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Biology

FAQs

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What kind of jobs do Biology graduates get after they graduate?

Our program provides an excellent academic foundation that prepares students to accept the challenges and opportunities of the dynamic and rapidly evolving field of life science. Our three areas of concentration reflect the major fields of growth in life sciences today: biotechnology and biomedical research; careers in medicine; and ecology and the environment. Our students have been successful in obtaining employment in research positions in biotechnology and biomedical sciences laboratories, clinical laboratories, and pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. Our students have also been employed in several other fields, including science education, state and federal agencies and environmental consulting firms. We have a consistent record of student placement in graduate and professional schools and our graduates have entered leading medical, dental and veterinary schools.

Do I have to choose a concentration in biology?

No. Students have the option to choose one of the three areas of concentration in Biology: Cell and Molecular Biology and Biotechnology; Pre-Med/Pre-Vet/Pre-Dental; or Ecology and Environment.

Is there guidance for students interested in a pre-med, pre-dental or pre-vet career?

Yes. The department has a Health Professions Advisor, Dr. Charlotte Berkes who will help students with special preparations needed for medical/dental/veterinary school.

Will I be prepared to take the medical school entrance exams (MCATs) by majoring in biology at Merrimack?

Our biology curriculum does not have the specific and explicit goal of preparing students for the MCATs. Faculty believe that students get the best education by learning how to think critically, how to learn by doing science. However, we are alert to the desire of many students to prepare for medical school. The breadth of our curriculum combined with coursework in your area of concentration, are part of your preparation. Many students also find that additional preparation, including Kaplan Reviews and Princeton Review for example, helps them prepare before taking the MCATs.

Does the Department have a graduate school advisor?

Yes.  Dr. David MacLaren acts as our graduate school advisor helping students prepare for entry into a wide range of graduate programs.

How to I get a biology advisor?

Incoming students are initially assigned an advisor in the biology faculty. You are however, free to change your advisor. In fact, we encourage students to get to know the entire faculty in the department.

Can I change my advisor?

Absolutely. As you get to know the faculty, you are free to choose whoever you wish. Typically students choose advisors who most closely match their concentration of interest. The biology faculty are a tight-knit group and we encourage students to get to know all of us.

Are there any active biology-related clubs or groups on campus?

Yes. We have an active ‘Club Bio’ that sponsors social events, field trips and other student-based activities. All biology majors are eligible to join and participate.

Can I participate in a study abroad program and still meet all my biology major requirements?

Yes. We have many students who choose to spend a semester abroad. However, it is important to plan for these trips so you should discuss your options with your advisor if you are thinking about this option.

Do you have an internship coordinator?

Yes. Dr. Mark Birnbaum is our student internship coordinator and he will assist students in preparing for internships. The Biology Department web page also has a page dedicated to internships with numerous links to opportunities in the Boston area and throughout the U.S. and abroad.

Does the department offer academic credit for internships?

Yes, and we have internship guidelines that outline how this is done. We encourage all students to consider this option, particularly in the junior and senior year. Dr. Mark Birnbaum our Internship Coordinator can help you with the process. Students may even be paid for an internship and receive academic credit.

Who should I contact to get more information about the Biology Program at Merrimack?

You should feel free to contact the department administrative assistant and/or any of the biology faculty. We would be happy to discuss options with you and give you more information about our degree program and our areas of concentration.

I think I would like to participate in a faculty-based research project with Merrimack faculty, what do I do?

Biology majors have the opportunity to work with faculty on the faculty member’s individual and/or collaborative research projects. Students interested in this option should work with their advisors to prepare for this option. Biology faculty all work with Merrimack students on their research, typically juniors and seniors. Many students also choose to take a semester of Directed Study with a faculty member or combine that with a second course, Senior Thesis Research to get a full-year of research with a faculty member.

What sequence of courses does the typical biology major take?

The biology major has a core curriculum consisting of: Principles of Biology I: Molecules, Cells and Organisms (BIO1027); Principles of Biology II: Organisms, Ecology and Evolution (BIO1028); Genetics (BIO2018); and Ecology (BIO2010). In the sophomore year, students can focus on one of the areas of concentration within the biology program. We firmly believe that the core curriculum provides an important and essential breadth of knowledge that will give you a solid foundation for whatever concentration you choose.

For more information about the Department of Biology at Merrimack College, please see the other content on out web page or contact the Department Chair.

Dr. Jon Lyonimage
Associate Professor and Chair of Biology
268 Mendel
tel (978) 837-5280
LyonJ@merrimack.edu