Biology Major Requirements

Graphic for navigating the new biology curriculum.

Hill, April L.ahill5@bates.edu
Biology
Professor
Carnegie Science Hall, Room 410

April Hill is the Wagener Family Professor of Equity and Inclusion in STEM. April uses marine and freshwater sponges as a model system to study how changes to genomes and gene regulatory networks have led to the diversity of animal forms and functions. Learn more about her interests and opportunities for doing research in her lab here.

 



Biology is the study of living systems and how they interact with the nonliving world and with one another. It is a discipline that bridges the physical and social sciences. Students who major in biology become familiar with all levels of biological organization from molecules to ecosystems, and gain practical experience in both laboratory and field studies. More information on the biology department is available on the website (bates.edu/biology).

The biology curriculum is under revision. During this transition there are distinct major requirements for the classes of 2021 and 2022, the Class of 2023, and the Class of 2024 and beyond.

Major Requirements for Class of 2024 and beyond


1) Both of the following:
CHEM 107A. Atomic and Molecular Structure/Lab.
CHEM 108A. Chemical Reactivity/Lab.
Prospective majors are strongly encouraged to complete this two-course introductory chemistry sequence in the first year.

2) One of the following quantitative courses, which cannot simultaneously satisfy the General Education requirement for a quantitative or formal reasoning (QF) Mode of Inquiry:

BIO 244. Biostatistics.
BI/ME 255A. Mathematical Models in Biology.
DCS 108. Introduction to Computation for Science and Mathematics.
DC/MA s45T. Mathematical Image Processing.
ENVR 220. GIS Across the Curriculum.
EA/ES 217. Mapping and GIS.
MATH 105. Calculus I.
MATH 106. Calculus II.
MATH 214. Probability.
MATH 215. Statistics.
MATH 255D. Mathematical Modeling with Monte Carlo Methods.
MA/PH 255E. Nonlinear Models and Chaos.
MATH 255F. Agent-Based Modeling with NetLogo.
NRSC 205. Statistical Methods.
PHYS 107. Introductory Physics of Living Systems I/Lab.
PHYS 108. Introductory Physics of Living Systems II/Lab.
PSYC 218. Statistics.

3) At least twelve courses in biology (eleven credits - see 3a and 3c below), of which a minimum of nine must be taught by Bates faculty. Only two introductory courses (100-level) may be applied to the major and only if taken during the first or sophomore year. The twelve courses must include:

a) A four-course core, comprising:
BIO 195. Lab-Based Biological Inquiry, typically taken in the first year.
BIO 202. Cellular Basis of Life.
BIO 204. Biological Research Experience: Molecules to Ecosystems.
BIO 206. Evolution and Interactions of Life.

Majors are strongly encouraged to complete these four core courses by the end of the sophomore year; they must be completed prior to the beginning of the senior year. The 200-level courses have BIO 195 as a prerequisite.

b) A biological skills course, taken in Short Term for 0.5 credits.

c) A senior seminar, integrated with the departmental seminar series over both semesters of the senior year, for 0.5 credits total.

d) A one-semester, research-based capstone, drawn from the following:
BIO 457. Senior Thesis.
BIO 458. Senior Thesis.
BIO 472. Seminar and Research in Physiology/Lab.
BIO 473. Seminar and Research in Cell Biology.
BIO 476. Seminar and Research in Evolutionary Biology.
BIO 477. Seminar and Research in Microbiology/Lab.

Students may request permission to conduct a two-semester thesis, at the discretion of the thesis advisor and the department; this option is most appropriate for students considering graduate school and a career in research. A second semester of thesis can count toward the thirty-two credits required for graduation, but only one of the two thesis semesters count toward the major.

e) Five additional biology courses (electives) to complete the twelve biology courses required, with the following additional caveats and permissions:
At least two of the elective courses must be 200-level or above and taught by Bates biology department faculty.
The electives may include BIO 244 only if the quantitative requirement is not being fulfilled with BIO 244, NRSC 205, or PSYC 218 (see item 2 above).
One of the following courses may be substituted for a maximum of one advanced biology course:
CH/NS 320. Mechanisms of Memory.
CHEM 321. Biological Chemistry I/Lab.
CHEM 322. Biological Chemistry II/Lab.
ENVR 240. Water and Watersheds/Lab.
ENVR 310. Soils/Lab.
NS/PY 363. Physiological Psychology/Lab.

