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Undergraduate Course Catalog 2008-2009

College of Life Sciences and Agriculture


Biology (BIOL)


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Program Director: David H. Townson

The interdepartmental program in biology is designed to provide a strong and a broad background in biological sciences to students interested in education in the life sciences. The biology program 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 program is aimed at promoting excellence in biological science education by involving undergraduate students in strong interaction with faculty both in the classroom and research laboratories, and to encourage the development of high-quality undergraduate programs in all aspects of biology.

The biology program 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, 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 major.

Courses in the biology program are selected from departments that constitute the biological sciences community at UNH. The flexibility of the curriculum allows students wide selection of courses in various departments. Students in the biology major take a common core curriculum involving introductory and upper level courses. They select one of four areas of concentration. These options are: 1) general biology; 2) ecology, evolution, and behavior biology; 3) marine and freshwater biology; and 4) molecular, cellular, and developmental biology.

While students are advised to declare the biology major as incoming freshmen to assure adequate program planning, transfer into the program at a later stage is also possible. Students who wish to concentrate in a specific area of biological sciences other than the options within the biology program should consider a major in animal science, biochemistry, microbiology, plant biology, or zoology. The biology core curriculum is followed by students in all these programs. This makes changing majors a very simple process.

Biology Core Curriculum
All biology and several of the biological sciences majors begin with the biology core curriculum. The biology courses in the core curriculum constitute an integrated sequence of courses imparting basic knowledge of biology in order to expose the 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 related physical sciences and math. While it is recommended that the core curriculum be substantially completed in the first two years, students are encouraged to consult with their academic adviser to select one or more courses in their major during the sophomore year that may provide a gateway to the major. This may result in delaying one or more of the core courses in the junior year. By the end of the sophomore year, students are expected to have selected a departmental major or one of the four biology options leading to a B.S. degree. These options are: 1) general biology; 2) ecology, evolution, and behavior biology; 3) marine and freshwater biology; and 4) molecular, cellular, and developmental biology.

Biology Core Curriculum Courses
BIOL 400, Professional Perspectives on Biology1
BIOL 411 & 412, Principles of Biology I, II2
BIOL 541, General Ecology
MICR 503, General Microbiology
BIOL 604, Principles of Genetics
CHEM 403 & 404, General Chemistry
CHEM 545/546 Organic Chemistry and BCHM 658/659, General Biochemistry
or CHEM 651/653 and CHEM 652/654, Organic Chemistry3
MATH 424B Calculus for Life Sciences or 425, Calculus I
BIOL 528 Applied Biostatistics I or MATH 426, Calculus II4
PHYS 401 and 402, Introduction to Physics
ENGL 501 (or equivalent), Introduction to Creative Nonfiction3
EDUC 500, Exploring Teaching5

Typically, students take BIOL 400; BIOL 411 & 412; CHEM 403-404; and Calculus 424B in their freshman year, and then complete the remainder of their core requirements during the sophomore and junior years.

In addition to the core curriculum, the requirements for individual options are described separately.
1BIOL 400 is required only for first year biology majors.
2BIOL 411 and 412 are not sequential and may be taken in reverse order.
3CHEM 651/653 and 652/654 and ENGL 501 are required for premedical or affiliated professional programs.
4MATH 426, Calculus II can be substituted for Statistics, but we recommend Statistics.
5Required only for those preparing for teacher certification.

Academic Requirements
To receive the B.S. degree in biology, students must complete 128 credit hours with a 2.0 cumulative grade-point average (GPA). Courses must include all UNH General Education requirements, biology core curriculum requirements, and the requirements for the selected option. A minimum grade of C- is required in all biological science courses that are counted towards the requirements for a degree in biology (all four options). The only exception is that a passing grade below a C- will be accepted in a student’s first biology course (BIOL 411 or 412). 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 this level.

Students should consult with their academic adviser during their freshmen and sophomore years for assistance in determining the most appropriate option or major for their professional goals. Since biology core courses are required of all biological science majors, it is relatively easy to change majors within the biological sciences during this period.

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 Web site for details ( or the Cornell Web site at 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 or the biology program office. Financial support is available for most of these programs.

