Home > Academic Catalog > 2011-13 Academic Catalog > Academic Programs > Biology


Program Director: Meriel Brooks, Ph.D.
Division of Sciences & Outdoor Learning

Programs offered:

  • BS in Biology

  • BA in Biology

  • BA in Biology with Secondary School Teacher Licensure

  • Minor in Biology

  • Minor in Biopsychology

Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science in Biology
The Green Mountain College biology program provides students with a solid foundation in biology while promoting the development of written and oral communication skills, critical thinking, and the application of the scientific method. The program is designed to prepare students for a variety of post-baccalaureate opportunities: students explore career options, develop job searching skills and strategize for achieving desired careers as part of the curriculum.

Field and laboratory-based coursework and research provide opportunities to apply theory and develop laboratory and field skills. Nearby field sites include the Poultney River, which runs through our 155-acre campus, our 85-acre Lewis Deane Nature Preserve, the Lake Champlain and Hudson River watersheds, and the Taconic, Green, and Adirondack Mountains. Our well-equipped chemistry and molecular biology laboratories ensure that students gain proficiency in a variety of research techniques (many students are offered laboratory technician positions directly after graduation). The program gives students a deep understanding of our regional biology, which serves as a model for learning and understanding other systems.

With our focus on careers, we are able to place more than 40% of our graduates in post baccalaureate degree programs (M.D., Ph.D., M.S., and others) and of the remainder, more than 90% are in careers related to their biology major.

Learning Outcomes for Biology Majors
Through the Biology Core students will:

  • Understand the historical, philosophical, and social contexts of the practice of science

  • Develop hypotheses and apply the scientific method

  • Design and carry out an independent experiment

  • Perform introductory laboratory analyses

  • Explain and articulate introductory theories

  • Utilize library and electronic research resources

  • Develop a resume or curriculum vitae and demonstrate job interview skills

Upper-division courses require students to understand increasingly complex content. They advance students’ preparation for independent scientific inquiry with an increased emphasis on reading, researching, and writing skills. Through the upper division courses students will:

  • Develop depth of understanding in two theoretical areas of biology and communicate these complex theories through writing and orally

  • Understand the biodiversity and ecology of our bioregion

  • Evaluate and critique scientific primary literature and gauge the quality and appropriateness of source material

  • Complete an independent undergraduate research project

  • Perform advanced laboratory analyses

Health oriented careers (Pre-med, pre-vet, pre-dentistry, nursing, & others)
To assist students interested in health related careers, the department retains contacts with professionals in various fields through its pre-med advisory committee. This committee works with department members to assist students in positioning themselves for acceptance to the post baccalaureate institutions. Because admissions to veterinary and medical schools are so competitive, students are advised to identify such goals early in their academic careers and work with the pre-med advisor to obtain the optimal experiences and coursework necessary. The very active student run Pre-med Club, helps connect students with internships and volunteer opportunities.

Departmental Honors
The biology faculty may invite qualified and interested students during their junior year to consider writing an honors thesis in biology. Successful completion of the thesis will result in graduation with departmental honors in biology. The candidate’s grade point average must be a minimum of 3.3 overall and 3.5 in the major. Candidates for honors will form a committee of three faculty members, one of whom must be drawn from outside the Biology program. A faculty member within the program will chair the Honors Committee.

The name of each thesis candidate and the working title of the thesis must be submitted to the Program Chair by September 15 for May graduates and by April 15 for December graduates. The Honors thesis is presented publicly upon completion.

Common Requirements for BS/BA in Biology and BA with Secondary School Licensure
Biology Core:

Requirements for BS Biology
Total Credits for BS in Biology: 120

Requirements for BA in Biology

Total credits for a BA in Biology: 120

The Bachelor of Arts in Biology with Secondary School Teacher Licensure
This degree prepares students to be licensed to teach science (biology, physics, chemistry and earth/space science) in grades 7-12. In addition to completing the B.A. in Biology, students must complete the sequence of study and field experiences of the Secondary Education Program. During senior year students complete fifteen weeks of full-time student teaching at the 7-12 level. All student teaching must be done in the immediate area of the College.

Science Courses:

Education Core:
Total Credits for a B.A. in Biology with Secondary Ed: 95

General Electives
Total may vary depending on total of other credits.

ELA Requirements
See ELA section of this catalog for details. Secondary Licensure requires the science distribution course, ELA 1013: Environmental Science.
Credits: 36

Total Credits for B.A. in Biology with Secondary School Teacher Licensure: 127

Biology Minor
The biology minor is available to all Bachelor’s degree candidates and is a strong minor for those majoring in Environmental Studies and related fields. The electives at the upper level may NOT count toward the major.

Biology minor requirements:

Total credits for a Minor in Biology: 26 - 28
*The additional 2 courses in biology are selected in consultation with academic advisers and may not also count toward major requirements

Biopsychology Minor
The Biopsychology minor is available to all students who have an interest in the biological basis of human and animal behavior.

Biopsychology Requirements:

Total credits for a Minor in Biopsychology: 23-25

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