Major Requirements

About the Major

From field courses to cutting-edge research opportunities, learning goes well beyond the laboratory to apply and further the unifying principles of biology and learn about our world's complex and dynamic living sphere. The Department of Biology offers a Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology, Bachelor of Science degree in Biology, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (BMB).

The department is recognized as providing a quality liberal education that leads to outstanding opportunities in graduate school, industry, education, and the health professions. Students learn the principles of diverse sub-disciplines in biology, develop basic skills in critical thinking, communication, and computer use, and acquire the ability to explore questions by means of laboratory, field and library research. The links below provide additional information on Biology major and general education requirements.

About the Minor

The department also offers minors in Biology and Environmental Biology. Students minoring in Biology must take at least 17 semester hours, including Introduction to Biology I and Introduction to Biology II. At least seven hours must be in courses numbered 300 or above. Only one non-laboratory course can count in the minor.

Students minoring in Environmental Biology must take at least 21 semester hours, including introduction to Biology I, General Chemistry I, and Introduction to Environmental Science. A Mercer on Mission experience at the 300 level or higher is also required.

Secondary Teacher Certification Program

Teacher certification in Biology for grades 6-12 is available to biology majors. Students planning to teach biology in secondary schools should notify their advisor and contact the secondary education advisor in Tift College of Education.

Departmental Honors

A biology major may earn departmental honors by fulfilling the following requirements:

  • Apply to the department for appointment of an honors advisor at the end of the semester in which she or he accumulates 75 hours of credit, including 21 hours in biology;
  • Graduate with a B.S. or B.A. in biology with a grade point average of at least 3.50 in biology and 3.25 overall;
  • In consultation with the honors advisor: 
  • a) devise and carry out a field or laboratory research project, or 
  • b) produce a museum-quality biology exhibit;
  • Prepare a paper describing the honors project using an acceptable biological journal format;
  • Present a seminar to students and faculty in the Department, describing the honors project; and
  • Receive departmental approval upon completion of the project


Mercer hosts a chapter of Beta Beta Beta, the prestigious National Biological Honors Society. The Mercer Chapter, Beta Omega, was founded in 1954. Members of Beta Omega serve their department, college, and community through a variety of activities including science demonstrations at elementary schools, hosting of seminar speakers, and sponsoring field trips.


There is also a chapter of Alpha Epsilon Delta, the national health preprofessional honor society. Which is dedicated to the encouragement and recognition of excellence in preprofessional health scholarship. The Society offers opportunities for intellectual and professional development, provides a forum for students with common interests and extends a program of service to benefit the college/university community


The Biology Department offers two awards to outstanding biology students:

  • The T.P. Haines Award was established in honor of T.P. Haines, a former professor and chair of the department, and is granted annually to a Biology student who has demonstrated both academic excellence and service to the department.
  • The Graydon L. Ware Award was established in honor of Graydon "Fess" Ware, a longtime professor in the department, and is granted annually to both a rising junior and a rising senior who are pursuing the Biology major, in recognition of academic excellence, campus activity, and community service.

Outreach & Engaged Learning

Mercer biology students have multiple opportunities to participate in scientific research and study abroad courses. Course credit is available for research projects in diverse areas ranging from molecular biology to ecology. During the summer many Biology majors have participated in rewarding summer research opportunities in the department or at internships at the Mercer School of Medicine, as well as other reputable institutions around the country. Students have opportunities to share and apply their studies in the community by volunteering with Upward Bound high school students, bringing science to elementary students at a Title I school and tree-planting in local neighborhoods. Engaged learning projects have worked directly with cancer. Mercer On Mission allows global application with previous missions to Belize and Trinidad which included projects such as studying leatherback turtles and enhancing science education in primary schools, or working hands-on to reduce Mercury exposure to gold miners in Mozambique, Africa.