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Undergraduate

Biology

Biology majors gain extensive hands-on laboratory experience in the state-of-the-art Testa Science Center, as well as strong support from and easy access to faculty, who make classroom-based concepts meaningful and help develop your technical research skills.

Biology is the study of life. Biologists explore the mysteries of life at the cellular, organismal and population.

Whether you want to use your biology degree to study viruses or ecosystems, you gain extensive hands-on laboratory experience.  You will have strong support from and easy access to Assumption science faculty, who make classroom-based concepts meaningful and help develop your technical research skills. Lectures encourage students to synthesize the best of classical and contemporary ideas in biology. Laboratory work gives students technical expertise and will help you to observe, ask questions, test hypotheses, analyze results, and present your conclusions orally and in writing.

Biology majors have the option to select a concentration in neuroscience. You can also pursue biotechnology and molecular biology as a major.

The state-of-the-art Testa Science Center, located on-campus in Worcester, MA, provides outstanding laboratory facilities to students pursuing a bachelor’s degree in biology.

Learning Goals of the Major in Biology

A Major in Biology teaches students how to investigate and appreciate the unity of function that underlies the diversity of life forms. Biology students gain skills in critical thinking and communication, and a deep understanding of the process of science.  Elective courses provide a guided choice of advanced study in Biology and related areas. Students may participate in seminars, independent study, internships and summer research. With its flexibility, the major prepares students for careers in industry, education, and the health professions. The major also prepares students for further study in graduate and professional schools.

Program Contact

Brian K. Niece, Ph.D

Department Chair, Biological and Physical Sciences, Professor of Chemistry
508-767-7209 Testa Science Center - Room 209

An Ideal Place to Learn

100%
All classes taught by professors, none by teaching assistants
Students from 29 states and 21 countries
11:1
Student/Faculty ratio

Program Curriculum

  • Students who pursue a biology degree take 16 courses in math and science, with numerous options for biology students to choose which courses best suit their interests. Students may also receive academic credit for up to two biology internships.

    Required Courses
    BIO 160 Concepts in Biology
    CHE 131-132 General Chemistry I and II
    CHE 201-202 Organic Chemistry I and II
    MAT 114 Elementary Functions
    PHY 201-202 General Physics I and II
    BIO 210 Genetics
    One of Four
    BIO 220 Invertebrate Zoology
    BIO 230 Botany
    BIO 240 Human Anatomy
    BIO 250 Microbiology
    One of Five
    Histology
    BIO 340 Molecular and Cellular Biology
    BIO 370 General Physiology
    BIO 410 Introductory Immunology
    BIO 420 Developmental Biology
    One of Four
    BIO 360 Ecology
    BIO 320 Organic Evolution
    BIO 310 Animal Behavior
    BIO 430 Comparative Physiology
    Electives (choose 4, with at least one at the 400 level)
    BIO 210 Genetics
    BIO 220 Invertebrate Zoology
    BIO 230 Botany
    BIO 240 Mammalian Anatomy
    BIO 250 Microbiology
    BIO 310 Animal Behavior
    BIO 320 Organic Evolution
    BIO 340 Molecular and Cellular Biology
    BIO 350 Marine Mammals: Biology and Conservation
    BIO 360 Ecology
    BIO 370 General Physiology
    400-Level Courses
    BIO 410 Introductory Immunology
    BIO 415 Neuroscience
    BIO 410 Developmental Biology
    BIO 430 Comparative Physiology
    BIO 440 Biotechnology in Theory and Practice
    BIO 480 Seminar in the Life Sciences

    Special Topics in Biology (A maximum of two of these can be selected)

    Additional internship of independent study credits will count toward degree requirements but will not count toward the biology degree requirements.

    Course Descriptions

  • A minor in biology appeals to students who have an interest in a health-related field, regardless of their major. Biology minors take five natural sciences courses chosen in one on one consultation with a department advisor.

