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Biology, BS

Learning Outcomes for a Biology Major

A graduating biology major will be able to:

Requirements for the BS Degree in Biology

1. Biology "Core" Requirements: 19 Credits in Biology, 26 Credits in Math, Physics, and Chemistry

2. 20 Credits at the 300 Level or Above in Biology

Biology GPA Requirements

Pass/Fail Options

Biology Transfer Course Policy and Limitations

Biology Residency Requirements

Exemption from General Biology

Honors in Biology

To recognize achievement in research, the Biology Department confers honors to some of its graduating seniors. Honors in Biology differs from honors in other programs and from the Honors College. Students who are majoring in biology are eligible for honors in biology as described by the requirements and criteria below. Students majoring in other departments/programs, such as biochemistry, must meet the requirements of their program/department to earn honors in their department/program.  It is the major of the student candidate, not the department/program affiliation of the research mentor, which dictates the specific requirements for earning honors.

To receive honors in biology, a student must engage in supervised research while taking at least 3 credits of independent study (BIOL 478 or 479 or BIOL 444). The mentor supervising the undergraduate research may be either a UMass Boston faculty member in biology, chemistry, the School for the Environment, or another related discipline -- or an off-campus scientist with a UMass Boston biology faculty liaison. Shortly before graduation (spring or fall), the biology honors candidate presents the research in a poster session organized by the Biology Department. The honors candidate also presents the research in a written honors thesis that is submitted to the Biology Department one week after the poster session.

The honors student must also perform well in classes. A cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or better in all courses, and a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or better in the Biology major, as calculated in the degree audit, are required for honors in biology. The required GPAs must be achieved in the student’s penultimate semester since GPA eligibility for honors in biology is determined before the finish of the student’s final semester.

Two months before graduation, the Biology Honors Committee screens potential candidates for honors in biology to ensure that both the GPA and research requirements are met. The final vote approving honors in biology is made at a special end-of-semester meeting of the entire biology faculty immediately following the poster presentations.

Biology Honors Committee


Additional Information