The Department of Biological Sciences offers a B.S. with the opportunity to concentrate in human biology, biotechnology, and ecology, as well as a two-year nondegree program in pre-pharmacy and postbaccalaureate certificates in pre-medical studies and pre-veterinary studies. All programs of study provide students with a liberal arts education emphasizing the sciences. Students also get strong hands-on experience by taking at least 4-6 lab classes, and many students get enhanced practical experience through research positions (volunteer, work study, grant funded, and fellowships) in science research labs at USM and elsewhere. The Department of Biological Sciences also offer a master’s degree in biology, with both thesis research and literature research options.
Students majoring in Biology (the "general biology" track) examine life from the molecular to the community level. Besides taking foundation courses that survey the full range of biology, plus genetics and evolution, students also take courses in three major areas of biology: organismal biology, ecology, and cellular and functional biology. Students interested in veterinary medicine should pursue this track. Graduates from the program have gone on to work as lab technicians, research biologists, and state biologists. Other alumni have entered top graduate programs around the country.
Students who pursue a concentration in Human Biology generally are interested in the health professions. They take human-oriented courses including anatomy & physiology, pathophysiology, and general physiology. Many of these graduates enter medical schools in Maine and New England.
Students who follow the Biotechnology track receive a solid foundation in both biology and chemistry. They take advanced courses in molecular biology, immunology, and biochemistry, including labs. Graduates are well situated to secure a position in a biotech company or to enter graduate programs in cell and molecular biology.
Students pursuing a concentration in Ecology take courses in organismal biology and in ecology, including field labs. Choices include microbiology, botany, ornithology and vertebrate zoology, as well as marine ecology and plant ecology. Students also receive training in Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Their education makes them well qualified for careers in ecology, environmental sciences, and conservation.
The two-year Prepharmacy program is designed for students who wish to apply to a doctoral program in Pharmacy. Students complete the prerequisite biology, chemistry, and general education courses necessary to gain entry to pharmacy programs.
All undergraduates are encouraged to gain valuable experience in the field, whether through working with individual faculty on research projects or through internships with area companies and organizations.
Other biology courses may be elected to suit individual interests and needs. Required courses in chemistry, mathematics, and physics reflect the interdisciplinary status of the biological sciences.
Post Baccalaureate Options
For students who already hold a baccalaureate degree but who have decided to return to school and complete the requirements for admission to medical or veterinary school, we offer Certificates in Pre-medical Studies and in Pre-Veterinary Studies. These students get the solid foundation of introductory biology courses, plus chemistry and physics, along with some upper level courses in biology, which prepares them for professional study.
Students may pursue the Master of Science degree in Biology, which offers breadth of coursework in Physiology, Ecology and Evolution, and Molecular Biology and Genetics. In addition, graduate students complete a thesis based on independent research or a literature review. Full time students frequently receive support through assistantships and tuition waivers.