Bee landing on flower, probably a white flowered hybrid Hibiscus rosa-sinensis

University of Florida Undergraduates Get Biological

October 1, 2007

GAINESVILLE, Fla.— A new biology major at the University of Florida is poised to become the most popular pursued at the state’s largest university. More than 1,100 undergraduates have declared the new major, the result of several years of collaboration between the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences.

“The 21st century has been dubbed the ‘Century of Biology,’ based on the continuing breakthroughs in the biological sciences,” said Elaine Turner, associate dean of the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. “Until this major was created, UF was the only university in the State University System without a distinct bachelor's degree in biology.”

While the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences had previously established an interdisciplinary major that allowed students to take zoology and botany classes to construct their own “integrative biology” major, there had not been an official biology major offered at UF until now. It is expected to quickly become one of the most popular undergraduate majors on campus, surpassing the largest major on campus, psychology, which currently has nearly 1,500 majors.

“All integrative biology students have transferred to biology and hundreds of new freshmen have declared biology as their major,” said Zoology Professor Michael Miyamoto. “It is fair to project that as the biology major becomes more visible on campus, it will quickly become one of the largest and will, in turn, strengthen the life sciences.”

Botany Professor Walter Judd said most students seeking the new major are pre-professional students. “They are interested in careers in medicine, veterinary medicine or dentistry,” he said. “But others are also interested in getting a broad foundation in biology, which they can build upon in their graduate careers in various integrated biology disciplines, such as ecology, cell biology, and molecular biology. I think the program would also be very good for those interested in secondary education, particularly teaching biology.”

The biology major is shared by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. Students select one of the following tracks of study, which determines the college through which their major is administered: Applied Biology (Agricultural and Life Sciences), Biology (Liberal Arts and Sciences), Biology Secondary Education (Liberal Arts and Sciences), Biotechnology (Agricultural and Life Sciences), Natural Science (Agricultural and Life Sciences), and Pre-professional (both colleges).  For more information, visit



Heather Read

Photo Credit

Adamantios, Wikimedia Project

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