4) Completion of the comprehensive assessment requirement. This requirement is fulfilled by completing a departmental comprehensive assessment during the senior year.

Pass/Fail Grading Option

Pass/fail grading may be elected for courses applied toward the major except for: BIO 195, the 200-level core courses (202, 204, and 206), and all 400-level courses. Pass/fail grading may be used only for the elective courses, to the extent allowed by Bates’ general policies on pass/fail grading.

Restrictions


Students may not major in biology and either biochemistry or neuroscience.
Students may not major in biology and environmental studies if their environmental studies concentration is either 1) Ecology and Economics of the Environment or 2) Ecology and Earth Systems.Students planning to minor in chemistry may not use CHEM 321 or 322 toward both the chemistry minor and the biology major.

Advanced Placement

Advanced Placement (AP), A-Level, and International Baccalaureate (IB) credit can continue to count toward the thirty-two credits required for graduation in accordance with college policies, but does not count toward the major (i.e., this credit cannot substitute for any course in the department and does not reduce the number of courses required for the major).

Planning for the Major

Prospective majors are urged to discuss course selection and scheduling with a member of the department in the first year, particularly if participation in an off-campus study program is anticipated. It is essential to take BIO 195, CHEM 107, and CHEM 108 in the first year. The department strongly encourages students to complete the required core courses before the end of their sophomore year to allow scheduling flexibility later. Completion of the core courses prior to the beginning of the senior year is required. The department also strongly advises that electives be chosen in close consultation with faculty to ensure breadth of knowledge within biology (from molecules and cells to organisms and ecosystems). Students who study abroad may apply up to two courses toward the major as electives if the courses are appropriate and pre-approved by the chair or their designee.

Major Requirements for Class of 2023


1) Both of the following:
CHEM 107A. Atomic and Molecular Structure/Lab.
CHEM 108A. Chemical Reactivity/Lab.
Prospective majors are strongly encouraged to complete this two-course introductory chemistry sequence in the first year.

One of the following:
BIO 244. Biostatistics.
NRSC 205. Statistical Methods.
CHEM 217-218. Organic Chemistry I and II/Lab.
Organic Chemistry (CHEM 217-218) is strongly recommended for students interested in
attending graduate school, and required for those planning to apply to medical school programs.

2) At least eleven courses in biology, of which a minimum of eight must be taught by Bates faculty. Nine of the eleven must be advanced courses (200-level and above, or the equivalent). Two introductory courses (100-level and s20-s28) may be applied to the major. CHEM 125 and designated first-year seminars (FYS 262, 461, and 465) may be used in place of a 100-level biology course.

The eleven courses must include:

a) BIO 195. Lab-Based Biological Inquiry.
Three additional 200-level core courses currently under development: 1) Cellular Bases of Life; 2) Evolution and Interactions of Life; and 3) Biological Research Experience: Molecules to Ecosystems. These 200-level courses have prerequistes.

Majors are strongly encouraged to complete these four courses by the end of the sophomore year; they must be completed prior to the beginning of the senior year.

b) Additional advanced biology courses (electives) to complete the eleven courses required. The advanced courses may not include BIO 244 or NRSC 205 if one of these courses is used to complete requirement 1 above, and may include no more than three research seminar, junior seminar, or thesis credits from among BIO 360, 457, 458, 460, 470-478, and s50.

One of the following courses may be substituted for one advanced biology course:

CH/NS 320. Mechanisms of Memory.
CHEM 321. Biological Chemistry I/Lab.
CHEM 322. Biological Chemistry II/Lab.
NRSC 205. Statistical Methods.
NS/PY 363. Physiological Psychology/Lab.

c) Completion of a capstone experience that includes any two of the following:
BIO 457. Senior Thesis.
BIO 458. Senior Thesis.
BIO 460. Junior Seminar.
BIO 472. Seminar and Research in Physiology/Lab.
BIO 473. Seminar and Research in Cell Biology.
BIO 476. Seminar and Research in Evolutionary Biology.
BIO 477. Seminar and Research in Microbiology/Lab..
NRSC 460. Capstone Seminar on Cellular Neuroscience, taken in the senior year, may substitute for BIO 460. With prior approval of the chair, BIO 460 plus a community-engaged learning project may fulfil this requirement.