    Required Courses
    BIO 160 Concepts in Biology
    Electives (choose at least 4)
    BIO 210 Genetics
    BIO 220 Invertebrate Zoology
    BIO 230 Botany
    BIO 240 Human Anatomy
    BIO 250 Microbiology
    BIO 275 Special Topics in Biology
    BIO 291 Internship in Biology
    BIO 310 Animal Behavior
    BIO 320 Organic Evolution
    BIO 340 Molecular and Cellular Biology
    BIO 350 Marine Mammals: Biology and Conservation
    BIO 360 Ecology
    BIO 370 General Physiology
    400-Level Courses
    BIO 410 Introductory Immunology
    BIO 415 Neuroscience
    BIO 420 Developmental Biology
    BIO 430 Comparative Physiology
    BIO 440 Biotechnology in Theory and Practice
    BIO 480 Seminar in the Life Sciences

    Special Topics in Biology (A maximum of two of these can be selected)

    Course Descriptions

  • This concentration introduces students to neuroscience and biological and psychological rationales for behavior. It is ideal for individuals interested in obtaining a strong foundation in biology while pursuing an interdisciplinary approach to the study of human behavior. Students who choose this concentration are also encouraged to do internships or independent studies in laboratories studying neurobiology or the biological basis of behavior.

    Individuals who complete the requirements of the major will be prepared to pursue work in the biotechnology and pharmacology industries or in other life science organizations. They will also be eligible to pursue graduate studies in neuroscience or the health professions.

    Required Courses (12)

    Biology majors should take CHE 131 and BIO 160 in their first semester.

    BIO 160 Concepts in Biology
    BIO 210 Genetics
    BIO 310 Animal Behavior
    BIO 415 Principles of Neuroscience
    CHE 131-132 General Chemistry I and II (Note: MAT 114 is a pre-requisite for CHE 132)
    CHE 201-202 Organic Chemistry I and II
    MAT 114 Elementary Functions (or higher if placed higher)
    PHY 201-202 General Physics I and II
    PSY 101 General Psychology
    PSY 402 Social, Cognitive, and Affective Neuroscience
    Electives (5)

    Choose at least 3 of the following

    BIO 220 Invertebrate Biology
    BIO 240 Human Anatomy
    BIO 340 Molecular and Cellular Biology
    BIO 370 General Physiology
    BIO 480 Seminar in Life Sciences: Neuroscience topic
    Choose at least 1
    PSY 250 Perception
    PSY 251 Introduction to Brain and Behavior
    PSY 252 Cognitive Psychology
    PSY 253 Psychology of Learning
    Suggested (but not required) Courses
    PSY 224 Statistics
    PSY 225 Research Methods
    PHI 345 Special Topics in Philosophical Issues – Human Nature
    BIO 490–491 Independent Study in Biology

    Course Descriptions

  • Biotechnology has developed around the study of living things at the molecular level. The chemistry of genetics has found applications in medicine and industry. Techniques of molecular genetics have allowed dramatic advances in our understanding of developmental biology, physiology, immunology, and evolution. This major provides a balanced foundation in biology, plus an introduction to the theory and methods of biotechnology and molecular biology. Students in the major are encouraged to do internships at biotechnology laboratories in the Worcester area. When they graduate, students can pursue graduate study in the biological sciences or in the health sciences. The major is also excellent preparation for a teaching career or employment in a biotechnology-based field.

    Required Courses (14)

    Biotechnology and Molecular Biology majors should take CHE 131 and BIO 160 in their first semester.

    BIO 160 Concepts in Biology
    BIO 210 Genetics
    BIO 250 Microbiology
    BIO 340 Molecular and Cellular Biology
    BIO 440 Biotechnology: Theory and Practice
    CHE 131–132 General Chemistry I and II (Note: MAT 114 is a pre-requisite for CHE 132)
    CHE 201–202 Organic Chemistry I and II
    CHE 414 Biochemistry
    MAT 114 Elementary Functions, or higher if placed higher
    PHY 201–202 General Physics I and II
    PHI 151 Ethics and the Good Life
    Electives (3)

    Three additional electives in Biology from level 200 or above. A maximum of two of these electives can be selected from internships or BIO 490 or 491. Additional internship or independent study credits will count toward degree requirements but will not count toward the major in Biology. PHI 262 Biomedical Ethics is strongly recommended, but not required.

