Feb 23, 2024
Please refer to the Science section of this catalog for more information.
The Biology major aims to provide students with skills and knowledge to effectively engage and evaluate biological issues and innovations in the wider world, and to prepare them as leaders in research, science education, biotechnology, and health-related career fields.
Requirements for the Major
A major in Biology requires a minimum of 14-16* courses distributed according to the outline presented below.
1. Biology Foundation courses:
2. Three* Breadth courses, selected from the list below. Breadth courses may not be double-counted as Foundation or Elective courses. Courses should be selected in consultation with a Keck Science advisor. Note that some courses in this list may be required pre-requisites for some upper division biology courses.
- Up to two couress in Organic Chemistry (CHEM116L KS, CHEM117L KS )
- Up to two courses in General Physics (PHYS030L KS, PHYS031L KS; or PHYS033L KS, PHYS034L KS )
- One introductory course in computer programming (CSCI00, DS 001 SC, CSCI005 HM, or equivalent).
- One math course for which MATH 030 or higher is listed as a prerequisite
- One upper division Environmental Science course taught by the Keck Science Dept. (e.g., EA 100 KS, EA 103 KS, EA 104 KS)
- One course in the history, philosophy, or ethics of science (e.g. HIST082 HM, PHIL038 PO, PHIL103 PZ)
3. Six* Biology Elective courses, numbered 100 or higher, including at least three laboratory courses (indicated by the “L” subscript). Elective courses may not be double counted as foundation or breadth courses.
4. Senior Thesis in Biology; complete one of the following options. Students must register their thesis plans with the Keck Science Department during the spring semester of their penultimate year.
*Note: Dual majors in Biology need only 4 Biology Elective Courses (at least two with lab)
Students wishing to continue their education in biology-related graduate or professional school programs may need to supplement this basic curriculum with additional course work in science. Department faculty should be consulted for advice at the earliest possible opportunity.
Honors Requirements (All Tracks)
To be considered for departmental honors in one of the science majors, a student must:
- Achieve a minimum grade point average of 3.67 in courses in the major.
- Achieve a minimum grade of A- on the thesis.
- Complete a one- or two-semester thesis project in which the student has demonstrated excellence by making a significant contribution to the progress of the research and by producing a thesis document judged to be of honors quality by the department.
- Present an oral progress report at the end of the first semester of a two-semester thesis and a poster at the conclusion of either a one- or two-semester thesis in which the student clearly explains the rationale for the project and the conclusions drawn, engages the listener, and knowledgeably answers questions.
- Attend at least six scientific seminars during the semester (each semester for a two-semester thesis) and submit a brief and clear summary of each.