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Biology

Bachelor of Science in Biology

The two main goals of the Biology and Health Science majors are (1) to prepare majors for graduate education and/or careers in the biological sciences, and (2) to inform students of the methods of science as a tool for understanding the natural world. Students will study the structure and function of living systems, spanning the range of biological scale from cells to organisms to ecosystems. Through a combination of lectures, extensive laboratory investigations, field work, and opportunities beyond the school, majors study the processes that occur in the natural world and their practical applications. Recent graduates from our department have successfully entered and completed many graduate and professional degree programs (including ones in pharmacy, medicine, physical therapy, physician’s assistant, conservation biology, environmental engineering, dentistry, nutrition, athletic training, nursing, science education, and forensics science) and are employed as scientists, medical technicians, state biologists, secondary school teachers, and medical practitioners. All students in the Biology and Health Science program begin their training with a common set of core classes that include introductions to biology, chemistry, physics, and math. As a student progresses through this core, in consultation with his or her faculty advisor and the department faculty, they will select a major: (1) BS in Biology for students interested in graduate school, careers in biological research, or a broad training in the biological sciences, or (2) BS in Health Science for students interested in a career in the health and medical field. Each of these majors has a set of core courses and electives designed to prepare students for their chosen area of interest. The Health Science student will work closely with an advisor on an appropriate set of courses in a recommended pre-professional track.

As part of the Senior Science Seminar, all majors are required to conduct their own research projects under the guidance of the Biology and Health Science faculty. Students are also encouraged to engage in more extensive research projects throughout their time in the major. New England College is located in a pristine natural setting with diverse terrestrial and aquatic habitats that are available for research and field studies. In addition, on-campus facilities and equipment as well as off-campus affiliations are available for student research.

Health Science majors are required, and Biology majors encouraged, to participate in internships and/or volunteer to further their career and personal development. There are numerous local internship and volunteers opportunities in private, state, and federal agencies, as well as non-profit organizations. Additional opportunities exist at hospitals, animal rehabilitation facilities, and professional medical offices.

All first-year students are encouraged to take The Way of Science (NSM 1000), Pre-calculus, and General Biology I and II (BI 1110 and BI 1120). All second-year students are encouraged to take General Chemistry I and II (CH 2110 and CH 2120) as well as core courses from their chosen degree track.

Students who are interested in biology but are not expecting to pursue an advanced degree in biology or health science may choose to develop, in consultation with the Biology and Health Science faculty, an Individually Designed Major (IDM) that allows them more flexibility in course selection. In the past, students have developed an IDM in Biological Studies, Environmental Biology, Health Care Administration, and Wildlife Biology.

Students interested in teaching science should consult the Education Department Program in Secondary Education for requirements.

Requirements to Major in Biology

Grades of C- or better are required in all courses needed for the biology major, including chemistry and mathematics.

Collegium Requirements

 (9 Credits)

  • NSM 1000 – The Way of Science (fulfills LAS 4 requirement)
  • NSM 3000 – Careers in Science
  • NSM 4000 – Senior Science Thesis

Collegium Requirements

 (9 Credits)

  • NSM 1000 – The Way of Science (fulfills LAS 4 requirement)
  • NSM 3000 – Careers in Science
  • NSM 4000 – Senior Science Thesis

Biology Core Courses (40 Credits)

  • BI 1110 – General Biology I (fulfills LAS 5 requirement)
  • BI 1120 – General Biology II
  • CH 2110 – General Chemistry I
  • CH 2120 – General Chemistry II
  • PH 2210 – General Physics I
  • MT 1510 – Precalculus
  • MT 2310 – Statistics

One course from each of the following areas:
Organismal biology

  • BI 2020 – Plants and Human Affairs
  • BI 2050 – Zoology

Cell/molecular biology

  • BI 3030 – Genetics
  • BI 3210 – Microbiology

Ecosystems biology

  • BI 4010 – Ecology

BS in Biology Course Electives (24 Credits)

Any six of the following courses (not including the courses taken to fulfill the core), where at least 3 of the courses are 3000 level or above:

  • BI 1020 – Foundations of Nutrition
  • BI 2020 – Plants and Human Affairs
  • BI 2030 – Human Anatomy and Physiology I
  • BI 2040 – Human Anatomy and Physiology II
  • BI 2050 – Zoology
  • BI/ES 2070 – New England Natural History
  • BI 3020 – Comparative Animal Physiology
  • BI 3030 – Genetics
  • BI 3210 – Microbiology
  • BI 3990 – Advanced Topics in Biology
  • BI 4020 – Evolution
  • BI 4910 – Internship in Biology (4cr or more)
  • CH 3310 – Organic Chemistry I
  • CH 3320 – Organic Chemistry II
  • CH 3330 – Biochemistry
  • MT 2510 – Calculus I
  • PH 2220 – General Physics II

Requirements to Minor in Biology

A minor in Biology will consist of the following courses:

  • BI 1110 – General Biology I
  • BI 1120 – General Biology II
  • NSM 1000 – The Way of Science

At least 12 credits of Biology courses at the 2000 level or above.

