Suggested Electives

A student may wish to take additional electives in a major sub-discipline of biology. The purpose of this approach is to provide depth of experience and investigative skills within a single realm of biology, and provide foundations for graduate study or careers in the chosen field. Biology Research (Bio 395/ 495) should be included.

Examples of sub-disciplines include:

  • Molecular and Cellular Biology
  • Botany
  • Environmental Biology
  • Human Biology

Each of these areas are outlined below.

 1. Molecular and Cellular Biology

These courses will benefit students interested in a) graduate study in molecular, cellular, developmental, or related fields of biology, b) a career in biotechnology or related field, or c) health professions such as medicine or medical research. Recommended courses:

  • BIO-356 Molecular Biology *
  • BIO-360 Microbiology
  • BIO-365 Immunology
  • BIO-372 Developmental Biology
  • BIO-374 Animal Physiology* or  BIO-376 Neurophysiology*
  • CHE-412 Biochemistry

Courses marked with an * indicate those recommended to satisfy the Biology major if you are interested in a career in this area.

2. Human Biology

These courses will benefit students interested in a) graduate study in any field of basic or applied human biology, or b) health professions including medicine and related fields. Recommended courses:

  • BIO-328 Brain, Mind & Senses
  • BIO-339 Mammalogy*
  • BIO-350 Comparative Anatomy
  • BIO-354 Selected Topics in Human Anatomy
  • BIO-360 Microbiology*
  • BIO-362 Oncology & Virology
  • BIO-365 Immunology*
  • BIO-371 Endocrinology
  • BIO-372 Developmental Biology
  • BIO-374 Animal Physiology*

Courses marked with an * indicate those recommended to satisfy the Biology major if you are interested in a career in this area.

3. Botany

These courses will benefit students interested in graduate study in any field of basic or applied plant biology, or a career in field biology, botany or related field. Recommended courses:

  • BIO-375 Plant Physiology*
  • BIO-322 Field Botany
  • BIO-341 Tropical and Subtropical Ecology
  • BIO-345 Ecology*

Courses marked with an * indicate those recommended to satisfy the Biology major if you are interested in a career in this area.

4. Clinical Lab Science

The College of Idaho has a cooperative program with Idaho State University for a Bachelor’s degree in Clinical Lab Science. Information on the program and required courses can be found here in the The College of Idaho catalog.

Other clinical lab science programs are available, some at the Bachelor’s level and some at the Master’s level. See individual programs for pre-requisite programs.

5. Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics

These courses will benefit students interested in graduate study in any field of environmental science or ecology (such as wildlife biology, marine biology, etc.) or a career in environmental or resource management or related field.

Recommended courses:

  • BIO-306 Conservation Biology
  • BIO-318 Aquatic Ecology
  • BIO-319 Ichthyology
  • BIO-322 Field Botany
  • BIO-332 Evolution
  • BIO-339 Mammalogy
  • BIO-341 Tropical and Subtropical Ecology
  • BIO-344 Coral Reef Ecology
  • BIO-345 Ecology
  • BIO-349 Vertebrate Natural History
  • GOL-101 Physical Geology

6. Nursing

The College of Idaho has a cooperative program in Nursing with Idaho State University. The required courses and a description of the program can be found here in the The College of Idaho catalog.

The required courses for other nursing schools will be similar, but students should check with each individual program of interest. Be aware that there are some fast-track BSN programs as well as direct entry Master’s programs that do not require a BSN before entry.

7. Physical therapy

These schools often require the following courses (see Additional Preparations, below), but PT schools are not uniform in their requirements:

  • 1 year of physics
  • BIO 303-Human Anatomy and/ or BIO-304-Human Physiology
  • MAT-133 Introduction to Computers
  • MAT-112 Introduction to Statistics
  • PSY-100 General Psychology
  • PSY-404 Abnormal Psychology
  • CHE-141/142 General Chemistry

8. Medicine, Dentistry, and Veterinary Medicine

These schools typically require:

  • at least 1.5 years of biology with lab (must include BIO-330 Cell Biology)
  • 2 years of chemistry (including 1 year of Organic Chemistry (CHE 301/302)) with lab
  • 1 semester of biochemistry
  • 1 year of physics with lab (preferably calculus-based Phys 271/272)
  • college math, including some calculus (1 year)
  • college English (1 year of either literature, composition, or both)

Premedical students may take virtually any major. However, most premedical students major in biological sciences or chemistry because of the heavy emphasis on sciences in the premed curriculum. Exceptional students may major in a non-science field and take the equivalent of a minor in biology, chemistry, or other science.

While achieving high grades and test scores is important, there is no single best way to get in to medical school. The key to a successful application is to become distinctive and well-rounded. Some important activities outside of the classroom include: participation in a research project (not necessarily biomedical), community service, experience in a clinical or hospital setting (can be shadowing or paid employment), and any leadership activities.