Programs

Our major provides many ways of looking at living things. Core courses introduce complementary perspectives on life. Advanced courses bring students to the edge of what we know, and provide a foundation for original work. All courses are designed to contribute in various ways to the College’s Learning Goals and the Biological Sciences Department's Learning Goals

Research interests of the faculty include animal behavior, anatomy, biomechanics, cell biology, development, ecology, evolution, gene regulation, history of biology, human physiology, invasion biology, invertebrates, microbiology, molecular ecology, neurobiology, plant diversity, plant genetics, and symbiosis. 

The department’s facilities include transmission electron, scanning electron, and fluorescence microscopes, image capture and processing equipment, a tissue culture room, a greenhouse, controlled environment chambers, molecular biology equipment, and several computer-equipped teaching. Detailed information on required credits and courses for the major and the minor can be found in the Biological Sciences chapter of the catalog

Biochemistry Major

The major in Biochemistry is intended to provide a strong background in the fundamentals of both Biology and Chemistry and to develop an awareness of the unique principles of Biochemistry and to develop an awareness of the unique principles of Biochemistry.

The core curriculum consists of:

  • Chemistry 101 (or 160), 201, 202, 302, and 346 (or 308)
  • Biology 145 (or 160), 200, and 230
  • Biochemistry 311 and 314

In addition to these core courses, 8 additional credits of advanced (300-level) work are required. Advanced courses may be selected from 300-level courses offered in Biochemistry, Biology, and Chemistry. This requirement is intended to increase the breadth and depth of your knowledge and application of biochemistry through related 300-level course work.

Students who are interested in taking the Biochemistry core courses (Biochemistry 311 and 314) in their junior year are encouraged to complete at least Chemistry 101 (or 160) and 201 and Biology 145 (or 160) and 200 during the first year. The committee further recommends  Chemistry 325 to students planning graduate work in Biochemistry.

Finally, all majors are required to complete to give an oral presentation on a biochemical topic in the Senior Symposium.

Credits

A minimum of 48 credits plus credits for prerequisite courses to Chemistry 346/308.
(Students with advanced credits, see below.)

Courses

  • Chemistry 101 (or 160) and 201, General Chemistry I and II; 202 and 302, Organic Chemistry I and II; and 346 (or 308), Chemical Thermodynamics 
  • Biology 145 (or 160) and 200, Introductory Biology I and II, and 230, Cell and Molecular Biology 
  • Biochemistry 311, Protein Biochemistry and Cellular Metabolism and Biochemistry 314, Nucleic Acids Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 
  • 8 additional credits selected from 300-level courses in Biochemistry, Biology, and Chemistry. Please consult MyMountHolyoke for current elective offerings.
  • An oral presentation on a biochemical topic at the Senior Symposium

Students with Advanced Credits
A student coming to the College with advanced credits from IB or A-level course-work or Advanced Placement examinations can skip up to four courses at the introductory level (Biology 145 (or 160), 200; Chemistry 101 (or 160), 201) in accordance with the number of advanced credits she has received. However, advanced placement courses cannot replace more than 8 credits of the major. A student considering skipping introductory-level courses should consult with the program chair or other members of the Biochemistry Program Committee. 

No minor in Biochemistry is offered.

Biological Sciences Major

Our major provides many ways of looking at living things. Core courses introduce complementary perspectives on life. Advanced courses bring students to the edge of what we know and provide a foundation for original work.

Requirements for the Major

Credits

  • A minimum of 32 credits in biology, 8 credits in chemistry and 4 credits in statistics or calculus:

Courses

Required courses in biological sciences:

Biological Sciences:

  • BIOL-145, Introductory Biology (various types)
    or
  • BIOL-160, Integrated Introduction to Biology and Chemistry
    or
  • NEURO-100, Introduction to Neuroscience and Behavior

     

  • 200, Introductory Biology II: How Organisms Develop
  • 230, Cell and Molecular Biology

     

  • 223, Ecology (prereq. Biology 145 or Environmental Studies 100, one semester of college or high school calculus or statistics)
    or
  • 226, Evolution (prereq. Biology 230 or 223)

     

  • Three additional courses (12 credits) at the 300-level in biology. At least two of these (8 credits) 300-level courses must be taken at Mount Holyoke.
  • One additional course in Biological Sciences at any level

Required courses outside of biological sciences:

  • CHEM-101, General Chemistry I
  • CHEM-201, General Chemistry II
  • One course in either calculus or statistics (e.g. MATH-101, MATH-102, MATH-203, STAT-140, STAT-240, etc.)

Additional Specifications

  • A total of five courses at the 200 and 300 levels are required to be taken with labs.
  • BIOL-295 and BIOL-395 do not count toward the minimum 32 credits in Biological Sciences, nor towards the five courses required to be taken with labs.

Neuroscience and Behavior Major

Mount Holyoke’s Program in Neuroscience and Behavior offers an interdisciplinary major intended for students with strong, integrative interests in both biological sciences and psychology and in the biological bases of behavior.

Majors take a minimum of 60 credits in biological sciences, psychology, chemistry, and other disciplines.

Students planning postgraduate study in a related discipline or in medicine are urged to participate in independent laboratory study within either or both departments.

For detailed information on requirements for the major, see the Neuroscience and Behavior chapter of the course catalog.

Biological Sciences Minor

The minor in biological sciences major requires a minimum of 16 credits at the 200 and/or 300 level.

  • Biology 295 or 395 do not count toward the minimum 16 credits in the minor.

Detailed information on required credits and courses for the major and the minor can be found in the Biological Sciences chapter of the catalog.

We also provide education related minors. Detailed information on required credits and courses for this minor can be found in the Education Related Minors Programs of Study.