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UMassD overlooking quad towards LARTS


Major in biology

Do you dream of curing illnesses, conserving species, or exploring marine life?

When you major in biology, you begin your studies with a solid foundation in fundamental biological principles and practices. Then you'll focus on your specific interests, such as cell and molecular biology, organismal biology, ecology and evolution, or the biology of marine organisms.

We offer programs of study leading to bachelor's degrees in biology and marine biology. Both programs emphasize field and laboratory opportunities, so you will learn biology while studying living organisms. Our semi-rural campus and nearby coastal environments will be your living laboratories.

You'll be prepared for careers in industry and government in areas such as animal biology, biotechnology, botany, cell biology, developmental biology, education, and medicine—or to pursue research in fields such as biomedicine, the environment, and marine science. Our curriculum prepares you for graduate study in biology, medicine, and other health professions. We also offer teacher preparation for students who are interested in teaching biology at the middle or high school level. Learn more about teacher preparation. 

4 concentrations available

  • conservation biology
  • cell and molecular biology
  • ecology and evolution biology
  • marine biology

You'll progress from the study of biology's fundamental principles and practices to electives in your own areas of research interest and career preparation. To guide your progress, students may select concentrations in conservation biology, cell and molecular biology, ecology and evolution biology, and marine biology.

For the major, you'll complete 120 credits comprised of courses in biology plus related science and mathematics.

Pre-medical studies: As a biology major, you'll be prepared to continue your studies in medical school or other health professional programs (such as dental, optometric, osteopathic, podiatric, or veterinary school). 

Course descriptions, schedules and requirements

Enrollment in the 4+1 Teacher Preparation program allows undergraduate students to begin the education coursework towards a master’s degree in teaching (MAT) as early as the sophomore year. Half of the degree is completed as an undergraduate, reducing the time and costs of earning a graduate degree.

Student success

Students wade into a fjord in Héðinsfjörður, Iceland to take water and sediment samples.
Biology class studies microbial diversity in Iceland

Students earn three credits in two weeks with European peers.

Graduate Schools

  • Baylor College of Medicine
  • Brown University
  • Johnson & Wales University
  • New York University

Career Placements

  • Beth Israel Deaconness Medical Center
  • Brigham and Women's Hospital
  • Cape Cod Veterinary Specialists
  • Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
  • Genzyme
  • Massachusetts General Hospital
  • Millennium Pharmaceuticals
  • MIT Lincoln Laboratory
  • Southcoast Hospitals Group
  • The Spine and Orthopedic Center
  • Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
  • Zoo New England


Biology alumna and associate professor win Journal of Zoology's "Paper of the Year"

Paper explores the ecological consequences of chronic road noise near predatory environments.

UMassD advantages

Internships and independent study: gain experience or investigate a specialized area of study

International (F-1) students who receive science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) degrees may be eligible to apply for a 24-month extension of their post-completion optional practical training (OPT). To learn about the eligibility criteria and detailed steps to apply, please review the International Student & Scholar Center (ISSC) OPT page and USCIS resources. F-1 students must consult with the ISSC to apply for STEM OPT.

Expand your opportunities

Teacher preparation

Your path to becoming a middle or high school teacher in Biology.

Biology faculty

Our faculty engage in research at the forefront of their fields, with a strong focus on marine biology, ecological and evolutionary genetics, and integrative biology, in which we use diverse approaches to study the complexity of biological organisms.

Katrina Velle
Katrina Velle '12: Paying it back

Biology alumna hired as assistant professor, returns to UMassD with multiple six-figure research grants

Alan Ventetuolo
Alan Ventetuolo
Benjamin Winslow
Benjamin Winslow
Cynthia Ladino
Cynthia Ladino, PhD
Carolyn Schwartz
Diana Barrett
Diana Barrett, PhD
Diego Bernal
Diego Bernal, PhD
Erin Bromage
Erin Bromage, PhD
Elizabeth McCliment
Genevieve Kozak
Genevieve Kozak, PhD
Jefferson Turner
Jefferson Turner, PhD
Jefferson Turner
Jefferson Turner, PhD
Kathryn Kavanagh
Kathryn Kavanagh, PhD
Kenneth Oliveira
Kenneth Oliveira, PhD
Katrina Velle
Katrina Velle, PhD
Michael Sheriff
Michael Sheriff, PhD
Mark Silby
Mark Silby, PhD
Pia Moisander
Pia Moisander, PhD
Pia Moisander
Pia Moisander, PhD
Richard Connor
Richard Connor, PhD
Robert Drew
Robert Drew, PhD
Robert Gegear
Robert Gegear, PhD
Sarah Donelan
Sarah Donelan, PhD
Tara Rajaniemi
Tara Rajaniemi, PhD
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