Biological Sciences

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Introduction

The Biological Sciences department offers three majors and one minor:

The department of Biological Sciences is committed to creating a community of learners which reflects Goshen College core values by:

  • striving for academic excellence and rigorous mastery of broad knowledge in the biological sciences
  • doing science through nurturing skills in research
  • promoting good stewardship of biological resources and committing to responsible and ethical practices in scientific inquiry and application
  • engaging in interdisciplinary scholarship that contributes scientific methodologies toward addressing current needs and problems in our world, both locally and globally.

The biological science faculty believes that providing our students with research opportunities is vital. Many students assist with professors' research during the school year, participate in the summer Maple Scholars research program, and/or travel to research sites such as Kenya and Florida. In addition to the excellent on-campus facility for research and teaching, Goshen College also offers exceptional locations for field work. Most field biology courses take place at the Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center of Goshen College, a 1,189-acre natural area 30 miles from campus. This preserve contains prairies, grasslands, upland forests, lowland forests, lakes, ponds and senescent bogs. The marine biology course is taken at the J. N. Roth Marine Biology Station, located on Long Key, Florida. Additional field courses are available through the Au Sable Institute, a field station with several U.S. locations and international programs.

The department collaborates closely with the Sustainability and Environmental Education Department (SEED), which offers complementary programs in Sustainability and Agroecology.

For more information visit these websites:

Career and postgraduate opportunities

All three majors in the Biological Sciences department prepare students for entrance into graduate programs.

Biology

Graduates with a biology major are active in human medicine and related areas, veterinary medicine, the agricultural sciences, cell biology, microbiology, marine biology, biotechnology, ecology, environmental analysis, science communications and science education, as well as basic research in numerous biological areas.

Molecular biology/biochemistry

Graduates with a molecular biology major are well-prepared for further study in medical or graduate school, or direct entry into the job market. Molecular biology provides a foundation for careers in biochemistry, molecular biology, behavior genetics, molecular genetics, biotechnology, genetics, molecular medicine, genomics, proteomics, molecular diagnostics, drug discovery and many related areas.

Environmental science & environmental studies

Courses in environmental science are designed to provide knowledge in areas of social structures, available natural resources, market forces, biodiversity status, landscape quality, cultural value, habitat and natural resource sustainability, and policy decisions. Graduates with an environmental science major may work in a wide variety of areas, such as sustainable agriculture, conservation biology, water/air quality analysis, environmental education, recovery of threatened or endangered species, and as consultants for local, regional, or national parties interested in sustainable development. Potential employers include church and community agencies, local, state and federal government, private advocacy, stewardship and land trust organizations.

A minor in environmental studies is an interdisciplinary minor appropriate for elementary and secondary teachers, regional planners, interpretive naturalists, park and camp managers, water and air resources analysts, environmental policy makers, bioinformation specialists and artists wishing to represent the natural world.

A master's degree program in environmental education is also available at Goshen College, based at Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center.

Informatics and biology

For students interested in applying computing to biological sciences, Goshen offers a major in informatics, with a cognate in biology. A minor in informatics is also available. See the Computing section of the course catalog.

Teacher education in life sciences

Teacher certification is available for grades 5-12 in two related areas. Courses needed in addition to biology major requirements are:

Life Sciences - Biol 200 or 201; Biol 203-204; Biol 302 or 303; and Biol 215 or 312.

Life Sciences and Chemistry - Biol 200 or 201; Biol 203-204; Biol 302 or 303; Biol 215 or 312; Chem 200; Chem 303-304; and Chem 310, 312, 415 or 430.

Also requires 30 credits of education courses, including a semester of student-teaching. The first education class, Educ 201, should be taken in May term of the first year or spring of the sophomore year. See the education department pages and the Teacher Education Handbook for more details.

Major in biology

42-46 credit hours

  • Biol 110, Ecology and Evolution 4
  • Biol 120, Cell Biology and Genetics 4
  • Biol 130, Organismal Biology 4
  • Biol 331, Junior Research Seminar 2
  • Biol 409, Internship (or alternate) 0-3
  • Biol 410, Biology Senior Seminar 1
  • Elective laboratory course4
    Biol 203, Human Anatomy & Physiology
    Biol 300, Microbial Biology
    Biol 302, Developmental Biology
    Biol 303, Vertebrate Physiology
    Biol 311, Advanced Molecular Genetics
    Biol 341, Advanced Cell Biology
  • Elective field biology course4
    Biol 200, General Zoology
    Biol 201, Botany
    Biol 304, Marine Biology
    Biol 308, General Entomology
    Biol 324, Advanced Field Ecology
    Biol 345, Forest Resources
    Biol 350, Ornithology
  • Additional biology elective course from lists above4
  • Chem 111-112, General Chemistry 8
  • Chem 303, Intro to Organic Chemistry 4
  • Quantitative course (one of the following)3-4
    Math 360, Biomathematics (3)
    Psyc 380, Statistics in Research (3)

