Biology majors are not required to declare a concentration. However, a student who wishes to focus their studies in one area may choose from among the following concentrations. Alternatively, students may use their elective courses within the general Biology major to further their knowledge in a specific area.
Many areas in genetics, ecology, and evolution depend on sophisticated quantitative analysis. For example, the advent of data from the human genome project (and similar data from other species) has shown the need for digital, statistical, and mathematical methods to store, retrieve and analyze massive data sets. The fields of Computational and Mathematical Biology emerged to address questions posed by these developments. Students who are interested in computational and mathematical biology but not able to complete all the concentration requirements are encouraged to consider elective courses from the Computational and Mathematical Biology course lists.
The concentration in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology delivers intensive training in ecological processes at all levels in addition to providing students with a background in the theories governing evolutionary principles. Students within this concentration are encouraged to develop the mathematical and statistical tools necessary to properly model and consider ecological and evolutionary systems.
Understanding the mechanisms that underlie disease is of interest to students planning medical careers as well as to those interested in fundamental research, biotechnology, and public health. The Mechanisms of Disease concentration is a rigorous course of study requiring 18 classes beginning with the introductory Biology sequence. Advanced electives are selected from the fields of Microbes and Infectious Disease, Genetic Disease, Molecular Genetics and Genomics, and Biochemistry.
The emergence of novel molecular and genetic tools has revolutionized our understanding of cellular functioning. The Molecular and Cell Biology Concentration is an integrated program that provides an in-depth understanding of molecular biology, genetics, genomics, and cell biology. In addition to the concentration coursework, students are expected to engage in a research experience that enables them to directly apply their theoretical learning to some biological question at the molecular and cellular level.
The Neurobiology Concentration provides fundamental training in brain physiology at the microscopic level and organismal behavior at the macroscopic level. This concentration emphasizes a molecular and genetic background, which is essential to understanding brain functioning at the gene and protein levels.
Please Note the Following:
Students who pursue one of the above Concentrations but do not complete the requirements must fulfill all the requirements for the general major, including some which may not have been required for their concentration. Specifically, students will need the appropriate breadth and number of intermediate Biology courses.
A student who wishes to have two concentrations noted on their transcript must complete at least 5 CU of course work that is unique to the second concentration, i.e. not being counted toward the first concentration. In addition, the student's research must be relevant to the subject matter of both concentrations (usually by completing a single research project that is relevant to both). Finally, if one, or both of the concentrations require 2 CU of independent study, then the student must complete at least 3 CU of Independent Study (BIOL 499 may be completed twice).