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As a prospective student you may have some questions about studying biology at Middlebury College. We've summarized some of our most frequently asked questions here. Click on a question to find the answer. If we haven't answered your question please email or call us to find out the answer.

Why should I major in Biology?

Students who are interested in the life sciences should consider a major in biology if they are interested in learning about both the depth and breadth of the science of life. Our two core introductory courses offer students a survey of 4 major sub-disciplines of biology: ecology, evolution, cell biology and genetics. Our two course organismal requirement allows you to learn in depth about organisms in 4 of the 5 common kingdoms (bacteria, plants, invertebrates and vertebrates).

Can I use my AP Biology credit to bypass Introductory Biology?

For students who have a strong high school background in biology, we offer placement exams. To bypass either (or both) of our introductory courses (BIOL0140 and BIOL0145) you must pass a placement exam, even if you have a 5 on the AP exam. Students who pass the placement exam for either course are allowed to take upper-level courses that list that particular course as a prerequisite. Students who do not pass the placement exam but are still interested in majoring in Biology should plan to take BIOL 140 and 145 as soon as possible.

How many courses do I need to take?

It depends if you wish be major, minor or complete a joint major.

Majors take 12 courses: our 2 core introductory courses, 2 organismal courses, 1 course in experimental design, 1 college-level chemistry course (with lab) and 6 biology electives. Other than the two core courses you may choose from a variety of courses to fulfill these requirements.

You can minor in Biology by completing 5 courses: the 2 introductory courses, 1 organismal course and 2 other biology electives.

Are Biology courses offered in winter term?

Yes. We offer a variety of courses each winter term. Majors may take BIOL0211 Experimental Design and Data Analysis to fulfill the 1 course requirement in experimental design and analysis. Then up to 2 other winter term courses designated for major credit may be taken.

If I study biology off-campus can I transfer those credits?

Off-campus programs vary widely in their rigor and focus thus if you plan to study off-campus you must get prior approval from the biology department to transfer the credits. A maximum of three courses taken off campus can be counted toward the biology major, or a maximum of two courses for joint majors.The biology "core courses" must be taken at Middlebury. These include BIOL 0140, BIOL 0145, and at least one of the two "organismal" courses required of the major.

Can I do research at Middlebury?

YES. Our introductory biology courses (BIOL0140 and BIOL0145) offer research training through their laboratory component. All of our laboratory courses above the 200 level provide opportunities for independent research in their laboratory component. Students are encouraged to enroll in BIOL0500 Independent Research where, working one-on-one with a faculty mentor, they undertake projects involving laboratory, field or library study. Many BIOL0500 projects become BIOL0700 senior thesis projects.

What do Biology majors do after graduating from Middlebury?

As you might guess, our alums move on to a variety of different careers and paths after graduating. Many Biology majors go directly to medical, dental, and veterinary schools. Some go to graduate school in ecology, evolution, molecular biology, and developmental biology. Many work as field assistants or as aides for NGOs or for the government. See our alumni page to see specific examples of what Biology majors do next.

Department of Biology

McCardell Bicentennial Hall
276 Bicentennial Way
Middlebury College
Middlebury, VT 05753