Sep 28, 2020  
2014-2015 Undergraduate Catalog 

Biological Sciences - Pre-Professional Biomedical Sciences (BS)

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Biological Science - Pre-professional Studies - Bachelor of Sciences (BS)

Please see the UNLV College of Sciences, Biological Science department web page at for information about department programs, faculty and facilities.

Please see advising information at the UNLV College of Science Advising at


Institution - Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

 Learning Outcomes

 All students graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences should be able to:

*Outcomes marked with an asterisk apply to students graduating with a minor in Biological Sciences.

  1. Understand the nature of scientific knowledge.*
    • Describe the differences between opinions, facts, and scientific theories
    • Appropriately utilize the scientific method within the laboratory environment
    • Apply their understanding of the scientific method to successfully design an experiment
    • Critically analyze scientific content presented both orally and in writing
  2. Understand cell structures and functions.*
    • Explain the similarities and differences between prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells
    • Explain the similarities and differences between plant and animal cells
    • Describe the structure and function(s) of common eukaryotic organelles (nucleus, ribosomes, rough and smooth endoplasmic reticulum, Golgi apparatus, vesicles, lysosomes, mitochondria, chloroplasts, peroxisomes, vacuoles, and cytoskeleton)
    • Diagram the structure of an animal cell membrane, including the phospholipid bilayer, cholesterol, proteins, and carbohydrates
    • Explain the functions of the cell membrane, including passive and active transport and communication/information processing
  3. Understand the physical nature of genetic information.*
    • Describe the structure of DNA
    • Diagram the basic structure of a gene, including regulatory and coding sequences
    • Explain how genetic information is used in reproduction, including the processes of mitosis and meiosis
    • Explain how genetic information is utilized during transcription, translation, DNA replication, and cell division
    • Explain how genetic information can be changed through processes of mutation
    • Explain how epigenetic regulation of gene expression can occur
  4. Understand that all organisms are genetically related, have evolved, and are evolving.*
    • Explain the relationship between genetic information, physical characteristics, and the environment
    • Provide a timeline of major evolutionary events describing the emergence of the main forms of life (prokaryotes, eukaryotes, multicellular life, fungi, plants, insects, fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals)
    • Articulate the mechanisms of evolution including mutation, selection, and speciation
    • Apply their understanding of evolutionary relationships to accurately interpret phylogenetic trees
    • Explain experimental techniques used to investigate evolution
  5. Understand the metabolic complexity of cells and organisms.
    • Provide examples of diverse mechanisms used by cells/organisms to extract energy from the environment
    • Explain the reactions of energy transformation that occur in mitochondria, chloroplasts, microbes, and multicellular organisms
    • Provide examples of diverse mechanisms used by cells/organisms to synthesize biological molecules
    • Explain how cells/organisms regulate the internal environment
  6. Understand the complex interplay of how organisms respond to and interact with each other and their environment.
    • Describe how interactions change as the scale of life transitions from cells to ecosystems
    • Articulate the different patterns of population growth and explain the environmental factors that underlie each pattern
    • Explain community structure and the various forms of biodiversity
    • Provide examples of the types of interactions that can occur between community members, including competition, predation, parasitism, coexistence, mutualism, and commensalism
    • Explain how communities can respond to disturbances
    • Discuss the interactions that occur between organisms and the nonliving components of their environment, including the role of biogeochemical cycling
  7. Effectively communicate complex biological concepts, orally and in writing.
    • Effectively discuss individual biological concepts in short written format such as a two to four paragraph response
    • Effectively articulate the relationships between many biological concepts in an extended written format such as an eight to ten page paper
    • Effectively explain individual biological concepts in a ten to fifteen minute oral presentation
    • Effectively answer questions from the audience following an oral presentation
    • Summarize key points from a peer-reviewed journal article in a written report or during a group discussion
  8. Fulfill their professional goals.
    • In addition to the outcomes listed above, concentration specific outcomes are as follows:


  • Understand how organisms can be genetically manipulated for the production of a useful biological commodity.

Cell and Molecular Biology

  •  Explain the interrelationship between chemistry and biology, including how physical and chemical laws influence the structure and function of intracellular components and macromolecules.

Comprehensive Biology

  • Understand the general complexity, diversity, and interaction of living organisms at organizational levels ranging from cells to communities.

Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

  • Articulate in detail the interactions organisms have with each other and with nonliving components of the environment and how organisms and environments change over time.


  • Accumulate the knowledge necessary to provide biology instruction to middle- and high-school students. Students in the Education concentration will also work with an advisor in the College of Education to ensure they are simultaneously fulfilling the requirements necessary for licensing in secondary science education.

