Curriculum & Courses
Students are offered a range of lecture courses that span the molecular, physiological, and ecological levels of organization. To learn how to design and test hypotheses, use modern scientific equipment, and interpret data, students complete laboratory courses beginning at the introductory level and have the option of taking guided research and seminar courses beginning their sophomore year. Finally, students learn scientific communication skills by critiquing research articles, writing laboratory reports and research papers, and participating in oral presentations and debates.
Learning Goals & Outcomes
- Acquire knowledge of biological systems, from the molecular to ecological levels of organization.
- Understand the evolutionary basis of biology and the dynamic nature of life.
- Understand the role of experimentation in biology.
- Understand basic methods of experimental design and hypothesis testing.
- Develop effective presentation skills.
- Develop the ability to write a scientific paper.
- Understand statistical approaches to the analysis of data.
- Develop skills in critically analyzing primary literature.
- Demonstrate an appreciation of the many different life forms on planet Earth.
- Have the ability to discuss a biological phenomenon from many different levels of organization (e.g., discuss HIV from the perspective of structure through host immune response to evolutionary and epidemiological issues).
- Describe the basic features of Mendelian genetics and the central dogma of molecular biology; understand the basic physiological processes of at least one organism; demonstrate an understanding of population level processes.
- Make an oral presentation on either an original research project or a published primary research paper.
- Generate a testable hypothesis and develop and execute a controlled experimental design.
- Write an original scientific paper and/or a review article.
- Demonstrate increased computational literacy in relevant programming languages.
- Apply quantitative reasoning to ask and answer critical questions in biology.
- Complete and communicate projects that design, implement, and interpret computational algorithms or mathematical models, in the form of an original scientific paper or review