BS Biological Sciences (Biology and Society)




Program Description

The BS program in biological sciences with a concentration in biology and society focuses on training biology students to understand the social context of their science, to ask how and why a biological problem has been and should be studied. Students explore the ways in which policy decisions shape and are shaped by biological research and they investigate the meaning and significance of the life sciences in understanding our complex world.

The biology and society curriculum is highly individualized. This unique degree is home to world-class researchers and teachers in diverse fields, including bioscience ethics, history and philosophy of science, science communication, science education and science policy, all brought together under one program. Students have the opportunity to work with many renowned scholars in independent study and research projects.

All Life Science degrees can be used to enter medical school. To find out more about pre-med facts visit our pre-med FAQ page

Possible masters programs with links to descriptions are listed below. If you are interested in the requirements and how to apply please visit our accelerated degree program page.

Due to the high volume of overlap in curriculum, students enrolled in a Bachelor of Science degree in the School of Life Sciences may be restricted from declaring a concurrent degree within the school. Students should speak with their academic advisor for any further questions.


Required Courses (Major Map)

Major Map

Online Major Map

Major Map on-campus archive

What if: See how your courses can be applied to another major and find out how to change your major.


At a Glance: program details

  • Location: Tempe campus, or online
  • Additional Program Fee: Yes
  • Second Language Requirement: No
  • First Required Math Course: MAT 251 - Calculus for Life Sciences
  • Math Intensity: Moderate program math intensity moderate


Degree details for on-campus students

Major core for on-campus participants

Note: Once you start a General BIO sequence, you must complete the full sequence (BIO 181 & 182 OR BIO 281 & 282)

  • BIO 181 General Biology I (4) or BIO 281 Conceptual Approaches to Biology for Majors I (4)
  • BIO 182 General Biology II (4) or BIO 282 Conceptual Approaches to Biology for Majors II (4)
  • BIO 340 General Genetics (4) 
  • BIO 345 Evolution (3)

Major concentration courses for on-campus students

  • BIO 311/HPS 340 Biology and Society (3) (Fall only)
  • BIO 314 Research Colloquium in Biology & Society I (2) (Spring only)
  • BIO 414 Research Colloquium in Biology & Society II (1) (Spring only)
  • BIO/HPS/MIC/MBB 495 Undergraduate Research or BIO/HPS/MIC/MBB 484 Internship or BIO/MIC/MBB 492 Honors Directed Study (3)

Research is recommended to be taken in the fall semester between BIO 314 and BIO 414. Please consult with an advisor to discuss how to obtain research/internship opportunities.

Additional major core electives (complete one)

  • BIO 302 Cancer - Mother of All Diseases (3)
  • BIO 304/ENV 302 Plants and Civilization (3)
  • BIO 312/PHI 320 Bioethics (3)
  • BIO 316/HPS 330 History of Biology: Conflicts and Controversies (3)
  • BIO 317/HPS 322 History of Science (3)
  • BIO 318/HPS 331 History of Medicine (3)
  • BIO 322 Conservation of Biodiversity (3)
  • BIO 324/PHI 310 Environmental Ethics (3)
  • BIO 412 Conservation in Practice (3)
  • BIO 416/HPS 410 Biomedical Research Ethics (3)
  • HPS/PHI 314 Philosophy of Science (3)
  • MIC/SSH 314 HIV/AIDS: Science, Behavior & Society (3)
Science in contemporary society interface (complete one)
  • AFR 383 Blacks in Science, Medicine and Public Health (3)
  • ASB 353 Death and Dying in Cross-Cultural Perspective (3)
  • BIO 302 Cancer - Mother of All Diseases (3)
  • BIO 304/ENV 302 Plants and Civilization (3)
  • BIO 317/HPS 322 History of Science (3)
  • BIO 322 Conservation of Biodiversity (3)
  • BIO 412 Conservation in Practice (3)
  • MIC/SSH 314 HIV/AIDS: Science, Behavior & Society (3)
  • WST 360 Women as Healers (3)
Ethics interface (complete one)
  • BIO 312/PHI 320 Bioethics (3)
  • BIO 324/PHI 310 Environmental Ethics (3)
  • BIO 416/HPS 410 Biomedical Research Ethics (3)
History and philosophy of science interface (complete one)
  • ASB 357 Society, Drugs and Health (3)
  • BIO 316/HPS 330 History of Biology: Conflicts and Controversies (3)
  • BIO 317/HPS 322 History of Science (3)
  • BIO 318/HPS 331 History of Medicine (3)
  • HPS/PHI 314 Philosophy of Science (3)
  • HPS 336 Exploration and Science (3)
Major biological sciences electives