Student learning outcomes

Graduates in biology will:

  1. Demonstrate knowledge of core biological principles spanning all levels of hierarchy (cells to ecosystems).
  2. Provide examples of the fundamental role that evolutionary principles have in structuring biological systems from the cell to ecosystems.
  3. Design and implement experiments through developing research questions, designing research methods, and interpreting and analyzing data using statistical techniques.
  4. Use strong oral and writing skills to communicate scientific concepts.
  5. Articulate how faith and/or worldview informs personal bioethical attitudes and behaviors.
  6. Reflect on the systems-level connections between core biological principles.
  7. Demonstrate safety and competence in implementing basic biology laboratory and field skills: taxonomic identification, quantitative measurement, sterile technique, microscopy and slide use, and good experimental design.

Planning and advising notes

Students expecting to major in biology normally take General Chemistry, Chem 111-112, in the first year, but in some cases it may be postponed until the second year.

Planning guide

First year Goshen Core
Ecology & Evolution (fall)
Cell Biology & Genetics (spring)
Organismal Biology (spring)
Second year

Goshen Core
General Chemistry
Quantitative course
Biology electives
SST (spring or summer)

Third year Goshen Core
Intro to Organic Chemistry
Biology electives
Junior Research Seminar
SST (if not in second year)
Fourth year Balance of Goshen Core
Balance of major
Internship
Biology Senior Seminar

Major in molecular biology/biochemistry

55-58 credit hours

  • Biol 110, Ecology and Evolution 4
  • Biol 120, Cell Biology and Genetics 4
  • Biol 130, Organismal Biology 4
  • One of the following4
    Biol 311, Advanced Molecular Genetics
    Biol 341, Advanced Cell Biology
  • One of the following4
    Biol 302, Developmental Biology
    Biol 303, Vertebrate Physiology
  • Biol 331, Junior Research Seminar 2
  • Biol 409, Internship 0-3
  • Biol 410, Biology Senior Seminar 1
  • Chem 111-112, General Chemistry 8
  • Chem 303-304, Organic Chemistry 8
  • Chem 430, Biochemistry 4
  • Math 211, Calculus I 4
  • Phys 203-204, General Physics 8

Student learning outcomes

Graduates in molecular biology/biochemistry will:

  1. Demonstrate knowledge of core biological principles spanning all levels of hierarchy (cells to ecosystems).
  2. Provide examples of the fundamental role that evolutionary principles have in structuring biological systems from the cell to ecosystems.
  3. Design and implement experiments through developing research questions, designing research methods, and interpreting and analyzing data using statistical techniques.
  4. Use strong oral and writing skills to communicate scientific concepts.
  5. Articulate how faith and/or worldview informs personal bioethical attitudes and behaviors.
  6. Demonstrate knowledge of the dynamic nature of interactions between the cell and its environment.
  7. Demonstrate knowledge of the cell as an integrated system that can cooperate and organize to form more complex integrated structures.
  8. Demonstrate safety and competence in laboratory skills: cell culture techniques, DNA/RNA isolation and analysis, gel electrophoresis, and microscopy.

Planning and advising notes

Recommended elective courses: Additional biology courses; Chem 200, Analytical Chemistry; Chem 310, Thermodynamics; and Chem 312, Quantum Mechanics I.

Planning guide

First year Goshen Core
Ecology & Evolution (fall)
Cell Biology & Genetics (spring)
Organismal Biology (spring)
General Chemistry
Second year Goshen Core
Calculus I
Organic Chemistry
Biology choice
SST (summer)
Third year Goshen Core
Biochemistry
General Physics
Junior Research Seminar
Biology choice
Fourth year Balance of Goshen Core
Balance of major
Internship
Biology Senior Seminar

Major in environmental science

53-58 credit hours (Core courses and one track)

Core courses (32-36 credit hours):

  • Biol 110, Ecology and Evolution 4
  • Biol 120, Cell Biology and Genetics 4
  • Biol 130, Organismal Biology 4
  • Biol 207, Roots of Environmental Crisis 3
  • Biol 324, Advanced Field Ecology 4
  • Biol 335, Natural Resources Policy Seminar 1
  • Biol 409, Internship 0-3
  • Biol 410, Biology Senior Seminar 1
  • Chem 111-112, General Chemistry 8
  • Psyc 380, Statistics in Research3

