• Biology

    The biology program provides students with a broad knowledge in the biological sciences through a core curriculum and upper-level courses in specialized areas of study. A hands-on approach for teaching laboratory techniques and field work is emphasized. Throughout the program, students are encouraged to develop effective communication skills and an awareness of the societal and global implications of biology. Students may pursue a major in Biology, a minor in biology or psychobiology, or concentrations in nuclear medicine technology or bioinformatics. In addition, the prerequisites necessary to meet the requirements of medical, dental and veterinary school through our Pre-Medical Advisory Programs as well as the Accelerated Pharmacy Program with MCPHS can be completed through the biology major.

    Undergraduate biology majors who have demonstrated academic excellence and an interest in biological research may participate in the Honors in Biology program. The Chi lota Chapter of the national biological honor society, Beta Beta Beta provides recognition to outstanding students majoring in biology and biotechnology.

    Requirements for a Major in Biology

    Required Biology courses: 38 credits
    • BI 140 Introduction to Organismal Biology
    • BI 141 Introduction to Cellular and Molecular Biology
    • BI 200 Human Biology
    • BI 202 Principles of Ecology
    • BI 203 Genetics
    • BI 204 Microbiology
    • BI 404 Biology Senior Seminar
    • 3 Upper Division Electives (300 or 400 level lab courses)
    Ancillary Requirements: 28-34 credits
    • MA 150
    • MA 190 (Precalculus) or Higher
    • CH 120 & CH 121 General Chemistry I and II
    • CH 201 & CH 202 Organic Chemistry I and II
    • PY 221 & PY 222 General Physics I and II or
    • PY 241 & PY 242 Physics I and II

    (Students who also complete CH 203 and CH 204 can earn a chemistry minor.)

    Note: Pre-med and graduate school candidates should also take CH 203 & CH 204 (Organic Chemistry laboratory) in addition to CH 201 and CH 202.
    A minimum of 2 upper division laboratory courses (BI 300- or BI 400-level) are to be selected from 3 categories of biology electives. Students must take at least 1 course from each category. Additional upper level elective courses or graduate research/internships are strongly encouraged. The courses should be selected with the advice and consent of the faculty advisor. A grade point average of 2.0 must be maintained in biology courses and in the ancillary science and mathematics courses. Students considering graduate and professional work should take, as a recommended minimum, calculus and introduction to computer science.

    Honors Program in Biology

    The Honors Program in Biology is designated as a distinction bestowed on those outstanding undergraduate biology majors who have demonstrated distinct competence in overall biology course work and who have completed an independent research project of substantial merit. This program offers motivated students the opportunity to develop research and communication skills in preparation for graduate school or a professional career.

    Requirements for the Honors Program in Biology

    • All courses required for the major in Biology, plus:
    • BI 205 Research Methods and Experimental Design (2 credits) (take in Semester 3)
    • BI 440 Advanced Research Experience for Undergraduates (3-5 credits)*
    • Written thesis describing original research

    *"Commendation in Biology" requires 3 credits of BI 440 Advanced Research Experience for Undergraduates and a minimum 3.0 GPA in biology courses. "Honors in Biology" requires 5 credits of 440 Advanced Research Experience for Undergraduates and a minimum of 3.5 GPA in biology courses.

    For more information and specific program requirements, contact Dr. Randall Tracy in the Biology Department.
    Requirements for a Minor in Biology

    • BI 140 Introduction to Organismal Biology
    • BI 141 Introduction to Cellular and Molecular Biology
    • Four additional 200-level or higher Biology or Biotechnology laboratory courses.

    Requirements for a Major in Biology, Concentration in Nuclear Medicine Technology: 48 credits
    WSU offers, in conjunction with the University of Massachusetts Medical School, a concentration in Nuclear Medicine Technology (NMT), administered by a program advisory committee and accredited by the Joint Review Committee on Educational Programs in Nuclear Medicine Technology.

    Nuclear medicine is a study of techniques developed in hospitals, particularly in radiology, pathology and internal medicine departments. These techniques are used for both diagnostic and therapeutic purposes. Students interested in being considered candidates for admission to the program should contact either the program coordinator or the nominating committee as early in their college career as possible. The program is limited to a relatively small number of students.

    Prerequisites for the program include successful completion of:

    • BI 161 & BI 162 Human Anatomy and Physiology I and II
    • CH 120 & CH 121 General Chemistry I and II
    • PY 221 & PY 222 General Physics I and II; or
    • PY 241 & PY 242 Physics I, II

    Math Requirement
    Two math courses based on Accuplacer scores and Departmental Major Requirements selected as a minimum from these four courses:

    • MA 180 Introduction to Functions
    • MA 190 Precalculus
    • MA 200 Calculus I
    • MA 201 Calculus II

    Note: MA 150 Statistics is not acceptable. Higher level math courses that require calculus as a prerequisite are acceptable. MA 150 Statistics must be completed for the Biology Major. Candidates must visit the Medical School Nuclear Medicine Department and file intent to enroll forms with the Worcester State University Nuclear Medicine Technology coordinator prior to being considered a candidate for the program.

