Jun 18, 2024  
Undergraduate/Graduate Catalog 2016-2017 
Undergraduate/Graduate Catalog 2016-2017 [ARCHIVED CATALOG] See drop-down menu above to access other catalogs.

Biological Sciences


Chairperson: Professor Merideth Krevosky

Graduate Program Coordinator: Professor Kevin Curry

Professors: Christopher Bloch, Jeffrey Bowen, Michael Carson, Donald Padgett

Associate Professors: Boriana Marintcheva, Jennifer Mendell, Jonathan Roling, Joseph Seggio

Assistant Professors: Kenneth Adams, Caitlin Fisher-Reid, Heather Marella, Thilina Surasinghe

Department Telephone Number: 508.531.1358
Location: Science and Mathematics Center, Room 301

Degree Programs

  • BS in Biology
    Concentration: Secondary Education
  • BA in Biology
  • MAT - Biology

Undergraduate Minors

  • Biology

Click on Academic Programs  for program information and requirements.

The mission of the biology program is to provide students with a broad background in the biological sciences allowing for flexibility in making career choices. The department offers an undergraduate program leading to the degree of Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts and a graduate program leading to the degree of Master of Arts in Teaching. Students enrolled in the graduate program have the opportunity to develop their skills and knowledge in more specialized areas.

The overall goal of the program is to expose students to the scientific process and to promote a student’s ability to think critically. Ultimately, the aim is to transform the student into a more analytical thinker and to improve his/her confidence, both academically and professionally. The department feels that the best way to achieve these goals for our biology students is through participation in an undergraduate research experience.

The Department of Biological Sciences is located in the state-of-the-art Science and Mathematics Center. The department has 13 teaching laboratories, five prep laboratories, a biology museum-seminar room, and eight faculty-student research laboratories that include tissue culture, small mammal, aquatic, and natural history facilities. The department also operates a research-level greenhouse adjacent to the Science and Mathematics Center. The laboratories are well equipped to help students apply the theoretical principles of their courses. Equipment includes light and fluorescent microscopes, a DNA sequencer, ultracentrifuge, microplate reader, real-time PCR, electrophoretic equipment and a flow cytometer amongst other equipment. In addition, there is close cooperation between the biology and chemistry departments that allows for access to other equipment such as electrochemical equipment, a nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometer, an atomic absorption spectrometer, several infrared (IR) spectrometers, a gas chromatograph, a gas chromatograph/mass spectrometer and a high pressure liquid chromatograph.

The location of the campus is a major advantage for conducting fieldwork and ecological studies. Within an hour’s drive of the campus are such diverse habitats as bays, salt marshes, sandy beaches, rocky shores, estuaries, bogs, freshwater ponds, streams and rivers (clean and polluted), white cedar swamps, marshes, pine groves and hemlock groves.

The department is involved in the coordination of the Watershed Access Laboratory and the BSU City Lab within the Center for the Advancement of STEM Education (CASE). These laboratories are designed for outreach use in teacher professional development in environmental education and biotechnology and for interdisciplinary studies by faculty and students.

Each student majoring in biology will be assigned a departmental academic advisor from among the faculty of the department, and should consult with the advisor in regard to both the BS versus BA decision, and selection of courses. It is also important to frequently meet with the advisor to verify progress toward completion of graduation requirements and meeting departmental standards.

Bachelor of Science in Biology (BS)

The department offers a BS degree program designed to prepare the student for employment as a biologist in a laboratory or field setting or for advanced training at a graduate or professional institution. The BS requirements can be tailored to the student’s individual interests. This program encourages students to select their coursework to develop a background of skills to complement their interest and open future opportunities for internships, graduate study and careers. Course work in such fields as histology, virology, embryology, molecular biology and neurobiology prepares students for health-related or biotechnology pursuits such as laboratory or clinical work or graduate study and health-professional schools. Course work in such fields as wetlands ecology, evolution, biometry, stream ecology and marine mammal biology would prepare students for graduate study or careers in ecology and other environmental-related pursuits.

The BS degree is an excellent preparation for students seeking advanced graduate education in the health professions: medical doctor, dental medicine, veterinarian, etc. The department participates in the university’s Health Profession Advising Program which assists students in selecting appropriate coursework, preparing for the MCAT and other qualifying exams and in submitting applications.

