Plan of Study

The curriculum in EEB is based on an initial set of core prerequisites and core requisites (core requisites are required courses which also count as one of the eight departmental classes required for graduation).  Because biology is the most derived of the natural sciences, the core prerequisites and core requisites are more numerous than those for most departments. 

Prerequisites (P/D/F not allowed)

These prerequisites should typically be completed by the end of sophomore year (physics and statistics are two exceptions). 

Biology prerequisite (2 courses):
EEB 211
EEB/MOL 214 or EEB/MOL 215

Chemistry prerequisite (2 courses):
CHM 202
CHM 201 or 207
(or an AP score of 5 or equivalent on the departments placement test plus CHM 202 or 215)

Mathematics prerequisite (1 of the following):
MAT 103, MAT 104, MAT 175, MAT 215
(or an AP score of 5 on the BC test)

Physics prerequisite (1 of the following):
PHY 101, PHY 102, PHY 103, PHY 104, PHY 108
(or the equivalent on the department's placement test) 

Statistics prerequisite (1 of the following):
EEB 330*, EEB 355*, SML 201*; ORF 245, PSY 251, POL 345, SOC 301, ECO 202
*preferred course
The statistics requirement must be fulfilled by the end of fall term senior year. It is preferred to fulfill the statistics requirement before junior year, but at the latest it must be fulfilled by the end of fall term senior year.

ISC Curriculum: Students who have completed the first full year of ISC are credited for MOL 214, CHM 201/2, and PHY 101/2. The student must take EEB 211. Students who complete 2 years of ISC can submit a short essay after reading Serengeti Rules and Selfish Gene to opt out of EEB 211.

EEB Course Requirements 

A minimum of 8 courses are required. You must receive a C- or better for departmental credit.

● EEB 309 and EEB 321 are required

● 1 class from each of 2 of the following areas (2 classes total): Behavior and Organismal Biology (EEB 313, 314, 329, 403, 404*, 406*), Disease Ecology (EEB 304, 327, 351), Conservation Biology (EEB 308, 380*, 417, 303), Mathematical and Computational Biology (EEB 324, 325). *offered as part of the semester abroad program

● 4 additional upper level (300+) EEB courses

See the EEB or Registrar’s website for a complete list of courses.

(CHM 301 and either MOL 345 or MOL 380 can count as departmentals. Other MOL courses with prior permission of the              Department Representative)

Pre-medical Students

Students interested in medical school should consider taking EEB 314 Comparative Physiology, Medical schools require 2 terms of physics; physics can be delayed to senior year. The health profession advisers at Princeton recommend that students interested in studying abroad, particularly in EEB’s field semesters, should do so. They recommend contacting them early to formulate a plan of study that allows students to both fulfill the pre-medical prerequisites and study abroad spring of their junior year.

Studying Abroad

Princeton’s Tropical Field Programs. Students interested in learning about or undertaking research in the tropics have a number of options.

1. Panama. The department offers a spring term in Panama in conjunction with the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. Students take four intensive three-week courses in sequence, beginning with an introduction of key concepts in tropical ecology and conservation. The program also includes courses on coral reefs, parasitology, and anthropology (focusing on Pre-Columbian peoples and their land-use practices). 

2. Kenya. This four-course program on Tropical Biology and Sustainability, also taught in three-week segments, takes place at Princeton University's Mpala Research Centre in central Kenya and other sites in Kenya, in collaboration with scientists there, EEB faculty, other appropriate faculty from Princeton University, and faculty from Columbia University; Columbia students participate in the program. The courses delve into the ecology of savannas, conservation in Africa, the natural history of mammals, tropical agriculture, engineering and field hydrology and paleoecology. (Not offered spring 2024)

3. Other. Individual students are welcome to pursue other independent field opportunities, with scientists from the Smithsonian Institution and the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences, or other research institutions, such as the School for Field Studies at the University of Cape Town in South Africa, or James Cook University in Australia.

Senior Departmental Examination

A one-hour oral examination, consisting of a defense of the thesis research and general questions in the biological sciences will be held in May.