Environmental Biology (B.S.)

Environmental Biology (B.S.)
NH lakes
Explore the science of life

Our program offers opportunities for research and study using the latest technology and equipment, in the lab or in the field. In faraway tropical rainforests and coral reef habitats or New Hampshire’s own lakes and forests, PSU students work hands-on with faculty members to answer some of life’s toughest questions.

The BA program in Biology is a broad overview of the principles of biology and the functions of biological systems with supportive courses in mathematics, physics, and chemistry. It can be used to fulfill the goals of students primarily interested in biology or those who plan to go on to professional programs or graduate degrees in the biological sciences. For the latter case, it should be noted that some professional/graduate schools require a full year each of organic chemistry, physics, and calculus; this program is less restrictive. Thus, students should work closely with their academic advisor to plan their coursework.

Biological Sciences Honors Program

The Department of Biological Sciences encourages eligible students to develop an Honors research project working with an individual faculty member. A Biology Faculty Advisor will serve as a research mentor throughout the process, but the student is responsible for the design, data collection, analysis, and writing required to complete and communicate the results of the project. Students must understand that faculty can more readily advise Honors projects that integrate with their existing research interests. The Honors project can assist students wishing to pursue admission to competitive graduate and professional programs in biological sciences. Along with letters of recommendation, solid grade point average and Graduate Record Exam scores, participating in research is an important criterion such programs use to select students.

Requirements for Admission to the Honors Program

  • 3.25 minimum grade point average
  • completion of at least 45 credit hours
  • completion of Biological Science I (BI 1110) and Biological Science II (BI 1120) or their equivalents and at least one 3000/4000 level Biology course that involves a research project, or approval of the faculty sponsor
  • availability and support of a Faculty Advisor
  • submission of an Honors Application to the Department of Biological Sciences. The Application consists of a research proposal that is developed with the guidance and approval of a Faculty Advisor and contains a literature review, hypotheses, methods (including a budget), and references (formatted according to discipline-specific standards)
  • approval of the Honors Application by the Biological Sciences faculty.

Completing the Program

  • completion of four credits of Undergraduate Research (BI 4950)
  • presentation of the research findings
  • submission of a final paper (in discipline-specific format) to the Department of Biological Sciences by May 1 of the year Honors distinction is sought
  • presentation of the results at an appropriate scientific conference or seminar series, either at PSU or in the New England region
  • overall approval of both the final paper and the presentation from the Biological Science faculty
  • maintenance of a 3.25 minimum grade point average.

Academic Operations Manager
Phone: (603) 535-2325
Office: Exploration & Discovery, Boyd Science Center Rm 124, MSC 48, Plymouth, NH 03264

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Biology students in the water

As an environmental biology major you’ll experience:

  • Degree programs in cell and molecular biology or biology
  • Minors in neuroscience, anthropology, computing, criminal justice, and sustainability)
  • Courses in zoology, anatomy and physiology, conservation, ecology, biochemistry, microbiology, genetics, neurobiology just to name a few 
  • Opportunities for local, national, and international field studies
  • A talented and diverse faculty
  • State-of-the-art laboratory and research facilities, including an electron microscopy suite, 1,400-liter marine aquaria, fully equipped human physiology lab, BSL-2 Microbiology and Genetics labs, museum and specimen room, and rooftop greenhouse
  • Partnerships with the Center for the Environment, an innovative regional research center focused on environmental science and conservation.

Curriculum & Requirements

Course Title Credits
Major Requirements
BI 1110Biological Science I (TECO)4
BI 1120Biological Science II4
BI 2270Integrative Biology (WECO)4
BI 3060Genetics4
BI 3130Evolution4
BI 3240Conservation (DICO,GACO,INCO,INCP)3
BI 4970Biology Seminar1
Complete 16 credits of Biology from the following (at least 8 of which must be at the 3000/4000 level):16
2000 level Biology electives (not BIDI)
3000/4000 level Biology electives (not BIDI)
Writing in the Discipline Connection (WRCO)4
3000/4000 level Biology elective (not BIDI)
CH 1050Laboratory Safety1
CH 2335General Chemistry I (QRCO)4
CH 2340General Chemistry II4
Physical Science Group
Complete one course from the following:4
CH 3370
Organic Chemistry I
PH 2210
PH 2430
Physics I
and Physics Laboratory I
PH 2410
PH 2430
University Physics I
and Physics Laboratory I
Mathematics Foundations
MA 2130Precalculus (QRCO)4
or MA 2550 Calculus I (QRCO)
General Education
EN 1400Composition4
IS 1115Tackling a Wicked Problem4
CTDICreative Thought Direction3-4
PPDIPast and Present Direction3-4
SSDISelf and Society Direction3-4
Directions (choose from CTDI, PPDI, SSDI) 14-8
GACOForeign Language 26-8
Total Credits120

Directions should total 16-17 credits because SIDI is waived for BA Biology.


