American University of Beirut

Department of Biology

Chairperson:Smith, Colin A.

Bariche, Michel J.; Baydoun, Elias H.; Gali-Muhtasib, Hala U.; Knio, Khouzama M.; Kreydiyyeh, Sawsan I.;

Osta, Mike A.; Saoud, Imad P.; Smith, Colin A.; Talhouk, Rabih S.

Associate Professors:Ghanem, Noel D.; Jaalouk, Diana E.; Kambris, Zakaria S.
Assistant Professors:Sadek, Riyad A.
Lecturers:Rizkallah, Hind D.; Sinno-Saoud, Nada
Instructors:Hajjar, Layane A.M.; Al-Zein, Mohammad S. 
Adjunct Faculty:Dohna, Heinrich; Parker, Bruce; Skinner, Margaret​

BS in Biology

Mission Statement

The BS program in Biology prepares students for advanced study and careers in research, education, and service in Biology-related disciplines. Students will acquire descriptive, experimental, quantitative, and conceptual abilities spanning molecular, cellular, organismal, and ecological levels. Lecture and laboratory courses will emphasize model systems, the role of evolution, diversity of living systems, hypothesis-based reasoning, and communication skills. Science, social science, and humanities coursework will foster creativity, free thought, interdisciplinary skills, and commitment to ethical scholarship.

Degree Requirements

All students admitted as sophomores are eligible to continue in the program provided they obtain, by the end of their third regular term at AUB, a minimum average of 2.3 C+ in their biology courses. Students seeking to be readmitted to the program after being dropped must meet transfer requirements. Students will be considered for transfer to Biology provided they obtain a minimum grade of B in BIOL 201 and B in BIOL 202 and a C+ or above in CHEM 201 and a 3.0 or above overall average. Meeting the minimum requirements for joining the biology department does not guarantee acceptance. Transfer to Biology from other departments within the university is competitive and requires departmental approval.

The requirements for a BS degree in Biology are 90 credits for students entering the department at the sophomore level. The distribution of these courses is as follows:

University General Education Requirements

The General Education requirements are Understanding Communication - English (6 credits), Understanding Communication - Arabic (3 credits), Cultures and Histories (9 credits), Human Values (3 credits), Societies and Individuals (6 credits), Understanding the World and Quantitative Reasoning (9 credits with at least 3 credits from each), and Community Engaged Learning (3 credits).

At least one of the courses from Cultures and Histories or Human Values should be from the History of Ideas: CHLA. At least one course from your degree requirements (except Understanding Communication) should cover the theme of Social Inequalities (3 credits).

Major Requirements

Students majoring in biology are required to complete 37 credits of Biology: BIOL 201, 202, 220, 223, two of the following four courses: BIOL 224, 252, 260, 270 (students are not allowed to register for two of those four courses during the same term unless they have an F or a W on their transcript for one of these courses from a previous term and students cannot register for two semi-required courses during the same semester; however, justified exceptions need chair’s approval), BIOL 293, and a minimum of 13 credits in biology elective courses, including at least one lab course. Additionally, BIOL 296 (a 0-credit exit survey) must be taken in the last term of study.

Students are also required to complete 15 credits of Understanding the World, CHEM 201, 210, 211, 212 and PHYS 204 with PHYS 204L, or PHYS 205 with PHYS 205L.

To earn a minor in Biology, students must pass 15 credits of biology. The courses are BIOL 201 (4 credits), BIOL 202 (4 credits), plus at least two courses (provided the prerequisites of these courses are satisfied) to complete the 15 credits required for the minor.

Unless otherwise stated, only senior undergraduate biology majors with an average of 3.3 or above can register in biology graduate courses with consent of the instructor.

Students from any field can minor in aquatic and environmental sciences by completing, in addition to BIOL 202 or BIOL 200, a total of 15 credits chosen from the following three lists:

  • List 1: BIOL 252, BIOL 250, BIOL 256
  • List 2: BIOL 266, BIOL 246, BIOL 267, BIOL 255
  • List 3: CHEM 202, PHIL 209, PSPA 288F, BIOL 240, BIOL 241, BIOL 245, BIOL 246, BIOL 250, BIOL 252, BIOL 254, BIOL 255, BIOL 256, BIOL 258, BIOL 259, BIOL 266, BIOL 267, BIOL 281

Land and Water Resources: AGSC 215, LDEM 230

Plant Sciences: AGSC 284, AGSC 295

Landscape: LDEM 211, LDEM 215

Ecosystem Management: LDEM 203

Environmental Health: ENHL 220

Civil Engineering: CIVE 350, CIVE 450

One course from each of lists 1 and 2 is required. All students should take at least three of the total required courses in a field outside their major field of study, and these courses should be from at least two different disciplines. Only one of the courses taken from lists 1 and 2 by biology majors minoring in environmental and aquatic studies is counted toward the major.

Course Descriptions

37 Credits in Biology

Modes of Analysis Understanding Communication - English and Arabic (9) Cultures and Histories (9), Human Values (3) Societies and Individuals (6) Understanding the World (37 + 15), Quantitative Reasoning (3) Community Engaged Learning
Lecture courses

Required Arabic course (3)

Required English courses: ENGL 203 (3), 204(3)

Required credits in the Cultures and Histories: 9 credits  including History of Ideas and 3 credits Human ValuesRequired (6)

Required biology (23): BIOL 201(4), 202(4), 223(4), 220(3), and two from the follow ing four courses: 224(4), 260(4), 270(4), 252(4)

Elective biology (12+1 lab): a total of 13 credits, including a minimum of one 4-credit course

Required chemistry (9): CHEM 201(3), 211(3), 212(3)

Required physics (3): PHYS 204 or PHYS 205

 Required: STAT 210 (3) or STAT 231 (3)

Required (3)
Seminar (1)   Required: BIOL 293(1) 




Required biology (5): BIOL 201(4), 202(4), 223(4), and two from the follow- ing four courses: BIOL 224(4), 252(4), 260(4), 270(4)

Elective biology (1)1­­­­­­­­: minimum of one 4-credit course

Required chemistry (2): CHEM 210(2)

Required physics (1): PHYS 204L(1) or 205L (1)


Research Project

(0, 2, or 3)

   Elective biology courses (2–3): BIOL 291(2 or 3) 
Exit Survey (0)   
Required: BIOL 296 (0) 

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