Incoming Freshman

Welcome! Incoming Freshman pursuing the Biology Major.

The transition from high school to college can be intimidating and overwhelming. There are many activities available for your participation, while the challenges of academic success should be paramount. Balance is critical. Guidance can be provided through conversations with your classmates or your advisor, but often just “knowing” how things are done or what you could do comes with time. Particularly useful are weblinks available at the UNH website found by googling “what I wish I knew as an incoming freshman.” Some opportunities, such as pre-Orientation programs (Marine Immersion, Connect, NH Outing Club) can be found at the Office of First Year Programs website (, which are given before classes start.

On to Academics! When people talk about Biology, they often talk about developments on the cutting edge. WELCOME TO THE EDGE! The Biology Core Course Sequence provides a solid grounding in the physical, quantitative, and biological sciences. –This sequence allows you to successfully transition into many of the other majors in the broad area of biological sciences, as well as provide the appropriate background courses for those interested in the biomedical/pre-professional sciences. The biology core courses are:

Perspectives in Biology (BIOL 400)

Introductory Biology (BIOL 411 & BIOL 412)

Ecology (BIOL 541)

Microbiology (BMS 503)

Genetics (GEN 604)

Introductory Chemistry (CHEM 403 & CHEM 404)

Organic Chemistry (CHEM 545/546) & Biochemistry (BMCB 658/659)


Organic Chemistry (CHEM 651/653 & CHEM 652/654) [for premed/vet/dent students]

Calculus I (MATH 424B)

Statistics (BIOL 528)

Physics (PHYS 401 & PHYS 402)

Students must choose 7 courses in addition to the Biology Core Requirements in order to fulfill the requirements for the major.  One course must be taken from the three categories (Form/Function, Genetics/Development, and Evolution/Ecology/Biodiversity, as well as four courses in the areas of biology that they wish to explore. This allows for great flexibility in development of a background reflecting student interests.

Q: How large are the classes?

A: The lectures in the biology core curriculum are medium sized. However, our labs have no more than 24 students. Small laboratory sections are taught by  faculty and/or graduate teaching assistants and include all students in the design and testing of scientific hypotheses based on data obtained in the field and lab. These laboratory experiences includes students in an exploration of an objective scientific process as scientists.

Q: Are the lectures in the Biological Sciences taught by Graduate Students?

A: NO! Our faculty members teach you from the introductory through the advanced levels.

Q: Will I be assigned an academic advisor?

A: YES! We have 30? faculty members in the Biological Sciences who are involved with advising Biology majors.

Your faculty advisor will -

  • Advise and recommend appropriate courses, while expecting you to become involved in choosing your background courses in  biology.
  • Meet with you at least twice a year prior to registration, and you will be able to request additional meetings throughout the semester.
  • Rcommend the best order to take courses in, always considering students' interests and needs. This "order" can vary.
  • Advise and recommend procedures for the Biology Honors in Major degree.
  •  Advise students on how to get involved in research in laboratories or field work across campus.
  • Suggest options available through CFAR (Center For Academic Resources) for students that are struggling with courses.

Q: Will my Biology degree help me find a career in Science?

A: Yes. Many of our Bachelor of Science degree graduates go on to professional schools (medical, dental, optometry, veterinary, etc.), graduate schools, laboratories, consulting, state and federal agencies, and science teaching, in New England and throughout the United States.

Q: Will I be able to work with Faculty members in the College of Life Sciences and Agriculture?

A: All faculty in the Biological Sciences are active researchers, publishing in major national and international scientific journals. Grant support has led to hundreds of major publications by our Biological Sciences faculty over the past ten years. Every faculty member welcomes undergraduate participation in this research -- this research is done through our Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program at UNH. Students are able to participate in these unique laboratory/research experiences as early as their sophomore year. Undergraduates have access to state-of-the-art equipment and techniques. These projects often result in our students being a co-author on a scientific paper or papers.