Many UMBC Biological Sciences graduates continue their
training in biology toward a graduate degree, either
Ph.D. or M.S. Such training is appropriate for a variety
of careers such as research scientist (either in an
academic, government or corporate setting), government regulatory
officer (at the Patent Office,
or Environmental Protection
Agency, for example),or college
or secondary school level teacher among others.
The requirements for admission to graduate schools vary
dramatically among universities. The most prestigious
universities will require a combination of high GPA and significant
evidence of aptitude for and involvement in scientific research as
an undergraduate. Less selective programs in general will
require a GPA above 3.0 and will look for evidence of a sincere
interest and commitment to a science career. All graduate
programs will look for a broad training in the biological
sciences with an emphasis on laboratory training in addition
to lecture courses.
The B.S. degree has been designed with the needs of students
interested in graduate training. It is more intensive, requiring
a more credits
of course work in the sciences and mathematics than does
the B.A. It also requires more laboratory courses, especially
important for most graduate training, which will usually
be research-intensive. It is true that the flexibility provided
by the B.A. may be preferable for some types of post-graduate
training. For example, someone interested in training at
the intersection of biological and environmental sciences
might benefit from combining course work in the Biological
Sciences and Geography
& Environmental Systems program. Someone interested
in study at the intersection of biological sciences and psychology
might want to combine a BIOL B.A. with a minor in Psychology.
For students who intend to continue in a field in the biological
sciences, however, the B.S. degree provides the depth of
study and has the flexibility to allow you to concentrate
in the areas of your greatest interest.
Many BIOL students become involved in research in faculty
laboratories, often leading to authoring research articles
in scientific journals during their undergraduate career.
The BIOL B.S. provides opportunities
involvement in research of this kind. A mechanism for integrating
scientific research with your BIOL B.S. degree is to enroll
in BIOL 499 Undergraduate Laboratory & Field Research. Students
in BIOL 499 pursue their own research project in a faculty
laboratory, usually collaborating with other undergraduates,
graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. The experience
provides a "real world" view of scientific research
that will provide evidence to graduate schools of your interest
and aptitude for research science.
BIOL 499 can be used as one of the two Junior-level elective
laboratory courses. Students who wish to do this will be
required to complete at least two semesters of BIOL 499 and
complete a new course, BIOL 499S Undergraduate Research Seminar.
Students in the BIOL B.A. program are free to participate
in BIOL 499 and BIOL 499S but cannot use that experience
to fulfill their Junior-level laboratory elective.