    Technical specialty courses of the NMT Program are:

    • Introduction and Hospital Orientation (no credit)
    • BI/PY 451 & BI/PY 452 Nuclear Instrumentation I and II
    • BI 461, BI 462, BI 463, & BI 464 NMT Clinical Practicum I, II, III and IV
    • BI/CH 453 Radiopharmaceuticals
    • BI/CH 465 & BI/CH 466 Clinical Nuclear Medicine Technology I and II

    Students majoring in biology, biotechnology, or chemistry may pursue the concentration in nuclear medicine technology. Interested students should contact Dr. Frank Lamellas in the Earth, Environment, and Physics Department for more information.

    Upon completion, the NMT program courses, in total, will satisfy the requirements for three upper level elective courses.

    Major in Biology, Concentration in Bioinformatics
    The purpose of this interdisciplinary concentration is to prepare students to enter the computer-intensive fields of bioinformatics, computational biology, computational chemistry, and molecular modeling including genomics and proteomics. With the ever increasing number of fully sequenced genomes, including the human genome, databases such as GenBank and EMBL have grown at such a rate that storing, organizing, indexing, and ultimately mining the data have become key to answering biological questions. Questions of gene expression have led to computational biology, the process of analyzing genomic sequences and to the field of proteomics, the understanding of protein structure and function. The information obtained by computational biology and computational chemistry is used in the design of new drugs to treat a variety of diseases. Major drug and biotechnology companies are seeking people trained in bioinformatics.

    In addition to the requirements for the Major in Biology:

    • BT 378 Bioinformatics* (4)
    • CS 101 Basics of Computer Science (3)
    • CS 140 Introduction to Programming (4)
    • CS 242 Data Structures (3)
    • CS 282 UNIX Systems Programming (3)
    • CS 265 Database Applications (3)

    *BT 378 Bioinformatics fulfills an upper division Cellular/Molecular Biology elective. (requires BI 203 as a prerequisite)

    Requirements for a Major in Biology and to meet the prerequisites for the Accelerated Pharmacy Program with Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Science
    All of the courses listed for a major in biology plus:

    • CH 203 Organic Chemistry Laboratory I
    • CH 204 Organic Chemistry Laboratory II

    Minor in Psychobiology
    Psychobiology, the study of human and animal biology and behavior, is an interdisciplinary minor consisting of a total of 6-7 classes (18-24 credits), with significant course contributions from both the Biology and Psychology Departments. Students are required to take courses in biology and psychology, which will allow them to explore the link between mind, body, and behavior. Introductory courses include both biology and psychology, introducing students to the basics of both disciplines. Advanced courses in both disciplines provide an in-depth understanding of the nervous system, evolution biology, cellular physiology, and sensation and perception. Students have the chance for hands-on learning to facilitate their understanding of the concepts presented in lecture.

    All students are eligible to participate in the psychobiology minor by following either the general track, or 1 of 2 specialized tracks: biology major track or psychology major track. These specialized tracks assure that students who major in biology and psychology receive an appropriate breadth of experiences within the field of psychobiology to complement their chosen major.

    General Track (available to all majors except biology and psychology)

    Core (11 credits): 

    • PS 101: General Psychology (3)
    • BI 116: Animal Biology (4)
    • PB 200: Introduction to Psychobiology (4)

    Electives (10-11 credits)
    Students must take 1 course from Group A, 1 course from Group B, and 1 course from Group C:

    Group A (200-level)

    • PS 280: Sensation & Perception (3)
    • BI 200: Human Biology (4)

    Group B (300-level Psychology)

    • PS 325: Psychology of Learning (3)
    • PS 380: Physiological Psychology (3)

    Group C (300-level Biology w/ lab)

    • BI 315: Neuroscience (4)
    • BI 360: Animal Behavior (4)

    Capstone (2 credits):

    • PB 400: Capstone in Psychobiology (2)

    Total Credits: 23-24
    Biology Major Track (only available to biology majors)

    Core/Foundation (16 credits): 

    • PS 101: General Psychology (3)
    • PB 200: Intro to Psychobiology (4)
    • PS 280: Sensation & Perception (3)
    • PS 325: Psychology of Learning (3)
    • PS 380: Physiological Psychology (3)

    Capstone (2 credits):

    • PB400: Capstone in Psychobiology (2)

    Total Credits: 18
    Psychology Major Track
    (only available to psychology majors)
    Core/Foundation (20 credits): 

    • BI 116: Animal Biology (4)
    • PB 200: Intro to Psychobiology (4)
    • BI 200: Human Biology (4)
    • BI 315: Neuroscience (4)
    • BI 360: Animal Behavior (4)

    Capstone (2 credits):

    • PB400: Capstone in Psychobiology (2)

    Total Credits: 22
    Note: Completing this minor also satisfies the LASC requirements of HBSP, NSP with Lab (2x), and the capstone requirement.

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