Course Descriptions

**All undergraduate courses are 4 credits unless otherwise noted. 

BI 1010 Biology and Society

Biology and Society is an exploration of life on Earth with an emphasis on the relationship between science and modern society, including applications to medicine, forensics, agriculture, and popular culture. This course is designed for non-science-major students with little or no college-level science experience. The course will emphasize student discussions of the social, legal, and ethical implications of advances in modern biotechnology. Laboratory exercises will reinforce concepts learned in lecture through hands-on experimentation. Fulfills the General Education Liberal Arts and Sciences laboratory science requirement (LAS 5). Offered every semester.

BI 1020 Foundations of Nutrition

An introduction to the basic concepts of nutrition, their application to the functions of carbohydrates, fats, proteins, minerals, and vitamins; the function and role of nutrients on health; and identification of substances in the diet which may adversely affect the body. Offered every spring.

BI 1030 Concepts of Human Anatomy and Physiology

This course is a one-semester overview of the essential concepts of human anatomy and physiology for Kinesiology and Physical Education majors. Many of the major organ systems are studied (cardiovascular, respiratory, skeletal, muscular, digestive, nervous, and endocrine), as well as their functional relation to each other. Particular emphasis is placed on musculoskeletal anatomy and physiology, exercise, and other elements critical to maintaining optimum health. Lecture and lab. Offered every fall.

BI 1060 Introduction to Horticulture

An introduction to the structure, growth, and classification of horticultural plants, including the techniques of controlling plant environments and plant growth, techniques of plant propagation and emphasis on practical aspects of plant production. Extensive work required in the College greenhouse. Offered upon sufficient demand.

BI 1110 General Biology I

A consideration of the basic principles of biology, within the context of the unifying theory of evolution, designed for the science major or any student interested in taking a full-year general biology sequence. Laboratories provide hands-on experiences of the same topics covered in lectures but deal with the examination and utilization of scientific methods, including experimental design, data collection, analysis, and interpretation. For the Biology Major, this course satisfies the Liberal Arts and Sciences laboratory science requirement (LAS 5). Offered every fall. 

BI 1120 General Biology II

This course is a continuation of BI 1110. In this semester, the emphasis is on major integrating systems and ecological relationships of animals and plants. Laboratory work involves anatomy and physiology of both plants and animals, as well as experimental analysis of ecological interactions. Prerequisite: BI 1110. Offered every spring.

BI 2020 Plants and Human Affairs

This course examines the importance of plants in human lives. Plants are sources for food, drugs, medicines, poisons, clothing, shelter, perfumes, cosmetics, paper and have many other uses. We will examine the form, structure, and morphological adaptations of algae, fungi, mosses, primitive vascular plants, gymnosperms and angiosperms. Emphasis is placed on the economic importance of plants in the past and present. Laboratory work utilizes living plants from the NEC greenhouse and those collected in the field from local natural areas. Prerequisite: BI 1120 or permission of instructor. Offered in odd falls.

BI 2030 Human Anatomy and Physiology I

This is the first half of an intensive two-semester course designed to introduce students to the fundamentals of human anatomy and physiology. This course focuses on the chemical and cellular principles that are essential for the proper understanding of the basic physiological systems in humans. Topics covered include cellular structure and function, cell metabolism, tissue structure and function, musculoskeletal system, and nervous control systems. Prerequisite: BI 1120. Offered every fall.

BI 2040 Human Anatomy and Physiology II

This is a continuation of BI 2030, Human Anatomy and Physiology I. This course concludes discussion of organ systems in humans, including the senses, hormonal control, and the cardiovascular, respiratory, digestive, urinary, and reproductive systems. Prerequisite: BI 2030. Offered every spring.

