Jul 15, 2024  
2020-2021 UMass Dartmouth Undergraduate Catalog 
2020-2021 UMass Dartmouth Undergraduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Biology Major

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BS degree  

Students may prepare for work in the life sciences, or for admission to medical, dental and veterinary colleges and for admission to graduate study. The major in biology provides a general framework of ideas concerning the diversity, functioning, and interactions of living things.  In order to accommodate the requirements of differing career directions, the department offers several concentrations within the Biology major. After completing the core courses students can continue on a general Biology pathway or take courses in specialized areas of Biology including Conservation Biology, Cell Molecular Biology, Ecology and Evolution, and Marine Biology.

Required Courses

(common to all concentrations in the Biology major)

First Year

Second Year

Second Semester: 16 credits

Third Year

Fourth Year


* 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 all concentrations)

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), including BIO 499 - Capstone Research. Course selection should be determined in consultation with the advisor. A minimum of 2 courses must include a laboratory component. Credits earned for BIO 440, 441, and 495 may not be applied to these totals. The requirements of the College of Arts and Sciences must also be met prior to graduation.

Junior/Senior Electives for General Biology Concentration

  • Students electing not to select a concentration will complete the Biology core and then any 21 credits of 300-400 level Biology coursework.

Cell & Molecular Biology Concentration

After building a comprehensive background through the Biology core, upper division courses will allow students to explore various specializations in a diverse and rapidly changing field, including genomics, cell biology, developmental biology, microbiology, and immunology. Many of these courses have integrated laboratory components giving students opportunities to learn specialized laboratory techniques including DNA sequence analysis and cloning, cell culture, and bioinformatics needed for graduate school and employment opportunities.

Junior/Senior Electives for Cell & Molecular Biology Concentration

Course Requirements

Conservation Biology Concentration

After completing the Biology core a student in the conservation biology concentration will complete a combination of broad-based coursework and innovative hands-on field and laboratory research experiences. This expertise will allow them to solve complex ecological problems and apply integrated approaches to wildlife and habitat management.  At the end of the program, the student will have the training needed to be successful in graduate school and to gain employment with sectors of society seeking to manage and restore natural environments.

Junior/Senior Electives for Conservation Biology Concentration

Course Requirements

Ecology & Evolution Concentration

After building a comprehensive background through the Biology core student will have the opportunity to take advanced coursework in Ecology & Evolution. This area emphasizes hands-on experience with methods in field biology, experimental design, and statistics. They will study organismal interactions at both ecological and evolutionary timescales in microbes, plants, invertebrates, and vertebrates. Students will learn how such interactions have shaped the world in which we live.

Junior/Senior Electives for Ecology & Evolution Option

Course Requirements

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.

Junior/Senior Electives for Marine Biology Concentration

Course Requirements

Upper Division Electives

Group 3: Ecology and Evolution

Group 4: Taxon-Specific Courses (M) marine, (E) Ecology

University Studies Requirement

In addition to the requirements in the major, students will be required to complete the University Studies requirements. For more information: http://www.umassd.edu/generaleducation/universitystudies/universitystudiescurriculum/.


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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