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Undergraduate Course Catalog 2010-2011

College of Life Sciences and Agriculture


Marine, Estuarine and Freshwater Biology (MEFB)


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UNH is located on a seacoast that provides an unprecedented diversity of marine and estuarine habitats. It is also only a short distance from mountain streams, rivers, marshes, bogs, ponds and lakes.  All of the habitats provide outstanding resources for field courses and research. The Marine, Estuarine and Freshwater faculty are spread across all three departments of the College of Life Sciences and Agriculture. UNH is a sea-grant University and has an international reputation for teaching and research in aquatic sciences. UNH has aquaculture facilities, coastal and estuarine research laboratories. In collaboration with Cornell, UNH jointly administers the summer undergraduate programs at the Shoals Marine Laboratory on Appledore Island, 7 miles off the coast.

The marine, estuarine and freshwater biology (MEFB) B.S. Program is designed to provide a broad background for undergraduates interested in marine, estuarine and freshwater biology, aquaculture and fisheries. The program integrates theoretical and practical (hands-on laboratory and field) courses. Students are encouraged to become involved in one or more of the numerous undergraduate research opportunities available in the marine, estuarine and freshwater sciences.

Academic Requirements
To receive the B.S. degree in marine, estuarine and freshwater biology, students must complete 128 credit hours with a 2.0 cumulative grade-point average. Courses must include all UNH Discovery requirements, the MEFB Core Curriculum requirements, plus eight courses from the MEFB Electives list.  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 may be satisfied through a course, created work or product, or some form of experiential learning (e.g., honors theses, mentored research projects, and other special student activities).  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 towards the requirements for a degree in MEFB. 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 that level.

MEFB Core Curriculum
The MEFB major uses the same core curriculum as the biology BS. It constitutes an integrated sequence of courses imparting basic knowledge of biology to expose students to the breadth of knowledge inherent in the biological sciences. The core allows a student to obtain a broad background in biology and related physical sciences and math and prepares them for upper level courses in marine, estuarine and freshwater biology.  

MEFB Core Curriculum Courses
BIOL 400, Professional Perspectives on Biology1
BIOL 411 & 412, Principles of Biology I, II2
BIOL 541, General Ecology
BMS 503, General Microbiology
GEN 604, Principles of Genetics
CHEM 403 & 404, General Chemistry
CHEM 545/546 Organic Chemistry and BMCB 658/659, General Biochemistry, or CHEM 651/653 and CHEM 652/654, Organic Chemistry3,4
MATH 424B, Calculus for Life Sciences or 425, Calculus I
BIOL 528, Applied Biostatistics I, or MATH 426, Calculus II5
PHYS 401 and 402, Introduction to Physics
ENGL 501, Introduction to Creative Nonfiction, or equivalent4
EDUC 500, Exploring Teaching6

Typically, students take BIOL 400; BIOL 411 & 412; CHEM 403-404; and Calculus 424B in the first year, and then complete the remainder of their core requirements during the sophomore and junior years.
1BIOL 400 is required only for first-year MEFB majors.
2BIOL 411 and 412 are not sequential and may be taken in reverse order.
3The sequence CHEM 545/546-BMCB 658/659 is preferred to CHEM 651/653-652/654, for MEFB Majors, except for those who are pre-medical or pre-health profession students.
4CHEM 651/653 and 652/654 and ENGL 501 are required for pre-medical or affiliated professional programs.
5MATH 426, Calculus II can be substituted for BIOL 528 Applied Biostatistics I, but we strongly recommend Biostatistics.
6Required only for those preparing for teacher certification.

MEFB Electives

In addition to the MEFB Core Curriculum, students must complete eight MEFB Elective courses selected from six categories/disciplines. 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 MEFB website at  Co-requisite lecture and lab courses count as one course. Courses listed in more than one category will satisfy requirements in only one category.

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 for details ( or the Cornell Website 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. 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 MEFB Website (, and the UNH online catalog for updates and current course offerings.

Prehealth Professional Program
MEFB Majors who wish to pursue postgraduate degrees in the health care professions should visit the premedical advising office in Room 102, Hood House for additional information on requirements for specific professional schools. Call (603) 862-2064 or visit the program’s Web page at 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: BMS 702, ZOOL 518, ZOOL 625/626, BMCB 605, BMCB 751/752, ANSC 511/512.

Students interested in the marine, estuarine and freshwater biology (MEFB) B.S. major can contact the Department of Biological Sciences, (603) 862-3205.

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