The department of biology offers courses that prepare students for careers in the biological and biomedical sciences. The department provides support for other programs within the University that require students to obtain a background in one or more subfields of biology and meets the needs of nonscience majors who wish to integrate the perspectives of the science of biology into a liberal-arts curriculum. The major in biology is suitable for students who intend to go on to professional schools in the health sciences (such as medical,dental, or veterinarian school), graduate studies in the biological sciences, or have careers in biomedical research, biotechnology, education, environmental sciences or conservation biology.
The department encourages students to obtain a broad foundation in biology and then identify an area of emphasis within the biological sciences. In consultation with faculty advisors, students select courses that provide depth of exposure to topics in their area of specialization, which can include research experiences. Two general curricula are offered: one in cell and molecular biology and one in ecology and evolution. Early consultation with a faculty member in biology is strongly recommended to enable students to acquire the necessary background to participate in specially-designed research courses, internships, or research in faculty laboratories.
Please note that the two-semester sequence, Introduction to Biology (BIOL101 and 102) is a prerequisite for all other courses in biology that meet the requirements for the major. Biology 101 can be substituted with Biology 100 (a first year research seminar) or biology 103 (designed for those interested in the environmental sciences or conservation biology).
Special Field Courses
Biology majors are encouraged to take field courses and to engage in field-research projects. Clark University maintains formal affiliations with the following organizations, enabling students to apply for admission and, in some cases, preferential financial-aid consideration. Courses from these organizations can be taken in place of other courses required for either the generalized biology major or the curriculum in ecology and evolution.
The Bermuda Biological Station is an internationally renowned center for marine biological and oceanographic research. Intensive summer field courses are available for qualified Clark students. Any of these courses can be taken for biology major credit.
The Semester in Environmental Sciences is offered in the fall by the Ecosystems Center at the Marine Biological Laboratories, Woods Hole, Mass. Students enrolled in SES receive four units of credit for participation in this research-intensive academic program.
The School for Field Studies operates six centers at which semester-long field-oriented courses may be taken for four credit units:
- The Center for Rainforest Studies (Australia)
- The Center for Marine Resource Studies (Turks and Caicos Islands, Caribbean)
- The Center for Wildlife Management Studies (Kenya)
- The Center for Coastal Studies (Baja, Mexico)
- The Center for Sustainable Development Studies (Costa Rica)
Clark students are also eligible for admission into summer courses at these centers. Students interested in taking any of these courses for credit toward the major must first take at least one course in either the organismal or population areas (biology course categories 2 or 3 described for the Generalized Biology Major).
The specific course offerings at the Bermuda Biological Station and the School for Field Studies may change each year. Recent, detailed information on the School for Field Studies and the Bermuda Biological Station is available at Web sites maintained by those organizations (www.fieldstudies.org and www.bbsr.edu). Students who wish to apply for these or other off-campus course programs are urged to consult with their biology adviser to ensure that the program will satisfy the student’s needs for a well-planned biology major.
The requirements for a minor in Biology are:
Four additional courses spanning at least two of the three subject categories set out in the Generalized Biology Major. A selection of appropriate courses in each designation is listed in the description of the major, but students are not restricted to selecting from this list. At least one of the four must be at the 200 level and none can be below the 100 level. All students wishing to complete a minor must select courses, receive approval from their biology faculty advisor and declare the minor by the end of the junior year, although earlier is recommended.
Biology courses used to fulfill the requirements for the minor in biology may not be taken with the pass option.