Choosing a Concentration

Choosing Between the Integrative Biology, Ecology, Evolution & Marine Biology and Molecular and Cellular Biology Concentrations

The Biology Department administers three courses of study, or concentrations: Integrative Biology (IB), Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology (EEMB), and Molecular and Cellular Biology (MCB). One may choose to follow any of these three courses of study to complete a major in biology.

The IB concentration provides the most flexibility within the biology major, with required core course offerings covering three general categories based on their scales of inquiry: Group 1 includes topics primarily at the molecular and cellular level, Group 2 focuses on the scale of the whole organism, and Group 3 encompasses the larger scale of ecology and evolution. Beyond these core requirements, students are free to take elective credits focusing on any or all of these general scales of biological systems. Students with specific interests in organismal biology, including physiology, development, and xxx, are recommended to take the IB concentration.

The EEMB concentration is intended for students who wish to focus their studies in the subdisciplines of Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology. It retains requirements for Group 1, Group 2, and Group 3 core courses, then lays out a coherent but flexible course of study with emphasis on biological systems at the macro scale.

The MCB concentration focuses on the molecular and cellular mechanisms of life and how they are studied. Its required core courses are weighted toward Group 1 offerings, and recommended electives focus on the cellular and subcellular scales.

Students choose a course of study when choosing a major in their fourth semester and are free to switch between concentrations during their Bowdoin career. Many of the introductory and elective course expectations of the three concentrations overlap. Students concentrating in any of the three courses of study will receive equal preference/priority during registration for Biology Department courses. We encourage all students to discuss their interests and aspirations with a member of the Biology Department faculty when designing a course of study and choosing between IB, EEMB, and MCB.    

Review the course requirements for Integrative Biology, Ecology, Evolution & Marine Biology, and Molecular & Cellular Biology here.