Ecology and Marine Biology


Design your course of study:

Note that there are many possible paths through the Biology major for students interested in ecology and marine biology. The course sequence described below is one of many possible routes.

Find class descriptions in the Class Finder>>

1. Introduction to Biology (required for the major and a prerequisite for upper-level courses)

  • Scientific Reasoning in Biology (Biol 1109) or
  • Biological Principles I & II (Biol 1101-2)

*This should be taken no later than sophomore year, and ideally in the fall or spring of the first year.

2. Core courses (three required for the major, one from each Group):

  • Group I: Genetics & Molecular Biology (Biol 2112). Students interested in microbial ecology or evolutionary biology might prefer to take Microbiology (Biol 2118) or Developmental Biology (Biol 2175) instead.
  • Group II: Comparative Physiology (Biol 2214; focus on animals) or Plant Ecophysiology (Biol 2210; focus on plants)
  • Group III: Behavioral Ecology & Population Biology (Biol 2315); or Biodiversity and Conservation Science (Biol 2325); Biology of Marine Organisms (Biol 2319) or Evolution (Biol 2316)
  • Students interested in marine ecology should take Biology of Marine Organisms (Biol 2319)

* These can be taken at any time, although Group III courses should be taken as early as possible, ideally starting sophomore year, especially if you are considering studying abroad junior year.

3. additional Biology courses (4-5 are required for the major)

  • Courses below 2500: Evolution (Biol 2316), Biodiversity & Conservation Science (Biol 2325),
  • Courses above 2500: Forest Ecology and Conservation class (Biol 2581), Ornithology (Biol 2558), Advanced Winter Field Ecology (Biol 3399), Molecular Evolution (Biol 3317), Ecological Genetics (Biol 3381)
  • Courses in marine ecology: Biology of Marine Organisms (Biol 2319), Marine Molecular Ecology & Evolution (Biol 2330), Biology of Marine Mammals (Biol 2571), Marine Conservation Biology (Biol 2574), Dimensions of Marine Biodiversity (Biol 3301)
  • Students interested in marine ecology should also consider Marine Molecular Ecology & Evolution (Biol 2330) and Dimensions of Marine Biodiversity (Biol 3301)

* These can be taken at any time. Note that if you study abroad on a field ecology program (e.g., Organization for Tropical Studies, School for Field Studies), you may be able to count 1-2 courses towards the Biology major.

4.  Non-Biology science courses (3-4 required for the major):

  • General Chemistry (Chem 1092, 1102, or 1109), Biostatistics (Math 1300) or Data Analysis (Psych 2520), Biomathematics (Math 2108), Biogeochemistry (EOS 2005).

* These can be taken at any time, although depending upon your interests, you may wish to develop an early foundation in chemistry (e.g., for molecular evolution), biomath or statistics (e.g., population biology).

5. honors thesis (optional)

  • Biol 4050-1