Biology Major (B.S.)

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The biology major is designed to provide a strong, broad background in biological sciences to students interested in education in the life sciences. The biology major integrates theoretical and practical (hands-on laboratory and field work) courses in different aspects of the biology of animals, microbes, and plants. The curriculum is designed to reflect the diversity of the biological systems in nature. It encompasses the study of structural and functional relationships of living organisms at the molecular, cellular, and organismal level, the interactions of the living systems with the environment and with each other, and the evolutionary relationships of various forms of life. The goal is to create a facilitative environment for those with a scholarly interest in the biological sciences, and to extend their understanding, awareness, and appreciation of the diversity of the biological sciences.
The major is aimed at promoting excellence in biological science education by involving undergraduate students in strong interaction with faculty both in the classroom and in research laboratories, and encouraging the development of quality undergraduate programs in all aspects of biology.
The biology major prepares students for graduate work in the biological, medical, and agricultural sciences, and for job opportunities in industry (biomedical, pharmaceutical, agrochemical, environmental, and biotechnological) and governmental research, and secondary school teaching, or a general education about living organisms. Completion of the four-year undergraduate program plus a fifth-year internship will be necessary for biology teaching certification. Students who plan to enter medical, dental, or related professional schools are advised to confer with their faculty adviser to build the requirements for these programs into their academic majors.
Courses in the biology major are selected from departments that constitute the biological sciences community at UNH. The flexibility of the curriculum allows student choice of a wide selection of courses in various departments. Students in the major take a biology core curriculum involving introductory and upper-level science courses. They must also take seven additional courses in the biological sciences; three of these must be selected from course lists in three broad categories.

While students are advised to declare the biology major as incoming first-year students to assure adequate program planning, transfer into the program at a later stage is also possible. Since several of the other biological sciences majors share the same biology core curriculum, it is quite easy to change to or from other biological sciences majors.

Biology Core Curriculum

The biology courses in the core curriculum constitute an integrated sequence of courses imparting basic skills and concepts of biology to expose students to the breadth of knowledge inherent in the biological sciences. The biology core allows a student to obtain a broad background in biology, and in the related physical sciences and math.

Core Curriculum Courses
BIOL 400Professional Perspectives on Biology 11
BIOL 412Introductory Biology: Evolution, Biodiversity and Ecology4
BIOL 411Introductory Biology: Molecular and Cellular4
BIOL 541General Ecology4
BMS 503
BMS 504
General Microbiology
and General Microbiology Laboratory
GEN 604Principles of Genetics4
CHEM 403
CHEM 404
General Chemistry I
and General Chemistry II
MATH 424BCalculus for Life Sciences4
or MATH 425 Calculus I
BIOL 528Applied Biostatistics I4
or BIOL 555 Experimental Design and Analysis Laboratory (EDAL)
PHYS 401
PHYS 402
Introduction to Physics I
and Introduction to Physics II
Organic Chemistry
and Organic Chemistry Laboratory 2
General Biochemistry
and General Biochemistry Lab 2
Total Credits46

BIOL 400 Professional Perspectives on Biology is required only for first-year biology majors.


Students exploring pre-health professions should take a full year of Organic Chemistry (CHEM 651/653 and CHEM 652/654) in place of CHEM 545/CHEM 546 and BMCB 658/BMCB 659.

Biology Electives

In addition to the biology core curriculum, students must complete seven biology elective courses. Three of the seven courses are to be selected from courses listed in three categories/disciplines; the other four can be chosen from the category lists or can be any other biological sciences course with approval of the student's adviser. The seven selected courses must be 500-level or above, should include at least one each from the three categories, and must include one animal-identified course (A) and one plant-identified course (P). At least two of these must be courses with labs. One capstone experience, supervised and approved within the major, is required of all seniors. The capstone explores areas of interest based on the integration of prior learning. The capstone requirement is completed in the senior year, and may be satisfied through a course (C), created work or product, or some form of experiential learning (e.g., honors thesis, mentored research project, and other special student activity). A complete list of approved courses in each category/discipline is available from the student's adviser, the Department of Biological Sciences office, and the biology website at Corequisite lecture and lab courses count as one course.