3) Completion of the comprehensive assessment requirement. This requirement is fulfilled by
completing a departmental comprehensive assessment during the senior year.

Pass/Fail Grading Option


Pass/fail grading may be elected for courses applied toward the major except for: BIO 195, the 200-level core courses, and all 400-level courses.

Major Requirements for the Classes of 2021 and 2022



1) Both of the following:
CHEM 107A. Atomic and Molecular Structure/Lab.
CHEM 108A. Chemical Reactivity/Lab.
Prospective majors are strongly encouraged to complete this two-course introductory chemistry sequence in the first year.

One of the following:
BIO 244. Biostatistics.
NRSC 205. Statistical Methods.
CHEM 217-218. Organic Chemistry I and II/Lab.
Organic Chemistry (CHEM 217-218) is strongly recommended for students interested in attending graduate school, and required for those planning to apply to medical school programs.

2) At least ten courses in biology, of which a minimum of eight must be taught by the Bates faculty. Eight of the ten courses must be advanced courses (200-level and above, or the equivalent). Two introductory courses (100-level and s20 – s28) may be applied toward the major, as long as at least one has a full laboratory component (designated in course descriptions by "[L]"). CHEM 125 and designated first-year seminars (FYS 262, 461, and 465) may be used in place of a 100-level biology course. The ten biology courses must include:

a) BIO 190. Organismal Biology/Lab.
BIO 242. Cellular and Molecular Biology/Lab.
BIO 270. Ecology and Evolution/Lab.
Majors are strongly encouraged to complete these courses by the end of the sophomore year; they must be completed prior to the beginning of the senior year. BIO 242 and 270 have prerequisites.

b) Additional advanced biology courses (electives) to complete the ten courses required. The advanced courses may not include BIO 244 or NRSC 205 if is used to complete requirement (1) above, and may include no more than three research seminar, junior seminar, or thesis credits from among BIO 360, 457, 458, 460, 470 through 478, and s50. One of the following courses may be substituted for one advanced biology course:
CH/NS 320. Mechanisms of Memory.
CHEM 321. Biological Chemistry I/Lab.
CHEM 322. Biological Chemistry II/Lab.
NRSC 205. Statistical Methods.
NS/PY 363. Physiological Psychology/Lab.

c) Completion of a capstone experience that includes any two of the following:
BIO 457. Senior Thesis.
BIO 458. Senior Thesis.
BIO 460. Junior Seminar.
BIO 472. Seminar and Research in Physiology/Lab.
BIO 473. Seminar and Research in Cell Biology.
BIO 476. Seminar and Research in Evolutionary Biology.
BIO 477. Seminar and Research in Microbiology/Lab.
NRSC 460. Capstone Seminar on Cellular Neuroscience, taken in the senior year, may substitute for BIO 460.With prior approval of the chair, BIO 460 plus a community-engaged learning project may fulfil this requirement.

3) Completion of the comprehensive assessment requirement. This requirement is fulfilled by completing a departmental comprehensive assessment during the senior year.

Considerations for the Classes of 2021, 2022, and 2023


Restrictions

Students may not major in biology and either biochemistry or neuroscience. Students may not major in biology and environmental studies if their environmental studies concentration is either 1) Ecology and Economics of the Environment or 2) Ecology and Earth Systems. Students planning to minor in chemistry may not use CHEM 321 or 322 toward both the chemistry minor and the biology major.

Planning for the Major

Prospective majors are urged to discuss course selection and scheduling with a member of the department in the first year, particularly if participation in an off-campus study program is anticipated. It is essential to take CHEM 107 and CHEM 108 in the first year. The department strongly encourages students to complete the required core courses before the end of their sophomore year to allow scheduling flexibility later. Completion of the core courses prior to the beginning of the senior year is required. The department also strongly advises that electives be chosen in close consultation with faculty to ensure breadth of knowledge within biology (from molecules and cells to organisms and ecosystems). Students who study abroad may apply up to two courses toward the major as electives if the courses are appropriate and pre-approved by the chair.

Advanced Placement

Advanced Placement (AP), A-Level, and International Baccalaureate (IB) credit does not count toward the major. It cannot substitute for any course in the department and does not reduce the number of courses required for the major.