University of Vermont

The Biological Science Major

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Offered by: Colleges of Agriculture and Life Sciences,
College of Arts and Sciences


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 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. More than half use their degree as a professional stepping stone to medical or veterinary school.

What Will I Study?

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 the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the Biology department in the College of Arts and Sciences, and from other parts of the university, especially the College of Medicine. 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, microbiology. Others expand their solid foundation by adding a second major or a minor in a complimentary field selected from the offerings in the Colleges of Agriculture and Life Sciences or Arts and Sciences.

Exciting Hands-on Learning

The wealth of faculty among the diverse biological sciences allows our students to seek 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 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 is currently studying 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. When one of our students did his independent study in dentistry, he completed comprehensive training in dental assisting and visited offices of many area dentists. Another interned at the Baltimore Zoo.

Looking to the Future

On the Biological Science Program website you will find a list of careers that our graduates assume. Our graduates are invited to some of the very best medical, veterinary, dental, and graduate schools in the country. Consult our careers list again to see over 40 fields of advanced study for the M.Sci. or Ph.D. (e.g., Animal Science, Biochemistry, Genetics, Endocrinology, Pharmacology, Physiology, Plant Biology) which our graduates have pursued. Or see how our students use the Bachelor of Science degree in BISC as a terminal degree working in industry, government or non-profit agencies.

Faculty and Area of Expertise
College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
David S. Barrington Plant Systematics and Evolution
Ph.D. Harvard University
John M. Burke Nucleic Acid Biology
Ph.D. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
William W. Currier Agricultural Biochemistry
Ph.D. Purdue University
Sylvie Doublié Crystallography
Ph.D. University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Greg Gilmartin Nucleic Acid Biology
Ph.D. University of Virginia
Mingruo Guo Food Chemistry
Ph.D. University College - Cork, Ireland
Wendy Sue Harper Plant and Soil Science
Ph.D. University of Vermont
Jeanne Harris Plant Cell Biology
Ph.D. University of California, San Francisco
Jim Hoffmann Plant Ecology and Computational Biology
Ph.D. University of Wisconsin, Madison
Russell Hovey Lactation Physiology
Ph.D. Massey University, New Zealand
Douglas Johnson Molecular Biology of Yeasts
Ph.D. Purdue University
Rachel Johnson Dietetics and Nutrition
Ph.D. Pennsylvania State University
David Kerr Gene Expression
Ph.D. University of Saskatchewan
Paul Kindstedt Dairy Food Chemistry
Ph.D. Cornell University
Joann Knapp Nutritional Physiology
Ph.D. University of California, Davis
Tom Lewis Microbial Transformations of Organic Pollutants
Ph.D. Oregon State University
Jane Molofsky Plant Population Ecology
Ph.D. Duke University
Cathy Paris Plant Systematics and Evolution
Ph.D. University of Vermont
David Pederson Nucleic Acid Biology
Ph.D. University of Rochester
Stephen Pintauro Information Technology in Nutrition and Food Sciences
Ph.D. University of Rhode Island
Karen Plaut Endocrinology
Ph.D. Cornell University
Jane Ross Dietetics and Obesity
Ph.D. Oregon State University
Gerald Silverstein Medical Microbiology
Ph.D. Rutgers University
Mark Starrett Plant and Soil Science
Ph.D. North Carolina State University
Donald Stratton Evolutionary Biology and Population Genetics
Ph.D. SUNY Stone Brook
Brenda Tessman Medical Technology
M.S. University of Vermont
Mary Tierney Plant Cell Biology
Ph.D. Michigan State University
Robert Ullrich Molecular Biology of Fungi
Ph.D. Harvard University
Thomas Vogelmann Plant Physiology
Ph.D. Syracuse University
Susan Wallace Nucleic Acid Biology
Ph.D. Cornell University
Feng-Qi Zhao Lactation Physiology
Ph.D. University of Alberta, Edmonton - Alberta, Canada
College of Arts & Sciences
Alison Brody Evolution Ecology
Ph.D. University of California, Davis
Rona Delay Neurobiology
Ph.D. Colorado State University
Charles Goodnight Evolutionary Biology and Population Genetics
Ph.D. University of Chicago
Nicholas Gotelli Community Ecology and Population Ecology
Ph.D. Florida State University
William Kilpatrick Molecular Ecology
Ph.D. North Texas State University
Miguel Martin-Caraballo Developmental Biology
Ph.D. University of Alberta, Edmonton - Alberta, Canada
Kentaro Murakami Neurobiology
Ph.D. Hokkaido University - Japan
Patrick O'Grady Molecular Evolution
Ph.D. University of Arizona
Joseph Schall Ecology of Parasites
Ph.D. University of Texas
Lori Stevens Host-Parasite Ecology, Computational Biology
Ph.D. University of Illinois, Chicago
Judith Van Houten Neurobiology and Molecular Biology
Ph.D. University of California, Santa Barbara
Jim Vigoreaux Muscle Biology
Oklahoma University

Last modified September 10 2007 04:11 PM

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