How I Chose My Major

Payton Hamlin '24

How do you choose a major at UNH? Our How I Chose My Major blog series highlights students from different colleges across UNH and explores how they chose their majors and minors, what they've learned through their programs, the coolest places they get to study and so much more!

Today, learn more about how Payton '24 became a biology major. Payton takes us through the wide breadth of opportunities available to UNH biology majors, including capturing animals on trail cameras in College Woods and getting hands-on experience in the lab.

payton hamlin '24, biology
Payton Hamlin

Payton Hamlin

What is your major?


What did you think you wanted to major in before you came to UNH?

Prior to coming to UNH, I really considered majoring in nursing.  However, during my senior year of high school, I took an anatomy course and realized that blood and needles were not for me.  Also, in the back of my mind during my senior year, I wanted to become a teacher and maybe major in elementary education as there were several teachers within my family. Although this seemed fulfilling, I knew I was more interested in the science within the world around us. I went back and forth for a while, but then landed on biology as there are so many fields of work you can go into after your schooling.

Why did you choose your major? 

During my senior year when I was contemplating choosing between several different majors, I ended up shadowing an optometrist and ended up loving what they did. Coming into college, with this career goal in the back of my mind was super helpful, but I still was not sure if I would stick with the biology major once I was on campus. During my freshman year, I took BIOL 411 – Intro to Biology: Cellular and Molecular. This course was everything to me as it covered almost every aspect of the field of human biology that I was eager to learn more about. While taking this course, it solidified my love for the field of biology and I knew I was in the right major.

What are some of the top places on campus you frequent for your major?

The biology major at UNH requires both wildlife/ecological courses as well as human/cellular biology. For courses such as Ecology, we spent a lot of time out in College Woods which was an awesome experience. Our class would often set up trail cameras and see your typical New Hampshire animals on there such as deer, raccoons and squirrels. For courses more so in the health/medical field, I would spend some time in the laboratory facilities within Rudman Hall and the newly renovated labs of Spaulding Hall. These labs were awesome for getting hands-on experience.

What’s the coolest part about your major?

The coolest part about the biology major is the vast array of courses you can choose from based on what you are interested in. During my time here, I have taken courses such as Mushrooms, Molds and Mildews and even a course on Human and Animal Parasites. There are so many directions you can go in with the biology major and you can immerse yourself in all of the facets of the life sciences.

What advice do you have for prospective students about choosing a major?

My advice for prospective students is that even if you are unsure about declaring a major, there are so many classes offered at UNH that you will find your niche and what you are passionate about. You may end up loving classes you were dreading taking, and you may even end up switching your major to a new field of study that you would not in a million years picture yourself in. UNH offers courses in just about every field, and I encourage you to take unique courses as you find what you are passionate about. 


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