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Undergraduate Catalog 2016-2017

Biological Sciences Program (BSCI)

College of Computer, Mathematical and Natural Sciences
1322 Symons Hall, 301-405-6892

The Major

The Biological Sciences major is jointly offered by the Departments of Biology, Cell Biology & Molecular Genetics, and Entomology in the College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences. The central Biological Sciences Program office is in 1322 Symons Hall is staffed by:

Dr. Joelle Presson, Assistant Dean.  jpresson@umd.edu
Dr. Francisca Saavedra, Assistant Director.  saavedra@umd.edu

Ms. Linda Dalo, ldalo@umd.edu

Departmental contacts for Biological Sciences are:
Dr. Reid Compton, Undergraduate Director Biology.  compton@umd.edu
Dr. Dave Straney, Undergraduate Director Cell Biology & Molecule Genetics.  straney@umd.edu
Dr.  Brett Kent, Undergraduate Director Entomology.  kent@umd.edu

All Biological Sciences majors complete a common sequence of introductory and supporting courses referred to as the Basic Program. In addition, students must complete an Advanced Program within one of the following specialization areas:        

  • Cell Biology & Genetics (CEBG)
  • Ecology & Evolution (ECEV)
  • General Biology (GENB)
  • Microbiology (MICB)
  • Physiology & Neurobiology (PHNB)
  • Individualized Studies (BIVS)

A complete list of specialization area requirements can be found on our website, bsci.umd.edu . Note that the Individualized Studies specialization (BIVS) requires permission of the Assistant Dean of Undergraduate Academic Programs, and involves an approved proposal to do coursework in the College and in other disciplines. Further questions about Biological Sciences can be directed to the Undergraduate Academic Program Office at 301-405-6892.

Biological Sciences at the University of Maryland at Shady Grove

The Biological Sciences Program at the University of Maryland offers a degree program at Universities at Shady Grove.  The Biological Sciences Program at Shady Grove offers the Advanced Program courses normally taken in the junior and senior years.  More information is available at: bsci.umd.edu/shady-grove/ .

Program Learning Outcomes

  1. Students should have mastered the critical knowledge at each level in the curriculum that is necessary to move on to the next level in the curriculum.
  2. Students should demonstrate an ability to use and apply quantitative methods, especially: interpretation of graphical or tabular data; expression of physical, chemical, or biological process in mathematical form; solving equations to determine the value of physical, chemical, or biological variables.
  3. Students at the lower level should demonstrate an ability to carry out key experimental techniques used in the chemical and life sciences disciplines.
  4. Students at the lower level should have a basic understanding of how to express questions as a hypothesis, how to design a test of a hypothesis, and how to gather and analyze simple data.
  5. Students at the upper level should be able to integrate and apply a relevant body of basic knowledge to the evaluation of existing scientific studies and to design studies to test specific hypotheses that includes design elements typically found in a specific field of the chemical and life sciences.
  6. Students should effectively communicate in writing the processes of science and the results of scientific inquiry.

Academic Programs and Departmental Facilities

In addition to offering high quality undergraduate specializations in the Biological Sciences, the BSCI program participates in the collaborative program in secondary teaching, Terrapin Teachers, terrapinteachers.umd.edu .  This program allows students to develop their expertise at communicating science to diverse audiences and provides a path toward certification to teach secondary school science or math.

Admission to the Major

The Biological Sciences major is a Limited Enrollment Program. Please see the admission requirements and procedures at: lep.umd.edu .

Placement in Courses

Enrollment in BSCI170&171 and BSCI160&161 requires placement into MATH130, 120, 220 or 140 (i.e. completion of MATH113 or 115).

Students who earn Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate Placement which grants equivalency for BSCI170&171 and/or BSCI161&161 are encouraged not to repeat these courses at UMD, but can continue to courses for which BSCI170&171 and/or 160&161 satisfy prerequisite requirements.

Requirements for the Major

 General Education Program Requirements  
 Basic Program in Biological Sciences 15
BSCI170&171Principles of Molecular and Cellular Biology and Lab 4
BSCI160&161 Principles of Ecology and Evolution and Lab 4
BSCI207Principles of Biology III 3
BSCI222 Principles of Genetics  4
 Supporting courses 30-32
MATH130 orCalculus I 3
   MATH140  4
MATH131 orCalculus II 3
   MATH141  4
CHEM131/132Fundamentals of General Chemistry  /Lab 4
CHEM231/232Organic Chemistry I / Lab 4
CHEM241/242Organic Chemistry II / Lab 4
CHEM271/272Gen Chem & Energetics / Gen Bioanalytical Lab 4
PHYS131 orFundamentals of Physics I, or 4
   PHYS141Principles of Physics 4
PHYS132 orFundamentals of Physics II, or 4
   PHYS142Principles of Physics 4
 Advanced Program in Specialization Area 27
 See website for details of specialization Area requirements. 
ELECTElectives 15-18



Advising is mandatory during each pre-registration period for all Biological Sciences majors. All freshmen and new transfer students will be assigned an advisor from the College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences Student Services advising staff. Students will be assigned to a departmental faculty advisor once a basic sequence of courses has been successfully completed. The departmental faculty advisors are coordinated by the following persons for the indicated specialization areas. These coordinating advising offices can be contacted for making appointments with an advisor or for any other information regarding that specialization area.


1225 H.J. Patterson




2227 Biology-Psychology  




3142 Plant Sciences




1322 Symons Hall 


BIVS, Secondary Education Terrapin Teachers, Science in the Evening


Undergraduate Research Experiences

Laboratory research, fieldwork, and internships are valuable co-curricular experiences which add value to a student’s academic experience in CMNS disciplines.  We encourage students to pursue one or more of these experiences during their undergraduate studies.  Please see the College website ( http://cmns.umd.edu/undergraduate/research-internships ) for more information about experiential learning for CMNS undergraduates.


See http://cmns.umd.edu/undergraduate/research-internships .



Honors Program

Outstanding students are encouraged to apply to departmental Honors Programs. Through the Honors Programs students will become actively involved in the ongoing scientific research at the university. Information about these honors programs may be obtained from the Undergraduate Academic Programs Office, 1322 Symons Hall, 301-405-6892.

Student Societies and Professional Organizations

Biological Sciences student representatives serve on the CMNS Student Advisory Board.  For more information see http://cmns.umd.edu/sab .

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