Apr 20, 2019  
2018-2019 Scripps Catalog 
2018-2019 Scripps Catalog

Organismal Biology Major

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This major provides a research-and-field-oriented background for students interested in research careers in either physiology or ecology/evolution and their allied fields. For further information, consult with the organismal biology/ecology faculty, Professors McFarlane, Preest, or Thomson.

Requirements for the Major

A major in Organismal Biology requires a minimum of 15 courses plus senior thesis.




NOTE: Introductory biology, introductory chemistry, and introductory physics courses may be substituted by both semesters of the AISS course (AISS 001AL , AISS 001BL , AISS 002AL , AISS 002BL )



  • Six upper-division biology courses, including three with lab; at least one from each group AND at least three from Group 1 or Group 3. Other courses also may be appropriate to fulfill the group requirements, if approved in advance by the biology faculty.


One- or two-semester thesis: BIOL191 KS ; or BIOL188L KS  and BIOL190L KS , or BIOL189L KS  and BIOL190L KS .


Study Abroad and Global Education (SAGE) courses at an advanced level may substitute for courses in Groups 1, 2, and 3; approved summer research experience may substitute for Study Abroad and Global Education by prior arrangement.

Study Abroad is strongly recommended but not required.

Honors Requirements (All Tracks)

To be considered for departmental honors in one of the science majors, a student must:

  • Achieve a minimum grade point average of 11.0 (A-) in courses in the major.  
  • Achieve a minimum grade of A- on the thesis.
  • Complete a one- or two-semester thesis project in which the student has demonstrated excellence by making a significant contribution to the progress of the research and by producing a thesis document judged to be of honors quality by the department.
  • Present an oral progress report at the end of the first semester of a two-semester thesis and a poster at the conclusion of either a one- or two-semester thesis in which the student clearly explains the rationale for the project and the conclusions drawn, engages the listener, and knowledgeably answers questions.
  • Attend at least six scientific seminars during the semester (each semester for a two-semester thesis) and submit a brief and clear summary of each.

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