Biology Programs


Students in any biology program complete a strong, general series of biology and support courses which allows pursuit of a wide variety of careers such as professional work (e.g., physician, dentist, veterinarian), governmental work (e.g., E.P.A., National Fisheries), field work (e.g., oceanographer, wildlife specialist), high school teaching, industrial or clinical research, aquaculture, among others.

Many biology majors continue into graduate programs in a specialized subfield. It is the goal of the department to provide solid biology degrees which expose students to all areas of biology while allowing each student flexibility when entering the job market.

The five areas of study offered by the biology department at Salem State are: Plant Biology, Animal Biology, Cell & Molecular Biology, Structure & Function, and Ecology & Evolution.

Students are introduced to all areas of biology 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 these areas in greater detail and introduce social and ethical issues. This second group of courses includes BIO 208 (Environmental Problems), BIO 212 (Cell Biology) and BIO 220 (Evolutionary Morphology).

In their junior/senior year, all students are required to take BIO 402 (Genetics) and either BIO 415N (Biology Seminar), BIO 417N (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 and Molecular Biology elective  to either BIO 406 (Microbiology) or BIO 409 (Biological Chemistry). 

Some specialty concentrations also specify courses in one or more of the other major areas.

The department offers degree programs leading either to a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or a Bachelor of Science (BS). The general program leading to one of these degrees 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 postbaccalaureate program in one of the health professions. 

Biology Programs and Courses listing in Undergraduate Catalog

Concentrations within Biology

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

BA or BS in Biology with a minor in secondary education prepares students to teach biology at the high school level and meet Massachusetts State Certification requirements.

BS in Biology, Aquaculture concentration focuses on the controlled cultivation and harvest of aquatic plants and animals. Students will gain practical skills in the husbandry of aquatic organisms through applying knowledge gained from courses in biology, chemistry, business, and other disciplines. Skills learned will provide graduates a hands-on appreciation of the aquatic environment and aquaculture systems. Graduates will have the skills needed to set-up and operate their own facility, to work at a private or public hatchery and to pursue employment in a parallel field such as resource management, fisheries biology, marine or environmental science.

BS in Biology,  Biomedical Science concentration supports students that are interested in pursuing a career in health-related professions. This concentration allows for flexibility in course selection, thereby accommodating many students with diverse interests in health fields including Medicine, Veterinary Medicine, Dentistry, Pharmacy, Physical Therapy, Physician Assistant, Optometry, Medical Research, etc.

BS in Biology, Cell and Molecular Biology concentration places this field within a broad context while focusing on both the theoretical and practical skills needed in the study of cell and molecular biology. A choice of some support courses allows the student to explore different applications such as chemistry and bioinformatics in greater depth.

BS in Biology, Environmental Biology concentration includes courses in both biology and other environmentally-related fields such as geology, geography, ethics, and the social sciences. In the process of completing a degree in biology in this concentration, each student has the opportunity to select courses in other related areas that support the specific goals and interests of the student.

BS in Biology with Marine Biology concentration provides a broad science background supported by observations of marine organisms and their environment. The ocean and marshes of the North Shore offer a unique learning laboratory.

BS in Biology, with Medical Technology concentration (No Clinical Program Available) The Medical Technology concentration includes several academic courses required by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). Students who intend to become certified as Clinical Laboratory Professionals, [MLS (ASCP)], need to obtain work experience at a certified clinical laboratory site.

BS in Biology, Nuclear Medicine Technology concentration enables students to complete the on-campus component in three years and spend their fourth year (and preceding summer) in the Nuclear Medicine laboratories of affiliated hospitals. Registration for the summer component is through the Division of Graduate and Continuing Education. Completion of the program leads to a BS in Biology with a Concentration in Nuclear Medicine Technology and prepares the student for examinations leading to national certification as a Nuclear Medicine Technologist.

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 degree 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.