The Bachelor’s Degree in Biology

Student at Microscope

Biology is the scientific study of life.

A major in biology allows students to explore various aspects of our natural world. Students studying biology have the opportunity to pursue careers in fields such as biotechnology, environmental studies, human and veterinary medicine, scientific research and development, education, environmental monitoring and regulation, and private design and consulting.

Biology majors study how living organisms function at the cellular, tissue, organ, and organismal levels.  A diverse set of courses allow students to learn evolutional principles, biodiversity, and how organisms interact with each other and with their physical environment.

Biology majors are exposed to a variety of research opportunities. Research in the field of biology aims to increase knowledge about living organisms in order to combat problems we face in fields such as medicine, agriculture, and ecology.

Students choose between a B.S. or B.A. degree

Both the B.S. and B.A. degrees provide a strong background in the biological sciences, but the B.S. degree requires more math, chemistry, and physics and is pursued by most of our students. The B.S. program prepares students for a career in the health professions, graduate study in biology, or a career that requires a higher level of technical skill. In contrast, the B.A. degree has a stronger focus on the social sciences and humanities and is particularly well suited for students pursuing a double major or seeking an international perspective.

Students pursuing a B.S. in Biology can declare a concentration in Pre-Medical Studies and students pursuing a B.A. or a B.S. in Biology can declare a concentration in Ecology. Students in both degrees may also declare a minor in Neuroscience.

Requirements for the B.S. and B.A. degrees in Biology.

The Biology curriculum offers a wide range of choices

 The program is solidly grounded in the basic sciences (general biology, chemistry, math, and physics) needed to understand the latest research in biology. It also allows a wide range of choice in upper level biology courses permitting students to tailor their degrees to their particular interests within biology. Students choose from a large number of upper level courses taught by distinguished faculty who are accomplished teachers and have cutting edge research programs. Each student works with an academic adviser to develop a curriculum that best meets the student’s goals and allows for exploration within the field.

Students interested in research have many opportunities to participate in important investigations in faculty research laboratories or in the field. This can be for academic credit or for employment during the academic year or the summer and is an important resume builder. Students in their third and fourth years of study who intend to pursue graduate studies are strongly encouraged to include independent research under the guidance of a member of the biology faculty in their program.

Special opportunities

 The B.S. in Biology provides an accelerated pre-medical program with an affiliated graduate program at the New England College of Optometry that allows students to complete 3 years at UMaine and then complete the professional program (four years there). Students earn a BS in Biology at UMaine and a doctorate at New England College of Optometry.

The Schoodic Experience for incoming first year students takes place at the Schoodic Institute in Acadia National Park in the week before classes start. Incoming students meet their faculty advisors and each other, are introduced to the academic program, view animals and plants in a variety of habitats, and enjoy recreational time in a beautiful setting.


Contact Information:
100 Murray Hall