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Department ofBiology

Academic Programs

The Biology Department offers a balanced curriculum. Students study life at all levels - from molecules to cells, from microorganisms to plants and animals, and from individuals to populations. With the help of faculty advisors, students choose courses that fulfill both the degree requirements and their individual goals. The biology curriculum comprises slightly more than twenty-five percent of the course work required for graduation.

Biology majors begin with a five-quarter sequence of required biology courses two of them with laboratories. The first three quarters focus on ecology, evolution physiology & genetics. During the last two quarters, students have "hands-on" opportunity to learn about these subjects in a laboratory environment. After completing the core courses, students choose seven or more upper-division courses from a long list of electives.

Courses include strong writing components, experiments with modern equipment, and the critical analysis of data and scientific literature. Laboratory sections enroll twenty-four or fewer students, promoting close interactions between students and their professors. Assignments often require students to present their findings utilizing styles of professional scientific meetings or journals. Such activities prepare students for their future careers by developing the critical thinking and language skills needed by scientists.

The Biology minor requires completion of a minimum of three upper-division biology courses including two with a laboratory component. Enrollment in all upper-division courses in the Department requires the prior completion of several Biology courses which have prerequisites. Please see course listings for details.

The Biotechnology minor is designed for students interested in gaining insight into the science underlying biotechnology, exploring its potential for the future, and obtaining practical experience in laboratory techniques used in the biotechnology research and its applications.

Biology Major

To declare a major or minor, fill out the Program Petition form and meet with the department chair.