Integrative Physiology

  • Explain how cells and organisms acquire and process nutrients, transform energy, and maintain homeostasis in a variable environment to survive and reproduce.


  • Explain the diversity and similarity of microbes, including their physiology, mechanisms of pathogenesis and host defenses, and unique ecology.

Pre-professional Studies

  • Become competitive candidates for admission into professional schools.

University Graduation Requirements

Early Admit Fast – Track Program with the University of Nevada School of Medicine

This program expedites the process of earning a medical degree. Students admitted to the program complete three years of prerequisite coursework at UNLV. Following completion of the second year, students take the MCAT and apply to the University of Nevada School of Medicine (UNSOM) through the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS). Participation in this Early Admit Program does not guarantee acceptance following completion of the second year of undergraduate study. Students who are admitted to UNSOM matriculate following completion of the third year at UNLV. Coursework completed at UNSOM during the first two years is transferred to UNLV to complete the Bachelor of Science in Preprofessional Biomedical Sciences. The net result is reduction of the time required to earn the baccalaureate and medical degrees from 8 years to 7.
Students desirous of entering the program must satisfy one of two admission criteria:

Traditional application route:
- Completion of high school with a 3.5 cumulative GPA
- Completion of the ACT with a minimum score of 27
- Submission of three letters of recommendation
- Submission of a resume summarizing all relevant non-curricular experience

Alternate application route:
- Completion of 30 credit hours of coursework including at least two science courses
- Maintain a 3.5 cumulative and 3.5 science GPA in above coursework
- Submission of three letters of recommendation
- Submission of a resume summarizing all relevant non-curricular experience

Students meeting either criterion may apply for the program. A joint admission committee comprised of both UNLV and UNSOM faculty will interview applicants and select students for admission into the program. Students admitted to the program engage in three years of defined curriculum required for the baccalaureate degree and application to UNSOM. The Pre-Health Advisor monitors student performance during the three years at UNLV. Students whose science or cumulative GPA falls below 3.5 are placed on academic probation. Students incurring two sequential semesters of academic probation are ejected from the program and may not petition for readmission. Students who maintain a 3.5 cumulative and science GPA are eligible to take the MCAT and apply for admission to UNSOM following completion of the second year of coursework. The application process requires completion of the AMCAS application, a MCAT score of 28 or better with no subset scores lower than 8, and an interview by the Pre-professional Evaluation Committee. Students meeting the above criteria are granted an interview by the UNSOM Committee. The committee bases its decision to admit or deny admission on academic performance, MCAT score, non-curricular qualifications, and the interview. Students who are not admitted to UNSOM through the Early Admit Program are eligible to reapply following completion of the third year of undergraduate coursework.

Biological Science - Pre-Professional Biomedical Studies Degree Requirements - Total: 120 Credits

General Education Requirements - Subtotal: 32-36 Credits

First-Year Seminar - Credits: 2-3

 (see note 1 below)

Second-Year Seminar - Credits: 3

Constitutions - Credits: 3-6


Distribution Requirement - Credits: 18

Please see Distribution Requirements  for more information.

  • Humanities and Fine Arts: 9 Credits
    • Two courses 3 credits each from two different humanities areas - 6 credits
    • One course in fine arts- 3 credits
  • Social Science: 9 Credits
  • Life and Physical Sciences and Analytical Thinking:
    • Automatically satisfied by Major requirements

Multicultural and International

Multicultural, one 3 credit course required
International, one 3 credit course required

These courses may overlap with general education and major requirements.  A single course may not meet the multicultural and international requirements simultaneously. For the list of approved multicultural and international courses, go to:

Major Requirements - BS in Biological Science - PreProfessional Studies - Subtotal: 78-85 Credits

 (see note 2 below)

UNSOM Courses - UNLV Equivalent


 UNSOM Courses                                                                                                                    UNLV Equivalent

Systems Physiology


Clinical Histology


 Human Biochemistry




Clinical Gross Anatomy



 Clinical Embryology



Medical Neuroscience




Medical Cell Biology



The combination of Basic Science Foundation and Principles of Biochemistry provide credit for BIOL 468  , and CHEM 475  .
General Human Anatomy provides credit for both  BIOL 465  .
Infection and Immunity and Medical Microbiology and Immunology combined provide credit for BIOL 251   and BIOL 453  .

Capstone Experience may be used to fill part of the Biology-Preprofessional requirement (see note 3 below).

Biology Core Requirements - Credits: 19

Total Credits: 120


  1. Lists of approved capstone courses may be obtained in the departmental office or the College of Sciences Advising Center.
  2. At least 40 credits must be earned at the upper-division level (300 and above).
  3. Lists of approved capstone courses may be obtained in the departmental office or the College of Sciences Advising Center.


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