University of Vermont

2013-2014 Catalogue

Biological Science

Contact Information

University of Vermont
Biological Science
Marsh Life Science Building
Burlington, VT 05401

Phone: (802) 656-5801
Fax: (802) 656-2914

Web Site Link out of catalogue site.


Many of the most exciting developments with the potential to benefit 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, the 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 in which CALS graduates are employed. Many use their degree as a professional stepping stone to medical, veterinary, or graduate school.

BISC is the generic Bachelor of Science in Biological Science. Flexibility and quality are its biggest attractions. As a cross-college integrated major, BISC draws its expertise of faculty from several departments in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the biology department in the College of Arts and Science, and from other parts of the university, especially the College of Medicine. BISC students take two years of fundamental course work: mathematics, chemistry, introductory biology, genetics, ecology and evolution, and 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 area of interest. Students use their advanced electives to develop a rich expertise in biology or to concentrate in specialized areas such as genetics, plant biology, biochemistry, nutrition, and microbiology. Others expand their solid foundation by adding a second major or a minor in a complementary field selected from the offerings in CALS or CAS.

The wealth of faculty among the diverse biological sciences allows students to gain personal attention engaging with a professor in undergraduate research in the student’s chosen field of interest. Students are encouraged to participate in the lab or field research of a UVM professor, chosen from the full range of life science disciplines at UVM. 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, a broad range of opportunities are offered to the students.