Biology Curriculum

View the requirements for an AOC in Biology and see sample pathways to graduation.

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Area of Concentration Requirements

Coursework in biology should include eight biology courses beyond the introductory level. Students must take one lecture course within each of the three levels of organization: molecular/cellular biology, organismal biology, and ecology/evolution.

Students must also take three semesters of laboratory experiences that cover at least two levels of organization. Two advanced courses must be taken to help students develop mastery in an area of their choosing. The curriculum is flexible to accommodate student needs and faculty offer tutorials in multiple special areas to support student interest.

Students will also take one Independent Study Project in Biology, a senior thesis in Biology, and a successful baccalaureate exam to complete the expectations for biology Area of Concentration.

Biology students should also complete a Statistics course, Physics 1, Physics 1 Laboratory, Calculus 1, General Chemistry 1 and 2, General Chemistry Laboratory, Organic Chemistry 1, and Organic Chemistry Inquiry Laboratory as well as an additional non-introductory lecture and an additional hands-on activity (a laboratory or workshop) in the Natural Sciences. Students with plans to pursue graduate studies and/or pre-health fields will be advised about specific course selection by their academic advisers.

Students may focus on a subdiscipline of Biology without selecting a different AOC, but each subdiscipline assumes completion of foundational biology and the incorporation into an individual’s curriculum of the core areas of study.

Recent courses

In the current curriculum, molecular and cellular courses include

  • Genetics
  • Developmental Biology
  • Microbiology
  • Neurobiology
  • Cellular Biology

Organismal biology is represented by course offerings including:

  • Organismic Biology
  • Botany
  • Entomology
  • Fish Biology
  • Invertebrate Zoology
  • Plant Physiology
  • Biology of Sharks, Skates, and Rays.

In the area of ecology and evolution, students may select from current offerings such as:

  • Animal Behavior
  • Biology of Urbanization
  • Conservation Biology
  • Forest Ecology Laboratory in addition to traditionally-titled courses in Ecology and Evolution.

Advanced courses (often called “topics courses”), lab tutorials, internships, and seminars give the student additional opportunities to explore their interests.

Biology AOC Course Checklist (for students entering fall 2017 and later) v1.0 Fall 2018

Introductory sequence (may be taken in any order) to provide foundational knowledge:

  • Foundations of Biology 1
  • Foundations of Biology 2

Intermediate Biology coursework to provide breadth across biological scales. Select at least one lecture in each column; select a lab from at least 2 columns (3 labs total):

Molecular/Cellular Lectures
Cell Biology
Developmental Biology
Genetics
Microbiology
Neurobiology


Molecular/Cellular Labs
Cell Biology
Genetics Lab
Microbiology Lab
Molecular Biology
Neurobiology Lab

Organismic Lectures
Botany
Entomology
Fish Biology
Invertebrate Zoology
Marine Mammal Biology
Organismic Biology
Plant Physiology
Biology of Sharks


Organismic Labs
Botany Lab
Entomology Lab
Invertebrate Zoology
Organismic Biology Lab
Sensory Biology of Fishes Lab
Biology of Sharks Lab

Ecology/Evolution Lectures
Animal Behavior
Biology of Urbanization
Conservation Biology
Ecology
Evolution
Principles of Ecol Mgmt.


Ecology/Evolution Labs
Animal Behavior Lab
Ecology Lab
Lab Methods in Field Ecology
Plant Physiology Lab

Natural Science coursework:

  • A Statistics course (e.g. Biostatistics, Dealing with Data, or Introduction to Statistics)
  • Calculus I
  • General Chemistry I
  • General Chemistry II
  • General Chemistry Laboratory
  • Organic Chemistry I
  • Organic Chemistry Inquiry Laboratory
  • Physics I
  • Physics I Laboratory
  • Two additional Biology courses or tutorials (beyond the introductory level and approved by Biology faculty).
  • Two additional Natural Sciences courses (lecture or lab, or two labs) (e.g. Organic II & lab, Physics II & lab, other upper level Chemistry/Computer Science/Math/Physics/GIS courses).

Highly recommended:

  • A Writing intensive course (e.g. Writing about Writing for the Natural Sciences)
  • One ISP in Biology
  • A thesis in Biology (with two Biology faculty on committee)

Students interested in graduate school should work closely with a Biology adviser as graduate programs have additional requirements beyond the above list. These vary between biological disciplines.

