Biology Curriculum

View the requirements for an AOC in Biology and see sample pathways to graduation.

VIEW BIOLOGY ACADEMIC LEARNING COMPACT

VIEW BIOLOGY COURSES OFFERED IN LAST 5 YEARS

Area of Concentration Requirements

A concentration in Biology begins with course work in a two-semester course (Foundations of Biology 1 and 2), which may be taken in any order. A well-rounded biologist will build on basic concepts with study in three core levels of organization: molecular/cellular biology, organismal biology, and ecology/evolution. Course offerings supplemented by tutorials allow students to accomplish this in seven contracts. Additional coursework in the other Natural Science disciplines is also required. Two additional Biology elective courses will ensure students are well-rounded biologists and receive training in multiple areas to assist their thesis research and future goals. In the current curriculum, molecular and cellular courses include Genetics, Developmental Biology, Microbiology, Neurobiology, and Cellular Biology. Organismal biology is represented by course offerings, including Organismic Biology, Botany, Entomology, Fish Biology, Invertebrate Zoology, Plant Physiology, and the Biology of Sharks, Skates, and Rays.

In the area of ecology and evolution, students may select from current offerings such as Animal Behavior, Biology of Urbanization, Conservation Biology, Forest Ecology Laboratory in addition to traditionally-titled courses in Ecology and Evolution. Advanced courses (often called “topics courses”), lab tutorials, internships, and seminars give the student additional opportunities to explore their interests. Critical thinking, quantitative skill development, and writing skills are a part of all undertakings in the Biology concentration.

Coursework in biology should include seven biology courses beyond the introductory level. Students must take one lecture course within each of the three levels of organization. Students must also take three semesters of laboratory experiences that cover at least two levels of organization. Two advanced courses must be taken to help students develop mastery in an area of their choosing. The curriculum is flexible to accommodate student needs and faculty offer tutorials in multiple special areas to support student interest.

Students will also take one Independent Study Project in Biology, a senior thesis in Biology, and a successful baccalaureate exam to complete the expectations for biology Area of Concentration.

Biology students should also complete a Statistics course, Physics 1, Physics 1 Laboratory, Calculus 1, General Chemistry 1 and 2, General Chemistry Laboratory, Organic Chemistry 1, and Organic Chemistry Inquiry Laboratory as well as an additional non-introductory lecture and an additional hands-on activity (a laboratory or workshop) in the Natural Sciences. Students with plans to pursue graduate studies and/or pre-health fields will be advised about specific course selection by their academic advisers.

Students may focus on a subdiscipline of Biology without selecting a different AOC, but each subdiscipline assumes completion of foundational biology and the incorporation into an individual’s curriculum of the core areas of study.

Recent courses

In the current curriculum, molecular and cellular courses include

  • Genetics
  • Developmental Biology
  • Microbiology
  • Neurobiology
  • Cellular Biology

Organismal biology is represented by course offerings including:

  • Organismic Biology
  • Botany
  • Entomology
  • Fish Biology
  • Invertebrate Zoology
  • Plant Physiology
  • Biology of Sharks, Skates, and Rays.

In the area of ecology and evolution, students may select from current offerings such as:

  • Animal Behavior
  • Biology of Urbanization
  • Conservation Biology
  • Forest Ecology Laboratory in addition to traditionally-titled courses in Ecology and Evolution.

Advanced courses (often called “topics courses”), lab tutorials, internships, and seminars give the student additional opportunities to explore their interests.

Biology AOC Course Checklist (for students entering fall 2019 and later) v2.0 Fall 2019

Introductory sequence (may be taken in any order) to provide foundational knowledge):

  • Foundations of Biology 1
  • Foundations of Biology 2
  • Foundations of Biology Lab

Intermediate Biology coursework to provide breadth across biological scales. Select at least one lecture in each column; select a lab from at least 2 columns (3 labs total):

Molecular/Cellular Lectures
Cell Biology
Developmental Biology
Genetics
Microbiology
Neurobiology


Molecular/Cellular Labs
Cell Biology
Genetics Lab
Microbiology Lab
Molecular Biology
Neurobiology Lab

Organismic Lectures
Biology of Sharks and Rays
Botany
Entomology
Fish Biology
Invertebrate Zoology
Marine Mammal Biology
Organismic Biology
Plant Physiology


Organismic Labs
Biology of Sharks and Rays Lab
Botany Lab
Entomology Lab
Invertebrate Zoology
Organismic Biology Lab
Sensory Biology of Fishes Lab

Ecology/Evolution Lectures
Animal Behavior
Biology of Urbanization
Conservation Biology
Coral Reef Ecology
Ecology
Evolution
Principles of Ecol Mgmt.


