in Biology

We see the following specific student learning goals as critical to achieving the above:

  • Understand the foundational scientific principles and findings in the student’s major field of biology.
  • Develop critical thinking and analytical skills by developing specific hypotheses and designing controlled experiments to test those hypotheses.
  • Read, understand and critique original research articles.

Required Courses*‡


  1. Biology Foundation courses:


  1. Three STEM Breadth courses, selected from the list below.  Breadth courses may not be double-counted as Foundation or Elective courses.  Courses should be selected in consultation with a Keck Science advisor. Note that some courses in this list may be required pre-requisites for some upper division biology courses.
  • Up to two courses in Organic Chemistry (CHEM 116L KS  , CHEM 117L KS  )
  • Up to two courses in General Physics (PHYS 030L KS  , PHYS 031L KS   or PHYS 033L KS  , PHYS 034L KS  )
  • One introductory course in computer programming (BIOL 099 KS, CS 051 CM, MATH 042 SC, CS 005G HM, or equivalent).
  • One math course for which MATH 030 or higher is listed as a prerequisite
  • One upper division Environmental Science course taught by the Keck Science Dept. (e.g., EA100KS, EA103KS, EA104KS)
  • One course in the history, philosophy, or ethics of science (e.g. HIST 082 HM, PHIL 103 PZ, PHIL 038 PO)


  1. Six‡† Biology Elective courses, numbered 100 or higher, including at least three laboratory courses (indicated by the “L” subscript).  Elective courses may not be double counted as foundation or breadth courses.


  1. Senior Thesis in Biology, complete one of the following options.  Students must register their thesis plans with the Keck Science Department during the spring semester of their penultimate year.


‡ Note: Dual majors/minors in Biology need only 4 Biology Elective Courses (at least two with lab)

* Note: Students wishing to continue their education in biology-related graduate or professional school programs may need to supplement this basic curriculum with additional course work in science. Department faculty should be consulted for advice at the earliest possible opportunity.