    Course Descriptions

Faculty

Brian K. Niece, Ph.D
Department Chair, Biological and Physical Sciences Department Chair, Biological and Physical Sciences Professor of Chemistry
Vladimir Atryzek
Adjunct Faculty
Soraya V. Betancourt-Calle, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Practice
Stuart I. Cromarty, Ph.D
Professor of Biology
David Crowley, Ph.D.
Professor of Biology Director of ASPIRE Associate Director of the Center for Purpose and Vocation
Karolina Fučíková, Ph.D
Assistant Professor of Biology
Mandy Gaudreau
Adjunct Faculty
Michele Lemons, Ph.D
Professor of Biology Director of Center for Neuroscience
Nicolas (Nikos) Lessios, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Biology
Paul Mahon, Ph.D.
Professor of Biology
Jessica McCready, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Biology
Jean M. Mukherjee
Adjunct Faculty
Andrea Jean Pereira
Adjunct Faculty
Anthony Sacino
Assistant Professor of Practice
Kimberly A. Schandel, Ph.D
Dean of the School of Graduate and Professional Studies Associate Professor of Biology and Chemistry
Owen D. Sholes, Ph.D
Adjunct Faculty
Steven Theroux, Ph.D
Professor of Biology
Jessica Lucas Whitt, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Practice

Experiential Learning

Assumption's Rome Campus

At Assumption's campus in Rome, Italy, the city and the country become your classroom through daily and weekend-long excursions throughout "the eternal city" and the Italian countryside. This unique study abroad experience will enrich your academic and cultural pursuits as you walk in the footsteps of emperors and gladiators then enjoy delectable Italian cuisine or perhaps a cappuccino after class in a local cafe. (Did you know that your financial aid follows you to Rome?)

Explore the Rome Campus

Learn the Skills Employers Seek

Faculty/Student Research

The Assumption curriculum encourages scholarly and real-world experience. With hands-on research conducted alongside faculty mentors, students gain a depth of knowledge and skills that lead to professional success and personal fulfillment.

Study Abroad

At Assumption University, the world is your classroom. Students can study and explore abroad in over 50 places from Vienna to England, South Africa, and even our own campus in historic, yet modern, Rome, Italy. Assumption’s study abroad program offers culture, history, and a living classroom for all.

Internships

Assumption starts planning for your future the day you arrive on campus. Our Career Development and Internship Center helps students secure exciting and fulfilling internships where you’ll apply knowledge obtained in the classroom in a professional setting, preparing for a future career or additional study. Assumption connects students to internship opportunities in corporations, government agencies, research hospitals, non-profit organizations, and more.


Career Paths

Abbott Bioresearch Center

Aventis Pharmaceuticals

Biogen Idec

Eli Lilly and Company

Genzyme

Hasbro Children’s Hospital

Massachusetts General Hospital

Mosaic Technologies

Pfizer

Waters Corporation

First-rate Academics in a Catholic University Setting

Assumption University awakens in students a sense of wonder, discovery, and purpose, forming graduates known for their intellectual seriousness, thoughtful citizenship, and devotion to the common good. Students are provided an education that shapes their souls, forms them intellectually, and prepares them for meaningful careers. Enlivened by the harmony of faith and reason, here, students’ minds and hearts are transformed.


Assumption is dedicated to providing a clear understanding of what your education will cost

We’ll help cut through the complexity of financing your education, ensuring you understand what you need, how to apply for aid, and what’s expected of you. You will be assigned a personal financial aid advisor who will guide you through the process and answer all of your financial aid-related questions.


Regis College Dual Degree Parternship

Assumption University and Weston-based Regis College have announced a dual-degree Masters of Science in Regulatory and Clinical Research Management. Assumption students who pursue the dual degree must earn a Bachelor of Arts in biology or biotechnology and molecular biology from Assumption with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher. In addition receiving an undergraduate and graduate degree, Assumption students benefit form application fee waivers, preferred admission and waiver of the GRE/MAT requirement. Students are also offered one Regis graduate-level course at no cost while still enrolled at Assumption. Assumption University and Regis College Dual Degree

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