B.S. Biology

Mission Statement and Student Learning Goals for a B.S. in Biology

Within the framework of a small, liberal arts college in which the main focus is education of undergraduates, the Department of Biological Sciences is committed to quality education in different disciplines of biology.

In a departmental setting that emphasizes academic excellence and direct dialog between the professor and the students through small class size and accessibility of the professor, all students taking courses in the biological sciences are taught scientific reasoning, quantitative analysis, and the powers of observation and critical thinking.
The curriculum has been designed to provide students a broad base of understanding of principles governing life processes from molecular to ecosystem levels of organization.

Students are taught respect for life, the environment and the place of humans in the biosphere.  They are made aware of biological issues that have an impact on their lives regardless of their major or career aspirations.  The mission of the Department of Biological Sciences is, in summary, to provide quality education with emphasis on critical thinking and biological relevance to all students--majors and non-majors--within the context of a larger liberal arts setting

By graduation, biology majors should possess or have demonstrated

  • a basic knowledge of fundamental concepts in cell and molecular biology, and genetics
  • a general knowledge of organismal biology and biodiversity
  • a clear conceptual knowledge of ecological and evolutionary principles
  • a basic knowledge of statistical analysis.

Requirements for a Major in Biology (B.S.)

A minimum of 18 units with the following distribution:

Foundation requirements - 5 units as follows:
Biology 213, 215, 217, 219, and 221
Upper-level requirements - 2 units as follows:
Biology 311, 333
Upper-level elective requirements - 3 units chosen from the following:
Any 300-level or higher Biology or Microbiology course(s) with a laboratory, or BI 493 or CH 517
or a second Capstone Course (listed below)
Senior Learning Community and Capstone - 2 units:
Biology 400E (zero units) and 400
Biology 492 or 496
Cognate courses - 4 units of Chemistry, 2 units of Physics, 1 unit of Mathematics (beginning catalog year 2018):
Chemistry 111, 112, 211, and 212;
Physics 131, 132 or Physics 141, 142;
Math 121 (beginning 2018)

A laboratory section must be taken as part of any course for which a laboratory section is offered.  Lecture and laboratory must be taken concurrently.  Courses used to calculate the major index include all courses in biology.  It is strongly recommended that biology majors complete Mathematics 121 to fulfill the mathematics requirement for the college.  (MA 121 is required beginning 2018.)
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Requirements for a Combined Major in Biology and Minor in Chemistry

18 units required for the major in biology, and any two additional units in chemistry above Chemistry 212.

Requirements for a Minor in Biology

A minimum of five units in biology, including BI 213 and at least two additional courses at the 200-level or higher. Majors other than in microbiology may count one course in microbiology as part of the minor.

Students who have completed a previous course in statistics cannot count BI 221 toward the minor. A laboratory section must be taken as part of any course for which a laboratory section is offered.  Lecture and laboratory must be taken concurrently. Students intending to minor in biology should seek the advice of a member of the biology faculty in selecting the elective courses, since there are numerous paths to the various career goals in biology.  You may not minor in biology or psychology if you have declared a biopsychology major.