Biology (major)

What you will study

Biology, the study of living organisms and life processes, is the most all-encompassing of the sciences. Understanding basic life processes requires working in many areas in an integrated way.

We want you to be able to use science effectively. You take part in both individual and group investigative laboratories as part of the first two science courses. You develop a real sense of all the planning, the work, the frustration, the excitement — the reality of doing science.

As you progress and refine and build upon these basic abilities, you continue to design and perform experiments in the laboratory and in the field. You learn to use your investigative projects to engage in the more complex work of making relationships and perceiving patterns.

In intermediate courses, you ask more in-depth questions. You build and evaluate scientific models, showing how different biological concepts fit together — and you subject those models to testing, practicing professional methods of data gathering and record keeping. You strengthen your abilities through self-assessment, learning to be an independent judge of your progress.

This self-assessment leads you into advanced work, where you become responsible for your own learning strategies, your goals in long-term projects, and your actions in the internship. You decide what laboratory methods are appropriate for the problems you are investigating and what statistical tests should be applied to your data. And you analyze the role of science in society and develop your own code of scientific ethics, preparing yourself for your future as a professional biologist.

Alverno classes are small and interactive. Students cooperate in learning communities to work on case studies, analyze actual data, and carry out projects. Integrated within their course work students apply science content to critically analyze varied values to current global and local issues. Our students participate in research through class experiments and special programs. Internships give students the opportunity to explore careers, work with cutting-edge technology, and make connections that often result in job offers before graduation. Students can also collaborate with faculty by attending professional conferences, working on faculty research or doing independent research with faculty guidance.

Students who plan to attend professional school can participate in a series of workshops on topics like preparing for entrance exams, creating successful applications, and getting letters of recommendation.

Biology Major Beginning
Take one of the following:3-4
College Algebra
Functions & Modeling
Calculus 1
Biology Major Intermediate
Chemistry of Bioorganic Molecules
and Chemistry of Bioorganic Molecules Lab
Take one of the following:3-4
Biology of Plants
Biology of Animals
Natural History of North America
Human Anatomy & Physiology
and Human Anatomy & Physiology Lab
and Microbiology Lab
Cellular Biology
and Cellular Biology Lab
Genetics Lecture
and Genetics Lab
INTERN-383Internship Seminar2
BI-374BI Assessment in Effective Citizenship1
BI-399Formal Introduction to Advanced Work0
MT-256Probability and Statistics4
PH-231Algebra-Based Physics I4
or PH-241 Calculus-Based Physics 1
PH-232Algebra-Based Physics 24
or PH-242 Calculus-Based Physics 2
Take 6-7 credits of Biology Electives6-7
Biology Major Advanced
BI-491Senior Environmental Seminar3

This major does not require a minor and follows the general education requirements for standard majors-science related.