The foreign language requirement for all BA degrees calls for 0-8 credits: one year of one language (6-8 credits); or one 3000/4000 level world language course (3 credits); or being a native speaker of a language other than English (zero credit). American Sign Language I and II fulfill this requirement; however, American Sign Language does not satisfy the Global Awareness Connection.

Check all course descriptions for prerequisites before planning course schedule. Course sequence is suggested but not required.

To complete the bachelor’s degree in 4 years, you must successfully complete a minimum of 15 credits each semester or have a plan to make up credits over the course of the 4 years.  For example, if you take 14 credits one semester, you need to take 16 credits in another semester.  Credits completed must count toward your program requirements (major, option, minor, certificate, general education or free electives).

Plan of Study Grid
Year OneCredits
EN 1400 Composition 4
IS 1115 Tackling a Wicked Problem 4
Mathematics Foundations Course:
MA 2130
or MA 2550
Precalculus (QRCO)
or Calculus I (QRCO)
BI 1110 Biological Science I (TECO) 4
BI 1120 Biological Science II 4
CH 1050 Laboratory Safety 1
CH 2335 General Chemistry I (QRCO) 1 4
CH 2340 General Chemistry II 1 4
CTDICreative Thought Direction 3-4
Year Two
BI 2270 Integrative Biology (WECO) 4
Complete one Biology Elective from the following: 4
2000 level Biology elective (not BIDI)
3000/4000 level Biology elective (not BIDI)
Complete one Physical Science Group Course from the following: 4
CH 3370
Organic Chemistry I
PH 2210
PH 2430
Physics I
and Physics Laboratory I
PH 2410
PH 2430
University Physics I
and Physics Laboratory I
SSDISelf and Society Direction 3-4
Directions (choose from CTDI, PPDI, SSDI) 2 4-8
GACOForeign Language 6
Elective 2-4
Year Three
Complete one Biology Elective in each of the following: 8
2000 level Biology elective (not BIDI)
3000/4000 level Biology elective (not BIDI)
BI 3060 Genetics 4
BI 3240 Conservation (DICO,GACO,INCO,INCP) 3
Electives 12-15
Year Four
BI 3130 Evolution 4
BI 4970 Biology Seminar 1
BI3000/4000 level Biology electives (not BIDI) 4
BI3000/4000 level Biology WRCO (not BIDI) 4
PPDIPast and Present Direction 3-4
Electives 12-15
 Total Credits120

General Chemistry should only be taken in the first year if the student has suitable math skills.


Directions should total 16-17 credits because SIDI is waived for BA Biology.

Explore Program Details

  • An understanding of the scientific method as the means to increase understanding of the natural world through hypothesis-testing. Our BS programs require more background in chemistry and physics in support of this outcome, while our BA program allows for greater breadth.
  • An aptitude for critically reading scientific literature, including primary research journals.
  • Proficiency in writing, especially in scientific format.
  • An ability to present scientific information orally with emphasis on clear interpretation of scientific data.
  • Proficiency in techniques specific to a subdiscipline of biology, including but not limited to laboratory, field, and statistical techniques.
  • An understanding of the critical issues facing the environment at local, regional, national, and global scales.
  • Biological literacy allowing for the evaluation of new information and emerging issues.
  • Readiness for post-graduate experiences in graduate school, professional school, or biology employment.

Biologists study living organisms and their relationships to their environment. Most specialize in some area and become botanists, zoologists, aquatic scientists, medical scientists, and biology educators. Many work in research and development conducting basic research to advance knowledge of living organisms, including viruses. There are as many areas of study as there are job opportunities. 

For more information, visit the Academic and Career Advising Center.

Sample Job Titles

  • Biochemist
  • Botanist
  • Ecologist
  • Fishery Biologist
  • High School Science Teacher
  • Marine Biologist
  • Microbiologist
  • Oceanographer
  • Registered Nurse
  • Zoologist
  • Veterinarian

See the U.S. Department of Labor Outlook for a complete list.

Useful Skills for Jobs in the Biology Field

  • Skills in research, data collection, laboratory techniques
  • Ability to problem-solve and think critically
  • Written and verbal communication skills to convey technical and scientific data to both scientific and non-scientific communities

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