The two main goals of the Biology majors are
- to prepare majors for graduate education and/or careers in the biological sciences, and
- to inform students of the methods of science as a tool for understanding the natural world.
Students will study the structure and function of living systems, spanning the range of biological scale from cells to organisms to ecosystems. Through a combination of lectures, extensive laboratory investigations, field work, and opportunities beyond the school, majors study the processes that occur in the natural world and their practical applications.
Recent graduates from our department have successfully entered and completed many graduate and professional degree programs (including ones in conservation biology, environmental engineering, science education, and forensics science) and are employed as scientists and state biologists.
All students in the Biology program begin their training with a common set of core classes that include introductions to biology, chemistry, physics, and math. As a student progresses through this core, in consultation with his or her faculty advisor and the department faculty, they will select a major:
- B.S. in Biology for students interested in graduate school, careers in biological research, or a broad training in the biological sciences, or
- B.S. in Health Science for students interested in a career in the health and medical field. See Health Science program of the catalog for details on that major. Each of these majors has a set of courses and electives designed to prepare students for their chosen area of interest.
Students completing the Biology major should be able to:
- Know, understand and apply a broad range of basic biological concepts.
- Master applied laboratory skills.
- Apply mathematics to the field (i.e., statistical analysis).
- Understand the process of science and basic assumptions in the discipline.
- Think critically when reading and writing about research in the field.
- Generate hypotheses, design approaches to test them, and interpret data to reach valid conclusions.
- Communicate knowledge in an effective oral presentation.
- Demonstrate the ability to organize and write quality reports in the sciences.
- Demonstrate the ability to work effectively and responsibly with others.
- Demonstrate adherence to accepted standards of professional and ethical behavior.
As part of the Research Thesis all majors are required to conduct their own research projects under the guidance of the Biology faculty. Students are also encouraged to engage in more extensive research projects throughout their time in the major. New England College is located in a pristine natural setting with diverse terrestrial and aquatic habitats that are available for research and field studies. In addition, on-campus facilities and equipment as well as off‐campus affiliations are available for student research.
Biology majors encouraged, to participate in internships and/or volunteer to further their career and personal development. There are numerous local internship and volunteers opportunities in private, state, and federal agencies, as well as non‐profit organizations.
The Sophomore Review
Upon completion of BI 1110 , BI 1120 and CH 2110 - General Chemistry I , all Biology majors will meet with the Biology faculty advisors. The purpose of this review is to identify, early in the student’s career, potential strengths and weaknesses, to assist the student in clarifying his or her goals and to advise the student on an appropriate course of study.
Experiential Learning Component
For a science major, the act of doing science is fundamental to fully integrating the content contained in courses. Most of the courses in this major have a laboratory component that stresses experiential learning in the field and/or in the laboratory. These experiences include activities that range from a single laboratory session to an entire year (in the case of Senior Thesis).
Furthermore, several classes include a public presentation component that is either done in the NEC community or even at professional scientific conferences. External funding, such as the current IDeA Network of Biological Research Excellent [NH‐INBRE] grant, also facilitates infusion of research into the curriculum, as well as providing research opportunities outside of standard coursework. These research experiences can range from a few hours of work in the lab each week to intensive summer research experiences. Students can apply for the INBRE supported Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP) and use part of the experience for senior research thesis. Students can also seek out research opportunities off campus that can serve as internships or support research for the senior thesis course.
All undergraduate courses are 4 credits unless otherwise noted.