Zoology Major (B.S.)

Zoology Major (B.S.)
UNH Zoology student with chick

What is zoology?

Zoology is a field within the biological sciences that is dedicated to the study of animals: their origin and development as well as their habits, behaviors and relationships. It includes both the study of individual animals and their constituent parts down to the molecular level, and the study of animal populations and the relationships of animals to each other, plants, microbes and the nonliving environment. Students enrolled in the B.S. degree program take a series of core biology courses, then can specialize in disciplines such as marine and freshwater biology, cell and developmental biology, ecology, evolution or neurobiology.

Why study zoology at UNH?

Learning zoology at UNH is enhanced by easy access to ocean, lake and mountain habitats. Our programs emphasize hands-on learning and directly engage undergraduate students in research, and our faculty are experts in a wide range of disciplines, including freshwater, estuarine and marine biology, aquaculture, physiology, neurobiology and behavior. Students can conduct research in numerous facilities, including the Anadromous Fish and Aquatic Invertebrate Research Laboratory, the Aquaculture Research Center, the Chase Ocean Engineering Laboratory, Jackson Estuarine Laboratory, the Judd Gregg Marine Research Complex and the Shoals Marine Laboratory.

Potential careers

  • Animal care
  • Biotechnology
  • Consulting
  • Conservation biology
  • Education
  • Fisheries biology
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Public relations
  • Research
  • Wildlife rehabilitation
  • A photo of UNH alum Alex Zager in a forest holding up an animal.
    Bullfrog Vocalization Study: A Zoological Analysis
    Alex Zager, a zoology major, explores bullfrog vocalizations and the effects of temperature on their activity during mating season.
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  • A photo of undergraduate student Jocelyn Brierley in a vehicle.
    Zoology Research: Giraffe Vocalizations Study
    Discover COLSA student Jocelyn Brierley's research on giraffe vocalizations and behavior in response to noise at the Potawatomi Zoo.
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  • A photo of COLSA student Olivia Boyan
    Characterizing Moose Vocalizations for Passive Acoustic Monitoring
    Olivia Boyan is a zoology major from Hartford, Connecticut. COLSA: Tell us about your research in as non-technical language as possible. Olivia Boyan: For our research, we’re seeking to quantitatively characterize moose vocalizations to use for a passive acoustic detector, which can monitor populations without physically disturbing their…
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  • UNH student Kaylee Galvin cares for an animal during her internship at The Wildlife Center
    Finding Her Fit in the Field of Animal Rehabilitation
    Kaylee Galvin ’24 is a double major in zoology and neuroscience and behavior with a minor in marine biology who recently completed a summer internship as a wildlife care intern at the Center for Wildlife in York, Maine.
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  • UNH student Madi Wing with an owl
    A Major Opportunity
    Meet Madi Wing, zoology major and double minor in animal science and animal behavior, from Pawcatuck, Connecticut.
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Curriculum & Requirements

The Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Zoology builds from the common background of the biology core curriculum to provide ample time for third- and fourth-year students to concentrate in specialized disciplines such as marine and freshwater biology, behavior, cell and developmental biology, ecology, evolution, fisheries, physiology, and neurobiology while giving students the foundation from which they can specialize in the area of zoology. Undergraduate students are encouraged to conduct field or lab-based research which helps determine advanced education disciplines for graduate studies.  Many students ultimately work in the government, environmental agencies, education as well as agricultural, pharmaceutical, and biotechnology industries, where they conduct advanced research and/or teaching.  Zoology majors had the second highest income and lowest unemployment rate according to data from the 2016  U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.

New England Regional Student Program

The bachelor's degree in zoology is one of the specialized curricula recognized by the New England Board of Higher Education and participates in the New England Regional Student Program. Please refer to the Tuition Break Online Database for a list of eligible New England States.

Degree Requirements

Minimum Credit Requirement: 128 credits
Minimum Residency Requirement: 32 credits must be taken at UNH
Minimum GPA: 2.0 required for conferral*
Core Curriculum Required: Discovery & Writing Program Requirements
Foreign Language Requirement: No

All Major, Option and Elective Requirements as indicated.
*Major GPA requirements as indicated.

