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Degree, Minors and Certificates Offered

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Undergraduate Programs

Requirements for Undergraduate Degrees from the Colleges of Arts and Sciences

Professional Programs



College of Natural Sciences
Edmondson 216
2538 McCarthy Mall
Honolulu, HI 96822
Tel: (808) 956-8303
Fax: (808) 956-4745
Email: biology@hawaii.edu
Undergraduate Advising Email: bioadvis@hawaii.edu
Web: manoa.hawaii.edu/biology/


*K. Cole, PhD (Chair)—ichthyology, behavioral ecology, reproductive biology, morphology and morphogenesis, microgravity biology
*J. H. Bailey-Brock, PhD—invertebrate zoology, reef ecology, Polychaetes
*K. M. Bennett, PhD—neuroscience and nephrology utilizing magnetic resonance imaging
*M. Butler, PhD—evolution ecology, adaptive radiation, functional morphology, biomechanics
*H. G. de Couet, PhD—molecular cell biology, development biology, evolution
*L. A. Freed, PhD—evolutionary and behavioral ecology, ornithology, conservation biology
*M. A. Hixon, PhD—marine ecology and conservation biology
*C. L. Hunter, PhD—conservation biology, coral reef ecology, biology and ecology of marine invertebrates
S. D. Kraft-Terry, PhD—academic advising and assessment
*P. B. J. Marko, PhD—biogeography, evolution and conservation
*A. L. Moran, PhD—marine ecology and evolution
*M. Porter, PhD—evolution and ecology of vision, crustacean phylogenetic
*F. A. Reed, PhD—population genetics
*A. D. Taylor, PhD—population, theoretical, and insect ecology
*R. Thomson, PhD—evolutionary biology and phylogenetics
*T. Tricas, PhD—marine animal behavior
*L. Watling, PhD—impacts of humans on benthic environments; crustacean biology
*C. Z. Womersley, PhD—environmental physiology, biochemical adaptation, parasitology
*A. N. Wright, PhD—population ecology, community ecology, conservation biology
*M. Yoshizawa, PhD—evolutionary developmental biology, neuroscience, quantitative genomics

Cooperating Graduate Faculty

G. Aeby, PhD—coral reef ecology
R. Alegado, PhD—bacterial pathogenesis, microbial evolution and ecology
M. Donahue, PhD—spatial population dynamics; marine community ecology; habitat selection, scaling of ecological processes
D. Duffy, PhD—conservation biology, sea birds
E. Franklin, PhD—marine ecology coral reefs, fish and fisheries, invasive species, restoration ecology
R. Gates, PhD—molecular biology, developmental genetics, cell biology, physiology and ecology of corals
E. G. Grau, PhD—comparative endocrinology, environmental physiology
D. K. Hartline, PhD—quantitative neurophysiology and simulation of simple networks
B. S. Holland, PhD—conservation biology of Native Hawaiian tree snails
K. N. Holland, PhD—physiology, behavior, ecology of aquatic organisms
P. J. Jokiel, PhD—coral reef biology, biogeography and ecology
K. Y. Kaneshiro, PhD—systematics, evolution, insect behavior
S. A. Karl, PhD—molecular ecology, systematics, and phylogeography of marine animals
M. O. Lammers, PhD—marine bioacoustics
P. Lenz, PhD—neuroecology of zooplankton sensory systems
P. E. Nachtigall, PhD—behavior and sensory processes of marine mammals
R. Richmond, PhD—invertebrate zoology, conservation biology
F. I. Thomas, PhD—marine ecology, biology of larvae
R. Toonen, PhD—molecular genetics of marine organisms

Affiliate Graduate Faculty

R. Allison, PhD—systematics, biogeography and ecology
C. Birkeland, PhD—conservation biology regarding coral
A. Friedlander, PhD—marine ecology, marine conservation biology
S. Miller, PhD—ecosystem and population conservation biology

Degrees Offered: Undergraduate Certificate in Mathematical Biology and Marine Option Program, BA (including minor) in biology, BS in biology, BS in marine biology, minor in zoology, MS in zoology, PhD in zoology

The Academic Program

The Department of Biology (BIOL) provides an academic home to students who wish to pursue a broad training in the biological sciences. It offers a BA degree and a BS degree in biology, a BS degree in marine biology, a minor in biology, an MS in zoology, and a PhD in zoology.

