Biology (B.S.)

Biology (B.S.)
PSU students seaside conducting research

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.

 

 

Degrees

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.

Careers

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.
Contact

Academic Operations Manager
Phone: (603) 535-2325
Office: Exploration & Discovery, Boyd Science Center Rm 122, MSC 48, Plymouth, NH 03264
Contact

Program Coordinator of Biology (BA, BS, & MS), Cell & Molecular Biology, & Environmental Biology
Associate Professor
Phone: (603) 535-3181
Office: Exploration & Discovery, Boyd Science Center Rm 108, MSC 48, Plymouth, NH 03264

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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
CH 1050Laboratory Safety1
CH 2335General Chemistry I (QRCO)4
CH 2340General Chemistry II4
CH 3370Organic Chemistry I4
CH 3380Organic Chemistry II4
Lower Level Organismal Electives
Complete two courses from the following:8
BI 2030
Invertebrate Zoology
BI 2040
Vertebrate Zoology
BI 2070
Botany
BI 2110
BI 2130
Human Anatomy and Physiology I
and Human Anatomy and Physiology Laboratory I
BI 2120
BI 2140
Human Anatomy and Physiology II
and Human Anatomy and Physiology Laboratory II
Upper Level Biology Electives
Complete 19-20 credits of 3000/4000 level Biology courses not including BI 3060, BI 3130, BI 3240, and BI 4970 (one must be a Writing in the Discipline Connection)19-20
Physics
PH 2410University Physics I3
or PH 2210 Physics I
PH 2430Physics Laboratory I1
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
Electives19-20
Total Credits120
1

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

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)
4
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
Elective 2
 Credits31
Year Two
BI 2270 Integrative Biology (WECO) 4
Complete two Lower Level Organismal Elective Courses from the following: 8
BI 2030
Invertebrate Zoology
BI 2040
Vertebrate Zoology
BI 2070
Botany
BI 2110
BI 2130
Human Anatomy and Physiology I
and Human Anatomy and Physiology Laboratory I
BI 2120
BI 2140
Human Anatomy and Physiology II
and Human Anatomy and Physiology Laboratory II
BI 3060 Genetics 4
CH 3370 Organic Chemistry I 4
CH 3380 Organic Chemistry II 4
CTDICreative Thought Direction 3-4
SSDISelf and Society Direction 3-4
 Credits30-32
Year Three
BI3000/4000 level Biology courses 15-16
BIBiology Writing Connection 4
Complete one course from the following: 3
PH 2410
or PH 2210
University Physics I
or Physics I
PH 2430 Physics Laboratory I 1
Directions (choose from CTDI, PPDI, SSDI) 2 4-8
 Credits27-32
Year Four
BI 3130 Evolution 4
BI 3240 Conservation (DICO,GACO,INCO,INCP) 3
BI 4970 Biology Seminar 1
PPDIPast and Present Direction 3-4
Electives 17-18
 Credits28-30
 Total Credits120
1

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

2

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

Our BS programs require more background in chemistry and physics in support of this outcome, while our BA program allows for greater breadth.
  • An understanding of the scientific method as the means to increase understanding of the natural world through hypothesis-testing.
  • 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 the environment from molecules, to cells, to ecosystems. Most specialize in a particular discipline within biology, sometimes by pursuing a specialized degree like Environmental Biology or Cell and Molecular Biology. Some go on to attain further education in graduate school or a health professional school for medicine, public health, or pharmacy. There are as many job opportunities as areas of study.
For more information, visit Career Services in the Global Education Office.
 
Sample Job Titles include: Biochemist, Botanist, Ecologist, Fishery Biologist, High School Science Teacher, Marine Biologist, Microbiologist, Zoologist, Veterinarian, Medical doctor, Physician Assistant, Nurse Practitioner, Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine, Research Scientist, Wildlife Biologist, Pharmacist, Dentist, Medical scientist, Virologist
 
See the U.S. Department of Labor Outlook for a complete list.
 
Useful Skills for Jobs in the Biology Fields
  • Research skills such as data collection, laboratory techniques, and working in teams
  • 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

Explore Program Details

Biology Majors can take up to 1-2 Minors, including those below.
While a biology major is based in the interdisciplinary studies of biology, chemistry, physics, and math there are also opportunities to extend your interest to some of the other 40+ minors that are offered at Plymouth State, including those below. It’s a great time to be a biology major at PSU!

Boyd Science Center
Boyd Science Center

The heart of scientific research and study at PSU is the Boyd Science Center. The University’s proximity to the lakes, rivers and mountains of New Hampshire gives students access to a unique natural laboratory. Resources at Boyd provide students with a place to explore nature’s questions, generated in the great outdoors or under the microscope.

Resources at Boyd

  • Climate-controlled chambers for whole organism research
  • Dedicated spaces for student research
  • PCR, Rt-PCR, Western blotting, Immunohistochemistry
  • Animal behavior lab with advanced video tracking
  • BSL-2 Microbiology lab
  • Six 300-liter marine aquariums
  • Human physiology lab
  • Collection of bird specimens
  • Dedicated tissue culture facility
  • Rooftop greenhouse with computerized temperature controls and separate areas for preparation and growing
  • PSH, an herbarium of 20K preserved and mounted specimens
 As a biology major you will experience:
  • Hands-on experience from molecules and cells to ecosystems
  • Degree programs in Biology (B.A. and B.S.), Cell and Molecular Biology, and Environmental Biology
  • State-of-the-art laboratory and research facilities, including a 1,400-liter marine aquarium, fully equipped human physiology lab, BSL-2 microbiology and cell biology labs, herbarium and specimen room, and a rooftop greenhouse
  • Opportunities for local, national, and international field studies
  • Partnerships with New Hampshire Fish and Game, Hubbard Brook Research Forest, NH-INBRE grant to further studies of human health in New Hampshire, and others
  • One-on-one advising sessions with a biology faculty member at least once every semester
  • A talented and dedicated faculty
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