University of South Carolina


Biological Sciences: What to Expect

The Biological Sciences program at the University of South Carolina is a strong program with outstanding faculty. In addition to the challenging standard curriculum, you will have the opportunity to be exposed to an unusually strong core of Marine Sciences while at the University. You will develop a broad base of skills in chemistry, plant and animal science, cellular and molecular biology, ecology, and evolution. You will experience lecture-style courses with supplemental laboratories to gain additional hands-on experience. You can also elect to get involved in field research and field classes.
The following courses fulfill some of the course requirements for a Bachelor of Science with a major in Biological Sciences:

  • General Chemistry I and II
  • Comprehensive Organic Chemistry Laboratory I and I
  • Essentials of Organic Chemistry Laboratory I and II
  • Elementary Statistics
  • General Physics I and II
  • Ecology and Evolution
  • Cell and Molecular Biology
  • Fundamental Genetics

A detailed list of degree requirements can be found in the Undergraduate Bulletin.

Enhancing your Experience

Study Abroad allows you to earn academic credits toward your USC degree while seeing the world! Overseas study can complement any academic program or major. You may also choose to intern, volunteer, or conduct research abroad. You are encouraged to visit the Study Abroad Web site for more information on opportunities to broaden and extend your knowledge and perspectives.
Student Organizations can be instrumental in helping you adjust to life on campus and network within your field. The University of South Carolina has a family of nearly 300 student organizations. As a Biological Sciences major, you can get involved with the Pre-Medical Honors Society and the Student Marine Science Undergraduate Organization. Getting involved in an organization that interests you can help you network, meet new friends, and develop leadership skills. You can also seek out volunteer opportunities that relate to your major. Find a student organization on campus that interests you!
Graduate School is one of many possibilities following graduation. Many Biological Sciences majors go on to pursue programs in medicine, dental surgery, veterinary medicine, and public health.   
Distinguished Faculty can help enhance your overall academic experience while at the University. The Biological Sciences Department boasts two AMOCO and Michael J. Mungo Undergraduate Teaching Award winners: Dr. Thomas Hilbish and Dr. Richard Showman.
Departmental Scholarships may be awarded to outstanding entering freshmen or current students. Each year the Department of Biological Sciences offers more than 15 scholarships to Biological Sciences students.

Internship and Research Opportunities

Internships can be an important asset to your overall educational experience. Internship experiences often help you confirm your career interests, give you hands-on experience in a professional setting, help build your resume, reinforce what you’ve learned in class and can often lead to full-time employment. Likewise, pursuing professional research opportunities as an undergraduate student can also help enrich your academic experience while at the University. As an undergraduate student, you can work closely with faculty research mentors and explore a discipline that interests you. Both internship and research opportunities help you build a competitive edge in the job market.

As a USC student you will have numerous resources at your disposal to assist you with locating internship and research opportunities. The USC Career Center is the central location at USC for assisting students with internship preparation and finding an internship. In addition, be sure to visit your academic department as many programs offer supplemental internship guidance specific to your major. The Office of Undergraduate Research assists all USC undergraduates by providing research and scholarly experiences in their chosen fields.

Biological science majors at the University have had a wide range of exciting and unique research opportunities. Students often participate in research with faculty members. A typical lab will have two or three undergraduates in their lab at any given time conducting research.

Career Opportunities

Graduates of the Biological Sciences program have a wide variety of career options. Graduates that do not go on to graduate school often pursue technician positions in the basic and biomedical sciences. Biological Sciences majors may also seek employment through private corporate opportunities, particularly in the area of environmental assessment and in corporate research labs.

You can find more information about career options in the US Department of Laborís Occupational Outlook Handbook.

The USC Career Center offers numerous resources which provide more information about career opportunities for students in this major. Once admitted, a Career Development Coach is available to help you assess your interest areas, make decisions about your career path, and identify the experiences and skills that will help you accomplish your goals. Spur Connections will help you locate mentors from among USC alumni, employers and community members who can provide insights based on their careers and experiences. Early planning and preparation are keys to success.

About the Department of Biological Sciences

The Department of Biological Sciences provides training for undergraduate and graduate students to be successful in careers in biology, medicine, and other allied health fields. The department has an extensive focus in marine biology and a strong commitment to undergraduate research. The Department of Biological Sciences is in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Points of Pride

  • The program is ranked in the top 10 in the Southeast and top 50 nationwide.
  • The marine science program, which a majority of the Biological Sciences students focusing on marine biology participate, is in the top 10 in the country and is supported by a large field station on the Atlantic in a pristine estuary system.

Additional Resources.
Biological Sciences Website
College of Arts and Sciences Website
University Career Center
Undergraduate Bulletin