Feb 26, 2024  
2023-2024 UMaine Undergraduate Catalog 
    
2023-2024 UMaine Undergraduate Catalog

Biology


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OVERVIEW OF DEGREE REQUIREMENTS

Minimum number of credits required to graduate: 120

Minimum Cumulative GPA required to graduate: 2.0

Minimum Grade requirements for courses to count toward major: A C or higher is required in BIO 100 and BIO 200.

Other GPA requirements to graduate: A minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 in all courses in Biological Sciences Areas, and chemistry, organic chemistry, physics, calculus, and statistics combined. 

Required Course(s) for fulfilling Capstone Experience: BIO 388 or BIO 392 or BIO 402 or BIO 431 or BIO 438 or BIO 450 or BIO 463 or HON 498 & 499* or BIO 480 and BIO 483.For specific requirements, see the curricula for individual concentrations.

*The thesis topic must be in Biology and the thesis advisor should be in the School of Biology and Ecology.

Contact Information:  Ann Dieffenbacher-Krall, Undergraduate  Program Coordinator, 100 Murray Hall, (207)581-2540, annd@maine.edu


A major in biology allows students to explore various aspects of our natural world. Tremendous advances in biotechnology, medicine, environmental studies, and related areas make biology an important and fascinating field of study. Biology seeks to understand living organisms - from animals and plants to fungi and microbes. Biologists help find cures for diseases, become doctors, save endangered species, and more.  A diverse set of courses allows students to learn evolutionary principles, biodiversity, and how organisms interact with each other and their physical environment. Biology majors are exposed to a variety of research opportunities. Research in the field of biology increases knowledge about living organisms in order to tackle problems we face in fields such as medicine, agriculture, and ecology.

Graduates of our Biology program pursue various careers, depending on their interest, level of educational attainment, and subsequent professional education. Among the more typical career areas are human and veterinary medicine, scientific research and development, teaching at the high-school and college levels, environmental monitoring and regulation at state and federal levels, and private design and consulting.

The Biology major offers students many choices and allows them to tailor their programs to their interests. Students can choose from a wide range of courses covering all major areas of biology including cells and molecules, genetics, evolution, physiology, anatomy, biodiversity, ecology, and behavior. Students enrolled in the Honors College will find the program complementary to their degree studies. Each student works with an academic advisor to develop a curriculum that best meets the student’s goals and allows for exploration or specialization as desired. Students in their third and fourth years of study, who intend to pursue advanced degrees, are strongly encouraged to include independent research under the guidance of a faculty member in their program. Students wishing to spend a semester studying abroad are advised to discuss this option with their advisor early in their program.

The B.S. and B.A. degrees in Biology are offered by the School of Biology and Ecology.  For information about areas of specialization and for an overview of our facilities, cooperative programs, and list of faculty in the School of Biology and Ecology, visit https://sbe.umaine.edu.

Students choosing Biology as a second major are not required to complete a Biology capstone provided the student completes a capstone for their first major.  Biology is not allowable as a second major for students whose first major is Animal & Veterinary Science with Pre-Veterinary concentration because of substantial overlap between requirements.

Students majoring in Biology are not eligible for a second major in Botany or Zoology because of extensive overlap in the requirements for these degrees.

Students majoring in Biology must earn a score of 4 or 5 in order to receive advanced placement credit for BIO 100 and BIO 200.

Students wishing to transfer from other institutions or from another program within the University of Maine must have completed BIO 100: Basic Biology with a grade of C or better, have a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or better, and a grade of C or better in MAT 111 or no grade record in MAT 111 and a score of 30 or higher on the Math Placement Exam.

Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts

The School of Biology and Ecology offers both B.S. and B.A. degrees in Biology.  Both degrees provide a strong background in biological sciences.  They have the same requirements in biological sciences and differ only in the level of chemistry, mathematics, physics, and social sciences required. The B.S. requires more in-depth study of chemistry, math, and physics while the B.A. requires a minor or more in-depth study of social sciences and humanities. The B.S. provides preparation for the health professions, while the B.A. ensures a broad liberal arts education and allows more flexibility for minors and double majors, allowing students to build career-enhancing skills.

Expertise in Biology is essential to ensure that sound science is the foundation for public policy, laws, regulations, business decisions, natural resource management, and communication about scientific ideas and issues.  Educators, artists, writers, lawyers, economists, public policy makers and politicians, and business people in green industries, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, and agribusiness greatly benefit from a strong background in science.  Pairing a BA with a second major or minor builds strength for careers in education, communication, policy, law, or business.  In addition, the critical thinking, reading, and writing skills gained through humanities and social sciences courses can significantly contribute to a career in science.

