Department Information

Biology

Professors French (Chair), Coates, Coenen, Dawson, Donmoyer, Hersh, Humphreys, Kleinschmidt, Lundberg, Mumme, Nelson, Ostrofsky, Rankin, Venesky, Webb, Whitenack, Wissinger

Biology, the study of life, is a discipline of astonishing variety. It encompasses not only the diversity of living things on the earth today, but also the diversity of levels (from molecules to cells to organisms to ecosystems) at which life can be studied. The Biology Department offers a modern, balanced, and comprehensive treatment of biology, emphasizing independent research, analysis of information, and integration among its subdisciplines and with other areas of the liberal arts, including related disciplines such as chemistry, mathematics, geology, physics and psychology. Many new discoveries in biology, such as those that are making genetic engineering a reality, are radically transforming our perception of what biology is and what it can mean to our everyday lives. More than ever, the social, political, economic and moral implications of these discoveries require not only that a liberally educated person understand the principles of modern biology, but also that a biologist be liberally educated.

Biology Courses Learning Outcomes:

Students who successfully complete a course for non-majors (BIO 045 – BIO 082) in the Department of Biology are expected to be able to:

  1. Demonstrate a general understanding of the basic principles of the relevant biological sub-discipline and of the process by which new scientific knowledge in this sub-discipline is generated.

Students who successfully complete the introductory courses (BIO 220 – BIO 221) in the Department of Biology are expected to be able to:

  1. Demonstrate a general understanding of the central features of the extraordinarily diverse and expanding landscape of modern biology.

Students who successfully complete the sophomore-level investigative laboratory course (FSBIO 201) in the Department of Biology are expected to be able to:

  1. Demonstrate a general understanding of the standard laboratory tools, methodology, and process of biological research and of the basics of scientific writing;
  2. Present the results of independent research clearly and effectively in both written and oral forms.

Students who successfully complete a 300-level course (BIO 300 – BIO 385) in the Department of Biology are expected to be able to:

  • Demonstrate a thorough understanding of important principles and/or laboratory techniques in the biological sub-discipline covered by the course.

Students who successfully complete a junior seminar (BIO 580) in the Department of Biology are expected to be able to:

  • Demonstrate the ability to locate, critically analyze, interpret, and discuss primary research literature in the relevant sub-discipline within the biological sciences;
  • Design independent laboratory or field research that is consistent with the highest standards and practices of research in the relevant biological sub-discipline.

Students who successfully complete the two-semester senior project and seminar (BIO 600 and BIO 610) in the Department of Biology are expected to be able to:

  • Design and conduct independent laboratory or field research that is consistent with the highest standards and practices of research in the relevant biological sub-discipline;
  • Present the results of their independent research clearly and effectively in both written and oral forms.

Off-Campus Study in Marine Biology

Students who are eligible (GPA of at least 3.0 and approval of Director of International Education) can participate in our cooperative program with the Duke University Marine Laboratory in Beaufort, North Carolina. Students typically participate for one semester in the junior year and take a full course load including an independent research experience. Students receive Allegheny grades and credit for Biology major (appropriate courses for Areas A, B, C, and Junior Seminar) and minor requirements. The spring program entails one-half semester at Duke and one-half semester at the Bermuda Biological Laboratory. Contact the Director of International Education in the Gateway for more information on this program.

Programs

Major

Minor