Biology Learning Goals

This skill requires students to:

  • Make observations
  • Identify significant open questions
  • Formulate hypotheses
  • Design experiments
  • Learn modern laboratory techniques
  • Collect and document data
  • Use quantitative reasoning to analyze, interpret, and present data
  • Collaborate with others to solve problems

These activities enable hypothesis-driven experimentation and analytical thinking. This approach to knowledge forms the basis of scientific research, guides the formation, testing, and validation of theories, and distinguishes conclusions developed through scientific reasoning from those that rest on unverified assertion.

This skill requires students to:

  • Identify appropriate information sources
  • Comprehend and critically analyze primary, secondary, and popular scientific literature
  • Distinguish between supported and unsupported conclusions in a given study
  • Use writing to distill meaning from a collection of information sources, logically organize ideas, and construct a cogent scientific argument
  • Convey the scientific argument through concise written and oral communication

These activities result in deeper more nuanced understanding of biological studies, their relationship to prior published work, and the formulation of future directions for a field. Graduates will be able to accurately communicate biological information, and the importance of underlying issues, to diverse audiences.

This skill requires students to:

  • Understand and recognize ethical issues that arise from scientific research
  • Understand and recognize ethical research practices
  • Understand the role of science in addressing societal issues
  • Understand how biological concepts are derived from scientific research, and how further scientific advancements will support, refute or alter current theories.

These activities provide graduates with the skills necessary for informed scientific stewardship.

Core program content

The skills above will be developed while students engage in course work focused on the following content:

  • Relationship between structure and function on different biological scales
  • Flow of energy and matter through biological systems, from cells to ecosystems
  • Flow of genetic information from storage to phenotype
  • Mechanisms of inheritance
  • Evolution and maintenance of biological diversity
  • Connectivity and emergent properties of complex biological networks, from molecules to ecosystems