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While the various majors in the department of Biology and Environmental Science are straightforward, there are a few areas which may cause confusion. These are summarized below.

All Majors:

We strongly advise having an advisor within the department who will be aware of the problems students may encounter in pursuing a degree. Again, the requirements are straightforward, but the departmental faculty is more aware of upcoming schedules, sabbaticals and other issues that may affect course offerings.

Biology Major:

These are the biggest issues:

  • The biology capstone is a 3-semester series. The class begins with Biology 380 in the spring of the junior year. It continues with either Biology 480 (2 credits) or 490 (3 credits) in the fall. A grade of incomplete is assigned at that point, pending completion of the research project and presentation in the spring. We only offer 380 in the spring. We only offer 480/490 in the fall. Students must complete 380 2 semesters before graduation; this means signing up for 380 in the spring of the junior year. This has important consequences for students going abroad, or for transfer students or other students who are not on a "normal" 4-year trajectory. We do not have the staff to offer 380 more frequently, and it cannot be taken as an independent study because much of the class involves interactions with fellow students. There are a few alternate arrangements we can make, but these must be done well in advance.
  • Biology 301 does NOT count towards 40 hours of Biology.

Biochemistry Major:

  • Biochemistry students can take either the Biology or the Chemistry capstone. Both courses start in the spring of the junior year (see above)

Health Science Major:

  • Under some circumstances, HSCI majors may take the sports medicine capstone, which also starts in the spring of the junior year. Before the biology department signs a waiver on the degree audit, there must be a signature from the chair of sports medicine. Sports medicine will not allow anyone to take their capstone unless they have completed certain prerequisites, so early planning is needed.

Environmental Science and Studies Major:

  • Since Dr. Fitch teaches many of the courses, you will want to check with him as to their future availability.

Students interested in pre-professional programs (pre-med, pre PA, pre-vet, pre-dental, etc.)