Explore the science of life
The Department of Biological Sciences offers opportunities for research and study using the latest technology and equipment, in the lab or in the field. In far-away tropical rain forests and deserts, New Hampshire’s own lakes, forests, and seacoast, and in our state-of-the-art laboratories PSU students work hands-on with faculty members to answer some of life’s toughest and most interesting questions.
Plymouth State University offers four paths for students interested in a degree in Biology. What sets apart the Plymouth State experience is hands-on learning opportunities that will prepare them for future careers in biology or further schooling.
The most common choice is the Bachelor of Science (BS) in Biology. Students with this degree pursue further education and jobs across the breadth of biology including graduate school, health professions, and careers from genetics to ecology. We also offered specialized degrees. The BS in Cell and Molecular Biology specifically prepares student for careers in biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry, as well as preparation for graduate degrees, physician’s assistant, or medical school. The BS in Environmental Biology prepares students for field-based graduate degrees and careers in ecology, environmental sciences, and conservation. The Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Biology offers more space for students to add a second minor or complete a double major and leads to science-related careers such as science writing, scientific illustration, and many more.
Other opportunities to study biology include minors in Biology or Neuroscience and a variety of related areas as well as our Biology Honors Program.
Recent graduates of our programs work for Dana Farber Cancer Center, New Hampshire Fish and Game, Hubbard Brook Research Forest, and have gone on to graduate school at University of New Hampshire, medical school at Dartmouth, and biotechnology companies such as Lonza, Mascoma, and Boston Analytical. For more information about career paths, see below.
The BS in Biology prepares students for graduate or professional schools including medical, dental, and veterinary schools, and broadly prepares students in cellular, physiological, organismal, ecological and evolutionary biology. Note that some professional/graduate schools require a full year of physics and that 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.