All BS students are required to take a core of courses consisting of BIOL 121 - General Biology I , BIOL 122 - General Biology II , BIOL 200 - Cell Biology , BIOL 225 - General Ecology  and BIOL 321 - Genetics . In consultation with their departmental advisor, each student selects six additional courses: one to fulfill each of the three Distributions (Cell & Molecular Biology, Physiology and Ecology and Evolution) with the remaining three courses being electives. At least one  course in Experiential Learning and one Writing-Designated in the Major in the area of the student’s interest are required for graduation.

The Secondary Education Concentration is a more focused option as a high school/middle school teacher preparation program. It is designed to provide the breadth of knowledge required for earning Massachusetts teacher licensure and helping middle and high school pupils meet Massachusetts educational standards. Please refer to the “Department of Secondary Education and Professional Programs ” for specific teacher licensure and program requirements.

Bachelor of Arts (BA)

The BA degree is designed for the biology major who wishes to use biological knowledge in pursuit of a career outside of biology. Examples of such careers are teaching elementary education, science writing, scientific illustration, technical sales or publishing. By carefully selecting biology courses and adding particular courses in chemistry, physics and mathematics beyond the BA requirements, a BA degree holder may qualify for many of the career opportunities listed under the BS.

Educator Licensure

Students interested in seeking Massachusetts teacher licensure should refer to the following department links for specific teacher licensure and program requirements: Elementary and Early Childhood Education  or Special Education  for students double majoring in elementary education, early childhood education or special education; or Secondary Education and Professional Programs  for students minoring in secondary education (high school, middle school or PreK-12 specialist).

Honors Program

The honors program in biology provides an opportunity for highly qualified biology majors to study biology and to conduct independent research in biology for honors credit. Interested students should contact the Department of Biological Sciences by their sophomore year for further information concerning eligibility and application.

Undergraduate Research

The Department of Biological Sciences provides the opportunity for students to participate in a true research experience, which is increasingly an advantageous component of undergraduate training.

Each semester, BIOL 396 - Research Problems in Biology  and BIOL 497 - Undergraduate Biological Research  are offered by faculty members who direct and supervise either individuals or a small team of undergraduates in a research project. Students are intimately involved with experimental design as well as data collection, analysis and interpretation. The course culminates with a student presentation of the semester’s work in a departmental seminar. These courses are often followed by a presentation at a professional scientific meeting. Research topics vary from semester to semester as different faculty members direct the research course; equally valuable training and experience in scientific methodology is obtained with all topics. The Department of Biological Sciences highly recommends this experience which adds a profitable dimension that is not provided by ordinary course work.

Biology Internship

Biology students interested in developing a field or laboratory experience through BIOL 498 - Internship in Biology  must meet the following criteria to be considered:

  • Prior completion of at least 54 credits and at least two semesters of biology at Bridgewater State University
  • Minimum 2.5 cumulative GPA overall, and 2.7 GPA in biology
  • Prior agreement of a faculty member to act as faculty supervisor and oversee the specific internship
  • Submission of a completed internship application form to the department chairperson by the middle of the semester preceding the internship

The Department of Biological Sciences has offered internships in two modes:

Individualized Internships
These internships have been arranged on an individual basis involving the student, the department faculty supervisor and the external supervisor at the internship site. Organizations that have been involved in these internships include Bridgewater Square Chiropractic, Roger Williams Zoo, Franklin Park Zoo, Capron Park Zoo, New England Aquarium, National Maine Fisheries Service at Woods Hole, International Wildlife Coalition, and New England Coastal Wildlife Alliance.

Formalized Group Internships
These internships have involved up to twelve students and have been presented as collaboration between BSU and external organizations, including The Web for Life, The International Wildlife Coalition, and the Plymouth Marine Mammal Research Center. Formal meetings, seminars, and external speakers have been presented to the participants who have also engaged in a program for guided field research.

Requirements and Assessments

Students are required to find a faculty supervisor who will agree to supervise the internship. The department encourages the student to connect with a faculty supervisor whose area of expertise is most appropriate to the proposed internship.

Interns are generally expected to keep a reflective journal, a scientific journal, write a final paper based on the internship experience, and share their experience with the department in a public forum.