Major Requirements

Minimum grade of D‐ or better is required in CHEM 403, CHEM 404, CHEM 545, CHEM 546, PHYS 401, PHYS 402, and MATH 424B (if taken); minimum grade of C‐ or better is required in all other courses. ZOOL 600, BIOL 695, ZOOL 795, or ZOOL 799H may substitute for one elective with academic advisor approval, but only if taken for at least four credits. These four credits may be spread over multiple semesters if they are consecutive and with the same faculty mentor.

Core Curriculum Courses
BIOL 411Introductory Biology: Molecular and Cellular4
BIOL 412Introductory Biology: Evolution, Biodiversity and Ecology4
BIOL 528Applied Biostatistics I4
BIOL 541WEcology4
BMCB 658AGeneral Biochemistry3
CHEM 403General Chemistry I4
CHEM 404General Chemistry II4
CHEM 545
CHEM 546
Organic Chemistry
and Organic Chemistry Laboratory
GEN 604Principles of Genetics4
or ANSC 612 Genetics of Animals
MATH 424BCalculus for Life Sciences4
or BIOL 633 Data Analysis for Life Science
or BIOL 711 Experimental Design & Analysis
PHYS 401Introduction to Physics I4
PHYS 402Introduction to Physics II4
ZOOL 400Professional Perspectives in Zoology1
ZOOL 518Comparative Morphology and Biology of Vertebrates4
ZOOL 625
Principles of Animal Physiology
and Animal Physiology Laboratory
ZOOL 690Evolution4
BIOL 780Capstone Companion Course1
Zoology Electives
Animal Survey Courses (Choose 1)4-5
ZOOL 542
ZOOL 555
Introduction to Entomology
ZOOL 566
MEFB 510
Field Ornithology
MEFB 628
Marine Invertebrate Evolution and Ecology
ZOOL 710
Sharks and Bony Fishes
NR 712
Electives 1
Select three courses 1
BIOL 695Biology Teaching Practices1-4
BIOL 706Data Science with R for the Life Sciences4
BIOL 720Plant-Animal Interactions (C)4
BIOL #770Senior Seminar in Biology (C)2
BMS 718Mammalian Physiology4
BMS 503/504General Microbiology3
MEFB 503Introduction to Marine Biology4
MEFB #504Field Wildlife Forensics2
MEFB 510Field Ornithology4
MEFB 628Marine Invertebrate Evolution and Ecology5
MEFB 717Lake Ecology4
MEFB 755Biological Oceanography3
MEFB #770Senior Seminar in Marine, Freshwater, and Estuarine Biology (C)2
MEFB 772Fisheries Biology: Conservation and Management4
MEFB 773Physiology of Fishes4
NR 615Wildlife Habitats4
NR 640Wildlife Population Ecology4
NR 642Introduction to Biogeography4
NR 650Principles of Conservation Biology4
NR 712Mammalogy4
NSB #705Molecular and Cellular Neurobiology (C)4
NSB 727Animal Communication (C)4
TECH 797Undergraduate Ocean Research Project (C) 22
ZOOL 529Developmental Biology0 or 4
ZOOL 542Ornithology4
ZOOL 555Introduction to Entomology4
ZOOL 613WAnimal Behavior5
ZOOL 566Herpetology4
ZOOL 600Field Experience 31-4
ZOOL 708Stream Ecology (C)4
ZOOL 710Sharks and Bony Fishes4
ZOOL 726Conservation Behavior (C)4
ZOOL 733WBehavioral Ecology (C)4
ZOOL 736Genes and Behavior (C)4
ZOOL 740Acoustic Ecology4
ZOOL #770Senior Seminar in Zoology (C)2
ZOOL 777WNeuroethology (C)4
ZOOL 795Independent Investigations in Zoology 31-4
ZOOL 799HHonors Senior Thesis (C)1-4
Shoals Courses:
MEFB #500Coastal Habitat Field Research Methods4
MEFB 505Introduction to Applied Science Communication4
MEFB 506Marine Parasitology and Disease4
MEFB 510Field Ornithology4
MEFB 530Evolution and Marine Diversity4
MEFB 535Marine Mammal Biology4
MEFB 674Ecology and Marine Environment4
MEFB 702Sustainable Marine Fisheries4
MEFB 714Field Animal Behavior4
MEFB 730Underwater Research4
MEFB 741Sharks: Biology and Conservation4
MEFB 751Research in Marine Biology4
MEFB 754Anatomy and Function of Marine Vertebrates4
Study Abroad Courses:
NR 660Ecology and Biogeography of New Zealand5
NR 661Restoration Ecology and Ecosystem Management in New Zealand4
NR 662Environmental Policy, Planning and Sustainability in New Zealand3
NR 663Applied Directed Research in New Zealand (C)4

A single course cannot be used for both a core requirement and an elective (e.g., ZOOL 542 cannot be used to fulfill the animal survey requirement and as an elective).


