Academics Navigation


Get a feel for the exciting variety of courses taught at Marlboro.

This is a list of courses that faculty felt was representational of the courses offered. It is not a complete list of courses, some courses are offered yearly, while others are infrequent. A course may be inspired by events or strong interests and taught only once.

Most advanced work is in the form of tutorials on specific subjects, a collaboration between one faculty member and one student or a handful of students.


Anatomy of Movement
(4.00 Credits — Introductory)

Fall 2019

An introduction to human anatomy with emphasis on the musculoskeletal system and biomechanical principles of movement. Concepts will be explored through a combination of scientific study, experiential anatomy, and dance movement.

Animal Behavior
(4.00 Credits — Intermediate)

Fall 2017

Animals have evolved a remarkable diversity of behavioral patterns used in wide ranging ecological and social contexts. In this course, we will examine the mechanisms that underlie the expression of behavior (neurological, hormonal, genetic, and developmental) as well as the evolutionary bases of behavior by utilizing a variety of real-world examples from a broad range of taxa. Prerequisite: Permission of instructor

Additional Fee:$ 0

Animal Behavior Lab
(2.00 Credits — Intermediate)

Fall 2014

This laboratory will develop your ability to measure, quantify and assess the behavior of animals. You will receive extensive training on the scientific method and hypothesis testing. Students will gain experience in the research techniques and critical thinking through an independent research topic. Prerequisite: NSC 344

Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy
(6.00 Credits — Advanced)

Fall 2012

In this course we will examine vertebrate anatomy and the diversity that exists in the major vertebrate groups (including humans). In class we will focus on the development and evolution of anatomical structures, emphasizing how anatomy relates to function. The laboratory component will give you hands-on experience with anatomy through dissections that will allow you to increase your understanding and appreciation for the structure, function and evolution of the vertebrate body plan.

Prerequisite: General Biology I & II

General Biology I
(4.00 Credits — Introductory)

Fall 2019

General Biology I is an introduction to the scientific study of life and basic biological principles. We begin the semester with an examination of the molecular, cellular, and metabolic nature of living organisms and then explore the genetic basis of life. General Biology I & II serve as the foundation for further work in life sciences. 

  • some chemistry beneficial

General Biology I Lab
(2.00 Credits — Introductory)

Fall 2019

The focus of this course is an exploration of biological principles and biological diversity in a laboratory setting. We will study such organisms as bacteria, yeast, molds, and mammalian cell cultures including cancer cells, plants, bacteria and others, and spend time in the Ecological Reserve. Skill in basic laboratory techniques in biology will be acquired throughout the semester. Recommended for prospective life science Plan students.

  • Concurrent enrollment in General Biology I or permission of instructor

General Biology II
(4.00 Credits — Introductory)

Spring 2020

General Biology serves as an introduction to the scientific study of life and basic biological principles. In this second semester we will explore biological concepts at the organismal and population level. Topics will include evolution, the diversity of life, plant structure and function, animal structure and function and ecology.

  • General Biology I or permission of instructor

General Biology II Lab
(2.00 Credits — Introductory)

Spring 2020

Further exploration of biological principles and biological diversity in a laboratory setting with independent student projects and a survey of Marlboro's Ecological Reserve vernal pool ecosystems. Co-requisite: Concurrent enrollment in General Biology II or consent of instructor.

General Ecology & Ecology Lab
(5.00 Credits — Intermediate)

Fall 2013

Ecology is the study of the interactions and interrelationships between organisms and their environment. In this course we will examine factors that contribute to the distribution and abundance of organisms and, hence, to the structure of biotic communities.  In the lab portion we will take a hands-on approach to learning important concepts discussed in class. You will be introduced to the methods that ecologists use to design, carry out and analyze research. This course should be taken by all students with a life-science orientation in the environmental sciences. Prerequisite: College-level Biology

Genetics & Evolution
(4.00 Credits — Intermediate)

