Academics: Majors and Programs

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Biology Goals and Objectives

Goals

At the completion of the bachelor of science degree in the department of biology, a graduate will have acquired an understanding of major biological concepts and awareness of how these are connected with areas of the biological, physical and social sciences.

Objectives

Biology majors will gain specific knowledge and skills in the following core competencies:

Disciplinary Breadth

  1. understand functional categories of biological organization and interconnections among them;
  2. develop a solid foundation of basic biological concepts that inform scientific understanding; and
  3. understand how evolutionary mechanisms apply in molecular, cellular, organismal and community level dynamics.

Scientific Literacy

  1. develop skills of observation and critical reading of texts and environments;
  2. interpret representations of data and models;
  3. understand hypotheses and conclusions;
  4. identify gaps in knowledge;
  5. formulate scientific questions; and
  6. recognize synthesis of new ideas.

Communication Skills

  1. develop skills to interpret and construct a scientifically based argument;
  2. develop oral communication skills for formal presentations and informal scientific discourse; and
  3. develop facility with scientific writing and model making.

Analyzing Scientific Data and Results

  1. interpret quantitative and qualitative representations of data in tabular, graphical or descriptive form;
  2. identify significant trends in scientific data;
  3. evaluate scientific results in terms of original hypothesis; and
  4. apply statistical analysis to scientific interpretation.

Science as an Experimental Process

  1. synthesize scientific hypothesis and derived research questions;
  2. design hypothesis-driven, controlled experiments;
  3. construct appropriate data sets; and
  4. critique experimental approaches.

Developing Technical Expertise

  1. develop proficiency in accurate data collection;
  2. conduct proper calibration and use of scientific instrumentation; and
  3. develop appropriate use of scientific techniques in experimental design.

Science As a Way of Knowing

  1. understanding the process of science compared to other modes of inquiry;
  2. integrating scientific knowledge and biology within a social, political or historical context; and
  3. recognizing both the potential and limitations of scientific application.

Integrated Identity

  1. exploring intersections of identity as a Spelman biology major;
  2. reflecting on how academic preparation and professional aspirations impact your worldview; and
  3. reflect on how your worldview impacts your professional and academic aspirations and your value system.