Biology is of fundamental importance in a science or liberal arts education, as it provides students with a keener insight into and a deeper appreciation of the many facets of living systems. Most students plan to use their training as preparation for professional work, such as aquaculture, biotechnology, biological research, dentistry, marine biology, medicine, optometry, park services, pharmacy, and teaching. Our graduates have an outstanding record of acceptance in advanced degree programs at dental, medical, pharmacy, and graduate schools. Many of our graduates also become teachers after obtaining a post-baccalaureate teaching certificate at the College of Education.

The biology curricula are designed to provide students with a strong background in the principles of biology and with rigorous upper division instruction in a number of basic areas. This combination of breadth and in-depth instruction allows students to develop the intellectual foundations and the skills necessary to deal with the specific biological concerns of today and the flexibility to meet the needs of the various professions. From this base, our graduates can pursue future specialization with confidence.


Undergraduate student advising is mandatory. Prospective majors should visit manoa.hawaii.edu/biology/advising or contact bioadvis@hawaii.edu to meet with an advisor to design a curriculum that satisfies program requirements.

Undergraduate Study

BA Degree in Biology

Requirements (C [not C-] grade minimum)

  • BIOL 171, 172, 265, 275, and 375 plus laboratories
  • 20 credit hours in approved courses, including at least 1 credit of laboratory, 3 credits in microbiology, and 3 credits from the approved list of physiology courses

Related Requirements (C [not C-] grade minimum)

  • CHEM 161, 162, 272 plus laboratories and 273
  • PHYS 151 and 152 or 170 and 272 plus laboratories
  • MATH 215 or 241 or 251A

For information on a Bachelor Degree Program Sheet, go to www.manoa.hawaii.edu/ovcaa/programsheets/.

BS Degree in Biology

Requirements (C [not C-] grade minimum)

  • BIOL 171, 172, 265, 275, and 375 plus laboratories
  • One course and laboratory from morphology/systematics
  • One course from the approved list of physiology courses
  • BIOC 441 or BIOL 402
  • 16 credit hours in approved courses, including one or more laboratory courses at the 300 level or above: no more than 6 credits of BIOL/ZOOL 499 can apply to this requirement
    – The above courses to include one or more courses at the 300 level or above from microbiology

Related Requirements (C [not C-] grade minimum)

  • CHEM 161, 162, 272 plus laboratories and 273
  • PHYS 151 and 152 or 170 and 272 plus laboratories
  • MATH 215 and 216 or 241 and 242 or 251A and 252A
  • ECON 321 or NREM 310 or SOCS 225 or MATH 243 or 304 or 373 or 472

For information on a Bachelor Degree Program Sheet, go to www.manoa.hawaii.edu/ovcaa/programsheets/.

BS Degree in Marine Biology

Requirements (major of 2.5 GPA or higher)

  • BIOL 171, 172, 265, 275, and 375 plus laboratories
  • OCN 201
  • BIOL 301 plus laboratory
  • BOT 480
  • ZOOL 475 plus laboratory
  • MICR 401 plus laboratory
  • 4 credits of directed research in approved disciplines or BIOL 403
  • BIOL 404
  • 9 credit hours in approved courses

Related Requirements (major of 2.5 GPA or higher)

  • CHEM 161, 162, and 272 plus laboratories
  • PHYS 151 and 152 or 170 and 272 plus laboratories
  • MATH 215 and 216 or 241 and 242 or 251A and 252A
  • ECON 321 or NREM 310 or SOCS 225 or MATH 373 or MATH 472

For information on a Bachelor Degree Program Sheet, go to www.manoa.hawaii.edu/ovcaa/programsheets/.