Premedical and other pre-health professional students should visit the premedical office in Hood House for additional information on requirements for specific professional schools. The following elective courses will be helpful in preparing for admission to post-baccalaureate programs in the health professions and for their required aptitude examinations: BCHM/ANSC 702, ZOOL 518, ZOOL 625/626, BIOL 605, BCHM 751/752, ANSC 511/512.

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’s approval. A Petition for Academic Variance approved by the biology program director is required to count 795-796 experiences for more than one major required course. Students should check the UNH WEBCAT (, the biology Web site (, and the UNH online catalog for updates and current course offerings.

Biology Options
In order to receive a B.S. in biology, a student may choose from one of the four biology options. These options are: 1) general biology; 2) ecology, evolution, and behavior biology; 3) marine and freshwater biology; and 4) molecular, cellular, and developmental biology. A complete list of approved courses in each option is available from the student’s adviser, the biology program office, and the biology program Web site at

The general biology option within the biology major provides broad-based training in the biological sciences for students who prefer not to specialize at the undergraduate level. Students must choose eight courses in addition to the biology core curriculum courses as specified in the categories listed in the option requirements (see Web site Within the biology core, BIOL 528 is preferred to MATH 426; however, either is acceptable, and the sequence CHEM 545/546-BCHM 658/659 is preferred to CHEM 651/653-652/654, for all students in the option, except for those who are pre-health professionals. Corequisite lecture and lab courses count as one course. Courses listed in more than one category will satisfy requirements in only one category.

The marine and freshwater biology (MFB) option provides broad-based training in the aquatic biological sciences for students who prefer to take additional courses in the area of marine and freshwater biology. Students interested in aquaculture and fisheries may also choose this option by taking appropriate courses in consultation with their adviser. Students must choose eight courses in addition to the biology core curriculum courses to fulfill the requirements of this option. All students must take Biology of Lakes (PBIO/ZOOL 717) or Field Studies in Lake Biology (PBIO/ZOOL 719). For additional course requirements, the students should visit the biology Web site at

The molecular, cellular, and developmental biology (MCDB) option provides an opportunity for broad training in molecular, cellular, and developmental biology, and the biotechnology area for students who would like to achieve limited specialization in this field. Students interested in the interdisciplinary fields of genetics, genomics, and bioinformatics may also choose this option by taking appropriate courses in consultation with their adviser. This is in addition to broad-based training in the basic areas of biology and related physical sciences covered in the core curriculum. Students choose eight courses from the list of approved courses (available on the Web at in addition to biology core curriculum courses, in order to complete this option. The sequence CHEM 651/653-CHEM 652-654 is preferable to CHEM 545/546 and BCHM 658/659.

The ecology, evolution, and behavior (EEB) option within the biology program provides broad training in organismal and environmental biology, and provides an opportunity for limited specialization in the field of ecology, conservation, evolution, or behavior. Students must choose eight courses in addition to the biology core curriculum to complete this option. All students are required to take ZOOL 690. An additional seven courses should be selected as specified in the list of approved courses ( Within the biology core, BIOL 528 is preferred to MATH 426; however, either is acceptable.

Prehealth Professional Program
Students who wish to pursue postgraduate degrees in the health care professions should visit the premedical advising office in Room 102, Hood House. For more information, call (603) 862-2064 or visit the program’s Web page at

Biology Teacher Certification and General Science Certification
Biology teacher certification for students preparing to teach high school biology may be obtained through the Department of Education’s five-year, undergraduate-graduate degree program. Students are required to take EDUC 500 (preferably in the sophomore year), earn a bachelor’s degree in one of the biological sciences, and complete a fifth year, which includes an internship and coursework leading to a master’s degree in education. General science certification for students preparing to teach science in middle and junior high schools can be obtained through the Department of Education’s general science certification program. For further information, see Education, or contact the Department of Education’s teacher education coordinator.

Biology Minor
A biology minor may be earned by completing the following requirements: 1) BIOL 411-412 or PBIO 412 and ZOOL 412; 2) one course from each of the three major organism groups: a) animals (ANSC or ZOOL courses), b) microbes (MICR courses), and c) plants (PBIO courses); 3) two additional biological science courses at the 600-700 level.

Students interested in a biology major or minor should contact the Biology Program Office, (603) 862-1452.

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