Joint Biology AOC Course Checklist (for students entering fall 2017 and later) v1.0 Fall 2018

Students that would like an AOC/Biology should follow these requirements:

Introductory sequence (may be taken in any order) to provide foundational knowledge.

  • Foundations of Biology 1
  • Foundations of Biology 2

Intermediate Biology coursework to provide breadth across biological scales. Select two lectures from at least two columns. Select two labs from at least 2 columns:

Molecular/Cellular Lectures
Cell Biology
Developmental Biology
Genetics
Microbiology
Neurobiology


Molecular/Cellular Labs
Cell Biology Lab
Genetics Lab
Microbiology Lab Fish Biology Lab Forest Ecology Lab
Molecular Biology
Neurobiology Lab Organismic Biology Lab

Organismic Lectures
Botany
Entomology
Fish Biology
Invertebrate Zoology
Organismic Biology
Plant Physiology
Biology of Sharks


Organismic Labs
Botany Lab
Entomology Lab
Fish Biology Lab
Invertebrate Zoology Lab
Organismic Biology Lab
Plant Physiology Lab
Sensory Biology of Fishes Lab
Biology of Sharks Lab

Ecology/Evolution Lectures
Animal Behavior
Biology of Urbanization
Conservation Biology
Ecology
Evolution
Principles of Ecol Mgmt.


Ecology/Evolution Labs
Animal Behavior Lab
Ecology Lab
Forest Ecology Lab
Methods in Field Ecology

  • One ISP in Biology
  • A thesis related to biology (with one Biology faculty member on committee)

Highly recommended:

  • A Writing intensive course (e.g. Writing about Writing for the Natural Sciences)
  • Statistics course (e.g. Biostatistics, Dealing with Data, or Introduction to Statistics)

Students interested in graduate school should work closely with a Biology adviser as graduate programs have additional requirements beyond the above list. These vary between biological disciplines.

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SAMPLE PATHWAYS TO COMPLETE AOC REQUIREMENTS

New College students must satisfy both the requirements of the Liberal Arts Curriculum (LAC), New College’s general education program, and the specific requirements for the Area of Concentration (AOC). With so many opportunities each term, the pathway below is provided as an example of how a student could complete the requirements for graduation. We’ve put some checkpoints in place so that you make the most of your time at New College. Each term you’ll meet with a faculty advisor to discuss courses, tutorials, internships, or other academic experiences. Schedule a meeting with your faculty advisor to discuss which courses satisfy the LAC and which satisfy the AOC. Each student completes a Provisional AOC Plan in the fifth contract to select an AOC, and each student submits a Thesis Prospectus/AOC Form in the sixth contract.

A Sample Four-Year Pathway for Biology

YearFall Term January / ISPSpring Term
Year 1Foundations of Biology 1 (LAC 1)ISP 1 Foundations of Biology 2 (LAC 4)
General Chemistry 1 (LAC 2)General Chemistry 2 (LAC 5)
General Chemistry LaboratoryA Statistics course (eg. Dealing with Data) (AOC requirement) (LAC 6)
LAC 3LAC 7
Year 2Organic Chemistry 1Biology ISPOrganic Chemistry 2
Organic Chemistry Inquiry LaboratoryOrganic Chemistry 2 lab
Biology "D" level lecture Biology "D" level Laboratory
Calculus 1Biology elective 1
Year 3Physics 1ISP 3Biology "D" level lecture
Physics Laboratory 1 Biology "D" level laboratory
Biology "D" level lecture Biology elective 2
Biology "D" level laboratory Collegewide Elective
Year 4Thesis research
Thesis writing
LAC 8
Collegewide Elective

A Sample Two-Year Pathway for Biology

YearFall Term January / ISPSpring Term
Year 3Statistics Biology ISP (with Biology faculty) Chemistry 2
Ecology Lecture Organismic Biology
Ecology LabOrganismic Biology Lab
Biology elective Tutorial in Biology
Year 4Organic Chemistry 1 Thesis workThesis writing tutorial
Organic Chemistry Inquiry Lab Non-intro level Nat Sci lecture
Cell Biology Lecture Non-intro level level Nat Sci lab
Cell Biology Lab

We expect that students transferring in to New College with an AA degree have already completed the equivalent of the introductory biology course sequence and Calculus 1, Physics 1 and lab, and Chemistry 1 and lab.

View the requirements for an AOC in Biology and see sample pathways to graduation.