The biology major will prepare students to do the following:

  • Think critically.
  • Problem solve.
  • Learn independently.
  • Work collaboratively on projects.
  • Be biologically literate.
  • Be able to effectively construct and communicate novel biological thinking both orally and in writing.
  • Integrate what they have learned across sub-disciplines within biology to address current and future societal and global challenges.


Achieving the learning goals will allow students to develop the following skills:

  • Experimental work in both field and laboratory environments.
  • Experimental design—scientific inquiry through the scientific method.
  • Experimental implementation—technical skills as well as the skills to research new methods.
  • Analysis and presentation of quantitative data: graphing, modeling, and statistical analyses.
  • Critical thinking—data interpretation and construction of logical arguments.
  • Written communication: clear, complete, and concise.
    • Formal writing: journal-style report, review paper, poster, grant proposal.
    • Informal writing: field notebook, lab notebook.
  • Oral communication: research talk, facilitated discussion.
  • Research and critical reading of primary literature in biology.
  • Application of skills and knowledge in biology to other disciplines in the liberal arts.
  • Communication and collaboration with diverse groups of people.
  • Engagement in discussions of ethical and historical issues relevant to biological disciplines.


Achieving the learning goals will allow students to acquire knowledge of basic facts, concepts, and theories in biology to address the following questions:

  • How have evolutionary processes led to the diversity of life?
  • How is life organized at the cell, organism, and ecosystem levels?
  • What are the mechanisms of inheritance responsible for perpetuation of life?
  • What structures and functions define the cell as the fundamental unit of life?
  • How do form and function interact in cells, tissues, and organisms?
  • How does homeostasis regulate cell, tissue, and organ function?
  • How do organisms interact with one another and their environments across ecological and evolutionary timescales?
  • What are the pathways of transformation of energy and matter within and between living and nonliving systems?
  • How is information communicated at the intracellular, intercellular, and organismal levels?
  • How have we arrived at the current understanding of biology?