BA students are required to declare a minor or 2nd major in an approved subject outside of botany, biology, or zoology or complete additional General Education requirements as noted below.  BA students are encouraged to explore career options through the University of Maine Career Center and with their academic advisor to select a minor or 2nd major that adds breadth to the academic program by developing skills and knowledge outside of the primary major.

Concentrations in the B.S. and B.A. Degrees in Biology

The Ecology Concentration is open to students in either the B.S. or B.A. degree program.  This concentration is intended for students interested in exposure to ecological principles within the context of a rigorous biological sciences curriculum.

The Entomology Concentration is open to students in either the B.S. or the B.A. degree program.  The concentration is intended to provide students with a broad understanding of the form and function of insects, their interactions with people and society, the study of insect conservation, and management in natural and human-derived systems.

The Pre-medical Studies Concentration is open to students in the B.S. degree program only, not the B.A.  This concentration is intended for students preparing for a career in medicine or one of the other health professions (dentistry, optometry, osteopathy, physician assistant, pharmacy, podiatry, veterinary medicine, and other health-related fields). Students completing this concentration will be fully prepared for advanced studies in these fields. In addition to the required science and mathematics courses, the concentration also includes general education courses that are desired by many medical schools. The concentration allows for considerable choice in courses and provides valuable guidance to students and their advisors with regard to course selection in their major and in general education requirements.

Biology Club

Students majoring in Biology, Botany, and Zoology are encouraged to join the Biology Club, a student organization that promotes an interest in the biological sciences and in biological research with invited speakers, panel discussions, debates, trips, social functions, and service projects. The club also supports a local chapter of the national honor society, Beta Beta Beta.

Accelerated and Special Programs

The University of Maine, New England College of Optometry (NECO) and Logan College of Chiropractic (LCC) cooperate in providing accelerated undergraduate curricula leading to consideration for early admission to the cooperating colleges. Students complete three years at the University of Maine and are awarded the B.S. in Biology upon the successful completion of the first year curriculum at NECO or LCC. Contact the Career Center’s Health Professions Career Counselor (207) 581-2587 for complete program details and a curriculum for the first three years.

Tufts University School of Medicine additionally offers a “Maine Track” MD program, in partnership with Maine Medical Center (MMC) in Portland Maine, for applicants who are interested in a unique, innovative curriculum that will offer clinical training experiences in Maine and expose medical students to the unique aspects of rural practice as well as training in a major tertiary medical center. Tufts requires “Maine Track” students to have taken the SAT or ACT prior to entering University of Maine.

Honors College

Students enrolled in the Honors College will find that the program works well with their major, replacing General Education and capstone requirements.  Honors students should work with their advisor to adapt the suggested course sequences below to accommodate their Honors courses.

Bachelor of Science Core Requirements


1. Basic Biology:

  and   (Minimum grade of C required in each.) 

2. General Chemistry

   , and    

3. Organic Chemistry I

  and  ; or   and     

4. Organic Chemistry II or Biochemistry

  and  ; or BMB 322  and     

5. Physics I: 

  or    

6. Physics II: 

  or    

7. Calculus

   or    or    

8. Statistics

  or   or PSY 241   

9. Biological Sciences Area Credits (see below): minimum of 27 credits including courses from the areas as noted for each area.  At least four lab courses (L) must be taken among the BIO Area courses, and at least one animal course (A) at least one plant course (P), and at least 3 credits of capstone(C).  A minimum of 12 of these credits must be taken at University of Maine. Students for whom this is a second major are not required to take a BIO capstone and need only take 24 credits within the Biological Sciences Areas.

10. Required Course: 

   

11. Minimum average GPA 2.0 is required for all courses listed in items 1-9 above. 

Bachelor of Arts Core Requirements


1. Basic Biology:

  and   (Minimum grade of C required in each.) 

2. General Chemistry

  and  , or BMB 207  and BMB 209  

3. Earth, Chemical, and Physical Systems

Choose 2 of the following courses, 6-8 cr.

4. Mathematics:  

5. Biological Sciences Area Credits (see below): minimum of 27 credits including courses from the areas as noted for each area.  At least four lab courses (L) must be taken among the BIO Area courses, and at least one animal course (A) at least one plant course (P), and at least 3 credits of capstone (C).  A minimum of 12 of these credits must be taken at University of Maine. Students for whom this is a second major are not required to take a BIO capstone and need only take 24 credits within the Biological Sciences Areas.

