Biologists study the living world and attempt to understand the nature of life itself in all of its complexity and majesty. The biology faculty realizes that in order to develop the knowledge and understanding that provide insight into life’s mysteries requires a liberal arts education with a broad exposure to science. True specialization is relegated to postgraduate education. It is this philosophy that has guided the structure of the biology major.
What Can One Do with a Biology Major?
Students pursuing a major in biology have many career paths available to them. In addition to the traditional careers in medicine, veterinary medicine and dentistry, many allied health professions begin with a major in biology. Optometry, podiatry, chiropractic, medical technology, cytotechnology, physical therapy and careers as physicians’ assistants all have biology as their foundation.
Outside of the health professions, there are many varied careers that include zookeepers, museum curators, science writers, agricultural specialists, environmental consultants, genetics councilors, nutritionists, and forensic specialists to name just a few. Students who wish to develop expertise in a sub-discipline of biology, such as physiology, microbiology, immunology, ecology, etc. attend graduate school, working toward either a master’s degree (MS) or a doctorate (PhD). Those trained as research scientists often build careers in academia or in industry.
Program Requirements for the Biology Major
Most majors take Biological Principles (BIO 1130 - BIO 1140 ) as their foundation courses in the freshman year. Students in the physical therapy program take Anatomy and Physiology (BIO 1030 - BIO 1040 ) in lieu of the principles courses.
Six upper-level biology courses (2000-and above) are also required. In the second year, sophomore biology majors will take Genetics (BIO 2040 ) in the fall semester and Principles of Microbiology (
) in the Spring. In addition, all biology majors are required to take three Natural Science Seminars (BIO 3910
, and BIO 4900
) and Ecology (
), one organismal biology course and one cell/molecular biology course. The remaining upper level biology course can be any other Biology course numbered 2000 and above. Only one upper-level biology course may be a three credit course.
There are several support courses that biology majors are required to take. These include Chemical Principles (CHM 1510 - CHM 1520 ), Organic Chemistry (CHM 2010 - CHM 2020 ), General Physics (PHY 2010 - PHY 2020 ) and Calculus (MTH 2510 - MTH 2520 ). Courses in foreign language, statistics and computer science are also highly recommended.
All biology courses above the 1000-level have a pre-requisite of at least one college-level chemistry course with a grade of C or better. All biology courses have a pre-requisite of a C or above in BIO 1140 (Biological Principles II) or BIO 1040 (Anatomy & Physiology II) and a C or above in any other pre-requisite course(s).
A biology major must attain a minimum grade point average (GPA) in biology courses of 1.7 by the end of the freshman year and 2.0 by the end of the sophomore year and each succeeding semester. A student who does not maintain the minimum GPA in biology will be asked to withdraw as a biology major.