Jun 12, 2024  
Fitchburg State University 2022-2023 Undergraduate Catalog 
Fitchburg State University 2022-2023 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Environmental Biology Concentration, Biology, B.S.

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Michael Nosek
Associate Professors
Assistant Professors
  Dennis Awasabisah (Chemistry) Elizabeth Kilpatrick (Biology)
Christopher Cratsley (Biology) Emma Downs (Chemistry) Eric Willilams (Biology)
Margaret Hoey (Biology) Steven Fiedler (Chemistry)  
Ronald Krieser (Biology) Lisa Grimm (Biology)  
John Ludlam (Biology) Mathangi Krishnamurthy (Chemistry)  
Michael Nosek (Biology) Aisling O’Connor (Chemistry)  
Christopher Picone (Biology) Erin Rehrig (Biology)  
Sean Rollins (Biology) Billy Samulak (Chemistry)  
  Daniel Welsh (Biology)  

Objectives for the Program in Biology

Fitchburg State University offers a biology program that emphasizes basic scientific principles while challenging students.  The Department of Biology and Chemistry has a rich history of producing successful graduates in secondary education, biotechnology, environmental biology and health sciences.  Our faculty foster a supportive teaching and learning environment, offer individual attention to students, and provide numerous undergraduate and graduate research opportunities.  The Biology and Chemistry Club sponsors social events to encourage interaction between students and faculty.  The department also offers courses in laboratory science for other majors.

Student Learning Outcomes

The Biology and Chemistry Department believes that every student deserves a first-class education.  We are educators at Fitchburg State because our personal values align with the campus values of equity and excellence.  We strive to ensure that our students have the best of what we can offer them as they gain an in-depth knowledge of science that is part of a larger interdisciplinary, multicultural liberal arts and sciences education.

In order to achieve our mission, we undertake to:

  • Produce students who are well prepared for diverse careers or advanced study in the biological and chemical sciences or related disciplines as well as gain the skills necessary to successfully adapt to future changes within their disciplines. 
  • Build lasting relationships with students that will advance their professional growth by recognizing the unique needs of each individual and reflecting our passion for engagement in authentic learning experiences.
  • Maintain a high level of scholarly activity in a variety of fields associated with biology, chemistry and science education.
  • Serve the needs of the university and specific academic departments through our curricular offerings and involvement in the university community.
  • Endeavor to demonstrate leadership as stewards of the environment. 
  • Provide state of the art pedagogical approaches as well as utilize appropriate equipment, technology, and resources for teaching, learning and research in the sciences and science education.
  • Work to support the University’s mission of providing leadership and support for the economic, environmental, social, and cultural needs of North Central Massachusetts and the Commonwealth.

Biology Program Learning Outcomes

Demonstrate content knowledge of the AAAS BioCore, with topics in:

  • Evolution
  • Transformations of Energy and Matter
  • Information Flow, Exchange and Storage
  • Structure and Function
  • Systems

Conduct original biological research.

  • Clearly articulate testable questions and hypotheses
  • Design and execute experiments
  • Analyze data using appropriate statistical methods
  • Summarize data concisely with graphs, tables or images
  • Draw appropriate conclusions
  • Demonstrate safe practices in laboratory and field

Communicate science orally and in writing.

  • Present information in a clear and organized manner
  • Write well-organized and concise reports in a scientifically appropriate style
  • Use relevant technology in communications.
  • Communicate to a general audience

Use scientific literature. 

  • Retrieve information efficiently and effectively by searching the biological literature
  • Evaluate scientific articles critically
  • Cite sources appropriately

Requirements for the Major in Biology

All Biology majors are required to take four core courses and six advanced BIOL electives (>2000) including a Capstone course, for a total of 36 credits.

The core biology courses include student laboratory work so that students develop the skills of scientific inquiry. Students develop scientific literacy through reading, writing, testing hypotheses, and quantitative analysis. Core courses also integrate computer literacy through lab activities.

Core courses required in the Biology major

Additional Requirements

Biology majors also take six advanced electives at or above BIOL 2000. Independent study, directed study or internship may each count as one advanced BIOL elective in a student’s program of study. Courses with a separate lecture and lab registration count as a single elective: the lab portion of a course does not constitute a distinct biology elective.

One of the six electives must be a designated Capstone course. Students in the Capstone course conduct a research project to demonstrate their skills in research design and analysis.

Biology majors must earn a minimum grade of 2.0 in General Biology I and General Chemistry I.  If a grade below 2.0 is earned in either course, that course must be repeated before enrolling in any subsequent BIOL or CHEM classes. They are also limited to two attempts for each of General Biology I and General Chemistry I.  If Biology majors earn <2.0 or a W in a second attempt, they must find another major that more closely matches their skills and interests.

Capstone course options

Capstone courses must be taken at Fitchburg State: courses that transfer as the equivalent course will not fulfill this requirement. Independent studies (BIOL 4903 ) require approval by the departmental curriculum committee in order to fulfill the Capstone requirement.

Required courses in related sciences

In addition to BIOL courses, Bachelor of Science (BS) students are required to take courses in related sciences and two courses in mathematics at or above MATH 1300 .

Required General Education Courses

BS in Biology/Environmental Biology

The bachelor of science in Biology/Environmental Biology is an appropriate concentration for students interested in environmental careers, including ecological research, environmental protection, or state agencies. This concentration includes the requirements of the bachelor of science in Biology with the following exceptions:

  1. One of the six Biology electives is Conservation Biology (BIOL 3100 ).
  2. In addition to General Physics I and II (PHYS 2300 , PHYS 2400 ), students will take one course from each of two clusters with a GEOG designation. At least one course will come from the cluster consisting of Geology (GEOG 2100 ), Oceanography (GEOG 2500 ), Climatology (GEOG 3110 ), or Environmental Hydrogeology (GEOG 4600 ), and at least one course will come from the cluster consisting of Remote Sensing of the Environment (GEOG 4500 ), Computer Cartography (GEOG 3120 ), Geographic Information Systems (GEOG 4000 ), Urban Geography (GEOG 3300 ), and Computer Applications in Geoscience (GEOG 2400 ).
  3. Qualified students are encouraged to replace one of the six Biology electives with an internship of 3-6 credits in an environmental area (BIOL 4950 ).
  4. While the MATH requirements are the same as for any Biology major, Applied Statistics (MATH 1700 ) is encouraged.
  5. Students are strongly encouraged to pursue a minor in Earth Systems Science, or in Geographic Science and Technology, or in Chemistry to complement the Environmental Biology concentration.

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