This class requires enrollment in both fall and spring sections, 2 credits/semester for a total of 4 credits.


A 600, 695, 795, or 799 experience may substitute for one elective with academic advisor approval, but only if taken for at least four credits. These four credits may be spread over multiple semesters if they are consecutive and with the same faculty mentor.

Capstone Experience

As part of the University of New Hampshire’s Discovery Program requirements, all students must complete a capstone experience during their senior year (after earning at least 90 credits). The capstone experience for students majoring in ZOOLOGY BS consists of BOTH (1) an approved individual experience AND (2) the successful completion of the BIOL 780 Capstone Companion Course. Students will not be approved for graduation until capstone certification has been granted.

1) The individual experience

The individual experience may be satisfied through various forms of experiential learning (e.g., Honors thesis, mentored research project, internship) or a course denoted with a “(C)” in the courses listed above. The individual experience must fulfill at least one of the University’s capstone criteria:

  • synthesizes and applies disciplinary knowledge and skills
  • fosters reflection on undergraduate learning and experience
  • demonstrates emerging professional competencies
  • applies, analyzes, and/or interprets research, data, or artistic expression
  • explores areas of interest based on the integration of the prior learning

Before beginning any capstone individual experience, students must submit a completed capstone approval form to their Program Coordinator.

Students can obtain this form on the Department's Capstone page or from their Program Coordinator. Here they will describe their proposed individual experience and how it fulfills at least one of the University’s capstone criteria listed above. If the student is selecting a “C” course for their individual experience, they should obtain the course syllabus from the instructor for information about the course’s content and learning objectives.

2) Enrollment in BIOL 780 Capstone Companion Course

Students will also be required to enroll in BIOL 780 Capstone Companion Course during the semester of their individual experience. BIOL 780 is offered every Fall and Spring semester.

  • If the individual experience is a two-semester thesis, BIOL 780 should be taken during the second semester.
  • If the individual experience occurs during the summer (e.g., internship), BIOL 780 should be taken during the Fall semester that immediately follows.
  • Note: Because BIOL 780 is not offered during the summer, students cannot complete their individual experience during the summer and graduate during that same September. Summer experiences could only be used as individual capstone experiences if completed the summer before the student’s senior year.

Students demonstrate that they understand basic principles of Zoology.

  • Understand the biodiversity and ecological roles of selected animal taxa.
  • Demonstrate understanding of animal physiology and structure at the cellular and organismal levels.
  • Describe and apply key principles and mechanisms of evolution and genetics.
  • Comprehend the relationship between organisms and their environments.

Students demonstrate that they can undertake scientifically valid methods of inquiry.

  • Demonstrate proficiency in searching, reading, and understanding scientific literature.

Students demonstrate that they can think critically and analytically.

  • Analyze and present data using appropriate quantitative and graphical tools.

Students demonstrate that they can communicate effectively.

  • Develop effective written and oral communication skills for conveying scientific information effectively to a wide audience.

Students practice science responsibly and ethically, and acknowledge the influence of cultural and historical biases in the sciences.

Explore Program Details

Take a deeper look at what it means to be a pre-veterinary student at UNH and discover why UNH students have an average 92% acceptance rate to veterinary schools — nearly double the national rate.

During our one-hour on-campus information sessions, faculty members will provide you with an overview of the pre-veterinary program from exceptional experiential learning to expert pre-veterinary advising, discuss majors and curriculum and answer any questions you might have. You will also have an opportunity to talk with current students about their experiences. Find out why UNH should be the top choice for all students considering a career in veterinary medicine — register to attend an on-campus info session today.

The sessions and tours are held throughout the year.

Learn More and Register

As part of the University of New Hampshire’s Discovery Program requirements, all students must complete a capstone experience during their senior year (after earning at least 90 credits).  

For students in catalog years AY 20-21 and earlier, the following is a list of capstone options and the capstone designation form:
Capstone Designation Form

For students in catalog years AY 21-22 and later, the capstone requirements have changed.   Capstone Requirements

Take the Next Step

Undergraduate student on campus
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