Any SOLS upper division coursework (300 and 400 level BIO/HPS/MIC/MBB) will count in this area, including BCH 361, that has not already been used in the major area.

Requirements in related fields

General chemistry (complete both)
  • CHM 113 General Chemistry I (4)
  • CHM 116 General Chemistry II (4)
Math (complete one)
  • MAT 251 Calculus for Life Sciences (3)
  • MAT 210 Brief Calculus (3)
Statistics (complete one)
  • STP 231 Statistics for Biosciences (3) 
  • STP 226 Elementary Statistics (3)

For more information on requirements and recommendations specific to this degree please see our Did you know for on-campus degrees page.

Degree details for online students

Major core for online students

  • BIO 181 General Biology I (4) 
  • BIO 182 General Biology II (4) 
  • BIO 340 General Genetics (4) 
  • BIO 345 Evolution (3)

Major concentration courses for online students

  • BIO 311/HPS 340  Biology and Society (3) (Fall only)
  • BIO 314 Research Colloquium in Biology & Society I (2) (Spring only)
  • BIO 414 Research Colloquium in Biology & Society II (1) (Spring only)
  • BIO 495 Undergraduate Research or BIO 484 Internship  

Research is recommended to be taken in the fall semester between BIO 314 and BIO 414. Please consult with an advisor to discuss how to obtain research/internship opportunities.

Additional online major core electives (complete one)

  • BIO 302 Cancer - Mother of All Diseases (3)
  • BIO 304/ENV 302 Plants and Civilization (3)
  • BIO 312/PHI 320 Bioethics (3)
  • BIO 316/HPS 330 History of Biology: Conflicts and Controversies (3)
  • BIO 317/HPS 323 History of Science (3)
  • BIO 318/HPS 331 History of Medicine (3)
  • BIO 322 Conservation of Biodiversity (3)
  • BIO 324/PHI 310 Environmental Ethics (3)
  • BIO 412 Conservation in Practice (3)
  • BIO 416 Biomedical Research Ethics (3)
  • PHI 314 Philosophy of Science (3)
  • MIC/SSH 314 HIV/AIDS: Science, Behavior & Society (3)

Science in contemporary society interface online (complete one)

  • AFR 383 Blacks in Science, Medicine and Public Health (3)
  • ASB 353 Death and Dying in Cross-Cultural Perspective (3)
  • BIO 302 Cancer - Mother of All Diseases (3)
  • BIO 304/ENV 302 Plants and Civilization (3)
  • BIO 317/HPS 323 History of Science (3)
  • BIO 322 Conservation of Biodiversity (3)
  • BIO 412 Conservation in Practice (3)
  • MIC/SSH 314 HIV/AIDS: Science, Behavior & Society (3)
  • WST 360 Women as Healers (3)

Ethics interface online (complete one)

  • BIO 312/PHI 320 Bioethics (3)
  • BIO 324/PHI 310 Environmental Ethics (3)
  • BIO 416 Biomedical Research Ethics (3)

History and philosophy of science interface online (complete one)

  • ASB 357 Society, Drugs and Health (3)
  • BIO 316/HPS 330 History of Biology: Conflicts and Controversies (3)
  • BIO 317/HPS 323 History of Science (3)
  • BIO 318/HPS 331 History of Medicine (3)
  • PHI 314 Philosophy of Science (3)
  • HPS 336 Exploration and Science (3)

Major biological sciences online electives

Any SOLS upper division coursework (300 and 400 level BIO/HPS/MIC/MBB) will count in this area, including BCH 361, that has not already been used in the major area.