Minor in Biology

Requirements (C [not C-] grade minimum)

Students must complete BIOL 265/265L, 275/275L, and 375/375L; and a minimum of 3 credits from the following:

  • BIOL 301/301L, 331, 363, 390, 395, 401, 402, 407, 408/408L, 425, and 499
  • Approved upper level botany, biochemistry, microbiology, physiology, and zoology courses

Minor in Zoology

Please go to the Department of Zoology for more information on this degree.

Undergraduate Certificate in Mathematical Biology

The purpose of the certificate is to induce students to pursue the interdisciplinary study of biology and mathematics together with research. The course work will be similar to, but less than, that required to receive a minor in mathematics or biology. However, the students will also have to do a substantial amount of research in addition to the course work. The emphasis in the certificate is different, however, in that the majority of the work is interdisciplinary.

Students will be considered accepted into the Mathematical Biology Certificate Program upon formal request for acceptance and completion of either MATH 304 or 305 with a grade of C or better. To receive the certificate, students must complete 15 credits of approved course work with no grade below a C and attain a GPA of 2.5 in the collection of courses used to satisfy the certificate requirements. Due to the interdisciplinary nature of the certificate, 6 credits of required electives will differ depending on a student's major. Courses used towards the certificate can only be double-dipped with focus requirements.

Prerequisites to the Certificate

  • BIOL 171 (lab not required)
  • CHEM 161 or 171 (lab not required)
  • year of calculus (MATH 215/216, MATH 241/242, MATH 251A/252A
  • electives may have additional prerequisites

Requirements for the Certificate (15 credits)

  • required courses (9 credits): MATH 304, 305, MATH/BIOL 490 (capstone)
  • math majors (6 credits): BIOL 172, and 265 or 275 (lab not required)
  • life science majors (6 credits): two courses selected from MATH 243/253A, 301, 302, 303, 307, 311, 371, 373, 402, 403, 407, 414, 416, 471, 472
  • other majors: completion of above required courses, and at least 6 credits of electives approved by the Committee

Participation in an interdisciplinary Mathematical Biology research project is required. These projects must be substantial, requiring at least the effort of a 5 credit 400-level course; examples include a senior honors research project, summer Research Experiences for Undergraduate programs, and the Undergraduate Biology and Mathematics Research Program; students are advised to discuss their projects with an advisor from the Mathematical Biology Certificate Coordinating Committee before commencing. A research paper based on this research project must be submitted to and approved by the Committee. Students are expected to present their research to an approved symposium or conference.

Undergraduate Certificate in Marine Option Program

The Marine Option Program (MOP) is a unique opportunity for undergraduates with an interest in the ocean. It is open to students in all fields and provides a clearinghouse for marine-oriented experiential education as well as a chance for students with common interests to meet. MOP sponsors a wide variety of marine activities, including field trips, workshops, seminars, symposia, and noncredit courses.

A certificate is awarded to undergraduates who successfully complete at least 12 credit hours of marine-related courses (including OCN 201, ORE 202, ZOOL 200, or an equivalent survey course; one 3-credit interdisciplinary ocean course; 6 credit hours of marine electives). In addition, students must complete the MOP Seminar (IS 100/BIOL 104) followed by the MOP skill project. The unique MOP skill project (worth 3 or more credits, e.g. IS 400/BIOL 400) allows students to design and conduct a personal marine or aquatic project related to their educational goals. Past projects have run from scientific research to endeavors in the arts.

Students interested in MOP or in marine careers and curricula should visit the Marine Option Program offices in Dean Hall, room 105A; tel. (808) 956-8433; email manoamop@hawaii.edu; www.hawaii.edu/mop/; Facebook ID: uhm mop.

Graduate Study in Zoology

Please see the Department of Zoology for more information.

BIOL Courses