Students in any biology program (BA or BS) complete a strong, general series of biology and support courses which allows pursuit of a wide variety of careers such as professional work (e.g. physician, dentist, veterinarian), overnmental work, (e.g. EPA, National Fisheries), field work (e.g. oceanographer, wildlife specialist), high school teaching, industrial or clinical research, aquaculture etc. Many biology majors continue into graduate programs in a specialized subfield.
It is the goal of the department to provide solid biology degrees which expose students to all areas of biology while allowing each student flexibility when entering the job market. The five areas identified are: plant biology, animal biology, cell & molecular biology, structure and function, and ecology and evolution.
Students are introduced to all areas of biology in a two-semester introductory sequence (BIO 131 Introduction to Organisms and BIO 132 Introduction to Cells), followed by three courses in the second year that expand on these areas in greater detail and introduce social and ethical issues to some extent. This second group of courses includes BIO 208 (Environmental Problems), BIO 212 (Cell Biology) and BIO 220 (Evolutionary Morphology). In their junior/senior year all students are required to take BIO 402 (Genetics) and either BIO 415N (Biology Seminar), BIO 417N (Environmental Biology Seminar) or NMT 415 (Nuclear Medicine Seminar), depending on their specific program. Students complete their program by taking BIO electives at the 300-400 level. They generally must have one course from each of the five major areas (although there are some exceptions in specialty concentrations), plus other major electives that can be chosen from any group or from internship, directed study or research courses. To ensure that students develop more advanced lab skills, several programs limit the Cell & Molecular Biology elective to either BIO 406 (Microbiology) or BIO 409 (Biological Chemistry). Some specialty concentrations also specify courses in one or more of the other major areas.