May 23, 2024  
2022-2023 Westminster College Catalog 
2022-2023 Westminster College Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Biology, B.S.

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Biology and Molecular Biology Mission Statement
The mission of the biology department takes its direction from the broader mission of Westminster College. The department’s quest for academic excellence and extensive experiential learning is suffused with a recognition that stewardship of life mandates the maximum possible development of each person’s intellectual capabilities and social responsibilities. In order to help women and men develop the competencies, commitments, and characteristics which distinguish human beings at their best, the biology department realizes its mission in students who:

  • acquire knowledge and an appreciation of the natural world;
  • cultivate an intellectual curiosity that encourages observation and exploration using multiple perspectives;
  • demonstrate competencies to reason logically, evaluate critically, communicate effectively, and imagine creatively;
  • develop and demonstrate moral and ethical commitments to society and the natural world;
  • commit themselves to lifelong learning and the acquisition of skills for careers and responsible service as world citizens.

Learning Outcomes

  1. demonstrate breadth of knowledge about current biological concepts and principles, including recognition of the inter-relatedness of knowledge among the various biological sub-disciplines;
  2. demonstrate a foundation of knowledge that prepares them for a wide range of professions;
  3. demonstrate a foundation of technical skills;
  4. demonstrate the ability to collect, analyze, interpret, and communicate data;
  5. demonstrate the ability to apply existing knowledge and skills to develop new ideas and solve novel problems;
  6. demonstrate the ability to formulate testable hypotheses and design experiments that address those hypotheses;
  7. demonstrate critical-thinking skills, such as the ability to evaluate scientific concepts and theories;
  8. demonstrate the ability to work independently, complete a project, and meet a deadline;
  9. demonstrate the ability to work as a member of a team to solve problems and complete tasks;
  10. demonstrate an understanding of diversity, organization, and functioning of the living world sufficient to insure informed participation in society and to exhibit a capacity for bioethical decision making;
  11. demonstrate the ability to communicate scientific ideas through written and oral presentation;
  12. participate effectively in collaborative learning with faculty;
  13. participate in co-curricular opportunities that enhance interactions with faculty, students, alumni, and professionals in the field of the biological sciences.

The Major in Biology

Requirements for a major in biology are met by taking a minimum of 64 semester hours in major courses which must include the following:

Biology Electives

Plus, twelve (12) semester hours of elective courses that must be numbered 300 or above (excluding BIO 590  , and limited to no more than four semester hours of BIO 620  and eight semester hours of BIO 660-690 ).

Biology Supporting Courses


A student who completes three biology courses (BIO prefix) and earns a grade lower than C- in each course prior to registering for BIO 601  will be identified as not making progress in the major. (Exceptions will be made for students who take a medical or personal leave for the semester). Students who are not making progress in the major will not be allowed to continue as a biology or molecular biology major.

Students cannot register for BIO 601  (Biology Capstone I) unless their major GPA is above a 2.0 and they are making progress in the major.

Honors Scholars majoring in biology or molecular biology are expected to attend and participate in BIO 601  while they write their Honors proposal.

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