Undergraduate Program

Zoology at Michigan State UniversityLia Olowniuk with lemur during Detroit Zoo internship

Zoology is the branch of natural science that deals with animal biology. It is concerned with every level of biological organization from the gene to the ecosystem, and with the structure, physiology, behavior, genetics, development, distribution, and evolution of animals in all taxonomic groups. In a broad sense, zoology also deals with the interrelationships between humans and other animals. The courses in the department span the diversity of animal life and the entire range of modern biological disciplines concerned with animals. There is ample scope for students to obtain a broad education in biology while also specializing in the particular aspects of biology that interest them most.

Three degree programs are available for students majoring in Zoology: Bachelor of Science in Zoology, Bachelor of Science in Environmental Biology/Zoology, and Bachelor of Arts in Zoology. Each undergraduate degree program has its own set of requirements.

Bachelor of Science in Zoology

In the Bachelor of Science in Zoology, students complete their Zoology coursework by by choosing one of seven concentrations. Each concentration focuses on a particular area of Zoology and requires a minimum of 33 credits in upper (300 +) level Zoology courses.  By choosing a Zoology concentration that matches their individual interests, a student can tailor their coursework to their individual interests, potential careers or possible work environments. This degree with its concentrations suits students who seek professional employment in animal biology, or who seek admission to graduate programs in animal biology or to health-related professional schools.

Students may choose one or more of the following transcriptable concentrations:

  • Animal Behavior and Neurobiology Concentration
  • Cell and Developmental Biology Concentration
  • Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology Concentration
  • General Zoology Concentration
  • Genetics Concentration
  • Marine Biology Concentration
  • Zoo & Aquarium Science Concentration

Bachelor of Science in Environmental Biology-Zoology

The courses in this major are a mixture of basic science courses, designed to introduce students to the concepts of environmental biology, and applied courses, where those concepts are used to unravel problems associated with the natural environment.

Bachelor of Arts in Zoology

The Bachelor of Arts Degree in Zoology requires more humanities and social science credits to be completed than a Bachelor of Science, providing greater balance between science and non-science credits.

Bachelor of Science in Integrative Biology (coming soon)

The curriculum for the Integrative Biology major combines fundamental knowledge in all major subdisciplines of biology including biochemistry, cellular biology, morphology, physiology, microbiology, ecology, and evolution. Students supplement their knowledge and skills through laboratory experiences and experiential learning opportunities including internships, independent research, field courses, and study abroad. The curriculum further stresses development of scientific problem solving, critical thinking and communication skills of the type needed for success in applied biology or biological research. Graduates are thus well-prepared for complex 21st century problems that require the integration of knowledge that spans from molecules to ecosystems.

Dual Degree: BS/MS

An option for College of Natural Science (CNS) students is to pursue a dual-degree (BS/MS) from departments within the College. The BS and the MS do not have to be from the same department although in most cases they are.

To apply, students must have completed a minimum of 60 undergraduate credits and have a minimum 3.0 GPA (overall and in CNS courses). Students also should have approval for admission from the department to the respective graduate program. Course credits will count toward either the undergraduate or the graduate program: they cannot count both degrees simultaneously. 

Contact the College of Natural Science for more information on this process.