The Biology Department offers degree programs leading either to a bachelor of arts (BA) or a bachelor of science (BS). The general program leading to either a BA or a BS degree provides each student with a solid foundation in all areas of the biological sciences and the training to enter the workforce, continue with graduate study in biology, or enter a post-baccalaureate program in one of the health professions.

Concentrations within Biology

In addition to our general programs, students have the option of enrolling in one of six areas of concentration.

Biology majors can elect a minor in secondary education, which prepares students to teach biology at the high school level and meet Massachusetts State Certification requirements. Pre-medical, pre-dental, pre-veterinary programs: Medical, dental and veterinary schools typically require applicants to include general biology, general and organic chemistry, physics, and one year of college mathematics in their undergraduate preparation. A student in the BS biology program satisfies these minimum admissions requirements and also takes numerous content courses such as genetics and general physiology that are of help in preparing for standardized entrance examinations and professional courses.

Whether or not a student majors in biology in preparation for these health professions, every student interested in such a career should contact the pre-professional advisor no later than the end of the sophomore year regarding the complex admissions process. Dr. Susan M. Case in the biology department is the advisor for the health-related professions. All students interested in applying to medical, dental, veterinary, or other professional health schools should consult her.

Most biology majors begin their course of study by enrolling in a two-semester introductory sequence (BIO 131: Introduction to Organisms and BIO 132: Introduction to Cells), followed by three courses in the second year that expand on the introductory sequence and expose students to social and ethical issues. This second group of courses includes BIO 208 (Environmental Problems), BIO 212 (Cell Biology) and BIO 220 (Evolutionary Morphology). Majors in the nuclear medicine technology concentration have a modified course selection highlighting human biology starting with Bio 105: Biological Systems), followed by two semesters of human anatomy and physiology (Bio 200-201).

In their junior/senior year all students are required to take BIO 402 (Genetics) and either BIO 415N (Biology Seminar), BIO417N (Environmental Biology Seminar) or NMT 415 (Nuclear Medicine Seminar), depending on their specific program.

Students complete their program by taking BIO electives at the 300-400 level. They generally must have one course from each of the five major areas (although there are some exceptions in specialty concentrations), plus other major electives that can be chosen from any group or from internship, directed study, or research courses.

To ensure that students develop more advanced lab skills, several programs limit the cell & molecular biology elective to either BIO 406 (Microbiology) or BIO 409 (Biological Chemistry).

Majors are also expected to complete four semesters of chemistry and two semesters of physics.

Biology programs are supported by a variety of laboratory and other specialized facilities. On the North Campus, the science building, Meier Hall, houses the scanning electron microscope allowing for detailed examination of biological, chemical and geological materials. A small greenhouse is also available. A few miles from north campus, the university maintains a marine laboratory, Cat Cove Marine Laboratory, supporting our aquaculture and marine programs.