Student on field study

Zoology, or the branch of biology that studies the animal kingdom, is a broad and exciting field, and our concentration offers you the flexibility to tailor your degree to match your interests.

While the topic of zoology might first evoke images of zookeepers and veterinarians, our world also needs research-focused scientists who can use their knowledge of animals to explain and sustain our environment. For example, what can bird migration patterns tell us about global climate change? And why are North American bats—which help us by eating large numbers of disease-carrying mosquitos—suddenly developing the fatal “white nose syndrome”? Both of these questions are part of our zoology faculty’s current research.

We offer a number of courses in various subjects—ornithology, mammalogy, ichthyology, entomology, animal parasitology, and more—that forms a comprehensive curriculum to provide you with a strong foundation in animal biology.

The zoology concentration is one of the most popular programs in our department, and our graduates are prepared to enter a job in the zoology field right away or to apply for graduate programs in their preferred subfield in animal biology.

What It’s Like to Study Zoology at Ball State

Ball State’s zoology and conservation faculty are more than teachers—they are also active researchers that regularly invite students to work alongside them.

Some of the research projects our students have assisted with include:

  • behavioral ecology of freshwater fish
  • migration and song patterns of the cerulean warbler
  • the cause of the deadly “white-nose syndrome” disease in bats in the northeast and central United States

Ball State University manages a number of resources, collections and properties used for teaching and research in the zoology concentration. Indiana is also home to several regional and state parks that provide great opportunities for birding, plant taxonomy, ecological research and more on field trips.

The Ball State chapter of The Wildlife Society provides an opportunity to connect with other students in your concentration for support, professional development opportunities and academic discussion. The club frequently offers insight to the profession through speakers, such as alumni of the program that now work for the Indiana Department of Natural Resources and other governmental and nonprofit agencies.

Our low student-to-professor ratio and small class sizes give you daily contact with professors in lecture, laboratory and out in the field, plus the individualized attention you need to excel.

Program Requirements

The concentration in zoology fulfills part of the requirements that lead to a bachelor of arts or bachelor of science degree with a major in biology. All biology majors must also complete the biology core curriculum and the University Core Curriculum.

Credits Required

Total to Graduate: 120

  • Biology Core Curriculum: 44
  • Zoology Concentration: 21
  • University Core Curriculum: 66-70


Biology Core

All biology majors in every concentration are required to complete a core curriculum in biology that is separate from your concentration requirements and from the University Core Curriculum.

These foundational courses provide you with an overview of the principles in biology and develop a necessary competency in chemistry, physics and math.

Biology Core Courses: 25 credits

  • BIO 111 – Principles of Biology 1
  • BIO 112 – Principles of Biology 2
  • BIO 210 – Intro to Botany
  • BIO 214 – Genetics
  • BIO 215 – Cell Biology
  • BIO 216 – Ecology
  • BIO 315 – Cell Methods or Bio 316 – Ecology Methods
  • BIO 499 – Senior Symposium

Other Required Courses: 19-20 credits

  • CHEM 111 – General Chemistry 1
  • CHEM 112 – General Chemistry 2
  • CHEM 231 – Organic Chemistry
  • PHYCS 110 – General Physics 1
  • one course in mathematics:
    • MATH 112 – Pre-calculus Trigonometry
    • MATH 161 – Applied Calculus
    • MATH 165 – Calculus 1

Note: All aquatic biology and fisheries concentration students are required to take Math 161.

View Catalog

The courses you will take to complete the zoology concentration are:

  • ZOOL 330 – Structure and Development of Vertebrates
  • ZOOL 432 – Invertebrate Zoology

For the rest of the concentration, you will customize your program with 12 credit hours from the following courses:

  • BIO 448 – Biometry
  • CHEM 360 – Essentials of Biochemistry
  • ZOOL 347 – Animal Parasitology
  • ZOOL 440 – Ornithology
  • ZOOL 441 – Entomology
  • ZOOL 444 – Ichthyology
  • ZOOL 445 – Herpetology
  • ZOOL 446 – Mammalogy
  • ZOOL 484 – Aquatic Entomology

For a complete list of all the courses you will take for your degree and their descriptions, please see our Course Catalog.

View Catalog

What Can You Do with a Degree in Biology with a Concentration in Zoology

Careers in zoology span a tremendous range of biological subdisciplines, from systematics and taxonomy, to physiology and biochemistry, and to ecology and behavior—all connected by the study of animal biology.

With a zoology degree, you could work in teaching institutions, industry (food, health, pharmaceutical, agriculture, and biotech), government agencies (environmental protection, food and drug, fish and wildlife, land management agencies, park services, water quality, and agriculture), as well as zoos and nongovernmental conservation organizations.

Many zoologists choose to earn a graduate degree before pursuing a career conducting basic or applied research involving animals, teaching at the high school or college level, or serving as educators in informal settings such as museums, zoos, and aquariums.

And no matter where you are in your education or career, our faculty and the Ball State Career Center will help guide you every step of the way.

Paying for Your Education

Apply to Ball State

Admission to Ball State is selective, and we carefully evaluate all applications on an individual basis. Applying is easy. Use our convenient, comprehensive, and secure online application.

Apply Now

Want to Learn More?

The best way to get a true feel for Ball State is to spend some time here, so we encourage you and your family to schedule a campus visit. Take a tour, attend an information session, meet with a professor in our area, and ask plenty of questions. Or if you’d rather speak to someone directly by phone or email, please feel free to contact us.

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