Ecology and Biodiversity Major

Beginning with students in the class of 2019, Ecology and Biodiversity has become a track in the Biology major. Details here. This is an interdisciplinary major that integrates coursework in biology, ecology, and evolution with other environmental disciplines.

A total of eleven courses are required.

Six core courses are required:

  • Biol 133.  Introductory Cell and Molecular Biology
  • Biol 210.  Ecology  (Fall, recommended for sophomores and juniors)
  • Biol 211.  Biodiversity:  Pattern and Process  (Spring, recommended for sophomores and juniors)
  • EnSt 101.  Introduction to Environmental Studies
  • Biol 315.  Advanced Ecology and Biodiversity (Capstone for seniors)
  • Either EnSt 217.  Fundamentals of GIS  or Stat 204.  Elementary Statistics

Four other courses in Ecology or Biodiversity, at least one from each category:

Ecological and Evolutionary Processes

  • Biol 206.  Plant Ecology
  • Biol 213.  Evolutionary Biology
  • Biol 221.  Environmental Physiology of Plants
  • Biol 237.  Freshwater Biology
  • Biol 241.  Rainforests and Coral Reefs  plus  Biol 251.  Field Study in Belize
  • Biol 260.  Cave Biology
  • Biol 313.  Ecosystems and Global Change
  • Biol 350.  Environmental Physiology and Biochemistry of Animals
  • EnSt 240.  Island Ecology (counts as one course)


  • Biol 200.  Entomology
  • Biol 201.  Ornithology
  • Biol 202.  Invertebrate Zoology
  • Biol 215.  Fungi  plus Biol 216.  Algae and Bryophytes
  • Biol 255.  Herpetology
  • Biol 310.  Plant Evolution and Systematics

Human Dimensions

  • Biol 209.  Advanced Conservation Biology
  • Biol 222.  Advanced Conservation Biology
  • Biol 232.  Human Health and the Environment
  • Biol 235.  Freshwater Conservation

One course on the environment from a non-science perspective:

  • Anth 298.  Ecological Anthropology
  • Anth 316.  Archaeology of the Cumberland Plateau
  • Anth 350.  Environmental Archaeology
  • Anth 357.  Field School in Archaeology
  • Econ 335.  Environmental Economics
  • EnSt 217.  Fundamentals of GIS (if not taken as a core course)
  • EnSt 336.  Environmental Land-Use Policy
  • Engl 220.  Poetry, Nature, and Contemplation
  • Engl 396.  American Environmental Literature
  • Fors 270.  Water Resource Policy and Law
  • Phil 230.  Environmental Ethics
  • Pols 382.  International Environmental Policy
  • Psyc 215.  Behavior Modification for Sustainability
  • Relg 125.  Religion and Animals
  • Relg 307.  Religious Environmentalism
  • Relg 341.  Religion and Ecology
  • Relg 353.  Buddhism and the Environment
  • Relg 393.  Rural Religion
  • Rusn 363.  Environmentalism and Ecocide in Russian Literature and Culture
  • other non-science environmental courses by departmental approval

Recommended electives:

  • Chem 120.  General Chemistry
  • Geol 121.  Physical Geology
  • Stat 204.  Elementary Statistics (if not taken as a core course)

Study abroad is recommended from programs such as:

  • Organization for Tropical Studies (Costa Rica or South Africa)
  • School for International Training (from a variety of countries)
  • Sea Semester

Note that many graduate programs in ecology and biodiversity require one or more semesters of physical science (chemistry, geology, and/or physics)

Required for a B.S. (but not for a B.A.) in Ecology and Biodiversity:

Statistics, and three additional Math/Stat/science classes outside Biology, including at least two lab science classes.

Note: The major field is defined as all Biology classes listed above, Biol 130, EnSt 140, EnSt 200, EnSt 217, EnSt 240, EnSt 317, and EnSt 400. Study abroad courses count inside the major field if the majority of the work in the course concerns the scientific study of ecology and biodiversity; study abroad courses will count outside the major field if the majority of the work for the course concerns social science, humanities or other work outside the natural sciences.