6. Required Course: 

   

7. Minimum average GPA 2.0 is required for all courses listed in items 1-6 above. 

8. Satisfy General Education requirements

9.  Complete the College of College of Earth, Life and Health Sciences Graduation Requirements to obtain a Bachelor of Arts Degree which can be found here: ELHS BA Graduation Requirements   

Ecology Concentration Requirements


1.  Satisfy the core requirements of either the B.S. or B.A. degree program.

2.  Statistics requirement: Take the following course to satisfy the requirement: 

   Note for B.A. students,   requires either   , or   as a prerequisite.

3. For BIO Area V: Take the following courses: 

   or   and at least 3 additional credits chosen from  BIO 309  BIO 411  BIO 429 ,  ,  ,  ,  ,  ,  ,  ,   ,  , or WLE 200 .

4.  Environmental Influences: At least one of the following courses:

  ,  ERS 103 ERS 107  , ERS 121 , ERS 152 ,  , or SMS 108  

5.  Field Experience: At least one of the following courses:

 ,  , BIO 430 ,  , BIO 463 , or  . This course can also count toward BIO area credits for the major.

6. General Education requirement: To fill the general education capstone requirement (3 Biological Sciences credits labeled (C)), students in the Ecology Concentration must take one of the following:

 ,     or   

7. Writing Intensive: ENG 201 , ENG 315  or ENG 317 . The requirement is satisfied for students who complete the Honors Civilization Sequence (HON 111 , HON 112 HON 211 , HON 212 )

Entomology Concentration Requirements


1.  Satisfy the core requirements of either the B.S or the B.A. degree program

2.  Biological Sciences AREAS 1-5: Students may take any courses they want in any areas in accordance with degree requirements.  However, to fill the requirements of the Entomology Concentration, course choices must include the following:

  • For BIO area 4:  Take BIO 326  
  • For BIO area 5: Take two of the following courses:

BIO 205 , BIO 319 , BIO 354 , BIO 411 , BIO 429 , BIO 431 , BIO 455 ,BIO 463 ,EES 140 , PSE 457  

  • Insects specific courses:  Among the Biological Sciences Area courses, include at least three of the following courses, which can overlap with requirements listed above:

BIO 326 , BIO 411 , BIO 429 , BIO 430  

  •  Plant course:  Include at least one plant focused course (labeled “P”), which can overlap with requirements listed above, from this list:

BIO 310 , BIO 429 , BIO 432 , BIO 452 , BIO 464 , PSE 457 , SFR 439  

3.  General Education requirements:  Students are strongly encouraged to complete their capstone requirement (3 Biological Sciences credits labeled (C)) through independent research, BIO 388  or HON 499  

Pre-medical Studies Concentration Requirements


1. Satisfy the core requirements for the B.S.

2. Fill the B.S. Organic Chemistry requirements with: 

 ,  ,  , and   

3. At least one of the BIO area I choices must come from this list:

 ,  , or   

4. At least one of the BIO area III course choices must come from this list:

  or   

5. From BIO area IV, students must take either: 

  and  ; or      

6. To fill the general education capstone requirements (3 Biological Sciences credits labeled (C)), students in the Pre-medical Studies Concentration must take one of the following list:

  (highly recommended),   ,     (topic in Biology with an SBE faculty advisor), or both BIO 480  and BIO 483 .

7. Biochemistry:

  and    

If, and only if, CHY251, CHY 252, CHY 253, and CHY 254 are also taken, BMB 323 may count as one of the four required BIO area labs.

8. Writing Intensive (take one of the following):

 ,  , or  . Optional for students completing the Honors Program.

9. Other requirements:

 ,  ,  , and  one of PHI 235  (recommended), PHI 100 , PHI 230 , PHI 231 , PHI 233 . (BIO 302 is optional for students completing the Honors Program).  

10. Recommended coursesINT 107  and INT 207   are highly recommended, but not required.

Pre-medical Studies Notes


a.    Inclusion of BIO 480, Cell Biology, is highly recommended.

b.    Physician assistant, pharmacy, optometry, and physical therapy schools require two semesters of anatomy and physiology (8 credits). This requirement can be met by combining BIO 335, Human Anatomy, and BIO 377 & 378 Medical Physiology and lab (recommended);  or by combining BIO 208, Anatomy and Physiology, and BIO 377 & 378 Medical Physiology and lab. Note that BIO 208 does not count toward the Biology or Zoology degree requirements.  Students should research admission requirements of specific schools and are strongly encouraged to work with the Health Professions Career Counselor in the Career Center.

c.    Students pursuing this concentration may want to consider a minor in Neuroscience, Chemistry, Psychology, or Business.

d.    Pre-medical studies students are strongly encouraged to work with the Career Center’s Health Professions Career Counselor throughout their entire undergraduate program.