Category 1: Form and Function (Morphology, Anatomy and Physiology)
ANSC 511Anatomy and Physiology (A)4
ANSC 512Anatomy and Physiology (A)4
ANSC 701Physiology of Reproduction (A)4
BIOL 701Plant Physiology (P)5
BIOL 702Techniques in Plant Physiology and Biochemistry (P, C)4
BIOL 709Plant Stress Physiology (P)3
BIOL 758Plant Anatomy (P)5
BMS 507Human Anatomy and Physiology I (A)4
BMS 508Human Anatomy and Physiology II (A)4
BMS 718Mammalian Physiology (A)4
MEFB 727Algal Physiology (P)3
ZOOL 518Vertebrate Morphology (A)5
ZOOL 625Principles of Animal Physiology (A)3
ZOOL 773Physiology of Fish (A)4
ZOOL 777Neurobiology and Behavior4
MEFB 754Anatomy and Function of Marine Vertebrates (SML, A)4
BioSM 1650 Whales, Seals and Sharks (SML, A)3
Category 2: Genetics/Development (including molecular biology and bioinformatics)
ANSC 612Genetics of Domestic Animals (A)4
BMCB 605Eukaryotic Cell and Developmental Biology4
GEN 705Population and Quantitative Genetics4
GEN 706Human Genetics (A)4
GEN 711Genomics and Bioinformatics4
GEN 771Molecular Genetics4
GEN 772Evolutionary Genetics of Plants (P, C)4
GEN 774Techniques in Plant Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (P, C)4
ZOOL 529Developmental Biology (A)4
ZOOL 736Genes and Behavior (A, C)4
Category 3: Evolution, Ecology and Biodiversity (including population biology)
BIOL 510Mushrooms, Molds, and Mildews: Introduction to the Fungal Kingdom4
BIOL 720Plant-Animal Interactions4
BIOL 752Mycology4
BIOL 566Systematic Botany (P)4
GEN 715Molecular Evolution4
MEFB 525Introduction to Aquatic Botany (P)4
MEFB 527Aquatic Animal Diversity (A)4
MEFB #616Tropical Coastal Plant Ecology (P)4
MEFB 717Lake Ecology4
MEFB 722Marine Phycology (P, C)4
MEFB 725Marine Ecology (C)4
MEFB 747Aquatic Plants in Restoration/Management (P)4
NR 642Introduction to Biogeography4
NR 663Applied Directed Research in New Zealand (C)4
NR 712Mammalogy (A)4
NR 713Quantitative Ecology4
NR 765Community Ecology4
ZOOL 542Ornithology (A)4
ZOOL 613Animal Behavior (A)5
ZOOL 628Marine Invertebrate Evolution and Ecology (A)5
ZOOL 690Evolution (C)4
ZOOL 710Ichthyology (A)4
ZOOL 733Behavioral Ecology (A, C)4
ZOOL 745Biology and Diversity of Insects (A, C)4
MEFB 510Field Ornithology (SML, A)4
MEFB 630Biodiversity and Biology of Marine Invertebrates (SML, A)4
MEFB 674Ecology and Marine Environment (SML)4
MEFB 714Field Animal Behavior (SML, A, C)4
BioSM 1780 Evolution and Marine Diversity (SML)4

Note: It is strongly recommended that students participate in an exchange semester at another university, or in a field-oriented program or internship. There are many exchange opportunities available in which a full semester of credits toward the major may be earned. In addition, students should explore the courses at the Shoals Marine Laboratory (SML), which provides an excellent setting for several "field-oriented" courses during the summer. Often there is financial support available for the SML programs. (See the SML website at or the Cornell website at for details.) It is further recommended that students explore possibilities of one or more semesters of independent investigation (research projects). For details, students should contact their adviser. Financial support is available for most of these programs.

One 600, 795, or 796 experience totaling three or more credits or any two 795-796 experiences of two credits each can fulfill one course requirement in any category with adviser approval. A Petition for Academic Variance approved by the chair of the Department of Biological Sciences is required to count 795-796 experiences for more than one major required course. Students should check the biology website and the UNH online catalog for updates and current course offerings.

Academic Requirements
To receive the B.S. degree in biology, students must complete 128 credit hours with a 2.0 cumulative grade-point average. Courses must include all UNH Discovery Program requirements, biology core curriculum requirements, seven additional courses from the biological sciences, and a capstone experience or course. The capstone explores areas of interest based on the integration of prior learning. Departments are responsible for certifying that graduating seniors have met the capstone requirement for their majors. A minimum grade of C- is required in all biological science courses that are counted toward the requirements for a degree in biology. Students who expect to compete successfully for post-baccalaureate programs should attain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher by the end of the sophomore year and maintain it at that level.