Biology - BA

The St. Kate's biology major gives students an understanding of the major principles of biology in a manner that encourages the development of critical-thinking skills. Faculty members encourage students to take an active role in their own educational experiences and foster a cooperative - rather than competitive - learning environment in which women thrive. Students receive hands-on experience with advanced biological  techniques and instrumentation.

The biology curriculum provides a solid foundation of first- and second-year courses followed by a variety of advanced courses in topics spanning the discipline. Students frequently use electronic databases to access the scientific literature and professional software programs to analyze data. Students often collaborate  with faculty on research projects and have access to an on-site cadaver, tissue culture facilities, and modern biological instrumentation for laboratory and field work.

A St. Kate's biology major prepares students for a wide range of careers in the biological sciences including graduate research in ecology and environmental science, cellular and molecular biology, genetics, plant and animal physiology, behavior, public health, forensic science, and for professional programs in medicine, physician assistant, dentistry, veterinary medicine, physical therapy, optometry, pharmacy and medical technology. St. Kate's biology graduates go on to lead and influence as professionals in healthcare, teaching, non-profit organizations, industry, and government.

Students have many opportunities to explore career options, including internships related to their specific interests. Internships at off-campus sites expose students to the day-to-day activities of professionals ranging from physicians, field biologists, teachers, and basic researchers to industrial biotechnologists.

Students also have opportunities  to explore their creative, intellectual, and scientific potentials through research projects done in collaboration with faculty. This type of experience allows students to discover the dynamic nature of the scientific process, to experience autonomy in their thinking while seeing how collaboration enhances scientific creativity and productivity, and  to learn the value of perseverance through the frustrations that often accompany conducting and trouble-shooting experiments. Together with faculty mentors, students pose original research questions and are involved in experimental design, data gathering, and in interpretation of results.  Through conference presentations and publications, students share their research results with the larger scientific community. Participation in research activities as an undergraduate helps some students decide if research is an appropriate career path and enhances their chances of being accepted into graduate programs. For example, one student recently worked with faculty on a field study of wetlands, which not only enriched her education but made her better prepared for graduate school. Another student performed genetic analysis of bacteria, giving her the lab experiences she needed to pursue a Ph.D. in molecular biology. Students may receive stipends to support their research activities through the Summer Scholars Program, the Assistantship Mentoring Program, and Faculty/Student Collaborative 3M STEM Grants.  

See also: Applied Science in BiologyPre-Physical Therapy, Pre-Public Health, Pre-Holistic Health Studies.

This major is offered in the College for Women only.


Required Courses in the Major
BIOL 1710Foundations of Biology I with Lab4
BIOL 1720Foundations of Biology II with Lab4
BIOL 2710Foundations of Biology III with Lab4
BIOL 2720Sophomore Seminar2
BIOL 4602Internship2
or BIOL 4912 Research
BIOL 4850WSenior Seminar2
Biology Electives
18 additional credits in biology are required to complete the major. These credits must include:18
Three 4-credit courses at the 3000 level or above (at least one lab and one field course)
At least four elective credits at the 4000 level (which may include 4-credit laboratory or field courses and/or 2-credit topics courses)
Total Credits36
Required Supporting Courses (minimum grade of C- required)
CHEM 1110General Chemistry I with Lab4
CHEM 1120General Chemistry II with Lab4
CHEM 2010Organic Chemistry I with Lab4
Select one of the following:4
Statistical Analysis for Decision Making
Statistical Methods in Psychology
Statistical Analysis
Calculus I
Total Credits16
Recommended Courses
CHEM 2020Organic Chemistry II with Lab4
CHEM 4400Biochemistry4
MATH 1130Calculus I4
Select one of the following (two semesters of physics)8
Introductory Physics I
and Introductory Physics II
Physics for the Health Sciences I
and Physics for the Health Sciences II with Lab
Total Credits20

Biology majors satisfy the Writing Requirement for Majors by completing both  BIOL 2720 Sophomore Seminar and  BIOL 4850W Senior Seminar. They complete the Liberal Arts and Sciences Core Writing Requirement with three other writing-intensive courses (CORE 1000W The Reflective Woman or CORE 2000W The Reflective Woman, CORE 3990W Global Search for Justice, and any other writing-intensive course in any department).