Bachelor of Science Core Requirements-New England College of Optometry 3+


Students in the UM-NECO 3+ program complete 90 credits at UMaine over three years, moving on to NECO in their fourth year.  Upon completion of the first year at NECO, 30 credits are transferred back to UMaine and students are awarded their BS degree.

1.  Basic Biology:

BIO 100 , BIO 200   (Minimum grade of C required in each)

2.  General Chemistry:

CHY 121 , CHY 122 , CHY 123 , and CHY 124  

3.  Organic Chemistry l:

CHY 251  and CHY 253  

4.  Biochemistry

BMB 322  and BMB 323  

5.  Physics l:

PHY 111  or PHY 121  

6.  Physics ll:

PHY 112   or PHY 122  

7.  Calculus:

MAT 116  or MAT 126  or MAT 136  

8.  Statistics:

STS 132  

9.  Biological Sciences Area Credits (see below): minimum of 17 credits including courses from Biological Science Areas as noted for each area. At least three lab courses (L) must be taken among the BIO area courses.  A minimum of 12 of these credits must be taken at University of Maine.  For area I, students take BMB 300  to completely fill the area. At least one animal course (A) and one plant (P) from the BIO areas must be taken.

10.  Required Course:

NFA 117  

11. Satisfy general education requirements:

Capstone and Writing Intensive within major are satisfied by the NECO course credits.  Students must take PSY 100  (fills Social Contexts) and either ENG 315   or ENG 317  (fills Writing Intensive)

12.  Courses recommended but not required:

INT 107  and INT 207  

13.  Minimum average GPA: 2.0 is required for all courses listed in items 1-9 above to complete UMaine degree.  NECO requires an overall GPA of 3.3 and a within-major GPA of 3.1.

14.  Upon completion of the first year at NECO, the student must have NECO send a transcript to UMaine.  Successful transfer of 30 credits (minimum grade of C-) from NECO to UMaine is required to complete the UMaine Biology degree. The degree will be awarded at the end of the semester in which the NECO first year transcript is received by UM Office of Student Records.

Biological Sciences Areas for the B.S. or B.A


Area I. Cell and Molecular Biology


Students must take BMB 280 or BIO 480 or 6 total credits from the area.

Area II. Genetics and Evolution


Both courses are required.

Area III. Physiology


Students must take 3 credits from the area.

Area IV. Biodiversity


Students must take 3 credits from the area

Area V. Ecology and Behavior


Students must take BIO 319 or SMS 300 or 6 total credits from the area.

Alternate Area


Courses within the Alternate Area can be included in the 27 total area minimum credits, but do not count toward any specific area except by prior arrangement with the program coordinator. 

Required Courses in Suggested Sequence for the B.S. in Biology


Sequences may vary depending on student interests, transfer or AP credits, and beginning math level.  The following is intended as an example of a 4-year sequence for this program and does not replace academic advising.  Students and advisors should work together, carefully reviewing curriculum requirements, noting timing of courses and prerequisites, to design a program best suited to the individual student.

Students are encouraged to take 30 credits per academic year (fall, winter, spring, and summer combined) to achieve the 120 credit minimum for graduation.

First Year - First Semester


First Year - Second Semester


Second Year - First Semester


Second Year - Second Semester


Third Year - First Semester


Third Year - Second Semester


Fourth Year - First Semester


Fourth Year- Second Semester


Required Courses in Suggested Sequence for the B.S. in Biology With Honors, Chemistry taken in Second Year


Sequences may vary depending on student interests, transfer or AP credits, and beginning math level.  The following is intended as an example of a 4-year sequence for this program and does not replace academic advising.  Students and advisors should work together, carefully reviewing curriculum requirements, noting timing of courses and prerequisites, to design a program best suited to the individual student.

Students are encouraged to take 30 credits per academic year (fall, winter, spring, and summer combined) to achieve the 120 credit minimum for graduation.

Honors College

Students enrolled in the Honors College will find that the program works well with their major, replacing General Education and capstone requirements.  Honors students should work with their advisor to adapt the suggested course sequences below to accommodate their Honors courses.

