Biology Major

Biology Major Requirements

For a 67-credit to 71-credit major in biology, students complete the following:

BIOL 1171
1171L
General Biology I
and General Biology I Lab
4
BIOL 1172
1172L
General Biology II
and General Biology II Lab
4
BIOL 1173
1173L
General Biology III
and General Biology III Lab
4
BIOL 4999Capstone Seminar (Shell)3
CHEM 1171
1171L
General Chemistry I
and General Chemistry I Lab
4
CHEM 1172
1172L
General Chemistry II
and General Chemistry II Lab
4
CHEM 2271
2271L
Organic Chemistry I
and Organic Chemistry I Lab
4
CHEM 2272
2272L
Organic Chemistry II
and Organic Chemistry II Lab
4
MATH 1121Applied Calculus I3-4
or MATH 1171 Calculus I
MATH 2217Statistics I3-4
or MATH 1122 Applied Calculus II
or MATH 1172 Calculus II
PHYS 1145
1145L
General Physics for Life Sciences I
and General Physics for Life Sciences I Lab
4
PHYS 1146
1146L
General Physics for Life Sciences II
and General Physics for Life Sciences II Lab
4
Biology Block Electives 122-24
Total Credits67-71

Biology Block Electives and Additional Requirements

After completion of the General Biology sequence (BIOL 1171, BIOL 1172, BIOL 1173), a minimum of six biology elective courses and a capstone experience (described below) are required. To ensure breadth of exposure, at least one biology elective must be taken from each of the following three blocks. The three remaining biology course electives may be any 200- or 300-level courses  listed below. Four of the six biology electives taken during the sophomore (second semester) through senior years must include a laboratory component.

Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology Block
BIOL 2261Genetics4
BIOL 3327Cell Biology4
BIOL 3342Developmental Biology4
BIOL 3352Fundamentals of Microbiology4
BIOL 3354Molecular Biology3
BIOL 3357General Virology3
Biochemistry and Physiology Block
BIOL 1107
BIOL 1108
Human Anatomy and Physiology I
and Human Anatomy and Physiology II 2
8
BIOL 2251Human Nutrition3
BIOL 2262Human Physiology4
BIOL 3314Endocrinology3
BIOL 3315Anatomy: Form and Function3
BIOL 3324Biochemistry I3
BIOL 3325Biochemistry II 33
BIOL 3330Nutrient Metabolism 33
BIOL 3356Immunology3
Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Science Block
BIOL 2218Vertebrate Zoology3
BIOL 2260Ecology4
BIOL 3319Zoology Field Experience3
BIOL 3362Marine Invertebrate Zoology4
BIOL 3364Freshwater Ecology4
BIOL 3365Evolutionary Biology4
BIOL 3366Ornithology4
BIOL 3372Environmental Toxicology4

The choice of block electives and general electives inside or outside the department varies according to a student's career objective and interest. Students make their choices after consultation with appropriate department advisors. Students interested in molecular biology may, for example, take advanced courses to fulfill a concentration in molecular biology.

Students interested in graduate, medical, dental, or allied health schools may select electives that meet the requirements for admission to graduate or professional schools. Students interested in science writing or teaching in biology may choose to earn minors in English or education.

Capstone Seminar

During their capstone experience, students connect the diverse experience and knowledge they have acquired as biology majors, focusing these skills on examining in depth, a specific topic. In a small class setting (10-12 students maximum), students and the professor delve deeply into the chosen topic, assessing the peer-reviewed literature and most current trends around the particular subject. Students bring their breadth of knowledge to the discussion, and apply what they have learned over the course of their academic training to critically analyze the arguments and experiments presented in the literature. In most cases, students will be responsible for presenting a paper to the class, driving the content of discussion and debate with their fellow students and instructor. The capstone is a reading intensive experience, and, by definition, shows that the biology major is able to synthesize and apply their knowledge to examine interesting questions. Students must enroll in this capstone seminar course (BIOL 4999) during their senior year. See course descriptions for topics.

Research and Internship Experience

Faculty research specializations provide opportunities for qualified students to participate in laboratory research, field research or library investigations in their chosen interest areas under a professor's guidance. Internships at off-campus institutions can also be arranged for qualified students. These opportunities expand and enhance the biology program's numerous possibilities for individualization.

Students intending to continue their studies in graduate school should consider participating in two or more terms of research. All on-campus research experiences require pre-arrangement with a faculty research advisor.

Off-campus research or internship experiences require an on-campus faculty mentor and approval from the department chair or internship director. Prior consultation is required to assure that the particular activity meets the requirements of the biology major curriculum.

The following research and internship experiences are extra courses and do not count towards the biology major degree requirements:

BIOL 4971Biology Research I1-3
BIOL 4972Biology Research II1-3
BIOL 4973Biology Research III1-3
BIOL 4974Biology Research IV1-3
BIOL 4975Biology Research V1-3
BIOL 4976Biology Research VI1-3
BIOL 4981Internship1-3
BIOL 4982Internship1-3

Biology Major with a Concentration in Evolution, Ecology, and Biodiversity

This concentration is intended for the cohort of students interested in pursuing academic and career paths in evolution, ecology, or conservation biology. Interested students should consult with Dr. Tod Osier for advisement and completion of appropriate paperwork.

