Specialization in Ecology and Conservation Biology

The specialization in Ecology and Conservation Biology (SECB) is designed to provide Biology Concentrators with an option to explore upper-division courses in one of the most exciting areas of contemporary biology.

This specialization offers courses drawn from topics including ecology, forest ecology, ecosystem ecology, symbiosis, behavioral ecology, biogeography, animal behavior, vertebrate biology, plant biology, biology of mammals, ornithology, evolution, molecular phylogenetics and evolution, tropical ecology, biodiversity and conservation, and marine biology. In addition to these exciting topics, students are also eligible to take designated courses offered by the Department of Earth and Environment. Pre- and co-requisite courses in chemistry, physics, math and computer science fulfill the science and math requirements for this specialization. This specialization provides students with a sound conceptual framework in ecology and conservation biology and hand-on experiences for future employment and internship opportunities in the academic, government, and private sectors.

Download an SECB Course Checklist (PDF)


Twelve courses in Biology, with an emphasis on coursework in the Evolution, Behavior and Ecology division of the Department of Biology:

Core Biology Courses (5)jessandfly

* BI 107, Biology I
* BI 108, Biology II
* BI 206, Genetics
* BI 303, Ecology
* BI 448, Biodiversity and Conservation Biology

Additional Biology Courses (7)

* Three courses must be at the 300-500 level.
* Three courses must have a lab component.

One course must be BI 315 or BI 325 (Physiology, Endocrinology & Reproduction; Neurobiology- PER/NEURO group)

The other 6 courses in Biology must be selected from the following:

* BI 260, Marine Biology
* BI 302, Vertebrate Zoology
* BI 306, Biology of Global Change
* BI 309, Evolution
* BI 407, Animal Behaviorimg_2185
* BI 414, Ornithology
* BI 423, Marine Biogeochemistry
* BI 486, Biological Design for Sustainable Development
* BI 503, Symbiosis
* BI 506, Phenotypic Plasticity
* BI 508, Behavioral Ecology
* BI 515, Population Genetics
* BI 530, Forest Ecology
* BI 543, Global Ecology
* BI 547, Marine Invertebrates: Natural History and Molecular Phylogeny
* BI 549, Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution


* 4 of the 7 required biology courses may be taken as part of the Tropical Ecology Program in Ecuador (these courses fulfill the lab and 300-500 level requirements for Biology):
* BI 438, Tropical Montane Ecology
* BI 439, Tropical Coastal Ecology
* BI 440, Tropical Rainforest Ecology
* BI 441, Studies in Tropical Ecology

Required Related Courses

* 2 semesters of Math and/or Computer Science: minimally two courses in college-level calculus or statistics, or one course in calculus or statistics and one course in college-level computer science (MA 121 & 122; or 123 & 124; or 213 & 214)
* 2 semesters of Physics (PY 105 & 106 or PY 211 & 212)
* 3 semesters of Chemistry – CH 101/102 (or 109/110 or 111/112) and CH 203 (or 211), OR
CH 171/172 and 273

Undergraduate Research Options

One semester of research, either Work for Distinction (BI 401/402) or Undergraduate Research (491/492), on a topic approved by an EBE faculty member, may also be accepted towards the concentration.

Geography and Environment Courses

Courses from the following list are recommended:

* GE 275, Introduction to Quantitative Environmental Modeling
* GE 302, Remote Sensing of Environment
* GE 365, Introduction to Geographical Information Systems (GIS)
* GE 425, United States Environmental Policy
* GE 448, Remote Sensing of Vegetation
* GE 504, Physical Climatology
* GE 510, Physical Principles of the Environment
* GE 511, Ecological Economics

See http://www.bu.edu/geography/courses/ for additional GE course listings.

Additional Notes

* A grade of C or better is necessary for all required biology-related courses for concentration credit, with a minimum GPA of 2.0 in the Biology Concentration.
* All biology or related courses must be approved for concentration credit by the Department of Biology.
* Selected courses in Chemistry, Environmental Sciences, Health Sciences, and MMEDIC are available for concentration credit by petition.
* The following courses must be completed prior to attending the Tropical Ecology Program in Ecuador: BI 107 and BI 108, BI 303 or BI 306, and one year of college level Spanish (or equivalent). A minimum GPA of 3.0 is required to participate in the program.