The Biology Major
Biology majors survey the origins, maintenance, and conservation of biological diversity, as well as the molecular, genetic, and cellular basis of life. Students have the opportunity to learn about a wide range of topics, which include the complex interactions that exist among organisms and their environments, as well as the biological processes that underlie molecular and organismic evolution, cellular function, embryonic development, nutrition, exercise science, biomechanics, and health.
Biology majors pursue one of the following degrees:
1. BS Biology Degree
The Biology Degree program is designed for students seeking a broad understanding of biologically related processes. Students choose from a set of diverse electives spanning the breadth of biological disciplines, including courses in physiology, genetics, cell and molecular biology, ecology, and evolution. This degree prepares students for entry into graduate programs, and careers in biotechnology, research, policy, education, and health-related professions.
2. BS Biology Degree with a Biomedical Sciences Option
The Biomedical Sciences Option is designed specifically for students seeking a curriculum with emphasis on the biology of human health and disease. In this option, students choose among an extensive set of electives, including human anatomy, physiology, nutrition and epidemiology. This option prepares students for health-related professions and graduate programs. It is recommended that students seeking the Biomedical Science Option declare so to an advisor by the end of their freshman year.
3. Biology, BA with certification in Elementary or Secondary Education
Students seeking the Education Option should contact the College of Education.
Learning Outcomes, Biology, BS and Biology, BS with Biomedical Sciences Option
- Students should be able to apply the scientific method: formulate a testable hypothesis, design and conduct scientific investigation, and interpret study findings.
- Students should understand the fundamental processes of cells that are interwoven within one large biochemical network.
- Students should be able to: 1) Explain from a biochemical perspective how genetic information is stored, expressed and inherited, and 2) Explain the inheritance patterns of traits, and what factors influence the prevalence of traits.
- Students should be able to identify the major classes of macromolecules, to recognize the principal biosynthetic and energy pathways of living organisms, and to understand the connections between biological systems and the molecular structures of their constituent parts.
- Students should be able to identify evidence to support common descent of all living organisms, to understand the factors that contribute to and the consequences of evolutionary change, and to apply “evolutionary thinking” to explain biological phenomena. (This learning outcome is not an expectation for students in the Biomedical Sciences Option.)