Rice University
BioSciences at Rice

Degrees Offered

The Department of BioSciences offers a broad range of introductory and advanced courses. Students may pursue a BA or BS in Biochemistry & Cell Biology or Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, a BA in Biological Sciences, or a Minor in Biochemistry & Cell Biology or Ecology & Evolutionary Biology. All five major degree paths will prepare students for graduate, medical, or other professional schools and a wide range of careers in the life sciences. In addition, qualified students may apply to the Biochemistry & Cell Biology BA-MA-PhD program track.

For a listing of the course requirements for each degree, undergraduates must refer to the current edition of the General Announcements (click here).

Programs of Study

BS and BA in Biochemistry & Cell Biology
Click this link to view the complete course requirements in the current version of the General Announcements.

These paths emphasize a broad understanding of cell biology and biochemistry, provide room for exploration anywhere in the Natural Sciences or Engineering, and culminate in one (BA) or two (BS) required 400-level capstone courses incorporating primary scientific literature, presentations, and writing. Students in Biochemistry & Cell Biology are strongly encouraged to pursue their research interests through independent research experiences. The BS offers greater coverage and depth while the BA offers greater flexibility with two fewer required courses as detailed below.

BS and BA in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
Click this link to view the complete course requirements in the current version of the General Announcements.

These paths are intended for students pursuing a wide range of careers in the life sciences. Students graduating from either degree path typically go on to graduate or professional school or enter the workforce with the BS as their terminal degree. Course work emphasizes a broad understanding of basic biology together with in-depth knowledge of ecology and evolutionary biology that culminates in a required capstone 400-level course incorporating primary scientific literature, presentations, and writing in an advanced topic. The BA degree is well suited for students with an additional major outside of the sciences. Students pursuing a BS in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology are required to conduct independent research under the supervision or co-supervision of an EEB faculty member (though the research can take place in other locations or institutions such as the Texas Medical Center or at field sites throughout the world). Students in both degree paths are strongly encouraged to take advantage of study abroad opportunities.

BA in Biological Sciences
Click this link to view the complete course requirements in the current version of the General Announcements.

This degree incorporates elements of the Ecology & Evolutionary Biology and the Biochemistry & Cell Biology degree programs.

Minor in Biochemistry & Cell Biology
Click this link to view the complete course requirements in the current version of the General Announcements.

The Minor in Biochemistry & Cell Biology is intended for those with an interest in the life sciences but who may be majoring in other areas. This minor incorporates many of the life science core courses required for the health professions.

Minor in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
Click this link to view the complete course requirements in the current version of the General Announcements.

The Ecology & Evolutionary Biology minor is intended for the numerous Rice students with an avid interest in ecology and evolutionary biology but whose major interests are in other departments.

BS and BA in Environmental Science
Click this link to view the complete course requirements in the current version of the General Announcements.

Minor in Environmental Studies
Click this link to view the complete course requirements in the current version of the General Announcements.

Environmental Science is an interdisciplinary program that addresses environmental issues in the context of what we know about earth, ecology, and society. In addition to its science core, the major also seeks to provide students with some appreciation of social, cultural, and policy dimensions of environmental issues.

BA in Neuroscience
Click this link to view a listing of degree requirements.

Neuroscience is the newest major at Rice University! The new B.A. will be highly multidisciplinary - while the foundational courses in the major will provide a strong background in many STEM disciplines, students will have the chance to specialize their study of the brain through the lens of biology, computer science, engineering, linguistics, philosophy, and sociology. Independent research opportunities will also be provided, allowing students to take advantage of working next to the largest medical center in the world.

Minor in Neuroscience
Click this link to view the complete course requirements in the current version of the General Announcements.

The neuroscience minor is an interdisciplinary program offered by the Department of Biosciences. Neuroscience uses very diverse methodologies to investigate the human mind and brain and the relation between them. Its subject ranges from the study of cognitive processes and representations via the empirical study of behavior, to investigations of the biochemical processes that occur in brain functions, and all of the interactions and correlations between brain, behavior, and biology that can be observed and/or modeled.

BA-MA-PhD Degree Track in Biochemistry & Cell Biology
Click this link to view the complete course requirements in the current version of the General Announcements.

Qualified Rice University undergraduate students can apply to enroll in the Biochemistry & Cell Biology BA-MA-PhD program track in the spring of their sophomore year. Course requirements for graduate studies are pursued at the same time as the upper-level undergraduate degree requirements. Laboratory research performed in 300, 400, and 800-level research courses is presented as the MA thesis in the summer following graduation and can serve as the initial phases of the PhD thesis work. As a result, the graduate careers of these students will be accelerated by an anticipated 1-2 years, and such students may be able to obtain their PhD degrees approximately 3 years after obtaining their BA and MA degrees.  Criteria for selection include academic performance (GPA ≥ 3.5), motivation, previous research experience, and personal qualities. Detailed information on this track may be found in the Graduate section of these General Announcements. Link to BA-MA-PhD Accelerated Track in Biochemistry & Cell Biology Advising Packet with Application