Department Chair: Dr. Bruce Wightman
Professors: Edwards, Klem, McCain, Niesenbaum
Associate Professors: Hark, Iyengar, Meier, Sprayberry
Lecturers: Byrne, Dowd, Heiman, Walther
The biology curriculum is designed to provide students with an opportunity to study the principles governing life processes within the broader context of the liberal arts. Students investigate the science of life at all levels, from molecular biology to population ecology. Courses are designed to develop each student’s ability to acquire and interpret data, pose questions, and critically evaluate facts and theories. By proper selection of biology and other science courses, students will be prepared for graduate school in the life sciences, for admission to medical, dental, veterinary, and other health profession schools, and for positions in government or industry.
Students seeking certification for the teaching of biology in the secondary schools should contact the department chair.
Students are encouraged to initiate planning and discussion of their honors research project with their honors mentor during the summer before or fall semester of their junior year. Acceptance into the honors program is selective and based on the following criteria:
- A minimum overall GPA of 3.20 at the time of proposal submission, typically March of the junior year;
- Availability of research positions with a particular Biology Department faculty member. Projects conducted entirely off-campus or internships are not suitable. However, this does not prohibit collaborative research that may include an interdepartmental or off-campus component.
- Approval by an Honors Committee of the student’s research proposal which was developed in consultation with the honors mentor.
Department honors will be granted at commencement to majors who have fulfilled the following conditions:
- The candidate has met the expectations of two course units of research by conducting research with a faculty member for two semesters or one semester and the summer immediately prior to graduation. For those students with a January graduation date, the research units can also be accomplished the spring semester and summer before graduation. These expectations will be clearly established by the faculty member;
- The candidate has presented a 50-minute seminar to the College community on his/her research project. Typically this is done approximately a month before the candidate graduates.
- The candidate has written a thesis according to thesis guidelines and submitted it to the Honors Committee by the Friday before the last day of the candidate’s final semester. The Committee will judge the thesis based on the research performed, scientific merit of the work, and quality of writing. The honors mentor has voice but no vote, while the three other members of the Honors Committee will have a silent vote to either award honors or not.
- Together, all of the Honors Committees for that year will meet to discuss the theses and determine the degree of honors to be awarded (none, honors, high honors, or highest honors) for each honors candidate.
For more information about the Honors Program, please consult the Biology Department webpage.