Biology entails the study of the entire process of life from its beginning, through its development, reproduction and to its cessation and decay. Many of the new developments and discoveries in this dynamic field are the result of interdisciplinary cooperation between biologists, chemists, physicists and computer scientists. These researchers have added considerably to our understanding of the basic principles and mechanisms of living systems at cellular, molecular, organismic, population and ecological levels. Career opportunities for those who major in biology are numerous. Besides being one of the traditional preparatory fields for those pursuing careers as health care professionals, biology is an excellent choice of major for those interested in secondary education, ecology, or the burgeoning genetic engineering industry. And, of course, the areas of academic and industrial research are open to those who pursue a PhD in the discipline.

Student Learning Outcomes

The Biology major aims to provide students with skills and knowledge to effectively engage and evaluate biological issues and innovations in the wider world, and to prepare them as leaders in research, biotechnology, and health-related career fields.

We see the following specific student learning goals as critical to achieving the above:

  • 1. Understanding of foundational scientific principles and findings in a student's major field
    Demonstrated by coursework and senior thesis
  • 2. Ability to transfer knowledge of foundational principles between different disciplines
    Demonstrated by success in interdisciplinary endeavors (AISS, ID majors: Human Biology, EEP/EA, Biochemistry, Neurobiology)
  • 3. Ability to clearly communicate scientific principles orally and in writing
    Demonstrated by senior thesis (oral presentation, poster, written thesis), in-class discussions, primary literature discussions
  • 4. Critical, analytical, scientific thinking skills
    • develop scientific questions and methods for answering them
    • read/understand original research
    • quantitative approaches to data analysis, presentation, and modeling; application of quantitative/analytical tools
    i. Demonstrated by success in class laboratories, integrated research modules, analysis of primary literature, senior thesis
  • 5. Understanding of how science relates to current problems in the modern world
    • Demonstrated by student engagement in the wider community

*The working group discussed preparation for a chosen career path as a learning outcome, but decided it was more appropriate as an assessment of the above learning outcomes. If our learning outcomes are successful, our students should be prepared for a chosen career path, and get jobs or acceptance to graduate programs.

Learn more about the Biology Major at Keck Science Department Website