Major Requirements

Biology

REQUIREMENTS

Course requirements for a major in biology (B.S. or B.A.) include 9 courses from the Department of Biology, with a minimum of 6 lab courses. In addition, the major requires three cognate courses in chemistry and mathematics. No course with a grade less than C- may be counted toward the major.

Both degrees offer students breadth and depth in the field. The bachelor of science degree is recommended to undergraduates who want the strongest background in the discipline and to students who are interested in pursuing a graduate degree in the biological sciences. The bachelor of arts degree offers a level of flexibility and is appropriate for students with plans that do not necessarily include graduate school. Either the B.S. or B.A. degree is appropriate for students aspiring to health professions schools.

Concentrations/Tracks:

Students may opt to fulfill a concentration in a particular area of biology by completing four electives within any one of the groups listed below. This concentration will be indicated in the student's transcript (e.g., “Biology: Biomedical Sciences Concentration''). Transfer courses may be applied toward a concentration as approved by the department chair. Four courses fulfill a concentration in one area; students are limited to selecting one concentration.

Biomedical Sciences concentration:

  • BIOL 206L. Histophysiology

  • BIOL 224. Genetics

  • BIOL 227L. Cell Biology

  • BIOL 244. Biology of Infectious Disease

  • BIOL 308L. Microbiology

  • BIOL 315L. Vertebrate Zoology

  • BIOL 317L. Biochemistry

  • BIOL 319L. Animal Physiology

  • BIOL 446. Bacterial Pathogenesis

  • BIOL 473. Sensory Biology

Organismal and Evolutionary Biology concentration:

  • BIOL 215L. Botany

  • BIOL 222L. Invertebrate Zoology

  • BIOL 300. Evolutionary Thought

  • BIOL 308L. Microbiology

  • BIOL 315L. Vertebrate Zoology

  • BIOL 319L. Animal Physiology

  • BIOL 336L. Marine and Freshwater Botany

  • BIOL 430. Avian Ecology and Conservation

  • BIOL 456L. Biology of Communication

  • BIOL 468. Marine Phytogeography

  • BIOL 473. Sensory Biology

Cellular/Molecular Biology concentration:

  • BIOL 175. Genome Analysis

  • BIOL 206L. Histophysiology

  • BIOL 211. Electron Microscopy

  • BIOL 224. Genetics

  • BIOL 226L. Recombinant DNA Technology

  • BIOL 227L. Cell Biology

  • BIOL 310L. Developmental Biology

  • BIOL 317L. Biochemistry

  • NESC 402. Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology

  • BIOL 446. Bacterial Pathogenesis

  • BIOL 464. Molecular Genetics

Field Biology and Ecology concentration:

  • BIOL 215L. Botany

  • BIOL 222L. Invertebrate Zoology

  • BIOL 233. Conservation Biology

  • BIOL 315L. Vertebrate Zoology

  • BIOL 333L. Ecology

  • BIOL 336L. Marine and Freshwater Botany

  • BIOL 430. Avian Ecology and Conservation

  • BIOL 468. Marine Phytogeography

  • School for Field Studies (SFS) field course (as approved by the department)

Core Courses:

The core sequence of biology courses is as follows:

  • BIOL 182L. Evolution of Life

  • BIOL 183L. The Cellular Basis of Life (CHEM 111 is a prerequisite)

First year students interested in the life sciences are advised to take BIOL 182L and CHEM 111L in the fall semester, followed by BIOL 183L and CHEM 112L in the spring semester. Both BIOL 182L and BIOL 183L are required by most upper-level courses in biology, so completing them in the first year provides the necessary foundation for further coursework and allows the greatest number of course options in the second year. If necessary, students who have taken CHEM 111 may begin the introductory series with BIOL 183L in the spring, followed by BIOL 182L in the following fall semester.

Students must complete 1 course in Group I, 1 course in Group II, and 1 course in Group IV:

Biodiversity—Group I offerings provide exposure to the biology of organisms other than vertebrates, groups that comprise the vast majority of all life. These courses employ an integrative approach with an emphasis on biodiversity.

  • BIOL 215L. Botany

  • BIOL 222L. Invertebrate Zoology

  • BIOL 308L. Microbiology

  • BIOL 336L. Marine and Freshwater Botany

Group II: Cellular/molecular basis of life——Group II offerings will ensure that students gain competence in the cellular and molecular processes that are fundamental to life.

  • BIOL 226L. Recombinant DNA Technology

  • BIOL 227L. Cell Biology

  • BIOL 317L. Biochemistry

Group IV: Capstone courses——Group IV courses provide students with a culminating experience in the major, and satisfy the senior exercise requirement. These courses also satisfy the Writing Intensive Part II requirement for the major. Students using BIOL 419 or 425 to satisfy the Group IV requirement should inform their research advisor so that appropriate writing intensive assignments can be arranged.