Requirements in related fields

General chemistry  (take both)
  • CHM 113 General Chemistry I (4)
  • CHM 116 General Chemistry II (4)
Math proficiency (complete one)
  • MAT 251 Calculus for Life Sciences (3)
  • MAT 210 Brief Calculus (3)
Statistics (complete one)
  • STP 231 Statistics for Biosciences (3) 
  • STP 226 Elementary Statistics (3)

For more information or to review recommendations from advising visit our advising recommendations page



Admission Requirements

All students are required to meet general university admission requirements.

Freshman Transfer International Readmission

Transfer Options

ASU is committed to helping students thrive by offering tools that allow personalization of the transfer path to ASU. Students may use the Transfer Map search to outline a list of recommended courses to take prior to transfer.

ASU has transfer partnerships in Arizona and across the country to create a simplified transfer experience for students. These pathway programs include exclusive benefits, tools and resources, and help students save time and money in their college journey. Students may learn more about these programs by visiting the admission site: https://admission.asu.edu/transfer/pathway-programs.



Change of Major Requirements

A current ASU student has no additional requirements for changing majors.

Students should refer to https://changingmajors.asu.edu for information about how to change a major to this program.



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Career Outlook

Biology and society students gain the historical, philosophical, political and ethical perspectives needed to explore interactions between the life sciences and related, complex human issues. As a result, the program contributes to better informed and more effective teachers, writers, policymakers, clinicians and researchers in areas related to biology, medicine and society.

As a result of the individualized, skill-based curriculum, biology and society graduates are eligible for a broad range of career options. Most have chosen to pursue professional degrees in medicine, law, public health or public policy, or to pursue graduate study in biology, ethics, education or history and philosophy of science. Graduates enter the workforce, whether in academia, industry, government or clinical practice, with a deep sensitivity to the complexity of biology in society and the skill to navigate that complexity throughout their careers.

Example Careers

Students who complete this degree program may be prepared for the following careers. Advanced degrees or certifications may be required for academic or clinical positions. Career examples include but are not limited to:

Bioinformatics Scientist


  • Growth: 2.2%
  • Median Salary*: $85,290

Biological Sciences Professor


  • Growth: 9.3%
  • Median Salary*: $85,600
  Bright Outlook

Community Health Worker


  • Growth: 15.2%
  • Median Salary*: $42,000
  Bright Outlook

Environmental Protection Specialist


  • Growth: 7.8%
  • Median Salary*: $73,230
Green Occupation   Bright Outlook

High School Teacher


  • Growth: 3.8%
  • Median Salary*: $62,870

Lawyer


  • Growth: 4.0%
  • Median Salary*: $126,930

Life Scientist


  • Growth: 4.6%
  • Median Salary*: $82,000
  Bright Outlook

Medical Scientist


  • Growth: 6.1%
  • Median Salary*: $91,510
  Bright Outlook

Medical and Health Services Manager


  • Growth: 31.5%
  • Median Salary*: $104,280
  Bright Outlook

* Data obtained from the Occupational Information Network (O*NET) under sponsorship of the U.S. Department of Labor/Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA).



Global Opportunities

Global Experience

With over 250 programs in more than 65 countries (ranging from one week to one year), study abroad is possible for all ASU students wishing to gain global skills and knowledge in preparation for a 21st-century career. Students earn ASU credit for completed courses, while staying on track for graduation, and may apply financial aid and scholarships toward program costs. https://mystudyabroad.asu.edu



Attend Online

ASU offers this program in an online format with multiple enrollment sessions throughout the year. Applicants may view the program description and request more information here.



Program Contact Information

If you have questions related to admission, please click here to request information and an admission specialist will reach out to you directly.