University of Vermont

Official 2009-2010 Catalogue Site

2009-10 Online Catalogue

Biological Science [CALS] (Bachelor of Science)


Many of the most exciting and controversial developments with the potential to benefit or improve society are in biological science. For example, consider how often the fields of biotechnology, medicine, ecology, and genetics are mentioned in the daily news. For students concerned about contemporary issues and who love the sciences, our Bachelor of Science Program in Biological Science (BISC) offers the flexibility, rigor and comprehensiveness to prepare for a dynamic and challenging career. Veterinarian, marine biologist, physician, lab technician - these are among the several hundred careers our graduates are leading. Many use their degree as a professional stepping stone to medical, veterinary, or graduate school.

BISC is the generic degree in biology. Flexibility and quality are its biggest attractions. As a cross-college integrated major, BISC draws its expertise of faculty from several departments in CALS, the Biology department in CAS, and from other parts of the university, especially COM. BISC students take two years of fundamental coursework: mathematics, chemistry, introductory biology, genetics, ecology and evolution, cell and molecular biology. During the Junior and Senior years, students study physics, statistics, advanced biology, and often do internships and undergraduate research working one-on-one with a professor in the student's subdiscipline of interest. Students use their electives to develop a rich expertise within a personal subdiscipline of generic biology or concentrate in specialized areas such as plant biology, biochemistry, nutrition, and microbiology. Others expand their solid foundation by adding a second major or a minor in a complimentary field selected from the offerings in CALS or CAS.

The wealth of faculty among the diverse biological sciences allows our students to gain personal attention engaging with a professor in undergraduate research in the student's chosen field of interest. We encourage our students to participate in the lab or field research of a UVM professor with no restriction as to which college. UVM has extensive teaching and research facilities, e.g., state-of-the-art laboratories and greenhouses, protected Natural Areas (from alpine tundra to Lake Champlain), Proctor Maple Research Center, Horticultural Farm, Morgan Horse Farm and Miller Research Center. Students find opportunities in biotechnology splicing genes and working on HIV, others examine how one gene may affect a cancer patient's sensitivity to chemotherapy drugs. One student contributed to research on how drug-eluting stents affect the potential for blood clots. Another biological science student worked on a project studying how pH affects phosphorus level in streams, while another, in a biomedical engineering lab, helped design a way to simulate skiing injuries (the data to be used to manufacture a safer ski boot).

Internships, a path for students to get experience in the working world while still in college, are of growing importance on a graduate’s resume. In the BISC major, we seek out a broad range of opportunities to offer our students.

General Requirements

Specific Requirements

The Biological Science B.S. core curriculum requires satisfactory completion of BCOR 011, BCOR 012 (Exploring Biology); BCOR 101 (Genetics); BCOR 102 (Ecology and Evolution); BCOR 103 (Molecular and Cell Biology); CHEM 031, CHEM 032, CHEM 141, CHEM 142; PHYS 011 and PHYS 012 or PHYS 031 and PHYS 042 (either sequence must include laboratory sections PHYS 021 and PHYS 022); MATH 019, MATH 020 or MATH 21, MATH 022; STAT 141 or STAT 211. In addition and in consultation with their academic advisor, students will design a course of study that includes an additional 26 credit hours of advanced life science electives.

Within the advanced elective courses, and excluding the BCOR courses, no more than 8 credits at the 100 level may be applied to the major except with written permission from an advisor and not exceeding 3 100-level courses. From the advanced level electives, students must complete 12 credits from courses with a statistical component, 3 credits that stress oral communication and 3 credits that stress written communication. The advanced credits may include up to 6 credits of Undergraduate Research at the 200 level.

For more information contact the CALS Director of the program: Dr. Donald Stratton (