Biology, Society & Environment

Interested in declaring a biology, society, & environment (BSE) major? Check out the BSE advising page for details on how to prepare for a declaration meeting with the BSE advisor.

The Department of Geography, Environment & Society offers a BA in biology, society & environment (BSE). As a BSE student, you will go a step beyond the typical biology major's education. In addition to comprehensive training in biology, you will examine the relevance of the biological sciences to social, environmental, or health-related problems. Students take basic and advanced coursework in the biological sciences, supported by physical science and mathematics, and they also take advanced courses in philosophy, sociology, geography, history, and more. You are encouraged to customize your major with an area of specialization or thematic focus. For example, specialize in human biology, plant biology and ecology, history of the biological or medical sciences or combine your specialization with a thematic focus like ethics in health care, health policy, global environmental solutions, science and social change, and science and culture. Many of our students have also completed complementary major/minor programs. This rigorous yet flexible major prepares students for many careers, as well as for health-professional programs (DDS, MD, PA, Pharm-D, OD, etc.) and graduate study in many areas, including law, public health and demography, or masters and PhD programs in the biological sciences and social sciences. 

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Interest Areas

Choose a scientific and thematic focus, or iteratively create your own pathway through the major as your interests evolve. We encourage you to consult with faculty, BSE advisors, and your CLA advisor when choosing elective courses to ensure that you develop the disciplinary and topical expertise necessary for your future plans.

We have outlined sample plans with required and recommended courses for sample BSE interest areas. These plans meet major and liberal education requirements, but you should tailor them to your individual goals and interests. A student does not need to complete all of the sample plan courses to earn a BSE degree, and a sample plan may not meet the prerequisites for a specific graduate or professional program. Referring to the University Catalog and speaking with advisors is the only way to guarantee you are on track for your unique academic and career goals.

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