Student holding tagged bear cub

About

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. Provide a broad and substantive training in scientific inquiry appropriate for students seeking careers in the biological sciences or in secondary education immediately following graduation
  2. Provide rigorous training for students planning to further their education in professional studies or graduate school
  3. Allow sufficient flexibility to encourage students to pursue a concentration, a minor, or a second major

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 in the biology major are required to complete 57 credits of program requirements.  A highlight of these requirements is the opportunity to participate in a Senior Thesis that allows students to do an in-depth study of an area of particular interest. Alternatively, students may enroll in a Senior Seminar that explores advanced topics in biology based on a student’s previous training. Students may elect additional coursework to complete a Pre-Professional, Wildlife Biology, or Fisheries Biology concentration. Biology courses required in either concentration will fulfill biology electives in the program requirements.

Wildlife Biology Concentration

The wildlife biology concentration is designed to provide the educational requirements that lead to certification as a wildlife biologist by The Wildlife Society.

Students at UMM can expect small classes where students receive personal attention by their professors. 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

The pre-professional concentration is designed for students planning to pursue careers in medicine, veterinary medicine, dentistry, optometry, pharmacy, or other professions requiring a rigorous background in the life and physical sciences. Courses within this concentration will prepare students 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 Concentation

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 Biology