Biology is one of the traditional liberal arts; it informs us about ourselves, the dynamics of the natural world, and how we interact with our environment

In so doing, biology complements the other liberal arts programs as a context for human endeavors.

Biology provides the basis of knowledge in the areas of medicine, agriculture, biotechnology, and ecology. Studies of nature have long been the inspiration for works of art, literature, and music. At the same time, rapid advancements in biotechnology affect nearly every facet of our lives from the foods we eat and the drugs we take, to the fibers that are used to make our clothes. With our increasing ability to manipulate the genetic structure of organisms, as well as the structure and composition of entire ecosystems, comes an increased responsibility for all citizens to act in an informed manner.

Learning Objectives

  1. Program objective:

    Our graduates will understand the breadth of biological disciplines sufficiently to be able to determine the necessary sub-disciplinary information for addressing novel questions in the broader field.  

    Learning outcomes are based on core concepts for biological literacy and core competencies and disciplinary practice from the vision and change recommendations.

    Learning outcomes:

    1. The process of scientific inquiry
      1. Development of lifelong learning skills
      2. Experimental design and critical thinking
      3. Technical skills
    2. Acquisition of discipline specific knowledge
      1. Evolutionary thinking
      2. Ecological processes
      3. Cellular organization and processes
      4. Chemical and physical underpinnings of life processes
    3. Development of written and verbal communication skills
    4. Acquisition of quantitative literacy
      1. Students will be able to demonstrate a mathematical understanding of biological processes.
      2. Create and interpret informative graphs and other visualizations of data
      3. Describe why biologists use simplified representations (models) when solving problems and communicating ideas.
      4. Given two models of the same biological process or system, compare their strengths, limitations, and assumptions.

Students will study biological systems at the level of the cell, the organism and the ecosystem. Courses in mathematics, physics, and chemistry will enhance students’ understanding of the physical laws that govern the activities of living organisms. All coursework is enhanced by extensive study in the laboratory and in the field with emphasis on hypothesis formulation and testing, and experimental design.

All students complete 58–59 credits of core requirements. In their final year of study they’ll develop a Senior Thesis comprised of an in-depth study of an area of particular interest. They may instead elect to take a Senior Seminar exploring advanced topics in biology based on a student’s previous training.

Students may also choose additional coursework in the following optional concentrations:

Wildlife Biology Concentration

This concentration provides the educational requirements that lead to certification as a wildlife biologist by The Wildlife Society.

Through in-class presentations by guest speakers, such as the local game wardens in Fish and Wildlife Management, or out of class opportunities, such as tagging bears during hibernation, we strive to link you with experiences and professionals to further your career goals.

Pre-Professional (Health Professions) Concentration 

This concentration is designed for students who wish to pursue careers in medicine, veterinary medicine, dentistry, optometry, pharmacy, or other professions requiring a rigorous background in the life and physical sciences. Students will be prepared to successfully complete entrance exams required by professional schools.

Students are encouraged to meet early and often with their advisor to prepare other aspects of their education such as internships, workshops, and volunteer activities in their desired field.

Fisheries Biology Concentration

The fisheries biology concentration offers students a hands-on education in fisheries. During their first-year seminar, students begin working on Atlantic salmon conservation projects alongside state and federal agencies and locals non-profit organizations. Projects include stream assessment, stream connectivity and other habitat restoration. Field-based work, including internships and research projects, continues throughout the course of the program, preparing students for a number of job options in the fisheries area.

Students interested in hatchery work have an opportunity for field experience at one of two Atlantic salmon hatcheries within 20 miles of campus, where they’ll gain experience rearing juvenile salmon and learn about the research involved in supporting wild stocks of these endangered fish.

Fisheries biology students regularly have internships with Inland Fish and Wildlife or the Bureau of Sea Run Fisheries and have gone on to full-time employment with these agencies after graduation. Students have also participated in research projects including genetic analysis of Atlantic Salmon, population distribution of rainbow smelts, identifying the food resources used by lumpfish and others.

Degree Earned

Bachelor of Arts in Integrative Biology

More ways to study biological sciences at UMaine Machias

➜ Start out with a two-year associate degree in liberal studies with a concentration in allied health, and start setting your course toward a four-year degree

➜ Explore an Early College certificate pathway in health professions, and earn credits toward a degree while you’re still in high school (tuition-free to qualifying Mainers)

➜ Take a complementary minor in another life sciences subject: aquaculture, biology, botany, chemistry, environmental science, environmental studies, marine biology or zoology

A student is holding a test tube with a piece of plant matter inside it
Student holding tagged bear cub