  • BIOL 419. Research in Biology (Library), plus BIOL 403 or BIOL 404

  • BIOL 425. Research in Biology (Laboratory), plus BIOL 403 or BIOL 404

  • BIOL 430. Avian Ecology and Conservation

  • BIOL 446. Bacterial Pathogenesis

  • BIOL 456L. Biology of Communication

  • BIOL 464. Molecular Genetics

  • BIOL 468. Marine Phytogeography

  • BIOL 473L. Sensory Biology

  • NESC 402. Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology

Required cognate courses include CHEM 111L and 112L, and one of the following courses in quantitative methods:

  • MATH 107. Elements of Statistics

  • MATH 126. Calculus with Algebra and Trigonometry

  • MATH 131. Calculus I

  • MATH 132. Calculus II

  • MATH 142. Accelerated Calculus II

  • MATH 207. Statistical Data Analysis

  • PSYC 221L. Research Design and Analysis

Electives:

Group III: Electives in biology—Group III courses are intended to allow students the opportunity to explore other areas of biology in detail.

  • BIOL 175. Genome Analysis

  • BIOL 206L. Histophysiology

  • BIOL 211L. Electron Microscopy

  • BIOL 224 or 224L. Genetics

  • BIOL 233. Conservation Biology

  • BIOL 244. Biology of Infectious Disease

  • BIOL 300. Evolutionary Thought

  • BIOL 310L. Developmental Biology

  • BIOL 315L. Vertebrate Zoology

  • BIOL 319L. Animal Physiology

  • BIOL 333L. Ecology

  • NESC 201 or 201L. Principles of Neuroscience: Neurobiology

  • BIOL 419 or 425, Research. Students who wish to use Research in Biology as one of their nine majors courses must either take two semesters of BIOL 419 or 425, or one semester of either with concurrent enrollment in BIOL 403 or 404, Research Seminar.

Capstone/Senior Project:

The Group IV courses listed above are capstone courses.

The Bachelor of Science in Biology additionally requires BIOL 224 Genetics and one more cognate course in the physical sciences, either in Physics or Chemistry. Students typically elect to take PHYS 101 or CHEM 211.

Bachelor of arts in biology

One of the following courses may be used as an elective toward the bachelor of arts degree if taken before completion of the introductory sequence of BIOL 182 and 183:

  • BIOL 111. Winter Ecology

  • BIOL 116. Biogeography

  • BIOL 119. Nutrition: Food and Fads

  • BIOL 120. Genes, Clones, and Biotechnology

  • BIOL 122. Toxicology

  • BIOL 124. Genes and Human Disease

  • BIOL 140. Biological Systems

  • BIOL 141. Global Perspectives in Biodiversity and Conservation

  • NESC 101. The Brain

  • NESC 262. Introduction to Animal Behavior

  • PSYC 261. Brain and Behavior

ADDITIONAL OPPORTUNITIES

AP/IB credit: Students who receive a score of 4 or 5 on the Advanced Placement examination in biology may receive one course credit toward graduation. This course credit may not be counted toward the biology major, nor does it exempt students from any of the courses required for the major. IB credit is also not accepted for credit towards the Biology major.

Study away: While there are many general programs of study abroad for Trinity students, biology majors interested in foreign study should be aware of programs designed particularly for serious biological study outside the College. Examples of suitable programs in which Trinity students participate regularly are listed below:

  • Duke University Marine Laboratory

  • DIS Copenhagen

  • School for Field Studies (field sites in Kenya/Tanzania, Costa Rica, Turks and Caicos Islands, Bhutan, and Australia/New Zealand)
  • Organization for Tropical Studies

  • Marine Biological Laboratory Semester in Environmental Science

  • SEA Semester, Woods Hole

Consortium Courses: The Biology Department accepts biology credits for pre-approved courses taken from Consortium institutions.

Upon approval from the Chair, up to 3 biology courses taken away from Trinity may be counted towards the biology major. Students wishing to transfer more than 3 courses should petition the Department for permission.

Honors: Students seeking honors must apply for the honors program in biology. This application must be in written form and should be submitted to the chair of biology before the sixth week of classes of a student's sixth semester. The biology faculty will act upon each application. Students seeking honors must have completed five biology courses that count toward the major by the end of their fifth semester, and their grade point average in these courses must be at least 3.3 (B+). In addition, they must demonstrate in their work a scholarly intent. Students not qualifying for the honors program after five semesters may be invited by the faculty to enter the program at a later time.