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Biology Major Learning Outcomes

Biology Major Learning Outcomes

The undergraduate degree in biology is designed for students seeking an interdisciplinary background in the life sciences. The major couples a comprehensive biological and physical sciences core with a variety of electives and transcript-visible options that can be catered to meet specific professional goals. Biology majors receive excellent training for graduate and professional programs, and can choose a focus area in ecology, genetics, marine biology, physiology and behavior, pre-dentistry/biology, pre-education/biology, pre-medicine/biology, and pre-veterinary medicine. Options in the biology major require fifteen or fewer additional credits (one term) beyond the basic major requirements and most students complete the additional course work to graduate in four years.

Outcome 1

Content. Students will be able to explain and apply fundamental concepts of the biological sciences, including:

  • Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology, Genetics
  • Physiology and Organismal Biology
  • Ecology and Evolution

Outcome 2

Students will be able to conduct the process of science by:

  • Sources of Information. Identifying and accessing information (from primary literature and other relevant works) for a particular topic and evaluating the scientific content and context of these sources.
  • Scientific Questioning. Generating relevant and testable scientific questions, formulating testable hypotheses, and identifying measurable predictions based on observations or previous research.
  • Data Collection and Analysis. Designing and implementing observational or experimental investigations to collect relevant data and employing appropriate analytical methods to analyze that data.
  • Evaluation. Interpreting data and/or observations to support or refute hypotheses, draw conclusions, put findings in the context of current scientific knowledge and literature and/or suggest future avenues of research.

Outcome 3

Communication. Students will be able to communicate scientific information through effective formal and informal modes (i.e., written, oral, graphical, multimedia), in ways that are appropriate for scientific and non-scientific audiences.

Outcome 4

Critical Thinking. Students will be able to demonstrate critical thinking by:

  • Synthesis. Integrating and analyzing information within and across spatial and temporal scales as well as levels of biological organization (i.e., LO1).
  • Evaluating Uncertainty. Identifying, reflecting upon, and evaluating assumptions, biases and alternative hypotheses or interpretations for their own scientific claims or those of others.

Outcome 5

Societal Relevance. Students will evaluate the relationship between science and society by:

  • Scientific Literacy. Justifying the importance of science and science literacy for individuals and society.
  • Decision Making. Integrating biology with other disciplines to make evidence-based decisions on socio-scientific issues.
  • Impact and Access. Explaining how biases and societal factors affect the processes of science (and vice versa), access to participation in science and the differential outcomes and impacts (both positive and negative) of science on individuals.

Outcome 6

Professionalism. Students will demonstrate that they are ready to enter a career by:

  • Ethics. Explaining and justifying the ethical standards of their discipline, evaluating the ethics of published science and articulating their personal code of ethics.
  • Collaboration. Participating in effective and appropriate forms of collaboration.
  • Career Planning. Engaging in self-assessment of interpersonal and academic behaviors needed to achieve their individual career goals.