BI 2050 Zoology

This course focuses on the anatomy, classification, adaptive physiology, ecology, and evolution of the major phyla of invertebrate and vertebrate animals. Prerequisite: BI 1120. Offered in even springs.

BI 2070 (ES 2070) New England Natural History

A field and laboratory course emphasizing the diversity of local organisms and their environments. We attempt to cover all major groups (animals, plants and fungi) of both terrestrial and aquatic habitats, in terms of basic structure, relationships, identification, and adaptations. Prerequisite: BI 1110 or ES 1110. Offered odd falls.

BI 3020 Comparative Animal Physiology

This course examines the functioning of body systems in a wide range of animal groups. Covered topics include nervous and hormonal control systems, cardiovascular physiology, respiration, water balance/regulation, and muscle physiology. The laboratory consists of a self-designed, semester-long set of experiments, culminating in a scientific presentation. Prerequisites: BI 1110, BI 1120, CH 2110. Offered in odd springs.

BI 3030 Genetics

Much of modern biology centers on genetics. In this course, all major subdivisions of genetics are covered: Mendelian genetics, chromosome structure and changes, linkage, introductory population genetics, and molecular genetics. The laboratory work includes Drosophila genetics and molecular techniques. Prerequisites: BI 1110, BI 1120. Offered in even falls.

BI 3210 Microbiology

The course studies the genetics, physiology, and classification of microorganisms. Microorganisms include bacteria, viruses, fungi, protozoa and algae. A special emphasis is placed on disease causing microbes and the interactions between microbes and their environment. Laboratories focus on aseptic technique, safety, microbial metabolism, identification and genome annotation. Prerequisites: BI 1110, BI 1120.  Offered in odd springs.

BI 3990 Advanced Topics in Biology

This course focuses on the treatment of some biological concept or principle. May be offered with or without a laboratory. Prerequisites: BI 1110, BI 1120. May be repeated for credit on different topics.

BI 4010 Ecology

This course examines basic principles and factors governing the relationships of organisms to their environment.  Topics include abiotic and biotic factors, energy flow, population dynamics, species interactions, species diversity, abundance and community structure.  Laboratories provide opportunities to collect and analyze data from field and lab.  Prerequisites: BI 1110, BI 1120, MT 1230. Offered in even falls.

BI 4020 Evolution

The theory of evolution is the intellectual glue that bonds all the sub-disciplines of biology into a coherent system. The goal of this seminar/reading course is to introduce students to major topics of evolutionary theory. Examined, among other items, are origins of specific adaptations, co-evolution, sex ratios, sexual selection, speciation rates, the origin of life, and major events in the evolution of organisms. Prerequisites: BI 1110, BI 1120. Offered in odd springs.

BI 4030 Research in Biology

Undergraduates may elect to work in the laboratory or in the field with one or more of the Biology faculty on special topics. Possible topics include: peatland research, amphibian research, flora and fauna of New Hampshire, molecular biology, microbiology, neurobiology, or a topic developed by the student. Prerequisites: BI 1110, BI 1120. May be repeated for credit.

BI 4810 Directed Study in Biology

Course of study to be arranged between faculty and student. Contract required. May be repeated for credit. Variable credit (1-4).

BI 4830 Independent Study in Biology

Advanced, independent study of a specific topic. Course of study to be arranged with a faculty member.  Contract required. Variable credit (1-4).

BI 4850 Teaching in Biology

This course provides the student with teaching opportunities. A contract will be developed for an appropriate experience that might include assisting a faculty member in the biological laboratories or peer tutoring. Students can participate in various phases of the laboratory experience from preparation to classroom management and help with student learning. Prerequisite: Students must have successfully completed the course in which they are assisting. Contract required. Variable credit depending on duties. May be repeated for credit if assisting in a different course.

BI 4860 Laboratory Methods in Science

This course is designed to give the secondary education major in biology the opportunity to investigate and design laboratories suitable for the secondary school. Students will integrate the broad goals of the State of New Hampshire Curriculum Frameworks with the techniques and skills they have learned in other science courses in order to develop laboratories in the biological and natural sciences.

BI 4910 Internship in Biology

Students are encouraged to seek internships in area hospitals, research facilities, non-profit organizations, environmental educational facilities, and field studies. Students should work with a faculty sponsor to develop an internship in their area of interest. Contract required. Variable credit (1-16).

