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Undergraduate Course Catalog 2010-2011

College of Life Sciences and Agriculture


Biology (BIOL)


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The biology program is designed to provide a strong, 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 encouraging the development of 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 majors.

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 major take a Biology Core Curriculum involving introductory and upper level courses. They must also take eight additional courses selected from six broad categories.

While students are advised to declare the biology major as incoming first-year students to assure adequate program planning, transfer into the program at a later stage is also possible. Since several of the other biological sciences majors share the same biology core curriculum, it is quite easy to change to or from other biological sciences majors.

Academic Requirements
To receive the B.S. degree in biology, students must complete 128 credit hours with a 2.0 cumulative grade-point average. Courses must include all UNH Discovery Program requirements, Biology Core Curriculum requirements, plus eight courses from the Biology 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 biology. 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.

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 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.

Biology 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 MATH 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 biology 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 Biology 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.

Biology Electives

In addition to the Biology Core Curriculum, students must complete eight Biology 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 Biology 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 biology website (, and the UNH online catalog for updates and current course offerings.

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 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: BMCB 702, ZOOL 518, ZOOL 625/626, BMCB 605, BMCB 751/752, ANSC 511/512.

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) animal/zoology courses, b) microbiology courses, and c) plant biology courses; 3) two additional biological science courses at the 600-700 level.

Students interested in a biology major or minor should contact the Department of Biological Sciences, (603) 862-3205.


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