Biology

Program mission statement

Biology explores unity, diversity, complexity, and evolution in the living world. The mission of the Saint Martin's University Biology Department is to instill the spirit of scientific inquiry and critical thinking skills from the perspective of a biologist. Thus, the department's course of study is designed to develop the students’ ability to formulate questions in the biological sciences and conduct research using appropriate methodologies and techniques. To that end, the curriculum does the following:

  • Lays a foundation of basic facts and theories in biology.
  • Develops the ability to critically read peer-reviewed experimental journal articles.
  • Provides extensive opportunities for hands-on laboratory experiences culminating in the design and execution of an original research project.
  • Develops writing skills (begun in the general education curriculum) to communicate scientific concepts, methodologies, findings, analysis, and conclusions to both technical and non-technical audiences.

In support of the liberal arts tradition of Saint Martin's, the department offers courses for non-major students to introduce them to ideas from the biological sciences as well as promote an appreciation for the role of scientific inquiry in modern society.

Program goals, objectives and outcomes

Knowledge

The student will have enhanced understanding of the fundamental principles of biology and will understand:

  • Eukaryotic and prokaryotic cell structure and function.
  • The role of evolution in generating the diversity of species present on modern earth.
  • The interrelationships of organisms with their environments.
  • The historical development of basic biological principles.

Students will be able to conduct independent studies in biology and will be able to:

  • Carry out independent research
  • Understand and evaluate the research of other scientists
  • Work collaboratively with other scientists

Skills

Biology majors will have the ability to apply the scientific method as a problem-solving tool and will understand:

  • How to formulate a scientific hypothesis.
  • How to use basic laboratory equipment.
  • How to collect and analyze experimental data.
  • How to draw conclusions from experimental data.

Biology majors will have the ability to clearly express themselves in written and oral communication and will be able to:

  • Write scientific papers using modern nomenclature and terminology.
  • Write appropriate standard lab reports.
  • Present their scientific work to others using oral presentations.
  • Use modern technology in the communication of their work to others.

Dispositions

Biology majors will have an awareness and understanding of the ethical issues involved in scientific endeavors and will understand:

  • How ethical considerations have influenced past scientific research.
  • Modern ethical issues and apply their knowledge of these issues to their own scientific work.