May 22, 2024  
2021-2022 UMass Dartmouth Undergraduate Catalog 
2021-2022 UMass Dartmouth Undergraduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Department of Biology

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Faculty and Fields of Interest

Diego Bernal physiology of high performance fishes, shark biology

Erin Bromage immunology, microbiology, biosensor and vaccine development

Richard C Connor evolution of social interactions, marine mammal biology

Robert E Drew genomic analysis of quantitative traits

Robert Gegear conservation biology, neuroecology, pollinator-plan interactions

Whitney E Hable (Graduate Program Director) molecular, cellular and developmental biology

Kathryn D Kavanagh evolutionary and ecological development biology

Cynthia Ladino medical microbiology, cell biology and biochemistry

Marc A Laxer anatomy and physiology, parasitology

Elizabeth McCliment molecular, general biology

Pia H. Moisander marine microbiology, phytoplankton physiological ecology

Nancy J O’Connor invertebrate biology, nonindigenous marine species

Kenneth Oliveira (Chair) fish biology,  life history, age and growth of fishes

Tara K Rajaniemi plant community ecology, plant competition, species diversity

Mark W. Silby microbial genetics, molecular microbiology

Jefferson Turner biological oceanography, marine plankton, biogeography

Alan Ventetuolo medical microbiology, anatomy and physiology

Benjamin Winslow general biology, developmental biology

The biology major provides opportunities for building the foundation of a career in one of the many specialties in private industry and in federal and state agencies that employ biologists.  The major also prepares students for graduate programs in biology and marine biology and programs for health professionals.

Students planning to enter graduate school should, in consultation with their advisor, strongly consider electing a foreign language, analytic geometry and calculus. For those students interested in pursuing such broad fields of study as ecology, courses which stress computer literacy and database management are good foundation courses. Students considering such disciplines as cell and/or molecular biology and developmental biology should take courses in genetics, molecular and cell biology, and biochemistry.

The existing curriculum for biology majors satisfies almost all of the admissions requirements for medical, dental, veterinary and other graduate health professional programs. Physics laboratories should be added, and in many cases calculus is expected. Premedical students should complete their 300 and 400-level biology electives with courses such as General Microbiology, General Genetics, Animal Physiology, Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy, Developmental Biology, Immunology, Molecular Biology, Virology and Biochemistry. Anatomy and Physiology is very helpful when preparing for the MCAT exam. Ethics for Health Care Professionals serves as an excellent humanities elective. Check with the medical school you wish to enter for additional requirements such as psychology and statistics. For more details, seek the advice of members of the faculty premedical advisory committee, especially those in the Biology department.

Modern biology requires a wide range of supporting courses in such other fields of study as statistics, computer science, physics, chemistry, meteorology and geology. Biology majors should consult with their advisors early in their course of study regarding possible career choices and plan to take appropriate elective courses that support their selected field of study. 

Teacher Preparation Program Option:

Enrollment in the 4+1 (BA/BS-MAT) Teacher Preparation program allows undergraduate students to explore teaching as a profession through completion of graduate-level education coursework and field experiences within local public school settings. Students pursing teacher preparation at UMass Dartmouth graduate with a Bachelor’s degree in their chosen major, a Master’s degree in Teaching, and a Sheltered English Immersion endorsement.  In order to develop a plan towards a license to teach, students should indicate their interest to both their biology major advisor and the Coordinator of Teacher Preparation Programs. Students may enroll in the 4+1 program once they have earned 30 credits with a 3.0 GPA or above.

Goals for Student Learning

The department has the following goals for the learning of its undergraduate students:

  • To ensure that every Biology student develops a theoretical and conceptual framework in the biological sciences: content knowledge
  • To ensure that students are able to apply the methods of scientific inquiry in a biological context by demonstrating proficiency in analytical and technical skills
  • To ensure that students are able to read the scientific literature in at least one field of biology, i.e., fluency in the scientific literature.

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