CH 2010 Introduction to Chemistry

This is a course for students who have not previously studied chemistry. This course introduces basic concepts in chemistry. We discuss the relationship between chemistry and environmental issues concerning air, energy, water and the global climate change as well as biological issues such as genetic engineering, designer drugs and nutrition. Chemistry is a hands-on science and the learning activities are integral part of the course. Chemical concepts are introduced and applied. The course is centered on real-world societal problems and issues that have significant chemical content. This course emphasizes decision-making activities and responsible citizen stewardship of our natural resources. The course also demonstrates use of library and Internet resources for information gathering and includes experiments during the lab periods and experiments in class. Prerequisites: MT 1010 or MT 1020. Offered every other spring.

CH 2110 General Chemistry I          

Fundamental concepts and principles for an understanding of chemical phenomena are discussed. Topics include atomic and molecular structure, periodic properties of elements, stoichiometry, gas laws, thermochemistry, and chemical bonding. Laboratory work consists of experiments which are largely quantitative. Previous course in chemistry recommended. Prerequisite: MT 1510.

CH 2120 General Chemistry II         

This course is a continuation of CH 2110 – General Chemistry I. Topics covered include intermolecular forces and physical properties of solutions, chemical kinetics, chemical equilibrium, and acid-base, and solubility equilibria. Prerequisite: CH 2110.

CH 3310 Organic Chemistry I           

A study of carbon compounds by functional groups including the correlation of chemical and physical properties with structure, reaction mechanisms, and methods of synthesis. The laboratory portion emphasizes the microscale techniques. Prerequisite: CH 2120. 

CH 3320 Organic Chemistry II

A Continuation of  CH3310 – Organic Chemistry I. A study of additional functional groups and spectroscopy including IR, UV-VIS and NMR. Pre-requisite:  CH3310

CH 3330 Biochemistry

This course explores the roles of essential biological molecules focusing on proteins, lipids and carbohydrates. Students examine the structure of proteins, their function, and their association with other molecules. Protein purification and enzyme kinetics will be explored in the laboratory. Prerequisite: CH 3310. 

CH 3410 (ES 3410) Environmental Chemistry              

This course investigates in detail the chemical transformations that occur in nature’s gaseous state (the atmosphere), aqueous solutions (rivers and oceans) and the solid state (land and soil). In addition, alternative energy sources will be studied from the perspective of the impact on the environment and their underlying chemical principles. In the laboratory, the student may choose to do an independent project or a series of experiments illustrating our impact on the environment. Prerequisite: CH 2120.

CH 3990 Advanced Topics in Chemistry         

A focused treatment of some chemical concept or principle. May be offered with or without laboratory. May be repeated for credit for different topics.

CH 4810 Directed Study    

Course of study to be arranged between faculty and student in the field of chemistry. Contract required; Variable credit (1-4); May be repeated for credit.

CH 4830 Independent Study in Chemistry 

Advanced, independent study of a specific topic. Course of study to be arranged with a faculty member. Variable credit (1-4).

CH 4850 Teaching in Chemistry       

This course provides the student with teaching opportunities. The student and a chemistry faculty member will develop a contract for an appropriate experience that might include assisting in the chemistry laboratory or peer tutoring. Students can participate in various phases of the laboratory experience from preparation to classroom management and help with student learning. Students must have successfully completed the course in which they wish to assist. Variable credit, depending on duties. This course may be repeated for credit if assisting in a different course.

NSM 1000 The Way of Science

Science is more than a collection of facts; it is a way of building models of the universe based on reliable evidence. How scientists weigh evidence will determine the extent of conflict with politics, religion, and the public in general. This course considers many topics (psychic power, evolution/creation, the birth and death of the universe, and others) in light of the scientific approach to reliable knowledge, and examines the resulting conflicts. Offered every semester.

NSM 3000 Careers in Science

This one-credit course is designed to give junior-year science majors the opportunity to hone the practical skills needed to have a successful career in the fields under the NSM Collegium. There will be activities addressing self-assessment of personal attributes, potential career paths, resume and cover letter writing, job searching and interviewing, and graduate school options. Offered every spring. (1cr)

NSM 4000 Senior Science Thesis

As a two-semester capstone experience, students will develop and implement a thesis that utilizes skills and knowledge gained from their NSM major. During the first semester students will form a faculty committee and develop a thesis proposal on a topic associated with their major. During the second semester students will implement and report on the thesis. The thesis will emphasize application of skills such as literature review, critical thinking, data collection and analysis, written communication, oral communication, and project management. Offered every year. Variable credit (typically 2 credits fall and 2 credits spring).