Ecology/Evolution Labs
Animal Behavior Lab
Coral Reef Issues
Ecology Lab
Forest Ecology
Marine Ecology Lab
Methods in Field Ecology

One additional Biology course or tutorial (beyond the introductory level and approved by Biology faculty)

Natural Science coursework for biology aoc:

  • A Statistics course (e.g. Biostatistics, Dealing with Data, or Introduction to Statistics)
  • Calculus I
  • General Chemistry I
  • General Chemistry II
  • General Chemistry Laboratory
  • Organic Chemistry I
  • Organic Chemistry Inquiry Laboratory
  • Physics I
  • Physics I Laboratory
  • Two additional Natural Sciences courses (lecture or lab, or two labs) (e.g. Organic II & lab, Physics II
    & lab, other upper level Chemistry/Computer Science/Math/Physics/GIS courses)
  • Highly recommended: A Writing intensive course (e.g. Writing about Writing for the Natural Sciences) 
  • One ISP in Biology
  • A thesis in Biology (with two Biology faculty on committee)

*Students interested in graduate school should work closely with a Biology adviser as graduate programs have additional requirements beyond the above list. These vary between biological disciplines.

Joint Biology AOC Course Checklist (for students entering fall 2019 and later) v2.0 Fall 2019

Students who would like an AOC/Biology should follow these requirements:

Introductory sequence (may be taken in any order) to provide foundational knowledge.

  • Foundations of Biology 1
  • Foundations of Biology 2
  • Foundations of Biology Laboratory

Intermediate Biology coursework to provide breadth across biological scales. Select two lectures from at least two columns. Select one lab.

Molecular/Cellular Lectures
Cell Biology
Developmental Biology
Genetics
Microbiology
Neurobiology


Molecular/Cellular Labs
Cell Biology Lab
Genetics Lab
Microbiology Lab 
Molecular Biology
Neurobiology Lab 

Organismic Lectures
Biology of Sharks and Rays
Botany
Entomology
Fish Biology
Invertebrate Zoology


Organismic Labs
Biology of Sharks and Rays Lab
Botany Lab
Entomology Lab
Fish Biology Lab
Invertebrate Zoology Lab
Organismic Biology Lab
Plant Physiology Lab
Sensory Biology of Fishes Lab

Ecology/Evolution Lectures
Animal Behavior
Biology of Urbanization
Conservation Biology
Coral Reef Ecology
Ecology


Ecology/Evolution Labs
Animal Behavior Lab
Coral Reef Issues
Ecology Lab
Forest Ecology Lab
Marine Ecology Lab
Methods in Field Ecology

  • Highly recommended: A Writing intensive course (e.g. Writing about Writing for the Natural Sciences)
  • Highly recommended: A Statistics course (e.g. Biostatistics, Dealing with Data, or Introduction to Statistics)
  • One ISP, lab or field course, or lab or field tutorial in Biology
  • A thesis related to biology (with one Biology faculty member on committee)

Students interested in graduate school should work closely with a Biology adviser as graduate programs have additional requirements beyond the above list. These vary between biological disciplines.

DOWNLOAD A PRINTABLE VERSION OF THIS CHECKLIST

Sample 4 Year Pathway

 

 Fall TermJanuary ISPSpring Term
Year 1
  • Foundations of Biology 1 (LAC 1)
  • General Chemistry 1 (LAC 2)
  • General Chemistry Laboratory
  • LAC 3
  • ISP #1
  • Foundations of Biology 2 (LAC 4)
  • General Chemistry 2 (LAC 5)
  • A Statistics course (eg. Dealing with Data) (AOC requirement) (LAC 6)
  • LAC 7
Year 2
  • Organic Chemistry 1
  • Organic Chemistry Inquiry Laboratory
  • Biology “D” level lecture
  • Calculus 1
  • Biology ISP 
  • Organic Chemistry 2
  • Organic Chemistry 2 lab
  • Biology “D” level Laboratory
  • Biology elective 1
Year 3
  • Physics 1
  • Physics Laboratory 1
  • Biology “D” level lecture
  • Biology “D” level laboratory
  • ISP #3
  • Biology “D” level lecture
  • Biology “D” level laboratory
  • Biology elective 2
  • College-wide Elective
Year 4
  • Thesis research
  • Thesis writing
  • LAC 8
  • College-wide Elective
  

 

Sample 2 Year Transfer Pathway

 Fall TermJanuary ISPSpring Term
Year 3
  • Statistics
  • Ecology Lecture
  • Ecology Lab
  • Biology elective
  • Biology ISP (with Biology faculty)
  • Chemistry 2
  • Organismic Biology
  • Organismic Biology Lab
  • Tutorial in Biology
Year 4
  • Organic Chemistry 1
  • Organic Chemistry Inquiry Lab
  • Cell Biology Lecture
  • Cell Biology Lab
  • (Thesis work)
  • Thesis writing tutorial
  • Non-intro level Nat Sci lecture
  • Non-intro level level Nat Sci lab