Biological Sciences, BSGS


The bachelor's degree requirements are 45 units total and include distribution, writing, and elective courses, and the major requirements.

Biological Sciences Major Requirements

Course Title
BIOL_SCI 201-CNMolecular Biology
BIOL_SCI 202-CNCell Biology 1
BIOL_SCI 203-CNGenetics and Evolution
BIOL_SCI 232-CNMolecular and Cellular Processes Laboratory
BIOL_SCI 233-CNGenetics and Molecular Processes Laboratory
BIOL_SCI 234-CNInvestigative Laboratory
BIOL_SCI 308-CNBiochemistry 2
BIOL_SCI 342-CNEvolutionary Processes
CHEM 110-CNQuantitative Problem Solving in Chemistry
Fundamentals of Chemistry I
and Fundamentals of Chemistry Laboratory I
Fundamentals of Chemistry II
and Fundamentals of Chemistry Laboratory II
CHEM 215-A
CHEM 235-A
Organic Chemistry I
and Organic Chemistry Lab I
CHEM 215-B
CHEM 235-B
Organic Chemistry II
and Organic Chemistry Lab II
MATH 220-ASingle-Variable Differential Calculus 3
MATH 220-BSingle-Variable Integral Calculus 4
College Physics I
and Physics Laboratory I
College Physics II
and Physics Laboratory II
College Physics III
and Physics Laboratory III
STAT 202-CNIntroduction to Statistics and Data Science
Plus four courses selected from the following:
Fundamentals of Neurobiology
The Evolutionary Biology of Human Anatomy, Health and Disease
Human Anatomy
Advanced Cell Biology
Human Structure and Function
Advanced Human Physiology
Biology of Aging
300-level biological anthropology course 5

 Formerly BIOL_SCI 216-CN Cell Biology or BIOL_SCI 219-CN Cell Biology


 Formerly BIOL_SCI 218-CN Biochemistry


As of Fall 2019; formerly MATH 220-CN


As of Fall 2019; formerly MATH 224-CN


A maximum of one anthropology course can be applied toward this requirement


Degree Requirements

SPS programs lead to one of three Northwestern University bachelor’s degrees: the bachelor of philosophy (BPhil), the bachelor of science in general studies (BSGS), and the bachelor of philosophy in communication (BPhilCom), which is conferred by the School of Communication.

The bachelor of philosophy (BPhil) and the bachelor of science in general studies (BSGS) degrees are conferred by the Judd A. and Marjorie Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences. The primary difference between the two degrees is that the BPhil includes a language requirement. Some majors offer a choice of the BPhil or the BSGS degree.

Bachelor of Science in General Studies

To earn the BSGS degree, students must complete 45 units, including a writing requirement, distribution requirements, a major, and electives. Minors are optional.

Courses Units Earned
English 111 or 205 and 113 2
Humanities 4
Science 4
Social Sciences 4
Major Requirements 10-20
Electives Up to 21
Total 45

About the Writing Requirement

The writing requirement ensures that students have the skills necessary to meet the rigorous writing demands of subsequent SPS courses in all majors and disciplines. The expository writing courses provide the tools to meet the demands of advanced academic writing; the courses may not be audited or taken on a pass/no credit basis.

Transfer and performance-based admission students must fulfill the writing requirement through one of two options:

Option 1: Complete an English composition course at SPS.

Demonstrate successful completion of English 111 or 205. A grade of C or higher is required.

Option 2: Successfully appeal the writing requirement via the Student Affairs Petition Form.

Students who believe they have the writing skills necessary for university-level research and analytical papers may appeal the SPS writing requirement.

A successful appeal does not result in credit for the writing course. Students must complete another course in its place according to the needs and guidelines of their program. Writing will be evaluated for standards of good expository writing, including: a fully developed thesis; sound logic and adequate evidence in support of the thesis; effective organization, coherent structure and an overall unity; correct grammar, punctuation, and spelling.

Appeal materials must be submitted by the quarter deadline before entry.

About the Distribution Requirements

Students complete course work in the humanities, sciences, and social sciences to obtain a broad experience in the liberal arts. Courses that satisfy these distribution requirements include the following areas:


Art history, classics, comparative literary studies, English literature, languages other than English (up to two units), history, music history, philosophy, religion, and some courses in African American studies, languages with literature, gender studies, performance studies, radio/television/film, and theatre.


Astronomy, biological sciences, chemistry, earth and planetary sciences, engineering, geography, information systems, mathematics, physics and some courses in anthropology, communication sciences and disorders, psychology, radio/television/film, and statistics.

Social Sciences

Anthropology, economics, history, linguistics, political science, sociology, and some courses in African American studies, communication sciences and disorders, gender studies, psychology, and statistics.