Senate Document Number 0503F

Date of Senate Approval 11/13/03

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Statement of Faculty Senate Action:

APC Document 2:     Change degree awarded in Biology from B.A. to B.S.

Effective Date: January 31, 2004 or as soon as feasible

1) Under Major Fields of Concentration (p. 38 of 2003-2004 catalog) change "Biology (B.A.)"


"Biology (B.S.)"


2) Under Biology (BIOL) (p. 68 of 2003-2004 catalog; second paragraph) change

"Majors must complete one of three concentrations."


"Majors must complete one of three concentrations to earn the Bachelor of Science degree."

Impact Statement: This change will not affect any department since the coursework and requirements for the degree remain unchanged. We do not perceive any significant change in the number of majors in biology or changes in resource needs because of the degree change.

Concurrences- Education students must complete degrees in the subject they plan to teach. Mark Sidelnick (Education chair) sees no problems with the change since the course requirements for education majors will not change.

Rationale. The connotation of a B.A. degree in biology has changed during the last two decades. In the past, most prestigious liberal arts universities awarded the B.A. degree, while technical schools and agricultural colleges offered the B.S. During the last 20 years or so, the majority of biology departments at liberal arts universities have abandoned the B.A. degree in favor of either the B.S. or joint B.S./B.A. offerings. Today, a B.A. degree is generally awarded to students who complete programs that are not science-intensive. The B.S. degree implies a science-intensive education. The Biology Department initiated a new curriculum in fall 2001 that is science-intensive. Coursework completed by our students is typical of that completed for the B.S. degree at other universities. The change to a B.S. will make students more competitive for graduate programs and employment following graduation, since many positions in biology now require a B.S. degree.

Criteria for awarding degrees. Currently there are no criteria within the UNC system that define a B.A. or B.S. degree in either biology or the natural sciences. There also are no criteria at the national level by scientific societies such as the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Departments are free to use their own discretion when awarding degrees. Our request for change in the degree awarded is based on our desire to make students more competitive for graduate programs and employment following graduation.

Retroactive status: The B.S. degree may be awarded to any student who fulfills requirements for the new curriculum. This includes first semester freshmen who began under the new curriculum in fall 2001, students who changed their major and completed all requirements for the new curriculum, or transfer students who completed all requirements for the new curriculum. Students who are fulfilling requirements for the old curriculum (major declared before fall 2001) will receive the B.A. Course requirements have not changed for the new curriculum since its inception in fall 2001. As such, any student who wishes to receive a B.S. rather than a B.A. can do so by re-declaring their major after the change becomes effective.