As part of the six electives noted, students take four courses in the following areas:

BIOL 2260Ecology4
BIOL 3365Evolutionary Biology4
Select one biodiversity course from the following:3-4
Vertebrate Zoology
Marine Invertebrate Zoology
Ornithology
Select one capstone course related to a topic in ecology, evolutionary biology, or conservation/diversity, or any other Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Science Block course3-4
Total Credits14-16

Biology Major with a Concentration in Health and Human Biology

This concentration may be of interest to pre-health students, most of whom already select this set of courses as prerequisites or highly recommended courses for post-graduate programs (i.e. medicine, dentistry, veterinary science, pharmacy, physical therapy, physician’s assistant, etc). Interested students should consult with Dr. Anita Fernandez for advisement and completion of appropriate paperwork.

As part of the six electives noted, students take four courses in the following areas:

Select one course in physiology:3-4
Human Anatomy and Physiology I
and Human Anatomy and Physiology II
Human Physiology
Endocrinology
Anatomy: Form and Function
Select one course in metabolism:3
Biochemistry I
Biochemistry II
Nutrient Metabolism
Select one course in cell biology or genetics:4
Genetics
Cell Biology
Select one course in immunity and infection:3-4
Fundamentals of Microbiology
Immunology
General Virology
Total Credits13-15

Biology Major with a Concentration in Marine Science

As part of the six electives noted, students take four courses from the marine sciences biology block. Interested students should consult with Dr. Chelsie Counsell for advisement and completion of appropriate paperwork.

Select four courses from the following:12
Introduction to Marine Science
Marine Invertebrate Zoology
Biology Research I
Biology Research II
Biology Research III
Biology Research IV
Biology Research V
Biology Research VI
Internship
Internship
Senior Capstone Seminar: Coral Reef Ecology
Senior Capstone Seminar: Ecology of the North Atlantic Coast
Senior Capstone Seminar: Principles of Aquaculture
Total Credits12

Biology Major with a Concentration in Molecular Biology

As part of the six electives noted, students take four courses from the molecular, cell, and developmental biology block. BIOL 3325 Biochemistry II and BIOL 3356 Immunology may also be accepted. Interested students should consult with Dr. Phyllis Braun for advisement and completion of appropriate paperwork.

Biology Major with a Minor in Educational Studies and the Five-Year Teacher Education Program

Biology majors who elect a minor in Educational Studies and who have been admitted to the 5-year Integrated Bachelors-Masters Degree and Teacher Certification program should consult with Dr. Olivia Harriott, education advisor, and Dr. Emily Smith or Dr. Alyson Martin, co-directors of the 5-year Teacher Preparation Program, to ensure that appropriate thought and reflection on their choices for upper division biology curriculum be made in assuring the best outcome for this unique 5-year program.

Magis Core Curriculum

Beginning with the Class of 2023, all undergraduate students will be required to complete the Magis Core Curriculum. Please refer to the Curricula section of this undergraduate catalog for a detailed explanation of the Magis Core.

Biology Major

Plan of Study Grid
First Year
FallCredits
BIOL 1171
1171L
General Biology I
and General Biology I Lab
4
CHEM 1171
1171L
General Chemistry I
and General Chemistry I Lab
4
MATH 1121
Applied Calculus I
or Calculus I
3-4
Core Curriculum Courses 6
 Credits17-18
Spring
BIOL 1172
1172L
General Biology II
and General Biology II Lab
4
CHEM 1172
1172L
General Chemistry II
and General Chemistry II Lab
4
Core Curriculum Courses 6
MATH 2217
Statistics I
or Applied Calculus II
or Calculus II
3-4
 Credits17-18
Second Year
Fall
BIOL 1173
1173L
General Biology III
and General Biology III Lab
4
CHEM 2271
2271L
Organic Chemistry I
and Organic Chemistry I Lab
4
Core Curriculum Courses 9
 Credits17
Spring
CHEM 2272
2272L
Organic Chemistry II
and Organic Chemistry II Lab
4
Biology Block Elective 1 3-4
Core Curriculum Courses 9
 Credits16-17
Third Year
PHYS 1145
1145L
General Physics for Life Sciences I
and General Physics for Life Sciences I Lab (Fall)
4
PHYS 1146
1146L
General Physics for Life Sciences II
and General Physics for Life Sciences II Lab (Spring)
4
Biology Block Electives 1 6-8
Biology Electives 1,2 3-4
Core Curriculum Courses 9
General Electives 1 3
 Credits29-32
Fourth Year
BIOL 4999 Capstone Seminar (Shell) 3
Biology Electives 1,2 3-4
Core Curriculum Courses 12
General Electives 1 12-16
 Credits30-35
 Total Credits126-137