May 22, 2024  
2015-2016 UMass Dartmouth Undergraduate Catalog 
2015-2016 UMass Dartmouth Undergraduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Biology Major

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BS degree  

Students may prepare for admission to medical, dental and veterinary colleges and for admission to graduate work in the life sciences. An increasing number of students elect to major in biology as a means of providing themselves with a general framework of ideas concerning the interactions of living things. A substantial number of these students proceed toward vocational objectives that do not require a specialist’s knowledge of biology. 

Marine Biology Option

The marine biology option is designed to meet the needs of students who aspire to careers in ecology, marine biology, fisheries biology and biological oceanography. Students who elect the Marine Biology Option are urged to plan their program in close cooperation with their advisors. Biology majors who choose the marine biology option have an opportunity to elect marine-oriented courses during their junior and senior years and must meet college degree requirements for the BS degree.

First Two Years Requirements

(common to both options)

First Year

Second Year

First Semester: 17 credits

Humanites/Social Science Electives - 3-6 credits

Second Semester: 17 credits

Humanties/Social Science Electives - 3-6 credits


* Math course to be selected in consultation with the advisor. MTH 151, 152 (Calculus) is recommended for students whose math background is good, and required for later entrance to graduate programs with a molecular or ecological orientation.

It is also a prerequisite for Physical Chemistry. MTH 151 152 is required for PHY 113, 114 but can be taken concurrently with it.

** PHY 113, 114 may be substituted for PHY 101, 102.

Third and Fourth Year Requirements

(common to both options)

Course selection for the third and fourth years of the biology major must be determined in consultation with an advisor. During the third and fourth year all majors are required to elect at least 21 credits in upper-division biology courses (courses numbered 300 or higher). Upper-division courses in physics, chemistry, engineering, marine science or mathematics; and course credit in BIO 495 may be substituted with the written approval of the advisor and the department chairperson prior to registration in the course. However, these courses may not be used to satisfy requirements for another major or minor program. A minimum of 2 courses must include a laboratory component; no more than one of these courses can be fulfilled by Research Project (BIO 440 or BIO 441). The requirements of the College of Arts and Sciences must also be met prior to graduation.

Students who have completed the first two years of the biology major may elect to concentrate in courses dealing with the ecology of the coastal zone, its estuaries and inshore waters.

Junior/Senior Electives for Marine Biology Option

Twenty-one credits should be elected from upper-division biology courses. At least 12 of these credits must come from the following list of courses:

University Studies Requirement

In addition to the requirements in the major, students will be required to complete the University Studies requirements. For more information:


Some undergraduate senior-level courses are offered to graduate students under a corresponding 5xx number with concurrent enrollment but additional work expectations.

Some graduate courses may be open to undergraduates. Please consult your department chairperson. See the Graduate Catalog for graduate general and program requirements.

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