College of Liberal Arts & Sciences Advising - Zulauf Hall 201 - 815-753-0114

A 2 + 2 Plan Leading to a Bachelor of Science
Degree in Biological Sciences


All degree requirements are subject to the provisions and notices in the Undergraduate Catalog. Information is valid through August 2015.


B.S. Degree in Biological Sciences

Biology is a diverse and rapidly expanding field of study that addresses issues relevant to health, agriculture, industry, and the environment. Biologists are responsible for new discoveries in medicine and molecular biology, increasing crop yields and pest resistance, defining the ecological relationships that maintain our planet, and examining the origins and evolution of species, to name but a few. As the scope and pace of biological discoveries increase, so do the career opportunities for students in this exciting and rewarding field of study.

Biology at NIU

The Department of Biological Sciences at Northern Illinois University offers a comprehensive program leading to B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees. There are 24 faculty members, 48 graduate students, and approximately 650 undergraduate majors. The departmental undergraduate curriculum prepares students for employment in government, education, and industry; for graduate study in a biological discipline; and for entrance into professional schools such as medicine, dentistry, optometry, podiatry, veterinary medicine, and pharmacy. With additional course work and student teaching, students may also become certified to teach biology and general science at the middle school and high school levels.


The areas of faculty specialization within the department represent the diversity of the field of biology and include cell biology, anatomy and physiology, ecology and evolution, microbiology, molecular biology, bioformatics and plant sciences. Faculty members and their students have a distinguished publication record and successfully compete for national funding to support their research programs. In addition, faculty members are dedicated to quality undergraduate instruction, teach all undergraduate biology courses, and encourage student involvement in research, seminars, and directed study.


The department is housed in Montgomery Hall with over 36 research labs, 10 teaching labs, live animal quarters, greenhouses, herbarium collections, three computer laboratories, a research micoroscopy facility, a DNA sequencing facility, and a graphic arts studio. The department is also associated with the Plant Molecular Biology Center, has access to four natural areas for ecological instruction and research, and maintains collaborative efforts with Argonne National Laboratory, Fermi National Laboratory, Field Museum of Natural History, Morton Arboretum, Brookfield Zoo, regional medical schools and John G. Shedd Aquarium.

The 2 + 2 Plan for Community College Students

The goal of this brochure is to outline a plan of study for community college students that will lead to a B.S. degree in biological sciences from NIU. To meet this goal, students should take specific courses as they pursue their associate's degree. A broad knowledge of chemistry, physics, and mathematics is required to prosper in modern biological programs and professions. Successful completion of courses in these areas is also a prerequisite to virtually all upper-level biology classes to be taken during years three and four at NIU. Therefore, it is imperative that students attempt to fulfill program requirements in math, chemistry, and physics during their first two years of study. Students should work closely with their community college counselor, and with faculty advisers at NIU after matriculation, to outline a personalized and efficient sequence of courses.

Students should consult the Articulation Tables to determine what specific courses at their community college fulfill NIU requirements.

Suggested Semester Plans

The outline presented below represents the most efficient course sequence for a student who wishes to graduate from NIU at the end of four years. The 2 + 2 plan assumes that the student has received an associate's degree from an Illinois community college.

First Year (Community College)

Include the following in your course of study:

  • MATH 110 and MATH 155 (Trigonometry and Elementary Functions)
  • One year of college chemistry: CHEM 210 and CHEM 211, CHEM 212, and CHEM 213
  • ENGL 103 and ENGL 104

Second Year (Community College)

Include the following in your course of study:

  • BIOS 208 plus BIOS 209 (Fundamentals of Biology I and II) plus the labs BIOS 210 and 211
  • MATH 211 and STAT 301 (Elementary Statistics)


  • MATH 229 and MATH 230 (Calculus I and II)
  • One year of college physics: PHYS 210 and PHYS 211
  • COMS 100 (Oral Communication)

Third and Fourth Years at NIU

  • BIOS 308 (Genetics)
  • One year of General Organic Chemistry: CHEM 330 and CHEM 331
  • Biology electives at the 300/400 level (32 hours)
  • Undergraduate research projects
  • Minor course of study
  • BIOS 494 (Biol. Comp)

The biology electives can be chosen from over 60 upper-level courses offered by the department. The breadth of course offerings permits the student to select a track of study in one of the areas of ecological/conservation biology, biomedical science, molecular biotechnology, microbiology, and biology teacher certification. In addition, students are encouraged to perform research apprenticeships in faculty laboratories where they can learn state-of-the-art research techniques in their chosen area.

Minimum 120 total; 40 300-400 level

The university attempts to meet the course requests of students; however, courses may be limited by financial, space, or staffing considerations. This brochure may not be construed to promise or guarantee the completion of an academic program within a specified period of time.


For More Information

For more information on biology programs at NIU, write to:

Director of Undergraduate Studies
Department of Biological Sciences
Northern Illinois University
DeKalb, Illinois 60115-­2861

Visit our home page at This site provides information on the faculty and department as well as complete information on the undergraduate biology program and the NIU Undergraduate Catalog.


For a current NIU Undergraduate Catalog and application materials, contact:

Office of Admissions
Northern Illinois University
DeKalb, Illinois 60115-­2857
(800) 892-­3050 (toll-free in Illinois)
or (815) 753-­0446


Northern Illinois University is an equal opportunity/affirmative action institution and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age, marital status, national origin, disability, status based on the Victims' Economic Security and Safety Act (VESSA), or status as a disabled or Vietnam-era veteran. Further, the Constitution and Bylaws of Northern Illinois University provides for equal treatment regardless of political views or affiliation, and sexual orientation.