Please note: The information displayed here is current as of Sunday, August 18, 2019, but the official Course Catalog should be used for all official planning.

2019-2020 Course Catalog

Required for the major in biology

Students who major in biology will learn to explain both theory of and evidence for basic biological principles including energy metabolism, inheritance, evolution, physiology, and ecosystem structure and function. They will demonstrate critical analysis of primary research literature and conduct original research.

The major in biology requires:

  1. The following biology courses:
    1. BIOL 130: Integrative Biology: Cells to Organisms
    2. BIOL 150: Integrative Biology: Organisms to Ecosystems
    3. BIOL 170: Integrative Biology: Experimental Design and Statistics
  2. CHEM 116: Principles of Chemistry: Energetics and Dynamics
  3. At least seven six-unit courses in biology numbered 200 or above (excluding Senior Experience courses), of which at least five must be laboratory courses
  4. Completion of the biology Senior Experience, including:
    1. A student-directed project
    2. 6 units of BIOL 650: Biology Senior Capstone
    3. 2 units of BIOL 600: Recent Advances in Biology Seminar

Note: Only two six-unit courses designated as tutorial, directed study, or independent study can be counted toward the major or minor requirements and only one of those can be counted toward the upper-level laboratory requirement. Online coursework cannot be transferred to earn biology credit.

Required for the interdisciplinary major in natural sciences in biology and physics or geosciences

Biology students who have strong secondary interests in physics or geology may construct a major involving biology and geology or physics using the interdisciplinary major in the natural sciences. Previous interdisciplinary combinations of biology and chemistry have been replaced by the biochemistry major.

The requirements for the interdisciplinary major with biology as the primary discipline are:

  1. The following biology courses:
    1. BIOL 130: Integrative Biology: Cells to Organisms
    2. BIOL 150: Integrative Biology: Organisms to Ecosystems
    3. BIOL 170: Integrative Biology: Experimental Design and Statistics
  2. The following physics courses:
    1. PHYS 141: Principles of Classical, Relativistic, and Quantum Mechanics and PHYS 151: Principles of Classical Physics; or
    2. PHYS 151: Principles of Classical Physics and PHYS 160: Principles of Modern Physics
  3. The following courses if geosciences is the secondary discipline:
    1. GEOL 110: Introductory Geology
    2. GEOL 210: History of the Earth and Life
  4. At least 10 six-unit courses in the natural sciences (biology, chemistry, geosciences, and physics) numbered 200 or above, with at least five in biology (of which at least three must be laboratory courses) and at least three in the secondary discipline
  5. Completion of the biology Senior Experience

Senior Experience in biology

Required: A student-designed project, 6 units of BIOL 650: Biology Senior Capstone, 2 units of BIOL 600: Recent Advances in Biology Seminar.

Purposeful advising in the spring of the sophomore year and attendance at the spring BioFest is meant to inspire sophomore students to think about what they might want to undertake as their culminating project in biology. During the fall of the junior year, students will hear from department faculty, the internship coordinator, and others about opportunities available for Senior Experience projects at a weekend retreat. Breakout groups allow students to brainstorm project ideas. Project work (research, internship, creation of a curricular module, draft of a grant proposal, draft of a children's book on biology, production of art about biology, or other creative project) generally will be undertaken prior to Term II of the senior year and may be based on an internship, summer or academic year research, a tutorial, course work, independent study, or other student activities.

Usually in the senior year, students will take two terms of BIOL 600: Recent Advances in Biology Lecture Series (1 unit each), one term of BIOL 650: Biology Senior Capstone (5 units) in Winter Term and one additional unit of BIOL 650 in Spring Term for BioFest. The purpose of the BIOL 650 course is to bring to culmination each student’s individual Senior Experience project and to place that project in an academic context. Each student prepares a paper that places their project into a biological context, compares it to our past and current understanding of the topic using primary literature, and summarizes the student’s project or results. Students will begin gathering and organizing academic resources for this paper in the Term I BIOL 600 course. In BIOL 650, students preparing a thesis for honors will prepare a significant portion of their thesis, while a student creating a visual product or curriculum will describe the biological underpinnings of the work and reflect on the production of the work itself, for example. The Senior Experience will culminate with a symposium, BioFest, during Spring Term, at which all students will present the results of their projects (or the project itself) as a poster, demonstration, or other visual display.

Required for the minor in biology

  1. The following biology courses:
    1. BIOL 130: Integrative Biology: Cells to Organisms
    2. BIOL 150: Integrative Biology: Organisms to Ecosystems
    3. BIOL 170: Integrative Biology: Experimental Design and Statistics (students majoring in disciplines requiring a research methods and statistics course may request exemption from the BIOL 170 requirement).
  2. At least four six-unit courses in biology numbered 200 or above, of which at least two must be laboratory courses.

Note: Only two six-unit courses designated as tutorial, directed study, or independent study may be counted toward the major or minor requirements, and only one of these may be counted toward the upper-level laboratory requirement. On-line coursework cannot be transferred to earn biology credit.

Teacher certification in biology or broad-field science

Students who seek certification to teach biology at the secondary level should choose a broad range of biology courses that includes ecology, plant and animal organismal biology, and molecular and cellular biology, and should gain experience in both field and laboratory research. Students also have the option of seeking broad-field science certification by completing a minimum of two courses in each of two other science disciplines and at least one course in each of the remaining sciences. Students who plan to seek teacher certification should review the requirements in the Education section of the catalog and meet with the director of teacher education, preferably before the end of the sophomore year.