Second Year - First Semester


Third Year - First Semester


Third Year - Second Semester


Fourth Year - First Semester


Fourth Year - Second Semester


Required Courses in Suggested Sequence for the B.S. in Biology with Pre-medical Studies Concentration, Chemistry taken in First Year


Sequences may vary depending on student interests, transfer or AP credits, and beginning math level.  The following is intended as an example of a 4-year sequence for this program and does not replace academic advising.  Students and advisors should work together, carefully reviewing curriculum requirements, noting timing of courses and prerequisites, to design a program best suited to the individual student.

Students are encouraged to take 30 credits per academic year (fall, winter, spring, and summer combined) to achieve the 120 credit minimum for graduation.

Second Year - Second Semester


Third Year - Second Semester


Fourth Year- Second Semester


Required Courses in Suggested Sequence for the B.S. in Biology with Pre-medical Studies Concentration, Chemistry taken in Second Year


Sequences may vary depending on student interests, transfer or AP credits, and beginning math level.  The following is intended as an example of a 4-year sequence for this program and does not replace academic advising.  Students and advisors should work together, carefully reviewing curriculum requirements, noting timing of courses and prerequisites, to design a program best suited to the individual student.

Students are encouraged to take 30 credits per academic year (fall, winter, spring, and summer combined) to achieve the 120 credit minimum for graduation.

First Year - Second Semester


Second Year - First Semester


Second Year - Second Semester


Fourth Year - Second Semester


Required Courses in Suggested Sequence for the B.S. in Biology with Ecology Concentration


Sequences may vary depending on student interests, transfer or AP credits, and beginning math level.  The following is intended as an example of a 4-year sequence for this program and does not replace academic advising.  Students and advisors should work together, carefully reviewing curriculum requirements, noting timing of courses and prerequisites, to design a program best suited to the individual student.

Students are encouraged to take 30 credits per academic year (fall, winter, spring, and summer combined) to achieve the 120 credit minimum for graduation.

First Year - First Semester


First Year -Second Semester


Second Year - Second Semester


Third Year - First Semester


Fourth Year - First Semester


Fourth Year - Second Semester


Courses in Suggested Sequence for the B.S. in Biology, NECO 3+


Third Year - Second Semester


Fourth Year


Student attends NECO and transfers courses back to UMaine at the end of the academic year.  Capstone and writing-intensive-within-major are waived. 

Required Courses in Suggested Sequence for the B.A. in Biology


Sequences may vary depending on student interests, transfer or AP credits, and beginning math level.  The following is intended as an example of a 4-year sequence for this program and does not replace academic advising.  Students and advisors should work together, carefully reviewing curriculum requirements, noting timing of courses and prerequisites, to design a program best suited to the individual student.

Students are encouraged to take 30 credits per academic year (fall, winter, spring, and summer combined) to achieve the 120 credit minimum for graduation.

The BA sequence is intentionally flexible to allow students to pursue a minor or second major.  The sequence here outlined is only one of many possibilities.  Students are encouraged to work with their academic advisor to develop a customized sequence to meet their academic goals.

First Year - First Semester


First Year - Second Semester


Second Year - First Semester


Second Year - Second Semester


Third Year - First Semester


Third Year - Second Semester


Fourth Year - First Semester


  • Capstone or BIO Lab course (choose one):

BIO 438 - Morphogenesis in Development and Disease  Credits: 3

or

BIO 463 - River Ecology  Credits: 4

or

BIO 468 - Lake Ecology  Credits: 3

  • Course for minor Credits: 3
  • Remaining BIO requirements or free elective Credits: 4
  • Remaining General education requirements Credits: 3
  • Elective Credits: 1

Fourth Year- Second Semester


Required Courses in Suggested Sequence for the B.A. in Biology with Entomology Concentration


Sequences may vary depending on student interests, transfer or AP credits, and beginning math level.  The following is intended as an example of a 4-year sequence for this program and does not replace academic advising.  Students and advisors should work together, carefully reviewing curriculum requirements, noting timing of courses and prerequisites, to design a program best suited to the individual student.

Students are encouraged to take 30 credits per academic year (fall, winter, spring, and summer combined) to achieve the 120 credit minimum for graduation.

The BA sequence is intentionally flexible to allow students to pursue a minor or second major.  The sequence here outlined is only one of many possibilities.  Students are encouraged to work with their academic advisor to develop a customized sequence to meet their academic goals.

First Year - First Semester


First Year -Second Semester


Second Year - Second Semester


Third Year - First Semester


Third Year - Second Semester


Fourth Year - First Semester


Fourth Year - Second Semester


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