Biological Sciences Major
As a Biological Sciences major you will be able to:
- Articulate the relevance of biology in your life and the lives of others and evaluate ethical and public policy issues of biological significance.
- Collaborate successfully to solve problems in an interdisciplinary team.
- Identify, discuss and explain the fundamental principles and concepts of biology from molecules to ecosystems.
- Recognize and explain the evolutionary basis of biology and the dynamic nature of life.
- Summarize and assess new biological problems and use critical thinking and problem-solving skills to arrive at defensible conclusions within the framework of current knowledge.
- Frame focused biological questions, to formulate hypotheses and test them through well-designed experiments, to quantitatively analyze and interpret data, and to model, simulate, and statistically evaluate data.
- Effectively communicate both orally and in writing about biological topics with the general public and with discipline specific audiences.
- Examine, analyze, interpret and critique the primary biological literature.
- Implement and safely apply a broad array of experimental research skills.
Requirements for the Biological Sciences Major
Overview The Biological Sciences Major includes nine Biological Sciences courses (at least seven of which must be taken at Wellesley) and two Chemistry courses. Below is detailed information about the requirements.
Nine Biological Sciences Courses
1. Two Introductory Courses
2. Four 200-Level Courses* (Note the 200-level courses are grouped.)
Another 200-level BISC course (any listed above).
3. Two 300-Level Courses* (At least one course must include a laboratory and this course must be taken at Wellesley College.)
Two Chemistry Courses
Several courses can be counted towards the major requirement and fulfill the College distribution requirements: BISC 104, BISC 106, BISC 108, BISC 109, BISC 198, ANTH 274/BISC 274. (BISC 108 and BISC 109 as laboratory science courses; all other electives in the list, as non-laboratory science courses.)
The following courses can be counted towards the major requirement and fulfill the Data Literacy component of the Quantitative Reasoning & Data Literacy requirement (formerly referred to as the QR overlay). Data literacy courses are: BISC 109, BISC 111, BISC 111T, BISC 113, BISC 113Y, BISC 198, BISC 201.
Independent Research and Honors in Biological Sciences
The Biological Sciences Department strongly encourages students to get involved in independent research. Such opportunities can serve to improve skills in conducting laboratory or field based studies. Data analysis, scientific writing, and oral communication are likely components of independent research projects. For details on non-credit research opportunities, please see the Research tab on the Biological Sciences Department website. Research opportunities for credit in the biological sciences major can be fulfilled in the following ways:
1. Independent Study in Biological Sciences (BISC 250, BISC 250H or BISC 350, BISC 350H): Independent research projects may be supervised by a member of the faculty of the Department of Biological Sciences or an off-campus director. Please note that off-campus independent research experiences require active participation of a department faculty member throughout the research period. Advisor approval is required for acceptance into a research program. Students are expected to devote 10-12 hours to their projects per week for BISC 250 and BISC 350 and 5-6 hours per week for BISC 250H and BISC 350H. (Note: Paid internships are not eligible for BISC 250, BISC 250H, BISC 350, BISC 350H.)
2. Thesis in the Biological Sciences (BISC 355, BISC 365): The thesis program is a two-semester investigation of a significant research problem, culminating in the preparation of a written thesis and defense of that thesis before a faculty committee. The primary goals of the thesis project are the development of independent research capabilities, the improvement of scientific writing skills, and oral communication of scientific data. Independent research projects may be supervised by a member of the faculty of the Department of Biological Sciences or an off-campus director. Please note that off-campus independent research experiences require active participation of a department faculty member throughout the research period. Advisor approval is required for acceptance into the thesis program.
3. Honors thesis in the Biological Sciences (BISC 360, BISC 370): Honors in the Biological Sciences is earned by the demonstration of excellence in both course work and a thesis research project. All junior majors are invited to apply for the honors program. Advisor approval is required for acceptance into the thesis program and final acceptance is contingent upon a vote of the department faculty and a grade point average of 3.5 or higher in courses in the major above the 100 level. The primary goals of the thesis program are the development of independent research capabilities, the improvement of scientific writing skills, and oral communication of scientific data. Honors candidates prepare a written thesis and defend their thesis before an examination committee. After the oral examination, the thesis committee evaluates the candidate's performance and may recommend approval of the degree with honors in the major.
For more information regarding any of the above options, please see the Department's "Guide to Independent Research."
Graduate Study in Biological Sciences
Students planning graduate work are advised to take calculus, statistics, organic chemistry, and two units of physics, and to have a reading knowledge of a second language. They should consult the catalogs of the graduate schools of their choice for specific requirements.
Advanced Placement Policy in Biological Sciences
AP credit does not replace any course offered in the Department of Biological Sciences and does not count toward a major or minor. No exemption exams are given. With the exception of BISC 110P, all courses require the fulfillment of the Quantitative Reasoning requirement as a prerequisite.
Transfer Credit and International Study in Biological Sciences
In order to obtain Wellesley credit for any biology course taken at another institution during the summer or the academic year, approval must be obtained from the chair of the department. After a student has enrolled at Wellesley, courses from two-year colleges will not be accepted at any level. Transfer students wishing to obtain credit for biology courses taken prior to enrollment at Wellesley should consult the chair of the department. Students wishing to apply courses taken overseas toward their major at Wellesley should also consult the chair.
Double-Counted Biological Sciences Course
The College requires that no course is double-counted between two majors or between a major and a minor. When any Biological Sciences course is counted toward a non-Biological Sciences minor, the students need to make up for the course by taking an additional Biological Sciences course towards their Biological Sciences major. The elective course must be approved by the advisor.
Students interested in an interdepartmental major in Biochemistry can refer to the sections of the course catalog where those programs are described. They should consult with the director of the appropriate program.
Courses for Credit Toward the Biological Sciences Major
|EXTD 225||Biology of Fishes||
|EXTD 226||Biology of Whales||
Biological Sciences Related Courses - Attention Called
|CS 112||Computation for the Sciences||
|ES 212 / GEOS 212 / RAST 212||Lake Baikal: The Soul of Siberia||1.0|
|EXTD 128||Coastal Zone Management||
|GEOS 200||Evolution of Earth Systems through Time with Laboratory||
|PE 205||Sports Medicine-Lower Extremity||
|PHIL 249||Medical Ethics||