William and Mary

Courses for Non-Majors

Knowledge of biological processes is an excellent foundation for many interests and careers. Students who want to explore - but not major in - biology can choose from a variety of courses that satisfy the general education requirement for life sciences (GER2).

For students with a strong high school background in science, we recommend Biology 220 (Introduction to Organisms, Ecology, Evolution) and the associated 221 lab course (biology from an organismal perspective) as a good choice. Biology 225/226 (Introduction to Molecules, Cells, Development/Lab) - also fulfills the GER requirements; but requires Biology 220/221 as a prerequisite.  Importantly, these courses serve as core prerequisites for other biology courses and are appropriate for students interested in science and health-related careers. 

For students who are not especially science-oriented, the department offers courses specifically designed for non-majors (designated as 100-level courses in the Undergraduate Course Catalog).  Nonmajors courses are designed to introduce students to science in a context that we hope will stimulate both a lifelong interest in science and a deep understanding of how science can be interpreted and used wisely. These courses include Plants, People, and Agriculture (Bio 105); Disease, Biomedicine, and Biomedical Research (Bio 106); Introduction to Ecology and Environmental Science (Bio 108); and Insects and Society (Bio 110). Some of these have associated laboratory offerings; others do not. Not all are offered in each year, so check the course catalog for offerings.