Agroecology track (22 credit hours)

  • Biol 201, Botany 4
  • Biol 308, General Entomology 4
  • Biol 331, Junior Research Seminar 2
  • Summer program at Merry Lea, four courses simultaneously: 12
    Biol 220, Soil Properties and Management
    Biol 230, Small Farm Management and Produce Marketing
    Biol 316, Vegetable Crops
    Biol 318, Agroecology

Ecology track (22 credit hours)

  • Biol 331, Junior Research Seminar 2
  • Plant course (one of the following) 4
    Biol 201, Botany
    Biol 345, Forest Resources
  • Animal course (one of the following) 4
    Biol 200, General Zoology
    Biol 304, Marine Biology
    Biol 308, General Entomology
    Biol 350, Ornithology
  • Chem 303, Intro to Organic Chemistry 4
  • Math 211, Calculus I4
  • Phys 203, General Physics I4

Sustainability track I (on campus) (22 credit hours)

  • Biol 331, Junior Research Seminar 2
  • Two field courses from the following8
    Biol 200, General Zoology
    Biol 201, Botany
    Biol 304, Marine Biology
    Biol 308, General Entomology
    Biol 345, Forest Resources
    Biol 350, Ornithology
  • Four courses selected from the following 12
    Biol 340, Field Experience in Environmental Education
    Econ 309, Environmental Economics
    Hist 345, Environmental History
    PoSc 210, Public Policy
    Soc 351, Sociology of the Environment

Sustainability track II (with semester at Merry Lea) (21 credit hours)

  • Econ 309, Environmental Economics3
  • Hist 345, Environmental History3
  • Fall Sustainability Semester at Merry Lea15
    Sust 300, Sustainability and Regeneration (3)
    Sust 309, Faith, Ethics and Eco-justice (3)
    Sust 313/Biol 313, Landscape Limnology (4)
    Sust 320, Environmental Policy & Politics (3)
    Sust 330, Environmental Problem-Solving (2)

Student learning outcomes

Graduates in environmental science will:

  1. Demonstrate knowledge of core biological principles spanning all levels of hierarchy (cells to ecosystems).
  2. Provide examples of the fundamental role that evolutionary principles have in structuring biological systems from the cell to ecosystems.
  3. Design and implement experiments through developing research questions, designing research methods, and interpreting and analyzing data using statistical techniques.
  4. Use strong oral and writing skills to communicate scientific concepts.
  5. Articulate how faith and/or worldview informs personal bioethical attitudes and behaviors.
  6. Discuss core ecological principles spanning levels of inquiry, including global ecology, ecosystem science, population ecology, community ecology, and physiological ecology.
  7. Identify the biosphere's most pressing environmental challenges and analyze the root causes of specific case studies using systems thinking.
  8. Demonstrate safe field and laboratory skills: taxonomy and identification of species, plant and animal monitoring techniques, habitat and soil surveys, GPS and GIS mapping.

Planning and advising notes

See SEED department pages for more information about Sustainability track II above.

Students expecting to major in environmental science normally take General Chemistry, Chem 111-112, in the first year, but in some cases it may be postponed until the second year.

Planning guide

First year Goshen Core
Ecology & Evolution (fall)
Cell Biology & Genetics (spring)
Organismal Biology (spring)
General Chemistry
Second & Third years Goshen Core
SST
Roots of Environmental Crisis (spring)
Statistics course
Natural Resources Policy Seminar
Advanced Field Ecology
Junior Research Seminar (or Sustainability Semester at Merry Lea)
Courses in specified track
Fourth year Courses in specified track
Balance of Goshen Core
Internship
Senior Seminar

Minor in environmental studies

18 credit hours

  • Biol 110, Ecology & Evolution 4
  • Biol 207, Roots of Environmental Crisis 3
  • Biol 335, Natural Resource Policy Seminar 1
  • One of the following field electives: 4
    Biol 200, General Zoology
    Biol 201, Botany
    Biol 304, Marine Biology
    Biol 308, General Entomology
    Biol 345, Forest Resources
    Biol 350, Ornithology
  • Two courses selected from the following: 6
    Biol 340, Field Experience in Environmental Education
    Econ 309, Environmental Economics
    Hist 345, Environmental History
    PoSc 210, Introduction to Public Policy
    Soc 351, Sociology of the Environment

Biological Science courses


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