Spring 2019

"Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution" - T. Dobzhansky This course serves as an in-depth examination of the unifying principles of evolutionary biology. We will cover the genetic basis of evolutionary change with an emphasis on Mendelian, molecular, and population genetics and then develop an understanding of the mechanisms of evolution including natural selection. Our understanding will then allow us to explore such concepts as phylogenetic relationships, adaptation, and coevolution.  Recommended for all students doing Plan work in the life sciences. Prerequisite: College-level biology course

  • College level biology or permission of the instructor

(4.00 Credits — Intermediate)

Spring 2020

This course is a biological survey of members of the Class Mammalia. We will cover classification, physiology, morphology, behavior, and ecology so that you will end the semester with a strong understanding of many aspects of mammalian biology. You will also be able to recognize morphological specializations and evolutionary relationships among members of this Class. We will also investigate mammalian features of skeletal material, skins, and other specimens, identify local mammal skins and skulls, and learn some of the techniques used by mammalogists in research.

(4.00 Credits — Intermediate)

Fall 2016

 If it has a feather, it’s a bird. If it has a feather it probably has large wings. If it has large wings, it is highly mobile. If it’s highly mobile, it has a potent metabolism and has frequent and therefore complex interactions with other species. Because it also has frequent and complex interactions with humans, it is often at risk of extinction. And so we have a course entitled ornithology. This course is a study of the anatomy, physiology, behavior, and ecology of birds. Text readings will be supplemented with primary literature and we will schedule regular bird walks in order to identify and observe birds in their natural habitat.

  • College-level biology or permission of instructor

Plant Diversity
(4.00 Credits — Introductory)

Spring 2018
Designated Writing

Plants are vital elements of life on earth and spectacular in their diversity.  Mosses, ferns, conifers, and flowering plants will be among the plants we investigate.  Our explorations will include questions about morphology, reproduction, physiology, ecology and evolution in these groups of plants.  In addition to discussion, we will also have the opportunity to learn about plants in lab/greenhouse and field settings. 

Plant Reproductive Biology
(4.00 Credits — Intermediate)

Spring 2020

Sexual reproduction in flowering plants involves a complex series of processes. How is pollen transferred among plants? How do seed and fruit production occur? How are seeds and fruits dispersed? How do seeds germinate and seedlings become established to begin the next generation of plants? We will explore physiological, ecological and evolutionary dimensions of these questions. Examples will include a diversity of plant taxa in ecosystems throughout the world, and we will engage in greenhouse and fieldwork projects.

  • General Biology or permission of instructor

Plants of Vermont
(4.00 Credits — Introductory)

Fall 2019

A study of the taxonomic, ecological, and evolutionary relationships of the dominant vascular plant families of Vermont. How do we identify flowering plants and how do they interact with other plants and animals such as pollinators and seed dispersers?  Fieldwork, including several fieldtrips to local areas of botanical interest, will take place during a Friday 1:30-4:50 lab in the first half of the semester. 

Viva la difference! Exploring tales and tools of genetic variation
(4.00 Credits — Intermediate)

Spring 2012

Scientists have traced the migrations of humans out of Africa and across the Middle East, Europe, Asia, and beyond. Contained in the DNA of people around the world are clues to these patterns of migration. Even today, in the DNA of each one of our cells, is evidence of our place in this story of human origin and migration. Variation in the sequences of our DNA reveals these ancient patterns. Genetic variation is also the raw material for many other types of scientific research:  e.g., studies of human disease, and the genetic structure of populations of rare and endangered species. This course is designed as an introduction to the concept of genetic variation and to the tools used by scientists to study this phenomenon. We will explore examples of these studies from research on human origins, human disease, and species conservation. The course will involve readings and classroom discussions, laboratory work, and fieldwork.

Prerequisite: One semester of college-level chemistry or biology

For Biology offerings, also see:

Fundamentals of Molecular Biology


(a mostly random selection of Marlboro microdestinations)